Saturday, June 10, 2017

宁静的龙 (Níngjìng de lóng) - Session 0


The Níngjìng de lóng (Serene Dragon) is a Mudlark-class Utility Space Vehicle (USV) registered in Duncan Silas as an independent tramp freighter. It is a really just a tube: the seams on the hull are rough and unfinished, a smell of faux-flesh vats never quite washed off from the cargo hold. The deceleration push stutters every now and then and sends a rattle along its spine. The moisture level is a bit high and it mainly bothers Pradesh's pride as a life support engineer. Pradesh scours the ship as a Tech-spider but has more or less given up on fixing the moisture problem by now. The Ningjing is in need of maintenance but the crew has had a laisser-faire since they have learned that a gearhead was joining them upon their arrival on Deimos.

宁静的龙, or Níngjìng de lóng. A no-frill general purpose USV.

Pradesh, SAI, Life support Tech.

Pradesh is a Sentient Artificial Intelligence (SAI) entity who believe to be owned by John Cheng, the operator of the 'Níng. However, an instruction is hardcoded into his mind stating that certain instructions are to be decoded and passed along to Cheng without parsing. Another instruction states that if an encrypted message begins with a certain pattern, Pradesh is to execute the command. The SAI has no intention to question this command. Pradesh also is aware that a small explosive charge in the command room is rigged such that he may trigger it whenever needed. He doesn't know why he'd do that, but there it goes. Pradesh is not friend with anyone on board: the meat piles are unpredictable and generally unpleasant. The thought that an astropus is about to join the crew is unsavoury to the SAI.

Pradesh. Whoever thought that a sapiens life support tech AI should be
put in control of a manned ship must have been... a smart landlord.

John Cheng, Floater parahuman, ship's captain.

John is the captain of the 宁静的龙 (Níngjìng de lóng), although his story is airtight as the rightful owner of the ship as far as deed and registration records goes. He knows, however, that the overloards aren't moved by legality and that the 宁静的龙 is on loan. John is unusual: a bit homely and completely devoid of cybernetic enhancements. He is nearly 6'9" tall and very dainty like most floater parahumans. Both of his parents were first generation Duncanites and grew with the gengineered upgrade all of his life. His dark secret is that he has to maintain the facade of being the owner of the 宁静的龙 while a faceless overlord sometimes gives assignments that cannot be turned down. 

John truly dislike the thruster burns on his ship. The 0.17G is making him feel ill most of the time, However, this time around he has to stay on the ball as the ship is approaching Deimos: Mars' elevator tether. He's been told to hire an astropus that will be delivered by a group of German colonists from the planet's surface. 

John Cheng, all-round spacer with a dark secret.

Takeda Honza, retired Japanese marine, stevedore.

Takeda is a descendent of the orginal Ares Conspirators and a veteran of a tour on Yametei Station, working as a marine for Mutual Assured Defense (MAD). Although collecting a decent pension, Takeda has remained restless and was eager to keep on slipping in and out of deep space. When John posted an ad for a stevedore for a small Mudlark-class, Takeda embraced the opportunity with vim. Takeda is fully aware that Long has a shady agenda with his ship: he was overly eager when he learned about his military gears that he purchased from the Red Duncanites a few years back. He is also wondering why someone would sacrifice a revenue-generating cabin to retrofit a chemical power plant and a fixed 3X10MJ laser mount that is concealed in the nose. Takeda is also mildly worried by the fact that John is completely clean of AI support and doesn't even have a Virtual Interface Implant (VII). This makes keeping in touch a bit more difficult: John has to do everything the hard way, communication must be done via audio. Takeda finds the charade unnecessary.  

Takeda: My pension check comes in each month, and I still get to
shoot at things/people. What's not to love?

Horatio, astropus, spaceship mechanics.

Horatio was successfully smuggled out of Mars via the elevator: the Martian triad tried to snatch him after a botched extraction of pleasure bioroids from the Mars space elevator. At the same time, a warrant was active against him with the Rust China authority. His German colonists wranglers were very eager to get him off their hands. This is when they secured a transaction with a belter named John Cheng. Why did Cheng made the trip all the way to Deimos is a mystery.  Astropi are dumb as baked bread as far as they can tell.

Horatio: Well, Mars got quite messy. What can possibly go any worst
in the belt?

John scans the enhanced visuals on an holopanel of the control room. Deimos is a mere rock turned into a barebone high port. A thread of carbon and diamond descends some 10,000 miles to the planet's surface, and into the heart of New Shanghai. A laser wire comes in and is decrypted by Pradesh. The video message streams over the visual on the holopanel. A picture of a ragged looking astropus comes up. The astropus must no know that it was purchased and think that is has been hired fair and square. It is waiting in room 404 of the port's hotel. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Skill list for GURPS

Here is the skill list for a short campaign set in the belt and featuring a small group of operator of a STEPTOE-class debris recovery vehicle.

Level competency guidelines

  • 10: basic training
  • 11: Casual but regular usage
  • 12: Professionals
  • 13-15: Experts
  • 16+: Likely to come with a +1 reputation.

Free-fall in Microgravity

  • Level 12: Baseline level for visitors for more than 6 months. 
  • Level 13: Baseline assumed for belt dweller
  • Level 14: Baseline assumed for microgravity adapted parahumans, etc.
  • Level 15: Professional working in microgravity, soldiers. 
  • Level 16+: Athletes and freaks.

Knowledge and languages

Knowledge listed here would refer to knowledge in someone's head without assuming a connection to an Internet. The Internet is cached on most ships/asteroid and is worth 12 cps for all characters.

  • Languages and cultures 
    • English ( 5th wave western culture 5W)
    • Chinese ( 5th wave china 5C )
    • Japanese ( 5th wave Japanese culture 5J )
  • Area Knowledge ( independent from the Internet )
    • Area Knowledge (Solar System) [1 free]
      • Techniques: Inner, Jovian, Saturn, Outter
    • Area Knowledge (Belt) [1 free] -- Pertains to the belt as an entity
    • Area Knowledge (particular world) -- Pertains to AK within the world. 
      • 1 pt: Watch a in-Vid about it
      • 2 pts: visited once or twice
      • 4 pts: Frequent visits
      • 8+ pts: Call it home.
  • Current-Affairs ( TL/8: in person, TL9: 3rd wave world, TL10: 5th wave world)
    • Specialization: sol, belt, location with population >1000
  • Politics (solar)
  • History (solar)

Spacer skills

Cultural familiarity applies. Language penalties apply for ship's interface unless the ship can translate automatically.
  • Spacers: base skills as a ship crewperson (Can replace piloting for non-manual ops). All other skills default to Spacer -2
  • Navigation: Plotting courses
  • Engineering: Wildcard skill for operating/tweaking all systems
  • Gunnery: Wildcard skill for weapon system interface
  • Leadership: No shit.
  • Piloting: Pick one ship class, -2 in same category, -4 otherwise
  • Electronic Ops (sensors): Pick one of Navigation/Science/Tactical/Communications. -2 on other systems.
  • Mechanics: Wildcard for physical work on systems. Includes salvage and electronic work. 

Likely professional skillsets (Treat as 5cp talents as well, max one level)

  • Prospector: Geology/TL9, Electronic Ops (sensor, Scientific), Professional Skill (mining)/TL10, Merchant
  • Life Support Tech: Biology/TL10, Mechanics, Naturalist
  • Salvager: Mechanics, Electronic Ops (sensor, Nav), free-fall
  • Contractor: Mechanics, Engineering, Architecture/TL10
  • Physician: Physician/TL10, First-Aid, Bioengineering/TL10
  • Counsellor/Mediator:  Diplomacy, Psychology, Current Affairs, Area-Knowledge, Detect lies
  • Commander: Leadership, Navigation, Tactics ( space ), Gunnery, Electronic Ops (sensor, Nav)
  • Military: soldier, Tactics ( firefights), free-fall, Armoury ( guns )
  • Broker: Merchant, Diplomacy, Electronic Ops (comms)
  • Hacker: Computer Programming, Computer Intrusion, Electronics Ops (comms)

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Rust! S1E3 - Octopus on the run


A quarter of killer pleasure bioroids failed to escape the Maestro, a 7-storey tall space elevator car. The snag has drawn a lot of attention: Ceres Mutual is investigating the hardware failure leading to the catastrophic decompression. The martian triad is reeling from the monetary loss in the incident. Finally, the Free-Mars movement is more than curious about the meaning of all this. 
The previous session can be found here: knifefight in a phone booth.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Rust! S1E2 - Knife fight in a phone booth


A team of assassin pleasure bioroids are falling down to Mars' surface after an emergency decompression of their planetary elevator's vessel. They were awaken seemingly by a fluke, but their organized crime overlord are hell-bent in not letting the Chinese authority get their hand on them. 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Rust! S1E1: Harlots with thorns.


This is the Rust! campaign launch session. We start small in the Maestro, a 7-storey tall space elevator car crewed by 3 low-sapiens AI, 2 ZA-3 bioroids, a Valkyrie series security guard and Horatio, a PC and uplifted astropus. They are around the midpoint of a 10K miles long descent from Deimos to New Shanghai: a day's travel to destination. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Rust, Episode 1 - Harlots with thornes


The Eros series of boiroid is a family of pleasure clones sold under a license seeing widespread usage on Mars. The Rust Chinese administration tolerate their sales as service industry workers, a claim causing much eye-rolling on the red planet. Business interest connected to the Martian triads claim intellectual property on the line. The use of artificial sapiens in the sex trade is a watershed issue for the boiroid rights movement. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

The secret life of sapiens AIs

I've recently written about whether artificial intelligence would evolve to be ethical and lawful, and what would be their attitude to what we consider to be our reality. As AIs evolve their own economies and societies, there will be a point where "virtual" and "artificial" will become antiquated terms. Let's assume that the universe of Transhuman Space lies just beyond this line. 

key insight: I'm exploring how sapiens AIs would organize themselves in ways that do not need to make sense to denizen in the physical world. This would throw a spin on how stories develop in the Transhuman space universe.