Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Travel between the stars

If players are going to move around the central planets of Wolf Sector when they are just starting their careers they are not going to have their own ship. So they will need to book passage on one of the big Liners that continually move from planet to planet on the Circle Route.

The CG-Superrunner entering the orbit of Tyr

Panstellar Lines ship Arterise Galdis is one such ship. A large spike-2 passenger liner. The PL-AG circles continually from its home port on Kaitos to Einherjar, Delta Outeria, Tyr, Mizar, Bomar and Nintoku. The entire circle voyage takes on average 42 days.

The rules are not 100% clear to me but I have chosen to interpret that you need 48 hours (2 days) to reach interstellar space where a jump to drillspace can be attempted and then spend 6 days in drillspace per hex. There would be another 48 hours to drop out of drillspace and reach the destination planet. So 2 locations 1 hex apart would take 10 days to traverse with a spike-1 engine ship.

A spike-2 ship could cut this time in half. So there would be a tremendous advantage in booking passage on a spike-2 liner. The Arterise Galdis is a spike-2 liner. Booking a cabin on the PL-AG that has 2 bunks costs 1,500 credits per person per planet. Booking passage in steerage, which includes a sleeping tube in a dormitory costs 800 credits per person per planet. There is a 5% discount for each subsequent planet on the route.

Travelling on an older spike-1 liner like the Caberto Group SuperRunner (CG-Superrunner) is cheaper but the transit time is doubled. Travelling 1 system in a cabin is 900 credits per person and travelling in steerage (a dormitory of bunkbeds) costs 500 credits per person.

The cheapest way to get from one system to another is on the edge of legality. It is possible to travel frozen in suspended animation on a cargo hauler for as low as 90 credits per system. But there is a chance of permanent damage to the nervous system of the frozen passenger.

Wolf Sector

Saturday, 26 August 2017


A brief 3-week interlude without posts while I was in Greece on Vacation. But I should be back at it this week if I can think of something to write about!

That Parthenon.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

The Crew of the Raven

A quick write-up on a crew of a standard armored merchant ship for Stars without Number. I do not have time for a proper write up on the crew so I just copied some statistics from the rulebook but it is a good starting point.

The Achura class traders built by PCL (Palimose Constructors Larisno) on Kaitos were until recently the best and most expensive trade ships in Wolf Sector. Few but the main shipping lines could afford them.  That was 30 years ago. Now the need for an armored and armed trading ship has diminished. Unity of Suns corvettes have virtually eliminated pirates and freebooters from the main shipping lines. These ships are expensive to operate so some of them have been sold off by the major shipping companies to he smaller concerns who still need protection while travelling to the fringes of the system like Attis or Midwrath. The standard spike-1 drive fitted to the Achura is limiting to traders wanting to strike out on their own. Some enterprising individuals have gone and spent the credits for the full upgrade to a spike-2 drive ship. This opens up new markets like those on Comarid and Volant.

The Raven prepares for Customs Inspection on Kaitos

One such ship is the Achura Hull CX792452533 or Raven as the crew calls it. The Raven is a later model Achura CX with upgraded ablative hull protection and a spike-2 drive. It comes with the standard fore and aft mounted Dual-Multifocal lasers. Two life pods are included. There is not a lot of room left over for the current crew of five.

The enormous cargo hold can fit 22 M-Class standard containers. Though there are weight restrictions. The ship is also atmospheric landing capable.

Raven Blueprint

Crew of the Raven

Captain Chris Arnel
Level 3 Expert, HP 12, AC 5, AB +1, PE 16, ME 15, EV 12, Tech 11, Luck 14.
Laser Pistol (1d6), wears woven armor. Focused-1, Support-1, Combat/Projectile-0.
Chris is a tall man who appears to be in his late 20’s but he is actually closer to 40. He is the diplomat and the talker in the crew. Preferring to find an amenable solution to most problems.

First Officer Sofia Pousa
Level 2 Warrior, HP 10, AC 4, AB +3, PE 12, ME 15, EV 14, Tech 16, Luck 13.
Semi-auto pistol (1d8), wears woven armor. Combat/Projectile-0.
Sofia is dwarfed by the Captain but packs a mean punch. She is the combat specialist of the group.

Engineer Marek Szwed
Level 2 Expert, HP 8, AC 7, AB+0, PE 16, ME 15, EV 12, Tech 11, Luck 14.
Semi-auto pistol (1d8), wears undersuit. Support+0.
Marek is a short, portly middle-aged man. He is from Tyr and is a typical boisterous example of the inhabitants of that planet.

Cargo Master Anya Chaken
Level 1 Expert, HP 4, AC 7, AB +0, PE 16, ME 15, EV 12, Tech 11, Luck 14.
Semi-auto pistol (1d8), wears undersuit. Support-1, Combat Projectile 0.
Anya is in her early 20’s. She is the jack-of-all-trades on the Raven. She handles cargo, supplies, computer systems and life support.

E8X75 (Eddie)
Eddie is a self-aware robot. He is braked and has successfully paid off his creator debt. Eddie has been aware for more than 200 years. He has chosen to take a paying job on the Raven because it interests him.

(From LtoR) Anya, Marek, Chris, Sofia, Eddie.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Once more into the Void Session 11

Last night was another session of the Dungeon & Dragons 5th edition campaign I am participating in as a player. We were short-handed by two so a couple of us played two characters. Thankfully, we did not kill the missing player’s characters - not for lack of trying. This was a long session (Holiday so everyone could play late) and was three pretty long combat encounters. In all we probably explored no more than 80 feet of cavern but a lot happened.

When last we left our company was exploring a goblin warren of tunnels in the side of a gorge overlooking the town of Winterton. We are looking for answers to what evil force is behind the undead attacks on the town. We fought through some goblins and then stumbled into a chamber full of six goblins who are not surprised.

Once More Into the Void: Session 11
As the company stealthly tried to sneak through the goblin warren Alcor Fenn (tiefling monk) stumbled and alerted a group of six goblins. Since they were discovered, Alcor decided to charge the goblins and attack. Mukah (half-orc barbarian) and Talrek (dwarven cleric) follow closely behind Alcor and attack as well. In the opening melee the three heroes all swing and miss. But as the goblins close to engage in the fight, one comes into the line of sight of Thryrell (drow elf ranger) who fires an arrow into the unlucky goblin's head killing it instantly. Otrivush Oto (human wizard) casts a magical fire bolt and kills one of the goblins. In the remaining combat Mukah and Talrek are injured, Mukah grievously. Oto sets the head of one of the goblin’s on fire and Mukah and Alcor dispatch the rest.

Oto stops to examine the dead goblins. They do not have much of worth but it is interesting that they are undernourished and some of the bones they were gnawing on are goblin bones. After a quick inventory, Thyrell decides Mukah needs the aid of his god and he casts a pair of healing spells on the half-orc. Oto picks up a skull that has a single, lit candle placed in it. For the first time since entering the warren the human wizard has a light source to see.

The next chamber appears to be an empty sleeping area. There is a scattering of bones and straw pallets on the floor. There is nothing here to search but there is a large wooden door in the west wall. Mukah eases the door open (which opens in) and Alcor peers through the small gap. Beyond is a dark, stone corridor - apparently empty. The company stops to discuss the next action but Mukah grows inpatient and swings the door wide open and strides down the corridor.

The corridor turns a corner and enters a room. Mukah has a moment to take in the sight of an enormous corpse standing on an altar platform. Nearby, a goblin shaman screams and waves his hands and the corpse's eyes open, it groans, picks up a huge mace and lumbers at Mukah. Mukah, Alcor and Talrek turn to retreat to the defensible doorway. As the move back, the goblins cackles with laughter and suddenly Mukah finds he is paralyzed and cannot move. The huge zombie walks up to the half-orc and smashes him with his mace flinging the 6’7” tall half-orc into the wall. Talrek bravely runs forward, brandishing his holy symbol and calling on his god for aid. The zombie becomes aware of the symbol, a look of confusion and then fear spreads over its face. It starts stumbling backward away from the advancing dwarf. Behind the zombie the goblins can be heard screaming commands to no avail. Mukah feels the paralyzation begin to leave his limbs as the zombie moves past him.

Just as the company are yelling out plans to deal with the goblin shaman, the evil goblin casts a flaming spell at the zombie! The zombie grunts in pain, and then shakes off its fear of Talrek. The giant zombie, raises his mace again and advances. But, Talrek has given the company the distance they need, and everyone is able to retreat past the door. Oto is last to enter, he pauses in the doorway and casts Burning Hands at the zombie. The entire zombie becomes consumed by a blast of fire. After a moment, the burning, rotting zombie stumbles forward out of the flames. Oto backs into the room out of the way. The giant zombie roars in pain and anger and smashes through the door frame knocking the door off its hinges.

Talrek, Thyrell and Mukah fight an enormous zombie

The zombie swings its huge mace at Mukah but the mace gets stuck in the frame of the doorway. Suddenly, complete silence falls over everyone in the room. Not a sound can be heard even the heroes breathing. The zombie advances and in an eerie, silent motion pulls its mace from the doorframe. As the zombie is occupied loosening the mace, the company of heroes attack. Talrek strikes it multiple times with his war hammer, Alcor spears it and hits it with a roundhouse kick, Thyrell strikes it with an arrow and Mukah goes into a rage and chops the creature deeply with his longsword. Unable to cast spells because of the silence, Oto advances and tries to swing his quarterstaff one-handed while holding the skull-candle in the other hand. He stumbles and the drops the candle and his staff. The candle goes out and Oto is unable to see or hear. As Oto stumbles around, the zombie swings his mace and hits Oto full in the stomach. The hapless wizard is knocked through the air and lands on his back gasping for air. Oto is clinging to life. Talrek zeroes in on the zombies knee and smashes the rotting muscle and brittle bones with his hammer crippling the creature. Mukah cleaves through the zombies left arm in a rage-fueled attack. Oto manages to crawl into the furthest corner of the room and pull himself up.

The next attack of the creature strikes the unarmoured Alcor who is flung to the floor unconscious near Oto. He begins to bleed to death. Oto feels Alcor falling near him and he moves over and uses his healing training to stabilize the monk.

Talrek launches another flurry of attacks this time targeting the zombies head, as it starts to topple over on its useless right leg. The zombies head is smashed flat and the enormous creature falls silently over on its back.

With the giant zombie out of the way, Thyrell loosens an arrow at the goblin shaman and the end of the hallway. Then he unsheathes his sword and leaps over the zombie to get at the goblin. The goblin shaman backs up, extends a gnarled finger and a blast of flame engulfs Thyrell.

Meanwhile, Alcor wakes up. He spots Oto leaning over him feeling around like he is blind. Alcor spots the candle on the floor and reaches it, and hands it to Oto who lights the candle. Now Oto can see again.

Just as the glow of the candle fills the room, Thyrell approaches the goblin. The goblin mutters a spell touches a copper coin and flings it at the heroes. Everything is plunged in darkness. This time even the non-humans with darkvision are blinded. Everything is pitch black, except the corner of the room where Oto is sitting. Thyrell swings blindly with his shortsword at where the goblin should be but he swings through air. Surmising that the goblin has cast Darkness on the coin, Thyrell removes his backpack and drops it on the floor near where he thinks the coin lies. Nothing happens. He yells at Mukah to spread his blanket on the floor. Mukah pauses to question the request but shrugs and throws his blanket on the floor. It covers the coin and the darkness is cleared. Everyone can see again. Mukah pads the blanket and finds the coin, wrapping the blanket around it.

The goblin shaman is gone. The room looks like a crude chapel devoted to some evil god. Above the altar is the symbol we have seen repeatedly on this quest. Skulls and heaps of bones litter the chamber. A pair of warm oil lamps rest on the altar. Oto steps up and takes one of the oil lamps and lights it. A passageway leads off to the north entering a larger chamber. Oto can hear shouting voices in the distance.

Given how battered the adventurers are at this point, they decide to take a short breather back beyond the shattered doorway. After about an hour, the goblin shaman suddenly appears, having quietly snuck up on the resting heroes. He utters a magic command, and the giant, headless corpses twitches then moves, it fumbles one hand for its mace and sits upright. Mukah yells in alarm and slashes wildly at the headless corpse. Alcor stabs it with his spear. Thyrell fires and arrow down the hall at the goblin but misses. He leaps over the corpse and draws his sword, but the headless corpse grabs him with its one remaining hand and presses the drow against the wall. Talrek leaps over the corpse and attacks the goblin with his hammer. The goblin waves its hand in front of Talrek and a blast of flame narrowly misses the dwarf. The goblin takes the moment that Talrek is dodging to produce another coin, he tosses it at Talrek and the corridor falls into complete darkness again. However, Talrek had time to determine the location of the goblin and he swings where the goblin should be. His hammer strikes the goblin in the head, and the goblin falls dead to the floor.

Back at the doorway, Thyrell breaks free from the corpse, and he and Mukah hack away at the corpse until it is chopped into several pieces and stops moving. Oto blasts it with a firebolt to put the remainder on fire. The darkness hits just as they finish off the creature.

Oto yells at Mukah to cover the second coin with his blanket and he does again. Light returns to the corridor.  Talrek searches the goblin and finds two clay jars, a purse full of coins and a mace.

The group immediately advances up the northern corridor and enters another chamber. A single goblin, presumably the chief, stands ready behind a hastily constructed wooden barrier. Talrek talks to the goblin chief in goblin and convinces it to surrender. The goblin throws down its weapons and equipment and the promise of being allowed to flee. The goblin is questioned about the symbol which is apparently that of its master. The goblin says its master and the goblin treasure is behind a cave-in in the next passage. After some discussion the goblin is allowed to leave. It carefully walks past a growling Mukah and then runs off once past.

In the chamber the heroes find, four more clay jars, a short sword and a scroll case. There is a letter scrawled in goblin in the scroll case.

“She has escaped with my ring!! Find her. Kill her and bring her head to me. I cannot let the ritual be stopped again! He commands it be so!”

It is signed by Kalreal which is a name that means nothing to the heroes. In the next chamber the heroes find a collapsed tunnel with the bodies of some goblins trapped under the debris. There is a pool of water in the chamber with some sparkling coins in its depths.

Oto pokes around at the huge corpse and remarks that it is the corpse of an Ogre.

The adventurers decide it is time to stop, rest and sleep.