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Offline GMLovlie

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And suddenly they fled ...
« on: January 13, 2017, 06:49:48 AM »
So, fourth session last night.

They've been exploring an old starship in orbit around Saturn (see ongoing campaign in signature if you're at all interested in reading about the bumbling campaign I'm running).

I've been adding to the mystery with dates (the ship is over 100 years old), weird mutated humans (ghoul and gorger stats), something big behind a door they never managed to open ... and a nightlord as the xenomorph stand-in. And lots of sounds, smells, and ... a hydra in the water reservoir.

Twice one or two members of the have been close to dying (i.e. rounds until death).

First time was the hydra - two got punctured lungs and were bleeding out. The medic is luckily as cautious guy, and competent, so he saved the day with bandages, suture pen and good rolling. That was two sessions ago. They spent three days on their ship just resting and recuperating, then went back in to fire up the main-frame computer and to locate one of the main generators.

Second time was last night. They'd seen, or heard, the nightxeno last sessions, so they were being really careful and vary about everything they did. They built traps, planned to trap it, or squash it using the big freight/cargo containers in the cargo hold, and so on...

In the end the xeno ambushed them by jumping down from above, and using its tendrils attacked all of them. One crushed windpipe, three entangled legs, two fate points and an aimed burst at point-blank range with an autoshotgun later and the thing was pretty much dead, and they were covered in acidic blood (ext. poison.) One guy is unconscious, another guy is dying (but unaware of this fact) and the other two guys go on to finish a remote control and ... and now things get silly, but this all happened: the pilot (autoshotgun guy) is unconscious from having taken too many concussion hits, the sniper is dying (but unaware), the medic is tending to them all, stopping bleeding and making sure the pilot isn't dead. The engineer finishes some work he started.

Now, to get evidence about these mutated creatures, and that they have found alien life (first they ever heard of that existing - what would happen if the general public heard about this?), the sniper decides to shoot down some of the mutated creatures that are hanging from the ceiling, all tied up and dead, but not shotgun blasted beyond recognition. He fumbles. He fumbles badly. He shoots the medic. The medic, luckily, survives. At this time I remembered that the sniper was supposed to be dying - I had forgotten to tell him, because he also almost died the last session he was in, the hydra puncturing lungs (just (un)lucky rolls on my part.) So he collapses and goes unconscious. The medic decides to help. So pilot and sniper unconscious. Sniper is stabilised, but needs hospital. In other words, they have to leave*. Intending to come back the engineer decides to hide the canisters they've taken from their ship to get the generator going. He hides one ... badly... and fumbles the camouflage check. So, moving maneuver I decided, he's carrying around a 20 mass canisters, trying to hide them in some shelves among other stuff. It's heavy lifting. He's weak. He fumbles. He rolls not too badly, but ... 2d10+10 on crush. He drops the damn thing on his leg, takes 7 hits ... goes unconscious. He had like 1 left... So, pilot, sniper and engineer is unconscious. The medic is alone with them, locked in a generator room, ~150 meters or so in a slightly winding route from where their ship is docked. A ship they know is populated by mutants, and now also aliens... and they know there's at least one or more thing still alive on this level.

In short: It worked out, but there was A LOT of grumbling and told-you-sos and more throughout the whole thing... quite entertaining, even if it was against my intent and desire for the ongoing game.


Now I suddenly find myself in the situation of having to make, populate and develop a bubble world in orbit around Jupiter. Caelestis - the name and place is taken from Tintamar in the HARP SF book, but I guess my version may be a bit different from what may have been the idea behind it by the developers.

Originally I hadn't given it too much thought, they were dungeon crawling in space, the ship is big, they had time, I had time, no need to develop something that specific. I've made my alternative time-line and political environment in our solar system, based on Tintamar, but things are different and most is developed in a more general way. To give an impression of genre, tone... aesthetics. Stuff like that.

So, as they fled and arrived at Caelestis, I said the following: imagine Blade Runner, dark, neon, dirty, used, worn and nothing like associations the name of the bubble city may want to inspire.

Now, going by the HARP SF CRB, I can glean some ideas about these floating cities, they're the power in the Jovian system (confederation), which is still possible in a run-down, grimy, dark, corrupt version of it. But how big is it? There are three cloud cities according to the book, 27 million people, and colonies on some of the moons. Population is one measurement, but how big should they physically be? Has anyone made like a map, with zones, levels, detailed or more abstract, it doesn't matter.

I know that there may come a Tintamar setting book, at some point, and that I'm free to ignore whatever is in the CRB and/or any future supplement, but in working on my own alternate reality Tintamar - currently dubbed Sepsis, a pre-FTL version centred on our solar system - I wouldn't mind some more insight into what actually is the intent, design and flavour of some of these places.

Or some suggestions, experiences and what you (and your group) have done in your own games, if your game ever went to Caelestis.

Next session is in a week and a half, so I have some time... but yeah, tips, tricks, ideas... suggestions. Anything.


 :alien:

Thanks.

 :hal:

*That's not what I wanted, but I realised things were getting out of hand quickly and they were suffering badly. And were about to run out of food.
"What about the future...? We can only hope, we cannot however account for the minutiae of the quanta, as all accidents in an infinite space are inevitable."

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Offline RandalThor

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Re: And suddenly they fled ...
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2017, 12:47:48 PM »
Question: Does every fumble mean damage to a PC? I can understand the shotgun fumble - though I don't think I have ever had a fumble do critical damage - but the fumbled camouflage check doing damage seems unnecessary, to me. If they are already hurting, I don't see the need to add more damage in that situation. Perhaps just note the terrible (TERRIBLE) attempt at hiding the canister so that when they do get into port it is found and they have some explaining to do - or you have an Alien style adventure on the station when whatever is in there gets out as it wasn't as dead as they thought...

As for the station, if you are worried about being overloaded don't have it quite so huge. Make it much smaller, perhaps 3-5 thousand people in a hollowed out asteroid that serves as a sort of "truckstop" in space for the various crews of ships working the Jupiter sub-system. Make it tight and cramped feeling, very industrial with a dirty red-light district and tick-poor security, so anyone can be there, and just about anything can be found - for a price. Of course, this only works if you are not running the Tintamar setting as-is, and if that is the case, just make it not-Caelestis they go to (if possible, of course). With that said, I have found that smaller settlements are actually more overwhelming because it is much more personal, so more detailed information about the (relatively) few inhabitants is expected. In a huge city, all that gets lost in the massive population, and that you cannot be expected to know everything about everyone. You can describe large settlements in broad brush strokes easier, and only fine-tuning down once you know where the PCs are going. (A tip here: ask them now about some of the places and people they might want to see when there, that way you can start putting them together - but, as usual, be prepared for side-tracking it always happens.)

I would highly recommend you check out both the book and TV* series of The Expanse, it is all about a pre-FTL settlement of the Solar System.


*So, I was going to hyperlink to both the book series and the TV series, but I cannot get any of the controls to work on my Windows 10 computer - whether or not I am using IE 11 or Chrome. Here is the only thing I can do: http://www.syfy.com/theexpanse
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Offline pyrotech

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Re: And suddenly they fled ...
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2017, 01:08:57 PM »
For my Bughunters game I usually have the opposite problem with space cities!  The populations in space a small so I have to make a 'busy' spaceport with like 3000 people in the whole city.  But I'll share my methods with you anyway.

For space archologies I typically use modern city population densities from some of the highest cities out there.  So for a dark, gritty, unpleasant mass of humanity that still manage to live a civilized lifestyle I use about 40,000 terran equivilents per square kilometer (Manila levels of density).  For 'nice and spacious' ones I would use half of that (about the densest areas of New York city).  For food production space I use some info I found on tomato hydroponics (which make about 100kg of food per square meter per year) - then I double it for improvements to equipment, processes, and genetic tinkering with the plants.  Since a typical well fed person can be assumed to eat about a ton of food per year - that mean the archology will need 5 square meters of hydroponics per person to be self sufficient without imports.  You will have to determine if you want the place to be self sufficient or to import food - I would recommend having at least enough food production for half the population (especially since this would help with oxygen requirements as well).

So for your example of 27million people in 3 dark and gritty cities - I would say each city should be about 225 square km of work/residential area plus about 30 square km of food production (the cities will need to import about 1/3 of their food requirements from elsewhere to be "well fed" but can eek by without).  If the average city had 9 levels of work/residential then each would be 2.8km radius plus maybe two more levels of food each about 2.5km radius (which gives room to work with the plants).  Each residential level would need to be about 100m tall to handle all the people, while the food levels probably would only need to be 10m tall (but I would make them taller - maybe 30m).  That gives a bubble city  about 3km radius (with external structure, space docks, etc.) and 1km tall, 9,000,000 people and enough food production to feed about 6,000,000 well for 9,000,000 poorly.

Sorry about the poorly organized mess here.  But hopefully you can follow what I did and have it be of some use for you.
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Offline GMLovlie

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Re: And suddenly they fled ...
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2017, 04:37:13 AM »
Question: Does every fumble mean damage to a PC? I can understand the shotgun fumble - though I don't think I have ever had a fumble do critical damage - but the fumbled camouflage check doing damage seems unnecessary, to me. If they are already hurting, I don't see the need to add more damage in that situation. Perhaps just note the terrible (TERRIBLE) attempt at hiding the canister so that when they do get into port it is found and they have some explaining to do - or you have an Alien style adventure on the station when whatever is in there gets out as it wasn't as dead as they thought...

As for the station, if you are worried about being overloaded don't have it quite so huge. Make it much smaller, perhaps 3-5 thousand people in a hollowed out asteroid that serves as a sort of "truckstop" in space for the various crews of ships working the Jupiter sub-system. Make it tight and cramped feeling, very industrial with a dirty red-light district and tick-poor security, so anyone can be there, and just about anything can be found - for a price. Of course, this only works if you are not running the Tintamar setting as-is, and if that is the case, just make it not-Caelestis they go to (if possible, of course). With that said, I have found that smaller settlements are actually more overwhelming because it is much more personal, so more detailed information about the (relatively) few inhabitants is expected. In a huge city, all that gets lost in the massive population, and that you cannot be expected to know everything about everyone. You can describe large settlements in broad brush strokes easier, and only fine-tuning down once you know where the PCs are going. (A tip here: ask them now about some of the places and people they might want to see when there, that way you can start putting them together - but, as usual, be prepared for side-tracking it always happens.)

I would highly recommend you check out both the book and TV* series of The Expanse, it is all about a pre-FTL settlement of the Solar System.


*So, I was going to hyperlink to both the book series and the TV series, but I cannot get any of the controls to work on my Windows 10 computer - whether or not I am using IE 11 or Chrome. Here is the only thing I can do: http://www.syfy.com/theexpanse

Regarding the fumble, he rolled badly, which resulted in the 2d10+10 crush critical. Not all fumbles results in damage no. And shouldn't. I get what you're saying, but considering the context, and that my players appreciated the comedy and absurdity of it all, it was the right thing to do. The alien not being dead, could work... except it was ... pretty much moosh afterwards ... even regeneration doesn't get you back from instantly fatal head wounds. I would think.

That is some good advice about large settlements and what the players would want to see. They will see the inside of a hospital, at least one of them, but good suggestion.

Yeah, Expanse, if it wasn't obvious (apparently not ;) ), that is an inspiration for the game, combined with Blade Runner, Alien, 2001, Avatar, Prometheus, Elysium, District 9, Oblivion and more. I am trying to make a kind of sci-fi-space-opera-dystopian-noire-mix :hal:


For my Bughunters game I usually have the opposite problem with space cities!  The populations in space a small so I have to make a 'busy' spaceport with like 3000 people in the whole city.  But I'll share my methods with you anyway.

For space archologies I typically use modern city population densities from some of the highest cities out there.  So for a dark, gritty, unpleasant mass of humanity that still manage to live a civilized lifestyle I use about 40,000 terran equivilents per square kilometer (Manila levels of density).  For 'nice and spacious' ones I would use half of that (about the densest areas of New York city).  For food production space I use some info I found on tomato hydroponics (which make about 100kg of food per square meter per year) - then I double it for improvements to equipment, processes, and genetic tinkering with the plants.  Since a typical well fed person can be assumed to eat about a ton of food per year - that mean the archology will need 5 square meters of hydroponics per person to be self sufficient without imports.  You will have to determine if you want the place to be self sufficient or to import food - I would recommend having at least enough food production for half the population (especially since this would help with oxygen requirements as well).

So for your example of 27million people in 3 dark and gritty cities - I would say each city should be about 225 square km of work/residential area plus about 30 square km of food production (the cities will need to import about 1/3 of their food requirements from elsewhere to be "well fed" but can eek by without).  If the average city had 9 levels of work/residential then each would be 2.8km radius plus maybe two more levels of food each about 2.5km radius (which gives room to work with the plants).  Each residential level would need to be about 100m tall to handle all the people, while the food levels probably would only need to be 10m tall (but I would make them taller - maybe 30m).  That gives a bubble city  about 3km radius (with external structure, space docks, etc.) and 1km tall, 9,000,000 people and enough food production to feed about 6,000,000 well for 9,000,000 poorly.

Sorry about the poorly organized mess here.  But hopefully you can follow what I did and have it be of some use for you.


Nice. Thanks for those numbers, makes it easier to think scale and mapping :hal: and yeah, I'm going for high density. I may increase the population numbers.
"What about the future...? We can only hope, we cannot however account for the minutiae of the quanta, as all accidents in an infinite space are inevitable."

Homebrew folder
Ongoing campaign
Inspirational images for my games
My box of stuff

 

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