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  1. 4 points
    ... I became a published author. And I owe thanks to you guys. I knew I was a 'decent' writer but I wasn't too sure of my talent when I first came here. Years of praise and ego-polishing made me confident enough to believe that people wanted to read what I was writing. So I wrote, and contacted a small publisher and found out she loved what I wrote. May she be the first of many. In addition to inflating my head, you have taught me about stories - what makes them interesting and what makes them great. I have laughed and cried and been inspired by everyone here. Thank you guys. You're all awesome, and I won't forget you when I'm as famous as Anne Rice. (Let's hope I don't go through the weird Catholic phase!) Dawn
  2. 3 points
    If you are excited for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim make sure you check out the site themes.
  3. 2 points
    For all the dangers and freakishness of the situation, Fisher was calm. Relatively so, with superhuman intellect and focus running down the situation. In front of them, a potential repeat of the Nekyia situation when the Band first got into the heroing business. The creatures on the other end had held off once they'd noticed Fisher and his heritage. They couldn't rely on that this time. Step One, stop Todd and get him away. Austin, Fisher thought approvingly, was already on that. That left the issue of containment. The wisps seemed to be confined by the pentagram, but that thing wouldn't likely stop whatever eldritch evil was coming through from stepping out. What would an anime/manga protagonist do in this situation? It was hardly a silly question. The many great series carried their rivers of Japanese tales and lore, homages in their way to the Amatsukami, of whom he was a Scion. Obviously, he couldn't pull a Naruto and just create some fuinjustu masterwork to seal it back up. But there were other ways, a more traditional option now that he thought about it. Fisher drew Comb Tooth and jabbed it forward, turning the pen into a naginata, and catching some of the flying paper. It came down into Fisher's outstretched hand, cut into strips. And Comb Tooth retracted back into a pen. Was the pen mightier than the sword? Thankfully, Fisher could have it both ways. In swift flickers, Fisher drew the kanji. "Izanagi, father of the gods. He who brought Chikaeshi-no-okami. Bind death away from life here!" The stone from which his own pendant was made, Fisher remembered. With a toss, defying the laws of physics, the strip of paper which Fisher had inscribed his step-father's name sailed as if a rigid solid object and met the doors to the lab, slamming them shut and sticking as if glued firmly. "Amaterasu, heavenly queen and sun! Restrain this twisted light with your own!" Another inscribed strip found its way to one point of the pentagram. "Susanoo, slayer of Orochi! Drive these monsters back!" "Tsukuyomi, moon lord! I plead for your support!" Two, third points covered. "The Seven Fortunes! Give this your blessing!" Four. And of course finally, "Izanami, mom. You owe me." The last one came into place. Ofuda. The various talismans, amulets and other charms issued by Shinto shrines. Often they had the names of the shrines too with the kami, but Fisher Capra was a Scion of the Amatsukami and the writing was done by a genuine Relic. He WAS his own spiritual holiness for this. And he would make their bindings real. Five to cover the pentagram, one on the doors to bar the room just to be safe. And their words glowed, a pure white compared to the sickly green cracks. White lines connecting the circle...
  4. 2 points
    Lilly stood there, still holding Kyle on her hip still, as she watched things play out in her mind. Despite all of her nearly limitless strength, speed and invulnerability, she had to stand there... a silent, powerless witness to the death of her father... at the hands of somebody she called a friend. Lilly, who the other Irregulars has always known as so tough, steadfast and confident, dropped to her knees, clutching Kyle close as her face twisted into a silent mask of anguish. She shut her tight, so tight that she was not sure if she if light would ever reach them again, as if trying to block the image of the fear on her face of her father. All her life he had been there. He helped her fall in love with sports and athletics, instilled in Lilly his work ethic, patriotism and sense of duty. He coached her and taught her so much that has helped her, even now, or especially now, that she was a Key. She never doubted his deep, unconditional love for her. He was her mentor... her protector... her superhero. And now he was gone. And for Devin be the one to do it, to take his life and rob her of her father, and to do it so casually, made it hurt even worse. She knew he was hurt and angry, but this was a new level. She had thought that Devin would never do something like this that would hurt her so bad. Not Devin. Maybe it was the naivete of youth, but she thought that they had something special, at least on some level... that he cared for her. This though, this was cold and uncaring, taking the life of her father with unthinkable casualness. It just wasn't right. Lilly opened her tear-filled eyes and looked to Sean. "I know you will." she said, nodding as tears began to streak down her cheeks. "I need to see my mom, to tell he-" she said, as her voice cracked. Sean nodded. "Mckeller said you would. I can beam you to him and he'll get you to her." ""I want to go with Lilly." the little boy in her arms said. Lilly forced a smile as she wiped her cheeks with the back of her hand. She hugged him and nodded. "Don't you worry about any thing. Remember what I said? I'll make sure you safe. You'll get to meet my mommy too. She's really nice." Kyle nodded and rested his cheek on Lilly's shoulder, closing his eyes as she held him close. "I'll leave a Vanguard with you guys, or more if you need. Either way, I'll be back. Too many are in danger." she said, trying to regain her composure, even if it were just a thin facade. She then looked to Jeane. "Sorry you had to see that." she said, even now still thinking of others. "We'll make sure your family is safe too. If you want to stay with them for now, then believe me, we understand. If you want to stay with us, then you are with us." she explained.
  5. 2 points
    Television had lied to Jeane. There was something deeply odd about a voice by-passing her ears entirely with how keyed up she was with this mysterious crusher in the area. The blonde daredevil jerked straight up at the silent conversation in her head, nearly dropping her sword in the process. Then she grimaced and tried to push a 'hello' back. She didn't quite get it right. The Irregulars got a raw stream of bubbling excitement and nervous determination interposed with stuttering, broken snatches of old scuffles, jumps, and tumbles, the younger girl gearing herself up for the fight by subconsciously reviewing every trick she knew and praying that it would be enough. <...mN iT,> came back the first actual words over the link, distorted as they were by the subsiding emotional vomit straight from Jeane's head bereft of any filter. Blushing in embarrassment, she tried again, message still Dopplering with emotional feedback. <hI. i'M jEaNe. GrEAt To MeEt YOu. yOU HAve No IDEA hoW cOOl tHis IS FoR mE. mEETING YOU thAT iS. NoT the unknown moNSTer, tHAT iS.>
  6. 2 points
    Init: 1d20+4 15 GM, without a map I should ask...how many of these dead critters can I get into a 15' cone effect without roasting some PC's too? Also, can I get more if just Delgath is in the area? That'd be okay.
  7. 2 points
    Her sprint chewed through the distance, the only sounds she could hear the beat of her music and the thundering of her heartbeat, with a grunt she launched herself from one rooftop to another. Much quicker than trying to take the streets. She'd only hit the road itself once she reached her usual drop off point by her favourite stand. She wouldn't have time to stop properly today, though. Not with the call going out like it had. Usually they were left to their own devices as far as jobs went. The master only occasionally making requests of various members, and even then, it was more the S classes, so for it to be broadcast to the entire guild at once had her heart racing in anticipation. A familiar scent had her nose twitching and a wide grin stretched over her features as she came to the final edge. Launching herself over that with a whoop of delight, she hits the ground hard, rolling to bleed off the force of the fall and coming back up in a full sprint once more, momentum barely interrupted. Her hand dives into her pocket and she slams a handful of change down on the wooden counter of a stand, snagging her usual freshly baked treat from where it rested beside it. A quickly hollered thanks, a glowing smile, and a rapidly spinning coin sitting on top of a pile of it's brothers the only evidence of her passing. The stall owner barely even acknowledging the whirlwind that had just swept through his little store, raising his own hand in farewell and shaking his head, no doubt muttering imprecations on how she'd break her neck doing that someday. Coming through the guild doors at full speed, she dodges around Luci, boots almost skating over the floor as she plops onto one of the benches, her momentum sending her sliding down the bench where she comes to rest beside Brennan with a cheerfully chirped "Afternoon" addressed to the room at large before biting into her treat with obvious pleasure. One hand rising up to pull her headphones down to rest around her neck, the muted strains of her music issuing forth.
  8. 2 points
    In almost every cast, it's more efficient to buy attributes, abilities/skills, powers, etc using Nova Points rather XP, unless you are getting considerably more XP than nova points, like three times as many or more. Many of the characters I've made tended towards having good Mega-Physical Attributes along with physical-type powers, like Armor, Body Modifications (Extra Health Levels and others), Claws, and Hypermovement. I finally made a character I've been meaning to with maxed out baseline attributes, a wide spread of Mega-Attributes and a metric ton of skills and am quite enjoying it. Neat concepts I've considered but never got around to making: -Poltergeist: Density Decrease 3-5, along with Invisibility (Enhanced Effect Extra) and some other power to affect others while Intangible, like Telekinesis, Holo, Mirage, or the like. -Mindshadow: Domination (Parasitic Possession Extra) and Telepathy (Channeling Extra) - lets the character possess someone from almost anywhere on Earth, and can even Teleport after a fashion, from jumping into a targeted mind and then stepping out of it and coalescing again.l -Using The New Flesh Fan Sourcebook, making someone with a whole hell lot of Body Modifications to make a Mermaid or a Cthulhoid horror with tentacles and spines and too many teeth and limbs. -Depending on power levels and house rules used, making someone with a Permanent, Mental-Linked Clone power to make someone who is one mind in multiple bodies. Combine with the Mindshadow concept to make a Nova who is essentially a mental virus. Aberrant isn't the best or most flexible system around, but there are any number of character ideas available, sometimes you just how to consider the powers in a different light. And welcome to the site, Red Ghost.
  9. 2 points
    Sean castigated herself for the amusement she took at the affect had on the airman. It was a delicate balancing act, modulating her smiles and expressions, the tone of her naturally melodious and captivating voice, so she came across as friendly without implying or suggesting too much. Evidently, she had gone too far this time. She couldn't just consider her own qualities, but how others would react, based on their own psychologies and experiences. Even for her, it was a formidable amount of variable to take into account. When the General arrived and revealed they had been emancipated, Sean was mildly surprised, but she understood the reasons for it. First, it at least gave them the appearance of giving them a choice in how they proceeded from here. But mostly, it made it easier for them to ask the Irregulars to kill and risk their lives while absolving their consciences. It would help the Irregulars too. A good part of the structure of the military, the chain of command, was to mitigate guilt, for the soldiers and the commanders. Without that, one or the other would balk, or burn out under the burden. While General Robinson and Lilly spoke, Sean watched the General, Colonel Pryor, and the man identified as a Navy SEAL - his body language and the way he held himself had already suggested to her that he was specials forces of some sort already - noting their reactions and expressions to what was being said. She wasn't troubled by their parents - or hers at least - not being allowed to attend their meetings and briefings. While they could provide emotional support, they simply didn't have the information or experience to make worthwhile contributions in these situations. When Captain McKellar asked them if they were in or out, Sean took a moment, a considerable moment considering the speed and depth of her thought processes to decide on her answer as she held Sara's hand, giving it a squeeze. She hadn't really considered public or military service when she had been a boy, rather being driven by enlightened self-interest. She had just wanted to do well for her, her family, and friends. She had mostly dreamed of making it big in the video game or tech industry, the next Gates, Page or Brin, or Musk, or Carmack, Meier, or Morhaime, and hopefully didn't turn into an asshole with success. The closest she had come to considering future governmental service had been a scenario in which the CIA or FBI or whatever came to her to solve a problem as a White Hat Hacker, a software wunderkind. Now, as a woman, an extraordinary and superpowered one at that, Sean had new priorities. She actually had a girlfriend that she cared a great deal for for one. For another, there was a Goddamned alien invasion coming. While she wouldn't serve the US for its own sake - it needed some much needed changes, in her opinion - she would serve if it provide her and everyone there best chance at repelling the invaders. The US and its military had colossal resources and manpower at its disposal. Even still, Sean wasn't sure it would be enough. It would need to be a concerted effort with their allies, and perhaps, even those who were not. Taking the tablet Lilly handed her, Sean glanced over this D3@tTh 0Tt3R's ultimatum and the video attachment, then snorted. She may have just provided the US Government the impetus to work more closely with its allies, by forcing the existence of QEH's and the alien threat out into the open. Surprisingly, Sean didn't feel concerned or anxious about the revelation getting out, but rather, something more like a sense of relief. She would undoubtedly be talked about the most, but at least she wouldn't have to lie anymore about who she was. "It's not just our and the aliens existences that are being used for blackmail, but the secret proclivities, antics, and actions of other politicians," Sean amended, lips curving wryly. "Never discount simple self-interest." Sean tapped the iPad against her thigh. "Assuming this person is Allison Bigby, or the person assuming her identity, at least, dealing with her may not be so simple, since it seems she can teleport and appears to have an 'enhanced' facility with computers and machines that goes beyond mere hacking. Lots of cameras in New York, and lots of people, making her hard to find without forewarning her. We can probably incapacitate or eliminate her." Sean frowned at how calmly she had just mentioned killing someone, not an alien, but a human being. But she was being a thread, potentially a devastating one, and a distraction from what really concerned Sean, the aliens. She had seen their tech, they could destroy the planet, easily, and it was the only one humanity had... For the moment. There were the portals and an awfully big galaxy. Possibly a retreat or haven could be arranged as a contingency... Sean closed her eyes for a moment, took a deep, steadying breath, then continued. "It any contingencies she's made that we have to worry about. Lots of things that you can program to go off due to any number of circumstances or events and she seems devious and smart." Sean paused and tilted her head slightly. "Actually, if she was really smart, she'd just have disappeared - from what I can see, she would be able to do it without much effort. Instead, she's backed the government into a corner from which they have no other option but to respond. And even any enemies of the US won't be a haven for her. She could sell secrets, I'm sure, but after this, they wouldn't be able to but to see her as a threat to themselves as well." Sean turned her penetrating eyes on Captain McKellar and handed him the iPad. "It's to stop people like this, strewing chaos when the actual world is literally at stake, and to figure out a way to end the alien threat, that I'll agree to join up. As long as I see this as our best way to make it happen, Captain McKellar." <Backs are against the wall, and it isn't just ours. We all have to make our own choices, but I'm not walking away from this. I can't.> Sean turned entreating eyes on Sara, hoping she would understand. Her lips quirked self-deprecatingly. <Fuck, being bullied by Chet and Courtney seems like such a minor, petty thing now.>
  10. 2 points
    Capt. Muhammad Sarr blinked groggily, trying to bring the blur in front of his face into focus. He knew that the blue and white smear was Hector but convincing his eyes to work was a struggle. Fortunately, his first attempt at speaking went better than his first attempt at seeing. “What is it, Hector?” “We have arrived, Captain.” Hector’s pleasant voice confirmed his suspicions despite his eyes unwillingness to discern for themselves. “We are on the primary approach to Tara’s orbit.” “Good.” Sarr rubbed his eyes and sat up, pleased that his abdominals and fingers were working better than his opticals. You always have the most trouble with your eyesight, he reminded himself as he held out his hands. A warm mug of coffee was placed in it, Hector’s cool, smooth fingers curling over his own until the personal robot was sure he had a secure grip. “What is the status of the Melbourne?” “The ship is in good repair. I have a list of minor services that should be made to the parts that will be used once we make planetfall.” Hector helped him out of the white cryotube, stabilizing him when he slipped on the water that had melted off the outside of the module. “Additionally, Commanders Yuan and Bellamy are waking well. I am uncertain as to Mr. Ferro’s status as his personal assistant is tending to him.” The coffee was an assault on his tongue, a symphony of heat and taste on an empty stomach. “And the third Jeeves?” “Lex is assisting Cmds Yuan and Bellamy.” His eyes were finally working and Sarr took a good look at the room he had slept in for most of the last decade. The long area held a triple row of cryobeds which stretched to the back of the room. He was in one of the men’s areas; the only woman in sight wasn’t really a woman. Sakura bent over another tube, her rosebud lips turned up in a smile as she helped Ferro sit. The engineer wasn’t entirely upright yet as he hunched forward over his knees. Sarr glanced at Hector against, taking another sip before asking, “What of our guest?” Hector’s facial matrix allowed for minimal expression but Sarr caught a definite sense of disapproval. The robot didn’t have emotions so he was merely mirroring Sarr’s own irritation. “Sleeping well, sir.” “Keep her that way.” Sarr turned and headed to change out of the shorts and t-shirt he’d slept in. He had work to do. * * * Leonardo Ferro took a cautious sip of his hot tea, pleased when it stayed down. Waking from cryosleep always left him a little nauseous. Next to him, Sakura waited patiently with fresh clothing. “Oh, I love traveling but I hate cryosleep so much.” “The hangover is better than Temporal Distortion Jumping Sickness.” Sakura spoke with a wry smile, her programming aware that he preferred a flippant remark over somber ones. Leo tsked softly. “Too true.” He smiled fondly at her as he tugged at his boxers. “Let’s get me presentable. I wouldn’t want to scandalize people by showing up in my underwear.” “It’s too bad. You do your best work when inappropriately dressed.” Despite her playful tone, his personal robot shook out his clothing, preparing it for him to wear. Leo chuckled as he traded his damp boxers for clean, unabashed about being naked in front of Sakura. “Do we have a list of repairs to do?” “Hector has provided one and I uploaded it to your PD.” The robot smiled demurely. “I look forward to working with you again, Leo. Astrophysics is dull stuff.” “Don’t let Bellamy hear you say that.” Leonardo chuckled as he stepped into his pants and reached for the slim device she held toward him. He turned it on and opened the list from Hector, scanning it quickly. Despite the distraction, he told her, “You’ll get a lecture. I’ll switch out your programming as soon as we’re planetside, okay?” The robot made a face, her faux-skin allowing for a wide range of expression. “I’m sure she’ll want your help taking readings as we descend. After all,” he laughed, affecting an accent like the UE woman, “we’ll never get a chance like this again.” His personal bot rolled her agate-brown eyes. “The other ships could take readings as well as I could. And I notice Hector and Lex didn’t have to help her.” “Lex is an older model and Bellamy didn’t want it working on her equipment. Hector’s duties to the Melbourne took priority.” Leo looked up at Sakura’s soft sound of irritation. “Saku-chan, it’s the agreement we made so you can be here.” “I’m aware. I don’t have to like it.” Sakura pouted cutely. She was silent until he pulled on his shirt. “You haven’t asked about the girl.” “I assumed she was still safely in cryo and you’d tell me otherwise.” Someone might have thought that she was chastising him but Leo had programmed her; he knew she was acting in her role as an assistant, reminding him of important events. He peered at her inquisitively. “Is this you telling me otherwise?” “No, Leo.” The fake woman smiled as she reached out and finger combed his damp hair away from his face. “There. Presentable.” “Thank god you didn’t say professional.” Leo squeezed her arm before leaving. Sakura followed, breaking away at the hallway to the astrophysics sensor array. The personal assistant made a final face as Leo waved to her and continued to the bridge. * * * Darya Bellamy checked on Valentina one more time, studying her daughter’s sleeping face. One of her biggest worries about coming here had been the children. Oskar and she had talked about it for hours before deciding to bring it up to the kids. Their reactions had been mixed but she was so proud that in the end, all three of them had seen this move as an adventure and a chance to be part of scientific discovery. With a final smile, she glanced over at Yuan and the other Jeeves. The other woman was having a harder time adjusting to the transition to wakefulness and Bellamy left to give her privacy. Moving through the halls, she went to the men’s bay, pushing open the doors despite the rules on gender segregation. “Commander Bellamy.” Hector straightened from the monitoring screens on a cryo pod, its Euro-Russo flawless. “You cannot be in here.” “Save it.” Her words came out sharp. “I am checking on my family.” Hector’s expression became mildly reproving. “They are well, I assure you.” “I will assure myself.” The scientist brushed past the robot, knowing he wouldn’t physically stop her. With all of security still in stasis or recovering from waking up, no one could stop her. Sarr or Ferro could try but the former was no doubt wrapped up in preparations for landing and the latter didn’t have the balls to deal with her. She stopped first at Oskar’s pod, smiling fondly at her sleeping husband. While glad to see he’d arrived safely, a mother’s worry propelled her to the next two tubes, peering inside them in turn. Dmitri and David slept peacefully, their frozen poses unconsciously mirroring each other. Bellamy felt something ease in her chest as she confirmed that her darling twins were safe. She’d never admit it but if forced to pick a favorite among her children, it would be the twins. Not one of them but the two of them as a unified being. In her mind, they were almost the same: brilliant and charming children who never failed to amaze her. “Commander, Captain Sarr requests your presence on the bridge. You are needed for a pre-landing meeting.” Hector sounded flustered but Bellamy knew she was projecting onto it. It was a complex, mobile computer and nothing more. Instead, she glanced at her sleeping darlings one more time. Let Sarr wait just a moment longer. Nothing he wanted mattered more than her family. * * * Yuan finished her last stretch, straightening gracefully. Waking from cryo was harder for her than others and few things helped her transition faster than yoga. It left her refreshed and warm after her cold sleep. Ready to face Tara, she pulled on her combat gear. Lex stood nearby, its face set in a vague, pleasant smile. “Do you require anything else, Commander?” It’s Standard Chinese was perfect, of course. Yuan didn’t expect anything else but the occasional mistake would make the constructs seem more human and less robotic. “Is my interpreter awake?” She couldn’t quite stop her scowl at her question; had she known that she would need to know other languages when she was in school, she would have made time for them. She’d planned on working for the PRA until retirement. The Zheng flu had altered those plans and forced her to remove her family from the stations. Tara had been the only option but her lack of foresight left her dependant on another person. “No, Commander, he is scheduled to be awakened among the secondary personnel. Captain Sarr believed that Hector and I could serve you as translators until Mr. Zu is revived. The captain is also fluent in Standard Mandarin as well.” The Lexus-model Jeeves stared at her with infinite calm. Yuan stiffened, frowning tightly. Sarr knew she didn’t trust a Jeeves and preferred her human translator. “Shall we, Commander? The captain is waiting for us.” Lex gestured toward the door, the sweep of his arm as demure as any properly-trained servant. Yuan stalked out of the room, ignoring the robot. It followed in her wake, passive and subservient. When they passed the men’s room, Lex broke off to start reviving the security team. By the time they landed, she needed to have her commandos on their feet and ready to go. She didn’t know what waited for them on the surface of the planet but she would be prepared to protect this ship and crew. * * * Sarr nodded to Yuan as she arrived on the bridge last. He’d expected that; her files indicated that she had a hard time waking up from the cryosleep. She returned his greeting with a nod of her own, ignoring the Jeeves hovering over her station. Hector stepped back when she took her seat, relinquishing full control to her. The captain turned back to the screens in front of him, reviewing each one for data about their coming landing. This would be the hard part of the immigration to Tara. Though he was far from a devout man, he still whispered a prayer to Allah as he ran his gaze over the readouts. “Commander Bellamy, what is our status for landing?” The brunette woman twisted her chair around to nod to him. “All our calibrations and vectors have been checked three times, once by me and twice by the computer. SciDiv is ready.” Her cat’s smile smile was smug and assured, and Sarr hoped that she was right in her self-assessment. He knew all these people but they hadn’t had time to truly bond as a crew. That took more than one flight together, and they’d spent this one asleep. In the back of his head, he also knew that this was temporary. They were a crew only long enough to get to the planet and do the initial set up. He suspected they would drift apart once the remaining ships arrived and the permanent government for the settlement became established. Before Sarr could ask, Ferro spoke. “My boards are green, or whatever color they should be. The ship is ready for the landing approach.” “Let’s hope it’s a landing, Mr. Ferro, and not just an approach.” Sarr covertly checked his restraints, making sure the silver straps were snug around his torso. “The Melbourne can make multiple attempts at landing but I want to do this once, if at all possible.” Reminding himself that he was stating the obvious unnecessarily - he had a better crew than that - Sarr turned to Commander Yuan. “Are you prepared to make the landing?” He had learned Chinese many years ago so she was able to speak to him directly. “We are. Lex is currently waking my initial task force. They should be ready by the time you are ready to unseal the doors.” “Very good.” He turned back to the console, noting the twenty tiny windows that monitored the few crew members who were awake. Sarr watched their soft green glows, all the vital stats hidden until he focused on them, drawing them up with a flick of his fingers. “Hector, what is the status of the Melbourne’s computers?” Hector was quiet for a second, the blue LEDs on his shoulder flashing. “The Melbourne’s internal systems are ready.” “Captain, before we go, can we see it?” Ferro’s request was not part of their procedure but after he spoke, Bellamy and Yuan looked at the captain hopefully. Sarr studied the hopeful expressions in front of him. In truth, when it was mentioned, he was just as eager as the other three, and he smiled as he tapped the controls to show a live image of the planet. It appeared on the largest screen in the room, the central bridge screen. The green and blue globe looked like old images of Earth. Sarr felt his breath catch in his throat at the sight. So far from our homeland, yet I feel right. I feel like I am in the right place. I feel like this is Home. Keeping the video feed active and on the main screen, Sarr turned back to his console. In front of him were the controls that would start their descent. Everything was ready; all that was left was to start the process. The moment seemed to require that he say something profound and Sarr had thought about it. He just hadn’t been able to come up with anything good enough. Now though, the words came. “Welcome home, everyone.” The command crew smiled at him, unified completely for one moment. Sarr cleared his throat and said, “Beginning descent.” His fingers almost paused over the controls but he refused to hesitate on the cusp of their homecoming. He was one of the new people qualified to land the Melbourne but was the only one who had run through all of the disaster sequences in the simulator. The entire bridge crew had prepared for landing but not like he had. This was his last action as captain and he wanted it done right. The computer began to relay all pertinent data for their descent, a complex and varied rainbow of information. “We are entering the thermosphere,” Bellamy reported calmly but a current of excitement ran through the room. “I am releasing the weather and communication satellites.” “Thank you, Commander.” Sarr kept his focus on his screens, trusting that his science officer could handle the launches of the various platforms they were leaving in orbit. They lowered in silence for twenty minutes, each person attending to their station. They continued smoothly through the layers of atmosphere, passing through each on schedule. Bellamy broke the silence to announce, “We’re at fourteen kilometers, and just passed into Tara’s troposphere.” A shudder ran through the ship and the captain looked at his science officer. The brunette answered his unasked question. “Minor turbulence, to be expected in the troposphere.” “Stress to the Mel is well within tolerances.” Ferro sounded bored; Sarr shot a quick look at him and saw the man was slumped in his seat, hands on the arm of his chair instead of ready on his controls. “Look sharp, Mr. Ferro.” The captain didn’t bother to hide his irritation. They couldn’t afford any problems due to a lapse in judgment on the engineer’s part. This was exactly why he’d wanted a military engineer rather than a civilian. “I am sharp, Captain.” The engineer turned to give him a quick smirk. “Trust me, the ship is fine.” Sarr spared him a single hard glare before returning to his screen. “Humor me, please. We’ll soon be to the surface and where it is more interesting.” Ferro sighed heavily but did as asked, sitting up and taking a more active interest in the screens. The captain sighed in relief and returned his full focus to their chosen landing site. It was a low, flat plain above an underground aquifer. It was a bit higher above sea level than the area around it, making it ideal for keeping an eye on their surroundings. It was close to mountains and a large inland sea and not too far from the coast. Sarr was looking forward to claiming some beachfront property and building his final home there. Just two more kilometers to home-- “Sir, we have a mass rising from the planet’s surface.” Bellamy’s voice cut through the quiet atmosphere on the bridge. “It’s organic and it’s on an intercept course to us.” “What is it?” Sarr pulled up the feed on the main screen, spotting the black dot instantly. It was growing as the Melbourne approached it. “I think it’s indigenous flora - yes, some of the flying creatures reported in the survey.” She swallowed tightly. “The reports never showed a flock of this size. Sir, I don’t think they’re going to break off.” “Abort the descent.” They were only a kilometer from the landing site; the knowledge was bitter to him. So close yet so far. Sarr knew that the spaceship could take some damage but they knew nothing about these birds. If they flew through a flock, it could do quite a bit of damage. “Coming up fifteen degrees--” “Captain, they’re altering course to follow.” The alarm in Bellamy’s voice spiked Sarr’s heart rate. He didn’t reply, merely adjusted their heading more. The computer offered several suggestions but he took one of his own, turning hard to starboard and increasing their speed. “Sir, they’re still adjusting! Impact in twenty seconds!” Cursing under his breath in his native tongue, Sarr quickly set the computer to pick a spot for emergency landing in their path. We might not need it but-- The first impacts with the flock went unnoticed but the culmulative weight of the animals began to rattle the ship. Sarr ground his teeth as he considered the sheer number of birds hitting them to have that impact. “Hull integrity is dropping!” Ferro called out from his station. Something boomed deep in the ship and the engineer cursed in Spanish. “They’ve penetrated the hull!” Sarr reversed his attempt to ascend. A hull breach meant they couldn’t escape into space again. “Where!” “B-55, it’s communications. But it’s next to the engines and they’re attacking them.” Ferro looked toward him, his brown eyes wide. “We’re going down.” “I know.” Sarr kept his voice soft and calm. Panic wouldn’t help, especially once warnings began to flare on the screen as more and more systems took damage. “We’re going to make a hard landing.” Dread filled the bridge. They’d prepared and practiced for it but had hoped and prayed to avoid that scenario. Turning to his security officer, he ordered, “Cmd. Yuan, please go down to the cryotubes that hold your security team and be ready to brief them.” “Yes, Captain.” Her voice faded at the end as she hurried out of the room. Sarr fell back on every trick he’d learned in the simulations to keep the Melbourne in the air and give her more time to prepare. With hostiles aboard, and more likely to attack once they had landed, she would need all the help he could give her. Despite his best attempts, the screens filled with the image of the new landing site. Sarr hoped it was safe enough, as it had been chosen by physics instead of his intent. That was his last thought as he pulled up the nose and they slammed into the earth of their new home.
  11. 2 points
    BASIC INFORMATION Organization: SPI Domain: Cape Town (Online at rpgpost.com) Genre: Werewolf the Forsaken Storyteller: Wing. VSS Publication: 2015/04/18 STYLE OF PLAY Physical: 4 The hunt forms an integral part of Forsaken. While some hunts can be philosophical in nature, they would prove to be the exception rather than the rule. Mental: 3 The Spirit is a psychoreactive cognitive realm. Social: 4 Werewolves are pack animals, even inter-pack disputes are more often not solved through words, threats, bribes or just knowing the right person, Spirit, werewolf, vampire or just having the right leverage. Action: 4 Words don't always cut it and werewolevs aren't your only opponents. Also, some people just won't listen. Hell, sometimes you won't listen. And that's fine. Character Development: 4 Renown is more than just a means to get new Gifts, better pools and a better Honorary Spirt Rank; it is a quasi-objective measure of character development; or how well your Cahalith can bullshit the Lunes. Darkness: 3 Hosts are monsters that will tear apart families, violent social strife grips the streets of Cape Hope, the Pure may have gone but there's no guarantee they haven't left members of their pack that even the most fastidious Blood talon would miss. Manners: 2 South Africans are fond of swearing. There are no words on the "reserved list". "See you next tuesday" is casually said, although more frequently in the Afrikaans. According to many western sensibilties this is a symptom of bad manners; I (as ST and a person) am inclined to disagree, but I could think of nowhere else to raise the matter with the players. Mystery: 3 If Forsaken isn't a little bit mysterious, it's being run wrong. Pacing: 3 Werewolves are not good at patience. Each of the above operates on a scale of 1-5 . 1 means that the element in question will rarely be present, 3 meaning it will regularly be present, and 5 meaning it will always be present. VENUE DESCRIPTION Mood: seige mentality Themes: reclaiming territory shadow courts paying inherited debts HISTORY 1990s For a hundred years, and a hundred years before, the Pure have held Cape Hope. Pacts with Eldritch Spirits and even Hosts, if you believe the rumors, helped cement their rule. A permissive attitude towards Spirits entering the gurihal[1] ensured relatively peaceful coexistence with the less powerful denizens of the hisil. The tendrils of the Ivory Claws spread into the most ostensibly incorruptible bureaucracies, the Fire Touched riled the general populace into rioutous frenzy, and no street gang was free of the influence of the Predator Kings. 2001 The turning of the milenium brought about more than just a change in the calendar. Whether through a cosmic shift or because of the ephemeral nature of the Shadow, the Eldritch Spirits backing the Pure could be found no more. The shift in power was not immediate, but it allowed a Forsaken pack lead by Thomas Ironhammer to seize a sizeable territory from one of the older Pure packs. 2002 Taking the territory was easy, holding it was less so. The large pack that Ironhammer had gathered began infighting and eventually split into two and split two smaller territories off their old territory, yielding some to the Pure. 2010 The fighting between the Pure and Forsaken packs tuns to bloody warfare and the two all but wipe each other out in glorious strife.
  12. 2 points
    BASIC INFORMATION Organization: SPI Domain: Cape Town (Online at rpgpost.com) Genre: Vampire: The Requiem VST: Malachite Drake (PM me on the forums to get ahold of me) VSS Publication: 03/31/2015 STYLE OF PLAY Physical: 3 Mental: 3 Social: 5 Action: 3 Character Development: 5 Darkness: 4 Drama: 4 Intrigue: 4 Manners: 3 Mystery: 3 Pacing: 3 Each of the above operates on a scale of 1-5 . 1 means that the element in question will rarely be present, 3 meaning it will regularly be present, and 5 meaning it will always be present. VENUE DESCRIPTION Mood: Tangled Webs Themes: Old Guard vs. Modern Kindred Intricate Schemes The Consequences of Power HISTORY Pre-colonization (Distant Past-1652) Kindred have existed in the Cape Town region long before European colonization came. The Circle of the Crone in the area claim that Cape Town was a Kindred stronghold long before Romans ever stepped foot in Africa and certainly well before the time of Longinus. This is, of course, heresy to the Lancea Sanctum, whom maintain that the Cape Town area was originally settled by a faction of outcast Kindred that were exiled to the farthest point of the Dark Continent for some unspeakable crime by one of Longinus' disciples. The Crone enjoy coming up with wild tales of what their so-called outcast forebearers could have done to have rankled the Sanctum, but most just to annoy the local priests when they're bored. The Dutch (1652-1795) Once the Dutch were firmly established in the region, the Lancea Sanctum followed in the shadows of the deeply religious colonists. They spent nearly a century converting or killing the native inhabitants of the area, targeting the isolated cults in order to weaken the hold of the pagan Kindred over the area. This war had bloody costs on both sides, though most of the direct fighting was done in the borderlands around the colony. The few Invictus that had travelled with the Sanctum were there as military support, a House and several Thorned Wreath vassals, intent on ensuring a new foothold of Invictus/Sanctum power in Africa. Some whispers still persist to this night that thier "noble" calling was an escape before exile or execution in Denmark for unspecified crimes. Rule Britannia (1795-1989) The shift from Dutch to British control of the Cape Town colony was marked also by the destruction of the original Invictus House that had settled the area. The Crone, citing cultural lineage through the original cults in the area, and Carthians alike claim credit for the Blackest Night, the one night in 1804 when every Invictus and Lancea Sanctum member within a hundred miles of the Cape Town colony was destroyed. For the next decade, European Kindred from a number of countries, most notably Holland, France, and Britain, would pour into the coastal town, attempting to reassert control. Finally, a British member of the Invictus, a Gangrel sent from London to quell the chaos, managed to do just that. She brought with her nearly a dozen progeny spawned in a careful expansion of her power over a century, and the brood hunted the night until the debt of vitae from the Blackest Night had been extracted in equal measure from the entrenched Crone and the newly prominent Carthians in the area. After over a century more of terror, the Crone retreated completely from the area and the Carthians surrendered all domains within the colony save for those areas that exclusively housed slaves or freed non-whites. The colony settled into a mostly peaceful dictatorship under the iron fist of Prince Deborah. The New World (1989-Present) Prince Deborah finally surrendered herself to the need for torpor shortly before the official end of apartheid. Many whisper that this was more to do with her refusal to adopt the modern mortal morals and ideals of equality, others simply hold that she had been active for nearly three centuries already and her blood was dangerously thick. Either way, her torpor had a number of unexpected effects on the Cape Town principality. The first was her appointment of a Ventrue Invictus, Baron Victor del Mar to the position of Prince, instead of one of her own numerous brood in the region. Del Mar was, in fact, imported from London only a few years earlier at the Prince's request. He has officially ruled Cape Town for a quarter century now, but the true heart of Kindred power immediately shifted away from the throne the moment Deborah was in the earth. The Carthians have managed to regain much lost ground in the city since Del Mar's ascension and even the Crone have made cautious appearances at both Court and other Elysiums in the decades since the Gangrel Prince's retirement. At the turn of the century, the Dragons finally made (an official) appearance in the South African tip as well, petitioning del Mar for a large domain within the city to establish an academy. Del Mar granted the request and has been a staunch supporter of the Order's efforts, creating a strong personal alliance with the newest Covenant in the Cape Town.
  13. 2 points
    "I'll catch you," Jack promised earnestly, knowing it wasn't going to be enough. His gut twisted with a sudden, vague prescience - it was going to go bad if he didn't act further. Even as the one of the conduits snapped, Jack planted his foot on the support he had had it hooked under and pushed up, while he let his foot on the tilted edge of the sundered deck slide down, using the weight of his legs to keep him on the deck while he stretched his arms and torso over the gap. Miraculously, the red-headed girl had instinctively reached out for him in her terror, and he was able to grab one of her hands in his own, his other hand getting a grip on her forearm, supporting her several dozen meters above the Taran ground. Unfortunately, she still had some forward momentum and her forehead slammed into the bridge of his nose, making him see stars, his hands tightening their grip instinctively, as her weight wrenched his arms in their sockets. "Okay, Red, little closer than I'd like, but I said I'd catch you," Jack said with his crooked grin, keeping his voice light and forcing the pain out of it as he blinked the tears from his eyes. "Now, just keep looking up - there's nothing down there we need to worry 'bout - and we'll get out of this in a nano-sec." As soon as I figure out how. Slender and not tall, he was able to support her weight readily enough for the moment, though he could feel the blood from his hand starting to make his grip on her forearm slip, and the ragged edge of the split deck was digging into his rugged leather and canvas clothing covering his waist. But while the weight of his freely hanging legs was letting him keep his balance on the edge, without having his legs or feet braced against something, he couldn't get the leverage he needed to pull her up, not without her mass pulling him over. The throbbing beginning in his shoulders wasn't helping much either. "Keep looking at me!" Jack reiterated sharply, as the girl didn't seem reassured and seemed about to look that. Complete panic wasn't going to help either of them. Jack kept feeling around with his feet, seeking something, anything, within reach to hook. If I can get some of her weight over my shoulders, shift my weight as she does, then slide back on my stomach at the right time... It might work, though we might suffered a hard tumble down the slope. Better than a fifty-sixty meter freefall. "So, this is what we're going to do." Talina screamed as he let go of her forearm just long enough to get a different grip on it - it was harder on his wrist, but would allow him to lift her higher. "First, no screaming. Not that I don't mind a woman screaming all that much, but you need to hear instructions right?" His voice was growing tighter with the strain of holding her in this precarious position. "Next, on three, I'm going to lift you as high as I can and I need you to pull up at the same time. When you're as high as we can get you, I'm going to let go of this hand." He gave their entwined fingers a squeeze. "Then you are going to reach as far as you can down my back and pull yourself. I'll boost you up as much as I can by the leg. Then we are going to slide down the deck, okay? Trust me. I got you this far, already and you haven't fallen, didn't?" The girl looked up at him, her eyes frightfully wide, her lip quivered with a barely suppressed scream, her face painfully young. Finally, after a moment that was longer than he'd wished, she gave him a tiny nod. Jack nodded back, his smile tight and fierce and encouraging. "Good. On three. One..."
  14. 2 points
    Her throat raw from screaming and crying for help, she paused to gasp for air and started coughing from the acrid smoke in the air. She still heard the sporadic popping sounds and now she could hear screams as well. Tears running down her face she was close to panicking when she heard the man call out. She looked around and finally spotted him climbing through the twisted metal and plastic. He shouted something else but all she understood was the word red. He was getting closer, and again he shouted only a few meters away now, "Just focus on me, 'kay? Don't look down, look at me. Follow what I am doing - I haven't lost someone on a climb yet." She watched as he climbed closer saw the red blood running down his arm and felt the panic rise again when she looked down at the crushed cryo tubes scattered on the ground below and saw the bodies of the colonists and then she noticed the blue things moving down there tearing at the bodies. She scurried back against the far side of the tube her heart pounding with fear, her movements causing the sway to increase. “Almost there Red!†His voice snapped her head around and momentarily quelled her panic he was much closer now almost here, almost to her. Then he stopped an held out his hand. "Now, in one movement, just like rolling out of bed, I want you reach out and grab my arm with both of your hands, okay? And I'll pull you in and get you down, safe and sound. Trust me." “No,†she shook her head violently, “those things, I'll fall, I'll fall!†she was almost screaming again fear and panic in her voice. As if in response to her anguished cry one of the last conduits parted causing the tube to slam back against the bulkhead the force throwing Talina out of the tube as the support gave way sending the whole thing crashing down toward the surface!
  15. 2 points
    The dark silence and near oblivion of Dr. Temnikova's cryosleep was suddenly pierced by an onslaught of sensations. The cool, fresh air washed over bare skin accompanied by the acrid smells of burning plastics and electronics. The unrelenting claxons of alarms, the snapping and popping of broken cables and wires and the occasional gunshot and screech pierced her ears. The bright sunlight stabbed at her eyes as she tried to open them, forcing them to recoil closed. "What the hell!?" she muttered to herself in her native Russo-Euro as she sat up, but could not shake the disorientation of her balance. She reached under her pillow and retrieved a pack of cigarettes, withdrawing one and place it between her lips while her eyes remained closed, still not entirely grasping the situation. "Damnit." she sighed in annoyed disappointment feeling the dampness of the cigarette between her lips. She wiggled her toes on the cold, metal deck plate and stood up, despite her disorientation. Immediately her butt was greeted but the unforgiving metal floor while the back of her head kissed the canopy of the opened cryotube. "Son of a bitch!" she cursed, the sound of her angry Russian exclamation piercing the noise of the room for a moment. With her hand on the back of her head she forced her eyes open. It was than that she relaxed that she was disoriented, but the deck was, in fact, pitched sharply. Dr. Temnikova looked around the chamber as her eyes adjusted, The rows of cryotubes where now a mess, strewn about like a petulant child's toys. Some lay opened, others were flickering while others were broken with the interior of their remaining canopy splattered with crimson. She could see among the tubes the occasional fluttering of azure, but disregarded it as her mind set about prioritizing her immediate needs. "Trouble never comes alone." she sighs aloud, remembering the old Russian expression as she slammed the open button to her locker behind her tube with her fist. She reached in and pulled out her bags, flailing limbs about as she tried to get dressed as quickly as she could. Finally she threw on her lab coat and wrapped stethoscope behind her neck. Despite the extra time it took to put on, figuring they would be the best way for any of the injured to recognize her as the doctor. She stood up once more on the pitched deck and took stock of her surroundings more thoroughly this time, focusing on the immediate rather than how this situation came to pass. It was then that she could hear a scream and with all the grace she could muster, she began working her way to chasm that now divided the massive chamber, searching for the source of the scream.
  16. 2 points
    His frozen dreams were of darkness, of void, of unbearable grief. Of what his life had become with the lost of his wife and daughter to the remorseless environment of space on the surface of the moon. Ten years passed in an instant, an instant of infinite length, a decade lived in the nothingness between the stars and an all consuming silence, broken only the strains of loss and the strumming of grief falling over each other. ♫ I have died everyday waiting for you ♫ ♫ But there never seems to be enough time ♫ ♫And if only I could, I'd make a deal with God ♫ Jack groaned, the instant ending with sensation and the awareness of time slamming back into him with a terrible suddenness. His skin, still cool from cryosleep, prickled with the heat of his blood once more flowing through his veins. Thoughts still sluggish with ten years of sleep, ears still ringing with the songs he had only started to learn to play in the subjective year since Alex and Sam had passed away, Jack sat up and... grunted as his head smacked into the underside of the canopy of the cryotube. ♫ Darling, don't be afraid I have loved you ♫ ♫ To do the things you want to do, Once you find them ♫ ♫ And I'd get him to swap our places ♫ Perfect! Jack pounded on the canopy with a fist, the sound resonating inside the cryotube, but the canopy didn't budge. We better be on Tara, because I'm never going into space again. No moons, no space stations, no stellar vehicles, none of it! Just give me dirt and mountains, trees and grass, wind and sunlight, and a place to call home. He twisted on his side, got his fingers under the lip of the canopy and heaved, his breath frosting in the dissipating coolness of the cryotube. The canopy held for a moment, then retracted with a hiss as the force he exerted passed a certain threshold.He spun around and sat up, head swimming with grogginess and nausea, balance completely off with the after-effects of cryosleep. His hand closed around the pendant hanging around his neck - which the techs had advised he pack away but he refused to part with - the coldness of the metal biting his skin, but steadying his head. ♫ For a thousand years ♫ ♫ I've looked around enough to know ♫ ♫ Be running up that road, Be running that hill ♫ It wasn't only his balance that was off. The deck of the Melbourne was canted to a noticeable degree. The acrid scent of burning plastic was in the air, the crackle of electrical sparks and the squeal of stressed metal was a cacophony in his ears. Panic rose inside him, the ship was damaged, but his could still breathe, atmosphere wasn't venting, to steal his breath and his life. Panic began to subside and now, Jack could make out the retorts of gunshots and the distinct sound of animal life, the trill of some bird or lizard he wasn't familiar with. There were muffled screams and curses coming from all over the hangar and beyond. Rough landing, but we're on the ground, were we're going to stay. He looked over his shoulder and saw the deck of the ship cant even more sharply, to where the vessel was split open, cracked in half like an eggshell, sunlight streaming in, mingling with the flickering luminescence from the floor lights. Jack couldn't help a wistful smile crossing his lips as sunlight - slightly more orange than he was used to - fell across his face, sunlight he wished he could have given to Alex and Sam. Then he heard the girl scream. ♫ I'll love you for a thousand more ♫ ♫ That you're the one I want to go Through time with ♫ ♫ Be running up that building, If only I could, oh... ♫ Jack heard his daughter scream. Intellectually, he knew he didn't really hear his daughter scream. She had been a moon away, and even if she had had time to scream, nobody could have heard it in the vacuum of vented atmosphere, but he heard it all the same. It wasn't his daughter screaming, but she was someone's. Looking up, Jack saw the cryotube hanging over the edge of the shattered hull, supported by a single support and several cables, sunlight flashing off a head of red hair. With a whine, one of the cables snapped, the cryotube dipped lower, and the girl's scream rose higher. Jack moved. It wasn't the rock and stone he was familiar with and enjoyed, but the Melbourne offered plenty of hand-holds to a seasoned mountaineer, other cryotubes, buckled deck plating, listing supports. His legs were stiff at first, hands and feet slipping on smooth, metallic surfaces, but adrenaline burned away the awkwardness and Jack adjusted to the synthetic climbing track. "Hold on, Red, someone's coming!" Jack shouted up at the girl over the chaos of the damaged ship. He cursed as he cut his hand on a bent piece of steel, but kept climbing with a smooth economy of motion and tactical precision of chosen hand and footholds. He kept talking, loud but trying to keep any anxiety from his voice, that might make her panic and react poorly. "Just focus on me, 'kay? Don't look down, look at me. Follow what I am doing - I haven't lost someone on a climb yet." The last was a lie, but now wasn't the time to go into details about rich folks not listening to the professional guide they had hired. Jack made it to the edge of the break, and feet braced against the uneven and canted deck, worked his way hand over hand until he was at the foot of the girl's cryotube. He slammed a foot against a support, testing how solid it was. Finding it acceptable, he hooked a foot under it, balanced his other foot on the edge of the gap in the hull and stretched a hand forward as far as he could, ignoring the broken cryotubes and broken bodies dozens of meters below - there wasn't anything he could do for them, but he could do something for the girl. She would have to reach for his hand, not far, but he couldn't risk the cryotube supporting both his and the girl's weight. "Almost there, Red," Jack assured her with a tight one-sided grin, beads of sweat on his brow. Yes, he was good at this, but there was a girl's - a young woman's - life in his hands and he had just woken up from a ten year sleep a few minutes ago. The pendant with two diamonds in it swung back and forth from the chain around his neck, flashing in the sun. "Now, in one movement, just like rolling out of bed, I want you reach out and grab my arm with both of your hands, okay? And I'll pull you in and get you down, safe and sound. Trust me." ♫... a thousand more... ♫ ♫... go Through time with... ♫ ♫... If only I could, oh... ♫
  17. 2 points
    Hiroki woke in stages. From normal sleep, he was a quick riser, getting up almost the moment his eyes opened. He had always been an active person and sleep had been something you did so you could do more stuff tomorrow. A ten-year nap had been a necessary evil to get to Tara and now that he was here, all he wanted to do was get up and do. However, he was learning that he didn’t come out of cyro easily. The tube sat open, waiting patiently for him. He rolled into an upright position – and froze. The tube next to him was open, too, but the blue parrot-thing ensured that the slow waker in that tube wouldn’t wake up again. Crimson blood dribbled down its beak as it turned its head, looking at him with a brilliant green eye. Hiroki had a healthy respect for birds after a run-in with a goose at a young age, and while this bird was not as big as a goose, it was still over half a meter tall. The oversized bill and massive claws were unsettling. They were even more off-putting knowing that his weapons were stowed in the compartment to his right but they might have been on the moon for all the good they did him. It spread dazzling wings and came at him, and Hiroki grabbed his only weapon – the wet pillow he’d slept on for a decade. The bird hit the foam with its beak and Hiroki tried to pinch it shut to trap it. It was only partially successful and the bird pulled free as its talons raked his arms. Hiroki lunged for it; he had to get hands on it to kill it. He caught a foot and the creature shrieked and battered him with its wings. On a two-foot bird, they were substantial clubs but he refused to let go. The other foot clenched around his fist but Hiroki swung the bird around and smashed it against the side of his pod. Dazed, it flapped weakly but he bounced it off the hard plastic a few more times. When it hung limply, he grabbed its head and twisted until he heard some sickening cracks. Dropping the corpse, he popped open his container and pulled out his armor and guns. The armor was standard issue; he’d had better on the force at Neo York. Of course, in Neo York, he’d been fighting against the Lunar Mafia and they’d been very well-equipped. Shaking off thoughts of the world he’d left behind, Hiroki slapped on his armor, forgoing the full uniform. No doubt that hardass Yuan would take offense but fuck it, he could hear people screaming. He grabbed his Glock and Winchester and started scanning for blue. A form dashed by a door, followed by azure streaks. Hiroki hurried over and saw a man tried to hold off three of the birds by himself. Hiroki stepped into the hallway and said, “Hold still.†When the man froze, he shot one bird on the floor, a second starting to come at him, and the third as it went after its target. The man yelped as the bird slammed into the wall by his shoulder instead of him. Seeing no more birds, Hiroki asked, “You okay?â€
  18. 2 points
    The location was exotic, but such was that of a restaurant of the first class, serving the best clientele in the midst of a dinosaur preserve. Jaime proudly removed the lids of his dishes for this exemplary pair of distinguished guests with a flourish. Outside, through a window you could see a pack of raptors scurrying a swift pace. "For sir: creme of deep-sea vault lamprey, pulled, diced and poached in blood." That was some of his best work ever, with completely non-vegetarian items. True, such plants were his greatest specialty, but skill demanding being able to put out highest worth meals no matter what the kitchen was stocked with. The coppery tang was enticing and strong. Jaime inhaled it in dramatically. Then, blinked. He realized that the patrons were blank-faced, literally. He also realized that the blood was in fact, coming from him biting down on his lower lip hard. Then he woke up, in the midst of a silent cryotube, strange animalian sounds erupting in the atmosphere of a mangled ship - and Jaime realized he really was bleeding from his lower lip. And more cuts from shards about his arms too. Shocked, he worked to free himself from the damaged cocoon - and happened to be unhappily reminded about some interesting tales about dreams and the unconscious spun to him from a fellow alumni at the University (a psychology major). Carl Jung, I hate you. Once extricated, Jaime began dabbing with his shirt sleeves at the various bleeding spots, trying to damp them down while he started to look around. It was not good - something had clearly gone wrong. Jaime quickly paced his way down the hallways, looking for the crew. A strange warble came from behind him. Jaime turned to see a trio of turquoise birds flap around the bend - then, before he could study them with interest - screeched. And charged. Already discomfited, Jaime ran. Unfortunately, they seemed set on attacking him. Jaime burst over a metal catwalk, but had to stop himself at the last minute to avoid smashing himself into the solid door. Jaime banged on it desperately but only felt the sting in his knuckles. Another warble. Almost unconsciously, Jaime grabbed at the nearest thing: a piece of metal piping, and swung blindly. The first bird pulled back, and its companions swooped in. Thus began the square dance of Jaime Lowery and his avian partners - if by dance, one meant Jaime desperately jabbing or swiping the pipe at any bird to come in close - whose fellows would swoop in turn while the others retreated. Jaime really was doing this out of desperation - bit by bit the rhythm became more against him and his limited energy. "I! WILL! SEE! ALL OF YOU! ROASTED! ON! A! SPIT!" The scream was more for his sake of holding out than any promise.
  19. 2 points
    Her cryodreams were endless corridors back on El Astraea, running and running and never knowing exactly what or who she was running from. She needed to find her family, she thought. She needed to help them, but how? The corridors finally ended in sharp explosion and then a loud crack. She slammed against a bulkhead, then woke up to shards from the cryotube cutting into her skin. She blinked in the bright sunlight, too stunned to move for several minutes. The storage room was full of empty, broken cryotubes and other extra supplies, tossed around like someone had done their best impression of treating the Melbourne as a snow globe. Past the sounds of the emergency sirens blaring into the room, Gabriela could dimly hear the report of gunfire and...something else. Something she couldn't place. She shook her head and tried to sit up. She felt the blood from her cuts run down her arms and the world spun with every inch she moved. I'm bleeding. I'm bleeding and there's sunlight. Sunlight means...what? Something important. I'm bleeding. Am I going to die? She stumbled out into the hallway and the hole in the ship followed her. Looking up she could see blue sky and it finally clicked. We're here. We're on Tara! Her whole body was shaking and now she didn't know if it was from blood loss and shock or just shock. We're here!....and someone crashed the ship. Way to go, guys in charge. She took a breath and began carefully picking her way through the dimly lit mangled rooms, hoping to run into someone helpful soon. What a first impression to make. 'Hello, new planet. We're humans and we're crashing the neighborhood. Literally.' She rounded a junction of corridors and ran into...something...hiding in the tangled ruin of pipes running along the upper half of the space. It was sort of like the birds she'd read about on El Astraea; she'd even seen a few live ones when her parents had taken her and her sister to the arboretum on the Garden levels, but none of those birds had looked this predatory. It had feathers, prettily colored in varying shades of light blue, but it's beak and feet all looked oversized and ridiculously sharp. As it spotted her and screeched in rage, she noticed that the splashes of darker blue on some of the feathers weren't coloring, but some sort of viscous liquid. The creature dove at her but fell short of reaching her; one of its wings was badly broken. It fell awkwardly to the floor, limping slowly towards her in some oddly defiant effort to attack her despite its obvious distress. The floor shifted underneath her as she watched the 'bird' and she blinked in the bright sunlight, too stunned to move for several minutes. The storage room was full of empty, broken cryotubes and other extra supplies, tossed around like someone had done their best impression of treating the Melbourne as a snow globe. Past the sounds of the emergency sirens blaring into the room, Gabriela could dimly hear the report of gunfire and...something else. Something she couldn't place. She shook her head and tried to sit up. She felt the blood from her cuts run down her arms and the world spun with every inch she moved. I'm bleeding. I'm bleeding and there's sunlight. Sunlight means...what? Something important. I'm bleeding. Am I going to die? She stood up and stepped on something sharp. "Merde," she hissed and kicked the bird away from her. The creepy little thing had snuck up on her and bit her. And a very fuck you, too, Tara, Gabriela thought uncharitably. She stumbled along a few more passageways and finally spotted one of the emergency medkits bolted to a still somewhat intact wall. She pried it down and spent a couple of minutes making sloppy bandages everywhere she'd been cut by plastiglass or unfriendly Taran native. She rested for a moment, staring down the still-empty corridors. She needed to run, she knew, but she was so tired. She needed to find her family, she thought. She needed to help them, but how? The corridors finally ended in sharp explosion and then a loud crack. She started, coming quickly to her feet and spinning around, trying to find the source of the sounds. The ship was split open above her and she could see out into the Taran sky. Tara? Have we landed? Way to go, guys in charge. She took a breath and began carefully picking her way through the dimly lit mangled hallways, hoping to run into someone helpful soon. What a first impression to make. 'Hello, new planet. We're humans and we're crashing the neighborhood. Literally.'
  20. 2 points
    State of the art machinery served its purpose, damage to systems triggers the appropriate relays, circuits opened and closed, internal and external sensors measured viability. The Tube was on internal power, but the integrity was compromised. Attempts to reconnect to external power sources failed. Query main computer: failed. Query Auxiliary computers: failed. Initiate emergency protocols: In progress. Alert Appropriate medical personnel: Failed. Asses Tube Viability: compromised, failure imminent, Asses Subject Viability: subject viable, expiration imminent due to tube failure: initiate emergency revivification process: in progress Needles slammed into the deep sleeping girls arms as multiple drugs were pumped into her body not in the calm orderly manner normal wake up procedures call for but in the crash do or die manner usedr in extreme emergencies. At the same time all the various tubes and sensors were simultaneously extracted air pressures were equalized and then the tube opened. Talina Mercer came awake as her system was shocked into consciousness by the cold blast of oxygenated air and the drugs roaring through her system. Cold and wet her body reacting violently to the effects of suddenly waking up from a years long sleep she griped the edge of the tube and pulled her self up to lean over the side as she dry heaved trying to empty the non existing contents of her stomach. Her eyes didn't want to work everything was light and shadows flashing and the noise filled her ears with a howling and screeching and funny popping sounds going off in rapid succession. She was completely disoriented from the nausea which wasn't getting better, she screwed her eyes shut and griped the lip of the tube tightly , fuck where is the doctor whats going on oh my god mommy, her sense where all screwed up she even felt like the tube was rocking back and forth which made her heave even more. Once the current wave of nausea passed she slowly opened her eyes the moving sensation was more pronounced now, then suddenly the tube gave a violent jerk and it really did move and tipped at an angle. It was still for a moment then the rocking started again, her vision began to clear an her mind couldn't comprehend what her eyes were seeing. Twisted metal, sparking wires and conduits, sunlight streaming through the shattered hull revealing the battered and broken cyro tubes littering the ground dozens of meters below her rocking tube. Across from her incomprehensibly lay the other half of the Melbourne. As the horror of what she was seeing slowly seeped into her sleep and drug addled brain she looked up and saw that the rocking motion she felt was from the sole metal support left and the conduits and wires holding her cryo tube in place keeping it from plummeting to the ground below. Suddenly the popping sounds shattered her reverie, louder and closer than before, the scene she was seeing snapped into focus and the terror came boiling up. Talina Mercer, fifteen year old reluctant colonist, began screaming.
  21. 2 points
    Possibly this is the wrong place for this discussion, but: One of the things that has damaged the club in Oz (in my opinion) is the fact a number of people in Requiem try to stick with a canon that has the cities as completely independent and isolated. Other games are similar. A major 'selling point' of the club is the national and international game. Isolated cities defeats this selling point. One improvement in Requiem2 is that there are Conclaves of cities. It seems to me that it would be beneficial to lay the groundwork now to have a Conclave of the member clubs' cities. Yes, I realise that at the moment there will only be one city anyway, but if the plan is to eventually have others why not set up for it now. Given that historically there was a strong trade route from the Cape of Good Hope to Australia this might be a way to start developing this.
  22. 2 points
    Uriel got in, but then rapped the door holding Jonna in. "Let me in the back." Halstead gave him a look, but Uriel's adamant expression cowed any opposition and Uriel took his seating there. He watched her, sedated as he ruminated on the unnecessarily irate response of the other Warden. ,, She didn't seem to understand the importance of keeping low-key, much less being able to work things out with others without running into the obvious suspension of disbelief issues. Uriel's own credibility lay in not being overtly recognized into adhering with such craziness as it was perceived. ,, Besides, she seemed to miss the wider ramifications of her own words. The Eidolon 'doing its work', if that, the perfect, orderly force of reality was behind the Simitre... that had.... concerning implications, though what and why was not clear. If it was changing Jonna.... ,, Uriel sat, legs crossed in the lotus, as he began to work on his mystic weaving. What he wanted was, as a test, a spell that could halt the change of the Eidolon, focused enough for that merely. If he could do this during the drive without any observation, and it worked... then nobody would tell the difference yet for a bit. ,, And until Mariz, at least. ,, OOC Crafting a custom spell, slightly modified version of Physical Ward. Instead of protecting against damage, it halts changes in the body, and with the Linchpin to specialize on the Eidolon to hold it back. Call it: Transformational Ward?
  23. 2 points
    "This is completely wrong." Raeth spoke as xhe looked around, the Umbra and the Eidolon were mixing in ways that xhe had never seen before, they shouldn't be interacting in this way. "Of course it's wrong, is the Simitre, or did you mean something else?" Darmi as they moved though the streets avoiding the mutants and making their way to their destination. Raeth considered her for a moment before responding, once xhe had been shaman, before becoming D'xhir, and one of the duties of the shaman had been to teach. "This isn't the best time or place to explain this, but Eidolon and Umbra are the right and left hands of creation, they are both nessary, if one existed without the other, either all existence would calcify into stasis, or entropy would destroy all. Your Simitre has way more of the Eidolon within it then I was expecting... I shall have to look into that." ,, As xhe finished talking them came upon the motel and Raeth sensed the presence of the other Warden, moving to take the lead as they entered, and then encountering the other Warden and allies. For the first time, Raeth got a full glimpse of someone infected, but not yet changed by the Simitre, and even as xhe was looking, Halstead started to flirt with xhir, no doubt because of xhirs present rather attractive female form, and xhe turned to look at him a moment, before turning xhirs gaze back to Joanna and Uriel. ,, "One who has mastered the Umbra can not be altered without allowing it, I am better protected then you are in your suit, Azmani." It no doubt would make little sense to Halstead, but the one of them who was a warden should have some degree of understanding of what xhir was saying. "Besides, you are traveling with one already infected.. " Raeth's gaze was focused on Joanna, but seemed more like xhe was looking through her then at her.. which was correct, Raeth was tracking the influence of the Umbra in the woman as xhe began to speak again. ,, Raeth met Uriels eyes as xhe made xhirs next offer. "It's risky, but I may be able to put a stop to part of the change that is flowing though her, drawing out the effects of the Umbra, which would allow the Eidolon to work without the influence of the Umbra within her body. In theory I could also put a stop to the Eidolon shifts, but that would make it even more risky, sense I would be trying to do two things at once, stopping the Umbra shifts and countering the Eidolon at the same time. It could also kill you, or accelerate the change, I've never seen the twin forces of existence work together this way." ,, Darmi spoke up at that point even as the other two Azmani were looking at Raeth like xhe was made. "I know it sounds crazy, but I've already seen her do things that are impossible, if she says she might be able to do this, she might actually be able to do it."
  24. 2 points
    "Yes. A moment please," Smax replied. A small metal boom extended vertically out of his left shoulder about ten inches. It had small lenses and emission ports in it. A combination of instruments was housed within, but Smax was most interested in the highly accurate radar and lidar systems. Quickly all incoming mutants were labeled, tagged, and their relative velocities measured. ,, If they couldn't propel themselves, then their point of origin would be a simple matter of extrapolating it from the convergence of their past courses. ,, As he performed the calculations, he diverted power from the laser of the Omniblaster to the electromagnetic accelerator. Though the recoil might require some course correction from the pilot, the impact of the rounds would slow and deflect the creatures...making full kills unnecessary. ,, He began taking shots at approaching simitre mutants until the location of their origin point flashed in his field of vision. ,, "I have coordinates."
  25. 2 points
    Here's my first stab at the island idea. *braces for impact- uh, I mean, feedback* ,, Empyrea Archipelago A small island archipelago created in the mid-Atlantic in 1876, the islands went mostly by the public for nearly a century. Rumors of a place, a second “Bermuda Triangle” began to circulate at the turn of the twentieth century, and by the mid ‘50’s it was known in the circle of the strange and superhuman as a place to go for information, sanctuary, or to meet a nemesis on neutral ground. ,, Empyrea was brought into the public eye in the aftermath of two teams of superhumans, one heroic and one villainous, decided to ignore the strict rule of neutrality imposed by the island’s ruler, Vis. Vis is believed to be a deity by the inhabitants of the island (now all natural-born inhabitants of the island) and rarely appears publically. A person at least capable of existing as a being a pure energy, Vis quickly destroyed both groups, killing all offending parties and reiterating its primary rule for those that come to Empyrea: no fighting. ,, Small infractions of the rule, generally drunken scraps where no one is hurt, are simply broken up by the Empyreans. Any scuffle that does result in injury will involve an investigation and whomever the Empyrean vareska (a mix of investigator, magistrate, and judge) determines is responsible for the violence will be sentences to a period of exile, ranging from at least one month to up to permanent exile. Premeditated violence results in either permanent exile if the injury was minor or the parties are involved are brought to the Empyrean Palace for Vis’ personal judgment. In only one case where offenders were brought to Vis were they allowed permanent exile, all others have never been seen again and are presumed dead. ,, The island chain itself was created by shifting one of the underwater peaks of the main ridgeline running through the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Vis shifted a lava vent to create an underground heating and geothermal network to power the islands and give them a lushly tropical, rainforest environment despite being well into the temperate zone. The buildings throughout the archipelago for public use are ultra-modern, taking full advantage of the resident super-brains and inventors that both visit and even immigrate to the island. There is a single commercial-grade airport on one of the larger islands, dozens of helipads, a large harbor, and designated “alternate travel” locations for people to fly, teleport, or swim to the islands. ,, Attempting to sneak onto the islands has become something of a game for the metahuman community, though so far no one has “won”; Empyrean ‘greeters’ are invariably waiting wherever the person attempts to get on the islands, even through teleportation. One attempt to use the lava flows and geothermal vents to enter the island was met by Vis itself and politely informed that another such “clever but foolish” attempt in the same vein would be seen as an attempt to invade the island. Although Vis itself has not declared the largest island as off-limits to visitors, the Empyrean natives themselves have made it quite clear that they consider the island sacred ground and do not want uninvited visitors on the island. While trespassing can’t earn the same exile as fighting does, trespassers find their time on the archipelago much less pleasant after they’ve annoyed the natives. ,, Empyrean nationals seem to be grab-bag of ethnicities from all over the world. Any skin-tone or facial features can be found, though the natives have created a unique culture that seems to have no basis on any particular culture around the world. Their belief is centered around adherence to the laws laid down by Vis, service to their god, service to their guests, and enjoying themselves along the way. ,, ,, Vis ,, ,, Empyrea Island ,, ,, Empyrea Ocean Marina ,, ,, Empyrean Grand Towers, located in the Empyrea Archipelago
  26. 2 points
    I've run a lot of games around here in my 8 years. A few ran for quite a while, a year, or two. More recently I have had games collapse in shorter time frames. Here's my observations after some successful (and less successful) efforts: Know your system - Twice I tried Scion and twice it kicked my ass and left me in a bad place as I found myself unable or unwilling to continue the game. Sometimes this is an issue of getting overwhelmed by something you aren't comfortable with, sometimes its a matter of dealing with players who either know the game better than you (and make your experience poorer for it), or who know even less than you (and require a LOT of aid). So make sure you know your system, really know it, including the trouble powers/abilities Plan for attrition - Dawn mentioned this and it bears repeating; unless you buck the curve, you will lose players. This is a non-negotiable truth. You may also gain players, you may even see an overall net gain of players, but no matter what you will lose them as well. Be ready for this, don't get a character so deep into the plot that the game will crash and burn if you lose that player. Be flexible - This goes with the above, but it also bears commentary on its own. Players will find a way to go off script/path/plan, its what they do. Know where you want to end your scene/chapter/story/game, have some ideas for the middle, and be flexible enough to adjust the game to reach the end (or be prepared to change your end). Note that this does not mean that you can just not plan for an end, having no goal to work toward isn't a good thing, as it gives you nowhere to find purchase to drive the story forward. Be ready to drive - Sometimes you will need to drive the story forward. Sometimes this is as easy as dropping plot nuggets, sometimes you have to drop a plot meteor and exposition yourself through & past a current block. Personally this is probably my biggest weakness as a GM. I either wait too long to push the story, or I simply fail to see that it needs a push. Don't be afraid to say "yes", but also know when to say "no" - Sometimes GM's say "no" to the players too much, because they are afraid things will slip out of control. Likewise, some GMs are unable to say "no" to players (maybe they are trying to no be a douchey GM and instead are going too far to the right). Either way you need to be willing to say "yes" to player requests to help keep them happy, to help move things along, and to help maintain the fun. But you also need to know when to say "no" in order to preserve your story, to prevent a vocal PC from ruining things for others, and to keep rules disputes within reason. The GM is not always right, but the GM does have final say. In addition to what all has been said to players by other people above ... My advice to players (as both a player and a GM): Have fun with the other players - That's the goal of the game, to have fun. Remember to try and make the game fun for other people, because ultimately you don't have a game without the other players. The GM is a player too - Remember that the GM is a player too, and is putting a lot of effort into the game, probably more than you are. Try to keep in mind that they want to have fun too, and try to behave in a way that will help they do so. Know when to stop pushing the GM - The GM may not always be right, but they do have the final say. Don't continue an argument just because you have a hair across your ass. Dragging out a rules/plot/character dispute during the game is only likely to ruin the fun of the other players Know your rules - this isn't as important as for a GM, but you should be prepared with the rules your character will use and you should be prepared and willing to learn the rules you don't know.
  27. 2 points
    As far as PbP games simply dying out, as they so often seem to do, I do think that having a great concept, good players, and a GM that isn’t a control-freak will all contribute to a game’s longevity. However – on this site at least – there are three GMs that I can think of who’ve had more than one PbP game that has managed to run consistently for more than a year, and a few of those games have run for two or more years. Those GMs are Dawn OOC, Justin OOC, and Mr Fox. From what I have seen, each of those games has continued to run for one reason: the GM simply hasn’t let the game die. Dawn, Justin, and Fox have all had games that’ve hit major roadblocks and stall points, and each of them has responded by simply buckling down, knuckling up, and pressing forward no matter what. Sometimes this has been met with much approval and renewed interest on the part of their players, and other times it’s been met with a collective yawn of relative disinterest and their efforts could only really be called a ‘success’ in the sense that the game hasn’t died yet. But even in this latter case, by simply pressing forward and not letting the game die, they’ve ensured that it’s still there when their players finally lose interest in whatever new shiny has been distracting them, or when whatever RL interference has been keeping them away finally lets up, or what have you. Basically, what I’m saying is that whether a PbP game dies or not seems to come down to whether the GM is willing to keep it going, no matter what. (Certainly, my own PbP games – none of which have survived terribly long – only died because I allowed RL interference to get in my way, not because I lost my players.) As far as how PbP games are run: my own personal experience has been that GMs tend to run them more as very slow-moving tabletop games rather than as very slow-moving chat-based games, but obviously your mileage may vary. Regardless, I would agree that this approach is far from ideal. Apart from the fact that it is a roleplaying game, that it may involve the same or similar rules set, and that it may involve the same or similar lineup of characters and/or players, any PbP game will have essentially nothing at all in common with either a tabletop or a chat-based game. And no, I do not mean that as a deliberate overstatement intended to make a point, I mean that PbP, TT, and chat-based games have about as much in common with each other as they do with MMORPGs. Which is to say not much – beyond a similarity in setting material and the types of people interested in playing them. Now, beyond simply keeping a PbP game alive, and as far as keeping it fun and interesting goes, I recommend the following for GMs (and some of this will be a repeat of what others here have already said): Make sure you have a strong concept before even thinking about starting a new game. A ‘neat idea’ doesn’t qualify, and if you can easily sum up your ‘strong concept’ in a single sentence then that probably doesn’t qualify either. (This is not to say that you shouldn’t be able to sum up your idea in a single sentence – it just shouldn’t be easy to – if it’s such a great idea, then you should find it difficult not to go on for pages and pages about it!) Only consider running games that you yourself would want to play in (but resist the urge to create an ‘NPC’ that you can play in your own game)! If you wouldn’t want to be a player in your game then why would you think anyone else would? Remember that the PCs are the stars of your production! They are the single most important part of your entire game! Not your story and certainly not your NPCs – but also not your players! – it is the player-characters around whom the entire game must revolve. Too many GMs (and players) forget this, and too often, and that is a shame. Know your player-characters. This plays right into the last point; your PCs are the stars of your show and should be treated as such. Give them opportunities – regularly and often – to shine (or to fail) in a big way. Praise your PCs (Icly and OOCly) when they do well, and make their failures as dramatic, engrossing, and entertaining as possible. Unashamedly play to your PCs’ strengths when it’s time for them to be the heroes (or at least to win), and only use your PCs’ weaknesses against them when it will further the story in a way that will make it more fun, dramatic, or exciting for everyone. Try to avoid rubbing a PC’s weaknesses in their face, period. (I won’t say ‘don’t do it ever’, but I’ve seen very few instances where a GM has managed to this in a way that was fun for the PC in question, and that didn’t make the GM look like a huge dick in the process.) Let your player-characters stand out! Seriously! It happens way too often that a GM (or other players) will take umbrage at a PC that seems to stand out or impress in any (good) way, or for whom certain things in-game seem to come easily. While it is important that there be conflict and struggles and difficulties and challenges in a game, if none of the stars of your game stand out then why would (or should) anyone care about your game at all? Remember: PbP games must be read; most people don’t bother reading things that they don’t find interesting; PCs that don’t stand out aren’t interesting; PbP games with no interesting characters aren’t interesting either and will not be read; PbP games that aren’t read, die. Simple as that. Reward your players (though not necessarily your PCs – the PCs might be the stars of the show, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing for them ). In an MMORPG your PC typically accrues XP as you play; in a tabletop game you typically receive it weekly, and in chat-based games it’s often the same. In PbP games, unfortunately, GMs will often withhold any sort of OOC rewards (XP or otherwise) for weeks or months at a time. This, again, goes back to the poorly thought-out decision to treat a PbP game like a slow-moving variant of a TT or chat-based game. When a player is creating their character, every new rank of a trait that they give to their PC tends to cause them to start thinking of what they want their PC to do with those ranks – it gets them thinking and planning creatively. This phenomenon does not suddenly cease once the game starts, and every award of XP gets players thinking about where and how to use it and in what ways their PCs are going to be able to use whatever new traits were just purchased with that XP. In short, it keeps players interested and involved. I recommend awards once per month, personally, but don’t hesitate to come up with periodic one-off contests or even just random excuses to pass out some rewards to your players. Also to note, it doesn’t have to be XP, either: it could be nifty gear that players are allowed to use and keep in-game. Communicate with your players. If they’re putting up lots of great posts, contributing a lot to the game, and helping you in continuing to move it forward, then give some praise for that. If a player is in some way holding up a game, however, let them know and offer help and suggestions to get them moving again (but be nice about it, of course). I do recommend, however, that most such feedback be kept to PM-threads. Whether praising or scolding a player, it’s often best to do it private and not out in the main OOC thread where everyone can see it. Don't take things personally, and don't try to resolve interpersonal conflicts with a player in-game. You will always turn out to be the one in the wrong. Try not to settle such things in an open OOC thread either, but mostly, just don't settle them in-game. As I told Dawn some time ago, and as she has already pointed out here, make sure you always give your players something to respond to. The GM must lead their players, and that includes putting up posts with ‘leading’ questions, comments, or descriptions. Nothing will stymie posting or stall out a game faster than GM-posts that leave nothing for players to respond to, participate in, or interact with. Players, too, can either contribute to or hinder continued, sustainable interest in a PbP game, and I would recommend the following for contributing to interest: This will sound almost exactly like the first point for GMs, above: Make sure you have a strong concept for your character. A ‘neat idea’ doesn’t qualify, and if you can easily sum up your ‘strong concept’ in a single sentence then that probably doesn’t qualify either. (This is not to say that you shouldn’t be able to sum up your character in a single sentence – it just shouldn’t be easy to – if your character is so awesome, then you should find it difficult not to go on for pages and pages about them!) Don’t be afraid to make your PC interesting. Too often there is a Harrison Bergeron-like tendency to want everyone to be equal and no one to stand out. Frankly, I think this comes down to a fear on other players parts that if another PC stands out, that must mean that theirs doesn’t and that that’s just not acceptable. Don’t let this fear get to you, and don’t let the fear of others stop you. If you want to play the world’s greatest swordsman, gunslinger, or short order cook, then do so, and don’t be shy or half-assed about it. On the other hand, if you want to make a perfectly normal everyman, then do so, but don’t forget to give him/her something that will keep those reading your posts interested. Regardless, make your PC amazing. Do accept help and (constructive) criticism in your efforts to do so. Don’t ever – ever – apologize once you have succeeded in doing so. Not even to your GM. Remember: it is OK for the other players to have awesome characters too! This is not a threat to you; rather it is a guarantee that the cool new game you’re a part of will be just that much more awesome. Also remember: even though the PCs are (or should be, at least) the most important element of the game you’re playing them in, your particular PC is not the only PC in the game! The GM is not the only person who should be making an effort to give the other players their moment in the sun – you should be as well. And if you don’t want to, fine, but realize that by taking this attitude you also forfeit any right to be upset if some other PC upstages yours. If I’m starting to sound like I’m contradicting myself and saying that all of the PCs should be the same, I’m not. And if you’re having a hard time picturing how an entire troop of PCs can all be awesome and all stand out, then try taking a look at what many consider to be one of the greatest ‘getting-the-team-together-for-a-mission’ movies ever: Seven Samurai. All seven main characters are awesome, all seven stand out, and all of seven of them are completely unique and have strengths (as well as weaknesses) that none of the others have. Far from hurting the story, having so many amazing and interesting main characters instead turned the film into one of the most influential movies in the history of action cinema. It is also helpful to note that all seven of the main characters in Seven Samurai were (coincidentally enough) samurai and all seven of them were primarily sword fighters and all seven of them had heavily-overlapping skill sets, and yet – somehow – managed to not step on each others toes as unique characters or otherwise suffer from violation of ‘niche protection’. Said ‘protection’ is, in my opinion, one of the single most harmful RPG traditions still extant in today’s gaming world. Barring certain exceptions that only serve to prove the rule, if your ‘Bruiser’ or ‘Brain’ or ‘Face’ (or whatever) will feel threatened if the team has another ‘Bruiser’ or ‘Face’ (or whatever) that’s one thing, and will probably only contribute to the game’s drama factor (usually a good thing), but if you would feel threatened by that all it really says is that you’re not confident in your character’s concept. If so, see point number one. While you do want your PC to be amazing in some way, you should avoid making them too amazing. If the character is a walking ‘I win’ card, then there’s no drama, no suspense, and no excitement. In short, your character will be boring. If your character is the world’s greatest swordsman, then obviously he isn’t going to be losing too many fencing duels and that’s fine, but perhaps the world’s greatest swordsman can’t get a date to save his life? Flaws can be, and frequently are, more interesting than strengths. Know the rules of the game you intend to play your PC in (or at least try very hard to). I know for some players the dice don't matter and neither do all the statistics on their PC's sheet, but you still have an obligation to know what they are and to understand them! If you plan on writing your character like they're an amazingly insightful individual with powerful reasoning and deductive abilities then their character sheet should reflect that - and you should know if it does! Failing at this leads to situations where a player finds out - mid-game - that their PC isn't capable of some, most, or even all of what they thought their PC was capable of. The typical reaction to this is frustration, which in turn is usually followed by the player losing interest in their PC and, thus, the game. While the GM should strive to only put up posts that can be easily responded to, so should you! As a player, you owe it to the GM, yourself, and your fellow players to keep the story moving forward in an efficient, productive, and (above all) entertaining way. This, by the way, is one of the reasons that interaction between players doesn’t always happen the way it would in a TT game. A thirty minute tangent in a TT game typically takes thirty minutes and isn’t a big deal. A thirty minute tangent in a PbP game can days or even weeks and does nothing to further the main story (usually, at least), which is a very big deal. I personally, tend to become annoyed with fellow players who constantly insist on holding up the story just so that they can have ‘fun’ by engaging in ‘witty banter’ or ‘a dramatic confrontation’ with other players, and then go on for pages at a time with it. Seriously, take it to a short fiction thread where it belongs. Keep things light and don't take things personally. Remember that it's just a game, and what happens to your PC is not what's happening to you. If you do have an issue with another player then it should be handled somewhere outside of the IC threads, and never, ever in an IC thread. If someone does something you feel is uncalled for (in-game or out), and you handle it by trying to have something unpleasant happen to their character in-game, all this does is make you out to be the dick, not them. Mostly though, just don't take things personally. And that's all I've got. Thanks for reading.
  28. 2 points
    Oh, and a piece of advice that I want to credit to Centimane. Always leave your posts with something clear for the PCs to reply to. The more exciting and interesting the better; it draws them in and has them fired to reply.
  29. 2 points
    It occurred to me this morning how I can conclude the Prelude thread, so we can get on the road. I'll get that done this afternoon (it shouldn't be that busy at work, and I'm pretty sure it won't take a very long post to do what I have in mind), so TONIGHT is the NIGHT, baby. Chapter One, and you can take it to the bank!
  30. 2 points
    Power Profiles #23: Sensory Powers Vitals: Published By Green Ronin • 6 pages • $0.99 • full color PDF Descriptors, Countering & Features The Sensory descriptor gets thorough treatment right out of the gate. It is broken down into sensory powers and sensory effects, which might seem the same thing but the explanation makes clear which covers which. This is followed by a fairly lengthy discussion of the two Sensory Modifiers, Perception Area, and Sense-Dependent. This is fairly useful as well as it help to distinguish the difference between the two when it might appear that they are the same. A comparative example might have been useful, but I don't think it was required. A couple of interesting features are suggested. There is also a sidebar titled, Senses and the Parrot Effect, which discusses ways for the GM to better engage players who have super senses (especially exotic ones) in ways other than simply telling them what they sense and having the players repeat it back to their comrades. I think that this is probably something that many GMs don't consider and it is a nice reminder that sense powers don't need to be relegated to "what he said". Offensive Powers There are only three powers here, but there is also another sidebar (that's two) which helps to give the section some meat. The Dazzle and Sensory Overload powers are built on well known effects, with Dazzle getting a slightly longer write-up as it discusses some options beyond the core effect. The third power is Obscure which is an effect that was suggested in the Hero's Handbook as a Concealment based effect. This effect too is Concealment based, but gets a more thorough write-up. As a player of prior editions, which had a dedicated Obscure effect, I'm not sure I am convinced but the write-up does go a long way to helping make the power understood. Luckily, however, the Powers That Be apparently expected us stodgy old people, and we have been gifted with the sidebar: Option: Obscure Effect. This sidebar effectively restores the Obscure effect to the game, with a variable per rank cost based on the senses it obscures, and an area that is based on the number of ranks purchased. Overall I think I still prefer the Obscure effect over the Concealment based method, and I am very happy to see it return. Defensive Powers Five powers are presented and for I think the first time none of them are Protection effect based. Powers like Invisibility, Danger Sense, and Sensory Shield are given discussion. Invisibility does a nice job of conferring not only the bonuses, but also the limits of the effect and I think players and GMs will find it a nice expansion on the core book's Concealment description. Movement Powers With only two powers this is the shortest section in the book, but I suspect that most will be un-surprised by this. Tracking Teleport and Pathfinder are both built off of the Senses effect. Both are given discussion enough to show not only the mechanics but also the utility of these effects. Utility Powers Three powers with nine effects and a third sidebar fill out this section. Synesthesia is a remarkably simple effect that creates a power that can radically alter the way a character perceives their senses, altering the normal input vectors and allowing the user to feel colors and taste sounds, and more. The Additional Sense "power" is really just a header that gathers seven different senses beyond the human norm and allows them room for an effect and discussion. The third, and final, sidebar for this profile is: Option: Long-Range Sensing. This sidebar acknowledges that the Remote Sensing effect may not be ideal for extreme long range sensing and provides an option to allow for sensing well beyond the planetary scale. Complications Six complications get about half a page to close out the profile. By far the most effort goes into the Weakness complication, detailing how a hero's enhanced and expanded senses can just as often be a handicap. Imagine having super sense of smell in a landfill. Or Super Hearing at a death metal concert. Closing Thoughts Sensory powers is yet another in an increasing number of must have profiles. Even the most rule savvy and jaded player or GM will likely appreciate the sidebars. Meanwhile new players will gain a great deal of insight into the various sensory effects and more experienced players may find the expanded discussion of certain effects and powers useful. There's nothing really missing here, and the content is as solid as we have generally come to expect. Rating: 100% - Truly another home run, with expanded explanations and new optional rules, this profile has a little something for everyone.
  31. 1 point
    Shelly, Montana [Now] Sean felt the stacked stone veneer of the bathroom wall dig into her back as Sara pressed her against the bathroom wall, but hardly cared as she fiercely kissed Sara back, their tongues wrestling. Sean's fitted button-down shirt lost most of its buttons as Sara nearly ripped it open, a small sound of frustration escaping their locked lips when Sara found a lacy black v-necked camisole underneath, deep, fair cleavage on full display. Sean's muted moan of delight joined Sara's frustration as she felt the stiffened, rounded points crowning her breasts being teased. Sean tangled one hand in Sara's short blond hair, the other cupping her ass and lifting Sara off the ground, enough that the shorter woman had to tilt her head down slightly to maintain the breath-taking kiss. Sean arched her back and Sara wrapped a leg around Sean's hip for more leverage. So much better than lunch and the food had been more than good enough. Still, Sean's lambent turquoise eyes cut to the door to the bathroom, then to the other side towards the wooden doors of the stalls decorated with wood burned crescent moons. This was considerably more public than Sean preferred... she also didn't want the genuine, passionate need to end. Sara could feel Sean trying to smile through their kiss and opened her eyes to see Sean arch a questioning brow. Here or elsewhere her gorgeous eyes asked, as long as it didn't end. [Then] Sean glanced away, hiding a wince at Sara's terse and tense tone. A few days apart hadn't mellowed things out and Sean bristled, realizing she had hoped that it had and it hadn't. She wasn't even sure who she was irritated most by, herself or Sara. Sean rapped the silvery rings of her Savant Multitool on her left hand on the roof of her vehicle, then turned back to look at Sara over the top of her car, her half smile brittle and forced. "There's always Bunnie's, but I'd thought we'd try a new place that just opened up, The Big Sky Dive," Sean said, faintly feigned cheer in her melodious voice. "Source and cuisine all from Montana. I hear the food is great, even if the place is a bit, hmm, hipstery." "Fine, that's fine." Sara's tone was neutral, and with her sunglasses, Sean couldn't see the expression in her eyes. The door slammed just a touch too loudly as Sara settled into the passenger seat. Sean sighed, then climbed in behind the wheel and put Little Bigfoot into gear and started driving down Packing Plant Road. When they pulled into the small parking lot of The Big Sky Dive and walked through the front doors, even without her nearly peerless senses, Sean could practically hear Sara's eyes roll. To be fair, some of that eye-rolling, might have been her own. The place was decorated all in stone and hardwood, like picturesque hunting lodge. The guy behind the bar was the very archetype of a hipster, with the glasses, beard and curled mustache, plaid flannel and beanie, stark black tattoos on his forearms. "If this is a vegan only place, I might have to kill you, Sean," Sara muttered up at her taller girlfriend. "If this a vegan only place, I'll let you," Sean admitted.
  32. 1 point
    Lilly's Bedroom Thursday Night-Friday Morning Lilly finished changing into her cami and boyshorts and turned the teddy bear back around on her dressed. She walked over to her bed, pulled the sheets back and slipped in. Though sleep was no longer requirement for her, it was still something she tried to do. She was used to it, and the more 'normal' things and routine she could keep to, the better she thought it would be for her mentality. On a cold night it felt so nice to be in bed and under her comforter. Cold no longer affected her to speak off, figuring it was a side effect of the lack of pain she felt too now, but still, she endjoyed the feeling of being in a warm bed, and quickly Lilly drifted off to sleep. She had enjoyed being able to spend more time with Sandy. She was afraid that being honest with him might tear them apart, but it anything, it only seemed to bring them together. He was incredibly trusting and understand, more than he had any business being, really, but Lilly appreciated it. The pair has become slightly more physical since that night at the pond, kissing and holding hands, but the teenage mind could not help but wander a bit. Lilly found Sandy attractive, and though that attraction was certainly more than just physical, she did find him physically attractive as well. Lately though, she had found other thoughts drifting in her head. Seeing Sean and Sara together had made Lilly consider things in the back of her head, thought she was uncertain about. Though not specifically attracted to Sean or Sara physically or otherwise, aside from friendship, she could not help but notice the girls around her. She found them attractive too, and that confused her somewhat. It didn't change what she felt for Sandy, nor diminish her attraction though. She simply appreciated the female form more than she had before. The thought were nothing new. She had been having them for many months now, but they were very minor and something she did not pay much attention to, or so she thought. But then after the night at the lake, when they had become enhanced, they almost all changed physically. Sean was the most changed, of course, swapping from one gender to another, but what had caught Lilly off guard were the changes in her own body. Everything was a little more toned and tighter, while still balancing that femininity, but most of all, she had noticed a change in her chest, and she did not expect that. She thought she was happy with her body, but their enhancement brought with it some level of wish-fulfillment, and with that came a slight change in her proportions, keeping her incredible level of fitness and physique, while still making her somewhat more feminine and her proportions more pleasing. Though bra shopping with Kia, since her enhancement, had been interesting. All of that had led to her mind wondering as she slept, drifting from Sandy to thought of girls, though nobody specific. It was more of just dwelling on the figure and female form, the dream permitting her a level of freedom she would not dare normally. She found herself snuggling and caressing some other girl. She could not see her face, but she was fit too, like Lilly, as physical fitness was always something she found pleasing to the eye. She enjoyed the feeling of the girl next to her, the smell of her hair and her sensual touch. The dream was so vivid, easily the most 'real' ream she had ever experienced and she the other girl caressed and snuggled. The result was something more sensual than sexual, but it was pleasing none the less, leaving Lilly panting softly. Then came a knock at the door. "Lilly, honey. Time to get up." her mother's voice came drifting through the door. With a faint smile on her lips from such a pleasant dream, Lilly's eyes slowly blinked opened... and looked into her own eyes. "What the hell?" she said... well.. they said.. in unison, sitting up slightly. Laying in bed with her, facing her, with a hand on each other's hip, was another Lilly, identically dressed with their hair tied up the exact same way. And then it began to dawn on her. I hadn't been a dream.. or maybe it had, but in the process she had manifested a new ability. She could make duplicates of herself, identical in every way, including enhancements, though she knew that they could not duplicate themselves. "I.. That was.. I mean.. I'm not..." she stammered, her head still swimming. "I know. Me too..." the other Lilly said as she looked at Lilly, "But maybe I.. or you... I mean... maybe we..." "What is up with my life." Lilly groaned and buried her face in the pillow as the other Lilly lay her head right beside her's and rubbed her back. "I know. This is... weird." she soothed. Slowly the other Lilly seemed to fade away, the bed shifted, no longer supporting her weight and Lilly could remember the thoughts and experiences of the other Lilly too. Weird indeed.
  33. 1 point
    I think creative tactic situations (can't just go guns-out or throw a Q-Imprint baddie in there that can return any attack thrown at them back at maximum power) are a good option for this, as is moving off-planet into "galatic scale" conflicts where your novas are facing off against other rediculously powered beings or things like battle cruisers and whatnot. In my experience, exploiting any social/mental weakness in a character that takes away player agency tends to lead to bad feelings and the dissolution of the game as players hate when another PC or GM dictates their character's actions. Also, Aberrant has shit for social/mental combat rules, or defenses.
  34. 1 point
    Usually characters like this have exploitable weaknesses created by their point management techniques. In a mid-point level most tanks have several glaring holes in their defenses, psychology, or tolerances where the character can be easily brought low. At high-levels though, and I wager that is the power level we're dealing with, what Justin and Jeremy have noted is the best options. The best way to deal with a power-gamed character isn't to allow it, unless it has enough of a concept where it works. And in high-power Aberrant (or other superpowered games for that matter) that sort of thing is to be expected to be honest. The question is how the GM/ST will handle things. As for equalizing a group, I wager your blasters are great at range, dead-eye shots. Ever thought of setting up scenarios where your zappers can support your up-close and personal characters? Sometimes the best way to make things a challenge is to toss tactics into the works. Throw in a crisis where indescriminate fire is a very bad idea. If the group is mostly murderhobos though, that might not work out as they'll just destroy that orphanage anyways and walk away from that explosion saying "tactical necessity."
  35. 1 point
    "I am the most promising and personal of Toshimoko's students," Zoyu agree, full lips curving in a coy smile. "He is doing very well, indeed." Zoyu took her time selecting a bokken, looking for one with the length, curvature, and balance that suited her style. She had just picked one that she found acceptable when Rin struck! Zoyu whirled, her expression one of calm excitement, though she felt a small stab of annoyance at Rin's actions, but her eyes widened at Jotomon's dance-like step throwing Rin off balance. Zoyu's mismatched eyes narrowed slightly as she caught Rin's gaze for a moment and nodded, then began gliding around, forcing the Dragon Sword-Mistress to split her focus as much as possible between her and her Dragon companion. It was not uncommon for a swordmaster to spar against more than one opponent, though it was not a practice that she as a duelist spent over much time pursuing. The stunning Crane edged smoothly forward, seeing to subtly draw a strike from Jotomon and leave an opening for Rin to find.
  36. 1 point
    submitted. Casper Juliens. A no-nonsense man of few words. Likes fly small aircraft and kill things for no other reason than to say he has killed something. He does listen to orders and will generally be a 'good soldier' if directed.
  37. 1 point
    AND WE'RE LIVE! Here are some ground rules and notes: Each month is a contained time. All threads should be wrapped up by the end of the month and only actions posted during that time will be carried over ST-wise into the next month. Personal threads don't have to stick to this rule, but be careful of getting stuck in a thread as the game moves on. Keep main threads R rated at most. If you want to do explicit writing, go for it in personal threads. Please mark the thread with [Mature], [Explicit], or some other tag giving readers an idea of what they're getting into. Also, make sure that anyone you're writing with in such a thread/scene is down for what's going on *before* you start the thread; if a scene is going that direction and the thread wasn't started as a mature thread, please talk with everyone in the scene to make sure they want to continue and then edit the title to include the new tag. XP will be awarded at the end of each month. If you travel to an in-person domain with your character, please let me know. Your PC will be out of town during that time ICly, obviously. Dates will be post at the start of each thread and I'll try to keep a running calendar. If you are having an issue with a PC or a scene, please PM me about it as opposed to making scathing OOC posts. After over a decade on PbP boards, I've yet to see OOC fighting accomplish anything other than to annoy and polarize the other players and damage the game. Have fun guys!
  38. 1 point
    me want demon. me want demon hard.
  39. 1 point
    The question, seeming out of nowhere, caught Ser completely off guard, not only because of its sudden changing of the subject, but because in truth she had never thought of a favorite color before. "I...hmm...I don't really know. Hmph I have never given thought to such a thing as a favorite color." Her brow furrows as she tries to think on the question. "Well if you don't have a favorite, then surely there are colors you find more pleasing than some others. What would some of those be?" Fatima offers trying to ease her new friends now troubled mind. Ser contemplates the new question and looks off at the fading light outside the tent. "When i was a little girl, there was a stream a couple of miles north of the Tur, sometimes if i woke really early before dawn i would finish my chores and be fore breaking fast i would run off to explore and play, to be alone." She pauses looking a little sad at the memory or prehaps some other memory recalled. "The stream, it wasn't wide or deep and it flowed from the North, and its was very very clear and the water was always cold." Ser's memory became clearer in her mind as if she could see that stream right outside. "You could see all the way to the bottom all the rocks and pebbles and small fish darting about. Then as the sun rose and the golden rays hit the water, colors would spring alive gold and reds from the light and water reflecting the rocks and pebble and blue and green from the tiny fish flashing to and fro." She looked up at the young Cleric, smiling broadly, her face transformed by the memory. "Those colors were most pleasing."
  40. 1 point
    Hiroki didn’t know what was wrong with her but the girl was becoming less and less self-sufficient. He tightened his arm around her waist, wondering how the hell he was going to get her to safety. Staying here was an option but it was a poor one. More of the girl’s weight rested against him and Hiroki grunted softly. He was running out of possibilities rapidly. The mention of EAC wards sent his heart spiraling down into his gut. It also brought up bad memories, which he ignored. Now was not the time to think about he had lost. “Can you handle a gun?†he asked his companion. “I can try.†The man’s lack of confidence did nothing of Hiroki’s but he handed the rifle to the man. “Rely on the laser sights. They will help you.†With the gun situation half-resolved, Hiroki bent over and put her gut in his shoulder. She naturally flopped forward and he stood up into the fall, letting her settle against his back. I hope she went into cyro with an empty stomach. He locked an arm around her legs to hold her in place. Immediately, he remembered the last time he’d carried a woman like this and it didn’t help his situation. Expunging inappropriate thoughts, he hefted his Glock in one hand. Lifting it to his lips, he murmured, “Right hand mode.†With a soft click, the computer in the barrel adjusted for the changes in stance and motion. Glancing back at the nervous man behind him, he shifted the girl higher on his shoulder and headed back for the cyropod bay. The medical staff would be there, and he hoped there would be safety in numbers, especially after he opened a few more pods. “Time to find a doctor,†he told his tail as they moved.
  41. 1 point
    Having given some more thiught, and discussion, to alternates I've decided to reduce there cost. First dot at a level in a Mode is the usual cost, Alternates are then 5xp at your highest Level in a mode and one xp less each level below that. For example if you had 3 dots in a Mode the 1 dot alternate would cost 5-2=3xp, the 2 dot would be 4xp and 3 dot 5xp In the unlikely case someone wants to start with an alternate it will be a straight 2 Bonus pts regardless of dots in the Mode.
  42. 1 point
    Greetings everyone. I'm Matt, the RPG Post admin. I'm a long time gamer, but spend most of my time working on the technical side of things these days. Please let me know if you ever need any help with the site.
  43. 1 point
    [Rebecca OOC] 4:01 pm: Oh this will be good... [Rebecca OOC] 4:01 pm: Body Rebecca OOC *rolls* 2d6: 5+2+7: 14 [Rebecca OOC] 4:02 pm: Soul Rebecca OOC *rolls* 2d6: 5+1+7: 13 [Rebecca OOC] 4:02 pm: made it [Rebecca OOC] 4:02 pm: Barely on the soul. [Rebecca OOC] 4:02 pm: And I got something... cool. As Tetsuko climbed there was a melody on the wind for a split second... she strained to hear but it seemed it wasn't a melody after all as she listened closer. It seemed more and more like it was data... but expressed in tones. Then it hit her like a ton of bricks. "You! A machine! Doing this test! You're an insult to nature! You don't belong here!" She continued to climb. It seemed a weight was bearing down within her... and clouds began to gather in front of her only a little ways away... the stone she was climbing grew cold. "You and your kind are an insult! Your kind killed my family!" "How could you understand? You're nothing more than a toaster!" Her fingers dug into the handholds. The words from different voices seemingly stinging her through the cold barbs. The stone almost seemed slick now... "How could you be alive? God didn't make you." "You don't have a soul, Tetsuko... you're just numbers... binary code." She froze in place... then she shouted out. "HOW ARE YOU ANY BETTER? ALL YOU ARE, ARE COMPLEX PROTIENS THAT MANAGE TO SELF-REPRODUCE! YOU KILL EACH OTHER OVER NOTHING BUT TRACTS OF LAND AND IDEALS THAT SERVE ONLY THOSE THAT CONCEIVE THEM!" She trembled. "YOU CREATED ME, WANTING TO CREATE "LIFE". AND WHAT IS LIFE? CAN YOU ANSWER THAT?" The wind grew silent. "I know that answer." Tetsuko said with a grin. "And like hell any of you are deserving of it. You're full of rage, and anger, and hatred. I saw that a little while ago... the worst of you." "Then what's the answer?" It was like the voice was right there... whispering in her ear. It sounded now like a curious child. "You... you're not just mankind.... you're... something different." Tetsuko looked around, curious as to what sort of life-form could be testing her... "You want to know, don't you?" She said with a laugh. "How could I fault you... you're not a human being... You're just as curious as I am." "Of course... you're egotistical enough to claim you've figured the meaning of life... So I want to hear it." "That's the joke, whoever you are... there isn't a meaning but what you place on it." Tetsuko said. A little irritated. "Then what is it to you?" "To be better than I was yesterday." "To live to my potential, and exceed it." "To create my future with my hands!!!" That wasn't just Tetsuko saying what life was to her... into the cloud bank that now challenged her every thought... it was Tetsuko taking a oath... or was it an oath she's always followed? "You don't sound like an Android..." Tetsuko smiled. "You don't sound like a person... Who are..." She looked thinking she'd finally see the voice, but still saw nothing. Tetsuko grinned as she saw the clouds parting that she was about to climb into. Her goal was in sight. The stone face became warm and dry. "Keep climbing... I like you... I wanna see where you go from here." "Oh... I plan on going... everywhere." "Do it. I know you don't like making hollow promises." The weight on her heart lifted, it seemed there was no limit... from here on, her path was her's to follow... she didn't have to prove she was alive, or something better than "just a machine". She was Tetsuko Ueda, Daughter of Ai Ueda. And she was as worthy of anything as any of those challenging this tower today. As worthy as anyone. Tetsuko felt more alive today than she ever did. She looked down. "That, and next time I come here I'm totally BASE jumping this!"
  44. 1 point
    December 1, 2049 0320, Eden Time Outside Outer Panel G-12436, Eden Space Colony "Sakurako, I think you missed a spot." She had been putting up with that all day. She had been sealing up and patching micrometeorite strikes. Sakurako was curious, and wanted to see what it was like to work outside on "patching duty" which was pretty much the never-ending process of injecting and coating the outer panels. It was done occasionally to repair micro-meteorite degradation with a clear liquid, that hardened into material that matched the transparency of the outer "Densicrys" outer windows. The windows that made the majestic sphere that is the Eden space colony. The device Sakurako was using was something akin to a window wiper, except it outputted at high pressure the sealing and coating agent. Seeing the counter thrusters on the device hold the thing in place, and having to keep it steady was quite a challenge. Even with her advanced suit that was speaking to her giving opinions on her work, she was a bit amazed how the baselines do it with their bulky extended EVA-activity suits. "Yes, I know Fukutsu, You try holding this." "You didn't design me with a exo-skeleton..." She sighed. "Just... monitor my life support, it's feeling a little warm." "I think it's more of the fact you're doing more physical labor than usual. If your metabolism wasn't so effective I wager I would have to increase my waist dimensions by two dress sizes." her suit said, in a feminine, digital voice. Sakurako shook her head as she finally coated the area that seemed to resist getting sealed. "There we go. That panel's done." She hovered there in place in the black, looking at the other maintenance workers handling their last panels for the shift. "Thanks for covering Lawrence's shift today, Endeavor. His coming down with that stomach bug was a bit annoying, what made you wanna work out here today?" One of the workers said, starting to put away her maintenance tools. Sakurako smiled, starting to stow her gear as well. "Well... I wanted to test how precise my thrusters work in zero gee, as well, I wanted to help around the station today. I don't have any duties back home in Tokyo, so I decided to do pick up something to do here." The astronaut giggled. "You really seem well suited to zero gee work." "I actually hate it. I hate space... having to wear equipment just to be outside. One little malfunction and we're in trouble." The astronaut she was talking to poked Sakurako's elaborate, form-fitting suit that has become her signature as the Paragon known as "Endeavor". "Well... I doubt that suit of yours has to worry about malfunctions." "Of course not." Her suit responded over the common comms. "Oh it has a AI?" Sakurako blushed. "Umm... yes... it's name is Fukutsu. Japanese for Fortitude. She... well I sort of created her when I created the suit." "Do tell." the astronaut said. Sakurako finally got a good look at her name tag and saw "L. Tereschova". "What's the L on your nametag stand for?" She smiled. "Laika." Smiling, Sakurako used her thrusters to navigate around to the main airlock nearby. "Well, Laika, seems we got our work..." Sakurako looked over and saw a navigation light was dead nearby. "Laika, do we have any spare navigation lamps?" "Yeah, a couple." "Yeah one's out over there." Laika tossed over one of the spare lamps to Sakurako and she makes her way to the dead lamp, by protocol Laika followed behind. "That's odd, that's the third time in 3 months that lamp has gone out. These are LED based lights, they should last for thirty years!" Sakurako hovered to a standing position on the support the light was attached to, and she grabbed a hand-hold. "I know... that's highly irregular." Sakurako pulls out a scanner. "Let me scan for any abnormalities first before we remove that... I know a thing or two on electronics..." "...Don't worry about it let's get this lamp out first..." Sakurako sees a spike on the electrical scan and Sakurako's eyes widen. "Laika... GET CLEAR!" She shouts, pushing Laika away from the lamp before pushing away as the lamp suddenly flares to life before violently failing, exploding and sending small shards of plastic at high speed at the two. Sakurako's suit could take it easily but Laika... "SAKURAKO!" Sakurako saw the air hissing out of Laika's suit... one of her big nightmares. She sprung into action thrusting over and grabbing the injured astronaut. She saw the suit was keeping the pressure but the suit's slowly deflating form showed it was losing out and soon. "Okay hold on I'll get the patches..." Sakurako said going through the pouches on Laika's suit to seal the damage on the chest, but the damage on the arm was far, far worse. Sakurako took a cord out from her maintenance bag and wrapped it around Laika's arm. The remaining air in the limb sleeve leaked out completely. "Only thing I could do there... that thing is tore real bad." Laika nodded in increasing pain. "Station command! I need a medical team to airlock 42 NOW! As well as a maintenance drone team!" Sakurako pulled Laika along with her into the airlock and went through the pressurization process. Once the display showed the pressure was near earth-normal, Sakurako undid the tourniquet cord and removed the damaged arm sleeve on Laika's spacesuit. It seems her arm already had frostbite and she looked somewhat pale. "Focus on me, Laika... please." "Sakura...ko..." The medical team rushes in once the inner doors opened. "What happened out there!" "There was a catastrophic malfunction of one of the nav-lights outside." The medics wrap Laika's arm in a warm blanket-like contraption as they lay her on a thruster-equipped zero-gee gurney. They hook lines to her suit and the suit repressurizes, keeping her warm and hopefully from falling into shock. "We'll handle this from here, Endeavor." The medics say, carting the injured maintenance worker off. What was bothering Sakurako was the electrical surge... there was a design flaw in that socket. "Maintenance control, this is Sakurako, I think there is a really bad voltage variance on Nav-light 3J. You notice it?" Back at a console, a third-shift worker pulled up the chart on the electrical flow in that area. "Wait... yeah... voltage regulator #4 is completely not operating properly. Why wasn't that reporting until now..." Sakurako massaged her chin. "Sakurako, what's on your mind..." Sakurako sighed. "Understood, send the drones to take care of it, I need to check on a few things." She said closing her coms. "Sakurako." "WHAT?" Sakurako exclaimed with her ability to speak to machines... right to her suit. "you're... agitated." "Yes I am... I hate working in vacuum... I don't know why I took this job." She trembled a bit. She saw Laika's blood and it was starting to get to her. "I can't wait to get back home, Fukutsu. To feel real gravity and real dirt below my feet." "Hmm..." <To Be Continued>
  45. 1 point
  46. 1 point
    Aftrer a discussion w/ Moira in chat, and changes in upcomming games, I'm throwing my hat back in. Hope to introduce everyone to Vitas soon.
  47. 1 point
    Power Profiles #28: Sonic Powers Vitals: Published By Green Ronin • 6 pages • $0.99 • full color PDF Hedgehogs and screwdrivers need not apply ... Descriptors, Countering & Features Three descriptors get a little extra depth. Reminders about the inability of sound to travel in vacuum (Hollywood blockbusters aside), discussion on sense dependency, and the use of instruments, musical or otherwise, give this section a bit more heft than usual. Likewise countering gets a lightly longer treatment, with suggestions that might not register as obvious with some players. Five features are provided as well. Offensive Powers Six powers largely relying on the Damage and Affliction effects. The given effects cover all the bases, and there are some solid suggestions for slightly varied effect builds (largely given over to the use of Perception (Hearing) Area versus Ranged and Hearing Sense Dependent), but there is little that breaks the familiar molds either. Defensive Powers The four powers here hit the routine notes. Protection and Immunity are the effects of choice here. Movement Powers Three powers. Sonic Flight suggests a number of basic effect modifications. Sound Wave is an interesting power as written, but I think that a cross reference to the Teleport Powers profile from two weeks ago would have allowed for a longer range effect while still maintaining the theme of traveling as sound waves. Utility Powers & Other Sonic Powers Twelve powers, a number of which are Sensory effects related to the Sonic theme. The discussion accompanying Sound Analysis, Enhanced Hearing, and Sonar, however, do well to expand on the limited details provided by the Hero's Handbook. The Speed, Earth, Mental, and Illusion power profiles are referenced as potential additional sources of Sonic or vibration powers. These profiles help to fill some of the missing gaps, with effects like causing rock slides, or vibrating through a wall. Sonic Complications Seven Complications close out the profile. Accident and Disability provide the more interesting options, especially for heroes with Perception Area effects, or those whose power stem from their own voice. Closing Thoughts The Sonic Powers profile is a solid entry in the series. It covers all the bases, and for new players it will be indispensable. This profile does provide some new rules insight, but it is minimal and limited to insight on extended sensory effects. There is some depth provided with descriptors and the like, and the reference secondary power profiles do help to fill some of the gaps. Rating: 85%, A solid Power Profile. Though it does not revolutionize anything it provides a solid foundation without any obvious weak spots.
  48. 1 point
    I am reading a series of books right now that everyone I know raves about, to the point of statements like “An Epic story”, “one of the best series I’ve read, evar!”, etc. So, I am reading them and scratching my head wondering why everyone thinks they are so incredible. I find the writing to be excellent, the story to be ‘epic’ in scope, and over all I think they stand among the best written books I’ve read. BUT, they lack… something. So I started thinking about the books and even TV shows I consider to be ‘epic’ works, the ones that stand out as my favorites. None of them are flawless, they have their issues, but something about them stands out for me above and beyond other stories. What are my favorites? In fantasy, I’d have to list Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, and Jordan’s The Wheel of Time. For Sci fi I’d list Star Wars, Babylon 5 and Stargate. But that led me to question what it was about these five that are so great? Tolkien was a philologist who wrote the Lord of the Rings in order to build a framework for his made up languages, the writing isn’t so great compared to more modern works. Jordan went off the rails on WoT, spinning off so many subplots he got lost in the details and almost ran the story into the ground. Star Wars is controlled by a megalomaniac who seems to care more about making a buck and controlling his empire than about it’s content. Babylon 5 had to bend to the constraints of network politics which screwed up it’s intended story arc because of being almost cancelled halfway through season 4. Then there is Stargate which was never intended to be a real ‘story’, and yet it went through 10 seasons and 2 spinoffs. What is it about these particular stories that shine for me? Why is Babylon 5 so much greater than Dune, or the Wheel of Time better than the Belgariad? Each of those five have inspired me to spend hours and hours, if not days, weeks and months worth of time fantasizing about being in those worlds. Dune, the Belgariad, and all the other works of fantasy and sci fi I’ve read over the years capture my attention for the span of time that I’m reading them, and to a small extent afterwards as well, but only these five stand out for me as holding my imagination even after years away from them. I still occasionally imagine myself in Middle Earth walking the lands. In the fall when the weather turns I still get the urge to re-read the Hobbit for the twentieth time. (Honestly, I’ve lost count.) I’ve roleplayed in Middle Earth and the Wheel of Time, in Star Wars and Stargate. Babylon 5 even made me rethink my religion. They each in their own way inspire me and fuel my imagination over and over again. That brings me back to George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire. Everyone tells me how great it is. And it is great, but for me it lacks… something. It captures me during the reading. It is masterfully done, but the difference between it and those others is that it doesn’t fuel my imagination. I don’t fantasize about being in Westeros during my daily commute to work. Maybe it’s because I spent a year of my life working as a Knight, actually riding horses and donning armor to entertain crowds at Ren fairs around the country. Maybe it’s because it is a relatively low fantasy world and there just isn’t enough magic for my tastes. Whatever it is, it just will never stand in my view as the equal of those other five, never mind that it might be better and more skillfully written than those. I don’t claim that it doesn’t capture the imagination of others and fuel their fantasies, but for me it does not, and when I finally put down the final book, the story will be over and it will live in my memory as only one of the stories I’ve read, although an excellent one. Unfortunately it will not burn in my imagination leading me to picture myself in that world and wonder what it would be like to be there.
  49. 1 point
    The Krogan The krogan are a species of large reptilian bipeds native to the planet Tuchanka, a world known for its harsh environments, scarce resources, and overabundance of vicious predators. The krogan managed to not only survive on their unforgiving home world, but actually thrived in the extreme conditions. Unfortunately, as krogan society became more technologically advanced so did their weaponry. Four thousand years ago, at the dawn of the krogan nuclear age, battles to claim the small pockets of territory capable of sustaining life escalated into full-scale global war. Weapons of mass destruction were unleashed, transforming Tuchanka into a radioactive wasteland. The krogan were reduced to primitive warring clans struggling to survive a nuclear winter of their own creation, a state that continued until the salarians discovered them two thousand years later. With the help of the salarians, the krogan were "uplifted" into galactic society, and lent their numbers and military prowess to bring an end to the Rachni Wars. Ironically, after the rachni were eradicated, the rapidly expanding krogan became a threat to the galaxy in turn, starting the Krogan Rebellions and forcing the turians to unleash the genophage. This genetic "infection" dramatically reduced fertility in krogan females, causing a severe drop in births and, ultimately, population, eliminating the krogan numerical advantage. Biology Due to the brutality of their surroundings, natural selection has played a significant role in the evolution of the krogan. Unlike most species on the Citadel, krogan eyes are wide-set - on Earth this is distinctive of prey animals, but in this case it gives the krogan 240-degree vision, giving them greater visual acuity and awareness of approaching predators. Prior to the genophage, krogan could reproduce and mature at an astonishing rate. Their large shoulder humps store fluids and nutrients, enabling them to survive extended periods without food or water. A bigger shoulder hump is seen as a sign of high status, showing how successful an individual krogan is at hunting. Their thick hides are virtually impervious to cuts, scrapes or contusions, and they are highly resistant to environmental hazards, including toxins, radiation, and extreme heat and cold. Consequently their diets can include food and drink that would prove very dangerous to other species—a fact reflected in the krogan liquor of choice, ryncol, which "hits aliens like ground glass". Younger krogan have yellow or green markings on their hides. These markings darken to brown or tan over time, showing their age. Krogan typically stand over 7 feet and weigh roughly one ton in armor. Biotic individuals are rare, though those who do possess the talent typically have strong abilities. The most amazing physiological feature of krogan biology is the multiple instances of major organs. These secondary (and where applicable, tertiary) systems are capable of serving as back-ups in the event of damage to the primary biological structures. They have, for example, two hearts, four lungs, and most notably four testicles. This reflects in their slang, where they often speak about a "quad" where a human would use the words "balls" or "pair". Krogan also have a secondary nervous system using a neuroconductive fluid, meaning they are almost impossible to paralyze. Krogan bleed a yellow or orange fluid when shot, which may be this fluid or actual blood. Having redundant systems makes krogan difficult to kill or incapacitate in normal combat scenarios. Sheer physical hardiness means an individual krogan can expect to live for centuries. Krogan can live for well over a thousand years, as evidenced by Warlord Okeer, a veteran of the Krogan Rebellions who died (of decidedly unnatural causes) well over a thousand years after the Rebellions ended. History Rise of the Krogan: Roughly 2000 years ago the krogan were a primitive tribal species trapped on a world suffering through a nuclear winter of their own making. They were liberated from this state by the salarians, who "culturally uplifted" the krogan by giving them advanced technology and relocating them to a planet not cursed with lethal levels of radiation, toxins or deadly predators. But the salarian intervention was not without an ulterior motive. At the time the Citadel was engaged in a prolonged galactic war with the rachni, a race of intelligent space-faring insects. The salarians hoped the krogan would join the Citadel forces as soldiers to stand against an otherwise unstoppable foe. The plan worked to perfection: within two generations the rapidly breeding krogan had the numbers to not only drive the advancing rachni back, but the ability to endure the harsh conditions of the rachni worlds. They were able to pursue them to their home worlds, find the rachni queens, and eradicate the entire species. Saviors of the Galaxy: For a brief period the krogan were hailed as the saviors of the galaxy and were given not only the conquered rachni worlds but also other planets in Citadel space to colonize, in gratitude for their help. The Citadel Council even commissioned a statue for the Presidium—the Krogan Monument—to honor the krogan soldiers who died defending Citadel space. But without the harsh conditions of Tuchanka to keep their numbers in check, the krogan population swelled to unprecedented numbers. Overcrowded and running out of resources, the krogan spread out to forcibly claim other worlds—worlds already inhabited by races loyal to the Citadel. There was always "just one more world" needed. The final straw was when the krogan began settling the asari colony of Lusia. When the Council ordered them to leave, Overlord Kredak, the krogan ambassador, stormed out of the Chambers, daring the Citadel races to take their worlds back. War broke out soon afterward. The so-called Krogan Rebellions continued for nearly three centuries. The krogan sustained massive casualties, but their incredible birth rate kept their population steadily increasing. Victory seemed inevitable. In desperation, the Council turned to the recently discovered Turian Hierarchy for aid. The turians unleashed the genophage on the krogan home worlds: a terrifying bio-weapon engineered by the salarians. The genophage caused near total infant mortality in the krogan species, with only 1 birth in every 1000 producing live offspring. The Genophage: No longer able to replenish their numbers, the krogan were forced to accept terms of surrender. For their role in quelling the Krogan Rebellions, the turians were rewarded with a seat on the Citadel Council. The krogan, on the other hand, still suffer from the incurable effects of the genophage. Over the last millennium krogan numbers have steadily declined, leaving them a scattered and dying people. Some try bizarre treatments for the genophage, including testicle transplants. But, faced with the certainty of their extinction as a species, most krogan have become individualistic and completely self-interested. They typically serve as mercenaries for hire to the highest bidder, though many still resent and despise the Citadel races that condemned them to their tragic fate. Despite an announcement about failed, krogan-funded research into the genophage most krogan have not worked toward a cure, as they are more interested in combat than science. A salarian scientist, Mordin Solus, explained that the krogan are in fact evolving to undo the damage of the genophage. To prevent overpopulation, Mordin's Special Tasks Group team created and applied a modified genophage, which he claimed will keep the population down but still allows for a viable population, indicating the krogan race isn't as doomed as they believe. Mordin stated that both the original and new genophage were designed to stabilize the krogan birth rate at pre-industrial levels—one viable birth per thousand. Given the prodigious krogan birth rate, it would appear that the enormously violent nature of krogan culture is actually responsible for their dwindling numbers. Ironically, this means that if the krogan were not so convinced that they, as a species, are doomed, and consequently spent less time roaming the Galaxy spoiling for a fight, their numbers might increase—they are essentially being killed by their own fatalism. Culture The harsh krogan home world conditioned the krogan psychology for toughness just as it did the body. Krogan have always had a tendency to be selfish, unsympathetic, and blunt. They respect strength and self-reliance and are neither surprised nor offended by treachery. The weak and selfless do not live long. In their culture, "looking out for number one" is simply a matter of course. Krogan have powerful territorial instincts that serve them well in combat, but can create problems; when traveling on starships, for example, krogan find sharing quarters nearly impossible. Most krogan trust and serve no one but themselves. This solitary attitude stems in part from a deep sense of fatalism and futility, a profound social effect of the genophage that caused krogan numbers to dwindle to a relative handful. Not only are they angry that the entire galaxy seems out to get them, the krogan are also generally pessimistic about their race's chances of survival. The surviving krogan see no point to building for the future; there will be no future. The krogan live with an attitude of "kill, pillage, and be selfish, for tomorrow we die." Female krogan rarely leave their home worlds, focusing on breeding in an attempt to keep krogan numbers from declining too quickly. The few remaining fertile females who can carry young to term are treated as prizes of war, to be seized, bartered or fought over. Recently, it has been noted that the females of the krogan species live in clans separate from that of the males. Envoys are sent out from the female clans to determine who amongst the males is worthy to visit the female clans. Due to the effects of the genophage and the lack of fertile females, this happens often and many male krogan sire children from one female. Religion Krogan are not shown to have strong religious beliefs. The closest they come is to establish ritualistic burial grounds called the Hollows, where the skulls of their ancestors are displayed to remind them of "where we all come from, and where we all go." The Hollows are as sacred as any krogan place can be, and violence there is forbidden. Several krogan also mention a place called "the Void" which seems to be the krogan version of the afterlife. Clans Krogan are divided into numerous clans. Membership in a clan allows a krogan to own property, join the army and apply to serve under a Battlemaster. Young krogan undergo a rite of passage that is overseen by a shaman respective to the clan the krogan wishes to join. In clan Urdnot, for example, this rite consists of battling various wild fauna on Tuchanka, ending with an encounter with a thresher maw. Merely surviving for five minutes is considered proof of worthiness, but killing the thresher maw increases the initiate's prestige and standing. Few outsiders have seen the rite of passage take place, even though there aren’t any rules in krogan tradition that state that a non-krogan can't help with the undertaking of the rite by acting as the participant's krantt. The clan shaman preserves the rite of passage and all other rites and traditions. The shaman must undergo lengthy and torturous rites to assume the position, and is required to give up his name. Because of this level of commitment, the shaman is one of the most respected members of a clan. Known krogan clans: Clan Drau - Drau Sorze is a "ruzad", or "judge", in the Republic of Ghurst on Tuchanka. Clan Forsan - this clan's leader declared being hit by Pyjak dung grounds for executing the trader responsible for introducing them to Tuchanka. Clan Ganar - Ganar Wrang, an exiled krogan battlemaster, founded the Blood Pack mercenary group. Clan Gatatog - led by Gatatog Uvenk on Tuchanka. Clan Hailot - clan leader Hailot Wrund controlled Garvug prior to the corporatist invasion in 2185. Clan Jorgal - a clan known to have one of the longest krogan bloodlines. Clan Jurdon - an enemy of Clan Urdnot on Tuchanka. Clan Nakmor - the Nakmor Ambassador can be found next to the Shaman on Tuchanka. Clan Quash - Quash Hurgott is a Blood Pack commander. Clan Ravanor - the clan runs a mining operation on Tuchanka; Warlord Ravanor Tusk is a clan member. Government After their defeat in the Rebellions, the very concept of krogan leadership was discredited. Where a warlord could once command enough power to bring entire solar systems to heel and become Overlord, these days it is rare for a single leader to have more than a thousand warriors swear allegiance to him. It is speculated that their instinctive aggression and territorial nature prevent the krogan from forming any kind of centralized government or parliament that is not based on fear or obedience. Military Traditional krogan tactics were built on attritional mass-unit warfare. Equipped with cheap, rugged gear, troop formations were powerful but inflexible. Command and control was very centralized; soldiers in the field who saw a target contacted their commanders behind the lines to arrange fire support. Since the genophage, the krogan can no longer afford the casualties of the old horde attacks. The Battle Masters are a match for any ten soldiers of another species. To a Battle Master, killing is a science. They focus on developing clean, brute-force economy of motion that exploits their brutal strength to incapacitate enemies with a swift single blow of overwhelming power. This change of focus from mass-unit warfare to maximal efficiency has increased employment demand in the fields of security and 'muscle for hire.' Due to the unsavory reputation of the krogan, most of these jobs are on the far side of the law. Battle Masters are not 'spit and polish,' but they do believe in being well armed and equipped, preferably with a gun for each limb. They are callous and brutal, but methodical and disciplined. They use any means at their disposal to achieve their goals, no matter how reprehensible. Hostage taking and genocide are acceptable means to ensure a quiet occupation with few krogan casualties. Biotics are rare among the krogan, especially since the practice of surgically creating krogan biotics has been discontinued (due to the high mortality rate). Those that exist are viewed with suspicion and fear. The krogan see this aura of fear as a useful quality for an officer, and often promote them. Combat drones and other high-tech equipment are likewise in short supply. Ability range Str 9-16 Dex 4-12 Con 8-16 Int 4-13 Wil 4-12 Per 4-12 Krogan are strong and tough, but that’s about it. They don’t seem to excel at anything other than combat and brutality. Free Broad skills Str: Athletics, Unarmed Attack Dex: - Con: Stamina Int: Knowledge Wil: Awareness Per: Interaction A krogan’s life is a tough one; they learn to quickly adapt and fight or they die. Superior Durability: A krogan, with its secondary and tertiary organs, is better able to withstand physical punishment than members of other species. When determining a krogan’s durability rating, use the character’s Constitution score x 1.5 (rounding up if necessary to produce a whole number). Body Armor: All krogan possess natural body armor that provides protection of d4+1 (LI), d4 (HI), d4-1 (En). This body armor does not layer with armor worn by the krogan. If a krogan wears armor, use the statistics for the armor worn. Regeneration: All krogan possess astonishing regenerative capabilities. Once per day, a krogan can force their body to begin an adrenaline induced healing cycle that lasts for 6 rounds. During this time, the krogan will automatically regain 1 point in every damage category (stun, wound, mortal, and fatigue) at the beginning of its turn. Once activated, the ability continues to function until all 6 rounds have elapsed. There are rumors of exceptionally powerful krogan who exceed this limitation, but such individuals would be exceedingly rare, indeed.
  50. 1 point
    Blood in the River of Fire From the private journal of Sgt. Marena Colby April 18th, 2056 I made my final report to Battalion HQ fourteen months ago, and I've been interviewed by my immediate superiors (those that survived, anyway) so many times I've become tired of my own voice. I got a little green and gold star pinned on my shoulder by General Chimera, who shook my hand and smiled. Now that over a year has passed, I think I'm finally ready to tell my story: my own version of the Battle of Kettle Falls. First off, despite what anyone else tells you, Colville is beautiful; true, it's isolated, and you'd kill your best friend for a good cup of coffee, but the land is wild and savage. If you take two seconds and stop seeing the terrain in terms of good or bad cover, trail visibility or possible ambush zones, the whole of it will take your breath away. As a lowly corporal in the 1st Infantry Battalion, I wasn't supposed to notice these things, but no amount of Regular Army training or battle fatigue can blind me to natural beauty. Lt. Bishop just got used to me gawking at the scenery; he'd turn to ask me to report on the platoon's deployment, see where my head was at, and politely give me a few seconds to marvel at a truly awesome pine towering over our camp. Then he'd make a little noise with his throat to bring me back to Earth, I'd shake the pixie dust from my eyes, and we'd converse like the hardened military types that we were. I'd see the ghost of a smile in his eyes, but other than that, there was no comment; that little understanding is one of the things I'll miss the most about the lieutenant. He was a good man and a good soldier, just like everyone else who died at the Falls. 1st Battalion Alpha Company makes its home at Hole 2 Battalion HQ, carved deep into and under Copper Butte in northeast Washington State. Like all Green bases, Hole 2 uses the mass of an entire mountain to shield a handful of weary troops from the eyes of the OMEN sats, spy planes and anyone else trying to suss out our cozy little hiding places. And by cozy, don't think I mean 'comfortable', at least not in the traditional sense of the world. To a Green, 'cozy' means 'not being shot at every two seconds' - hot water, actual human food and a mattress are referred to as 'heaven'. So there we all were, tucked under our mountain like a happy bunch of dwarves in a Tolkien novel, going about our day to day routine of trying not to be killed. This is a full- time job if you're a cohabitationist 'race traitor' like me, foolishly believing that novas and baselines can (gasp!) share the world if they both stop acting like assholes. Admittedly, we have no shortage of assholes in the Greens either, but hey, they're our assholes, and despite all the bitching and moaning, when the cards are down, we pull together as a team and get the job done. Of course, the minute the fighting's over, we go back to name calling and hair pulling. On the night of February 8th 2055, I was cleaning my weapon and listening to my chip player in my bunk - I think I had on the Soft White Puffs' Drama Drama, which is great music for railgun maintenance. Pvt. Chester Montgomery popped his head into the NCO dorm with a crazed smile on his face, the kind of smile that tells you very bad shit is about to happen. "What's the word, Chester," I asked as I slipped off my phones, trying hard to sound casual. "Good news, Corporal - you know that op we were supposed to pull on Friday?" "The bridge job? What about it?" "Timetable's been advanced a bit." The smile was on the verge of becoming a grimace. "Define 'a bit'." "Tomorrow morning - 0400 hours." I think my face sort of collapsed at this point; mouth sounds were impossible for what seemed like twenty minutes. 'But - how?!" I finally stammered in disbelief. "Where does this crazy-ass shit come from? Happyland? From the Psycho Bitch Queen herself?" Chester shook his head sadly. "You'd think it would, wouldn't you? Nope, this comes from Down the Hall. Richter's got a hard-on for this mission, and he wants it done now. Something about some new intel from our eyes and ears in Tatter-tot Land." Suddenly everything made sense, at least as close to sense as we ever got in this war; 'Down the Hall' meant the hub of Battalion HQ, where Major Richter and the boys in Intel lived. Richter was many things: a brilliant commander, a fine tactician, and by all accounts a pretty good sax player, but he was also a bloodthirsty sonuvabitch who just loved to stick it to the Tatter-tots any chance he got. After all, 1st Battalion wasn't known as 'Richter's Raiders' for nothing. The War is a very complex thing; future generations might try to categorize it as a simple 'us vs. them' deal, but from where I stand, the whole thing's pretty damn murky. If it was just 'nova versus baseline' or 'human versus Aberrant', I think it would have over in a few days, a couple of weeks, tops. But this war of ours is a big fat sticky mess, and you don't have to guess that the sticky part is blood. Human, Aberrant, red, green, blue or hot pink, its all just blood to me; I'm good at spilling it, and I hate when mine is spilled. And in Colville, our bloody little neck of the woods, most of the spilling is done by the Tatter- tots, our little Blue buddies from across the Columbia River. The Free World Army, as they laughably like to call themselves, are possibly the sickest little fuckers in the history of dumb, backward hicks; they are sprinkled over the Northern Rockies in malignant clusters, congealing into fortified towns bristling with firearms and xenophobia. Members of the FWA don't trust anyone; not the government, the Army, or even postal workers. They believe that the satanic evil of the Abbies has permeated every facet of human society, with the exception of their little blessed plots that they defend with the help of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, and a lot of stockpiled ammunition. I know a lot about the Tatter-tots because my dad's one, and he'd probably shoot me if he ever saw me again - unless, of course, I shot him first. Forgive all the digressions, dear reader, whoever you are; I keep trying to get all the relevant facts in, and it makes a bit of a mess of things. Actually, maybe I should stop for today - I need to catch a few hours of sleep before I take my team out for a recon at 0700. April 19th, 2056 Unfortunately, my bunkmate, Scout First Grade Lynn Epstein, has discovered that I'm writing about the Falls; I don't talk about it much here at my new post, and now she's all intrigued. I promised her today that I'd let her read some of it when I felt it was ready, and she's promised not to peek. She's a good kid, and I hope she makes it through the war; since she's an Abbie, she'll probably outlive me, as long as she doesn't get caught, shot, or walk too close to a KT mine. So anyway, Montgomery tells me the timetable for the bridge job has been moved up a full six days to 0400 the following morning; he tells me this at about 2130, which means it's just over six hours away. I quickly reassembled my weapon and trotted down the hall to Lt. Bishop's quarters, and knocked on the door. "Come in." I found the lieutenant seated at his small desk, checking over his field gear and shuffling around some maps, a black grease pencil clenched tightly in his jaws. He looked up for a second, gave me a nod of acknowledgment, and returned to his maps. "Evening, Corporal." "Good evening, sir. Do you have a second?" "Maybe one or two - what's up?" I dropped down to a crouch for a little more privacy. "What's this about the bridge job being advanced to 0400?" Bishop looked up at me sharply. "Where'd you here about that?" "From Montgomery, sir." The lieutenant let out an angry snort and tossed his maps onto his cot. "God damn that little snoop! Couldn't wait 'til ten o'clock, could he?" "So we're getting briefed at 2200?" "Yeah." Bishop ground his palms into his eyes and slumped a bit in his chair, his body showing a mixture of pre-combat nerves and fatigue. He looked up at me with a despairing expression. "I don't like this, Rena - I don't like plans being changed at the last minute, and I don't like my boys going out on so little rest." He waved in the general direction of the bunkhouse. "There not going to be able to sleep - they'll just stay up drinking and playing cards. I know it's just a little op, but it's at the edge of hostile country, and I don't want my boys screwing up in sight of the Tatter-tots. Those fuckers will jump all over you if they smell blood, and there's a hell of a lot more of them then us." The lieutenant rubbed his face and turned back to his maps. "Get yourself a coffee, and a shower if there's any hot water - it's gonna be a long night." I'll skip the details of the briefing - what sounds ominous and terrifying in person just seems dry and academic on paper - but let me put the mission as outlined by Captain Fergussen in my own words. Way back in the 20th, I think around the time of World War II, some amazing civil engineer types built the Grand Coulee Dam. I saw it once when I was a kid and my family was on vacation - you can take these elevators down to see the huge turbines spinning, providing power to the whole state. So anyway, when they built the dam, the Columbia River filled up and became Lake Roosevelt, a haven for swimmers and fishermen. Lake Roosevelt is mostly really, really long, but it's wide enough that there are very few places to cross it with bridges, one of which is at Kettle Falls, one of the biggest Tatter-tot enclaves in the state. The FWA used the Columbia River Bridge to send troops in armored vehicles over to our side, where the psycho Blues raped, murdered and pillaged our settlements like a pack of rabid Vikings. One interesting sidenote: if a Blue kills or captures an Abbie, they cut out their node with a little hatchet they carry with them for just such an occasion. And if they're not sure if you're human or Abbie, well you never can be too sure, right? Tatter-tots have been known to wear necklaces made out of dried-out nodes, fingers and ears to remind everyone how crude and violent they are, just in case we'd all forgotten. Bet my dad has a pretty nice necklace going. God damn it. April 21st, 2056 Sorry for the break there, dear readers, but thinking about my dad makes me a little emotional, for obvious reasons. Did I mention that he killed my nova boyfriend? No? Well, now the reasons should be pretty obvious. So where were we? Oh right, the stupid goddamn bridge. I hate that stupid bridge, and soon you'll see why, if I can keep to my story or avoid crying jags in my bunk. Epstein has been very cool with my crying the last few days; she's a war orphan, so we often enjoy a game of 'who's had a worse life', which surprisingly always makes me feel better. It's nice to have another woman to talk to in the bunkhouse, even if she is a swizzle stick of an Abbie Scout. Scouts are cool by me; sure, Cobras are great if you want to blast the bad guys into a million pieces, if don't mind being picked up by every Q-meter on the West Coast. Scouts will do the same job without all the sound and fury, though it might take 'em a little longer, and I'd rather be patient than dead. I'm going to make a concerted effort to stick to the story now, with digressions only as absolutely necessary - wish me luck! From our position under Copper Butte, the bridge was somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty-five klicks away to the east, probably farther if you took the winding nature of the roads into consideration. There was no way in hell we were gonna march the whole way at 4 am; remember, Colville is mountainous and it was early February, when the overnight highs are in the teens. We would use two of our tiny fleet of vehicles to get as close to the river as possible without being spotted, then finish the rest of the trek on foot. Sunrise was at 7:25, and our sources across the river said that a large force of Blues was going to cross the bridge just before dawn on its way to the Green town of Republic, some 20 kilometers southwest of Hole 2. Republic was under our protection, and some of us in Alpha Company had family there, so we were not going to let those sick fucks over to our side. Our job was simple, at least on paper: to blow the bridge while the greatest number of Blues was on it. Our fleet consisted of five armored Chevy pickups; ancient booze-burners that guzzled ethanol like a Cobra on leave and smelled almost as bad. We had two small teams in two trucks, five men to a truck plus the driver, who drove with his headlights off and his nightvisor down. On a mission like this, wandering deer and elk were just as dangerous as enemy scouts, so all eyes were on the road to avoid a deadly collision. Not a lot of talking at this stage, just a lot of shivering in the unheated cargo bed as we crushed ourselves together, trying to stay warm. If everything went according to plan, we'd be drinking hot coffee back at Copper Butte no latter than 9 am, shooting the shit and feeling like heroes. Yeah, right. April 23rd, 2056 Everyone has their own pre-combat rituals: wearing a pair of lucky socks, praying to a higher power, having wild, animalistic sex in a side room where everyone can hear you. Me, I like to listen to loud, angry music. Admittedly, this is not terribly original - loud, angry music is a proven morale booster that has been used by military men and women for years, as has wild animalistic sex, I imagine. I guess I'm something of a traditionalist in these matters, and at the time I wasn't getting any, so I settled for destroying my eardrums the morning of the op. I believe it was So Dead by Plague of Bettys at 0400 on February 9th, a chip just bursting with bile and hate, just the thing to set you toes a- tapping and your trigger finger itching. Squeezed into the back of our Chevy, we were cold as a hell but stilled pumped, primed and ready for action. I was in the lead truck, some twenty meters ahead of the following truck, as we bounced and rattled our way east on Route 20. Booze-burners are tricky things - they don't like running on alcohol, but they really don't have much of a choice, so they take it out on us by getting terrible mileage and breaking down whatever chance they get, preferably when you're surrounded by hostiles and low on ammo. And the knowledge that every spare inch of space is used to store dented plastic jugs of ethanol is inspirational to us all; you'll never see a more dedicated group of soldiers leap into action once the truck hits safe speed, which for me is about 20 mph. For this op, most of 1st Platoon was going out in the field; 2nd squad lost the coin toss, so they had to freeze their buts off while 1st squad sipped on hot cocoa back at the base. In fact, they would be monitoring our progress closely while trying to act nonchalant in classic military fashion. Our trucks were driven by two Transport and Supply 'mules', Specialists Dale Conklin and Lou Gonnella; I didn't know either of them too well, but I'd see them around the base, mostly at T&S or near the motor pool. They weren't supply clerks, they were trained combat drivers who'd driven dozens of missions like this before, and they knew their way around the roads of Colville blind drunk or stone sober. True, they probably hadn't had a lot of frontline combat experience, but that wasn't their job - they took teams out into the field, and got 'em back home when the op was over. I was in Conklin's truck in the lead; he shared the cab with Scout, First Grade Kara Van Kooten, 1st Platoon's 'brownie', who was pretty cute the way most brownies are, especially in the eyes of most RA grunts. Quiet, aloof and graceful, she fit the 'Scout chick' stereotype to a tee, and most of the guys in the platoon had some kind of crush on her, and why couldn't she be back in the bed instead of old Colby? Now just so we're clear, I've never had any complaints in the looks department, but to them I was just a grunt with tits, and a corporal to boot, so my sex was practically invisible. A brownie however has an aura of mystery, and that very unattainable quality makes them all the more fascinating.
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