Thursday, July 23, 2015

Stars Without Number Session 3: Glaciers and Traitors

Our heroes begin the session in orbit over the planet Diego in the Raginhild system. They have a massive discussion on how to best approach the landing zone as it is in territory controlled by the Gou Yin Alliance and they are working for the Glinka Organization. After much arguing and discussion they made an attempt at a stelath approach. It was less than successful. The Pictoris nearly fell down a crevasse upon landing. After sorting taht out, they decided to use the crevasse to speed up excavation of the pretech city. the party split up, Ben and Merrak headed down the crevasse while Ardalia and Srinivasan stayed on board the ship. All sorts of things happened, it was very exciting. They had been detected on approach, see. And that led to some quick thinking and the development of a snow machine. Down in the crevasse the group discovered the item they were looking for, some sort of ominous pretech device. They managed to get out without being noticed, but on refueling in the Kitu system they discover that there is a kill order on the crew of the ship. Interestingly the kill order came from the Al-Yaldai Clan, what could this mean? Tune in next time.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Trek to the Stars Part 11: Fashion in the stars

Previously on Trek to the Stars:
Initial thoughts
Part 1: The Pitch
Part 2: Skill roll basics
Part 3: Potential Campaigns
Part 4: History in brief
Part 5: Keys and Secrets
Part 6: Timeline and Technologies
Part 7: More technologies
Part 8: Character Creation(rough)
Part 9: Stress and Fallout
Part 10: Nailing down the core mechanics

This post is going to be a bit about the stuff at the edges. Things like fashion and a potential mechanical fix to the problems this system has been having with genetic engineering and cybernetics.

Fashion in the system
Fashion in the future is a diverse and divisive subject. Some cultures spend a great deal of time, energy, and resources on fashion and others seem to care about other things. Lets delve in, shall we?

Old Earth
Traditional ethnic garb is the direction the culture has embraced. This is viewed as a response the earth's waning power and relevance in the system. It is a call back to an earlier time, when earth controlled everything. Along with a desire to wear once traditional styles(or modern interpretations of ancient styles), there has been a rebirth of something approaching nationalism. Earthlings have begun to behave in a stereotypical manner,at least in public. If a person behaves outside of expected ethnic behaviors as dictated by the culture, they are viewed as a bit odd.

Within the sky cities of Venus even the slightest misstep can kill. The fashion is utilitarian, mostly. Most signs of individualism are small and do not get in the way of doing the job of terraforming the planet. Related to this attitude is the Venusian Honesty, Venusians have a reputation for being excessively blunt and humorless. This is not true, but in public strong displays of emotion are viewed as a sign of an untrustworthy person. Untrustworthy people get others killed.

A planet divided between two major powers and a small number of lesser groups. In the northern federation individuality is prized, on a superficial level anyway. While the public good is foremost in in the minds of everyone, the fashion and culture is one of individuals and trying to stand out, this is viewed as a good thing, encouraging the advancement of all. So long as the clothing falls within government safety and anti hatred standards(need a better name for this) a person can wear whatever they like and look however they want. Oddly enough, architecture is fairly utilitarian and brutalist. People living in great blocky archologies.

The fascists of the southern alliance have taken an interesting route in fashion. They aim for androgyny and cover most of the form in black, grey, or brown clothing. While at the same time jewelry has taken on a central role. One's jewelry will tell others what their job is, what power block they support, and what their rank within each organization is. Often it outsiders find it difficult to tell who is who, within the culture sameness is embraced.

The people of the centrally located Municipality of Eon have a tendency to wear loose clothing and sturdy footwear. All of their cities are designed so that the people can walk wherever they need to go, though bicycles are also quite popular. It is said, "An Eonist could walk to the sun," and they do take pride in their hiking and trekking capabilities. They control much of the major waterways of mars and the warmest region and they like to flaunt that. During the summer months they will wear the lightest clothing they can. While the nights can drop in temperature fairly significantly the days are quite warm, and every day the terraforming process thickens the atmosphere and normalizes the temperature a bit more.

Moons of Saturn
Baroque and complicated displays of wealth are the norm among the residents of Saturn's satellites. Even the lowest class person takes great pride in appearance and displaying what wealth they can. The art of the insult and sly comments are seen as a sign of great culture. Extravagance in all things, and the wealthy often have great public dinners where they provide food and door prizes for their whole population. The more often you can host one of these Family Meals, the greater your prestige and the more the others in your community owe you a debt. It is a complicated and intricate system that defies explanation by any but the most dedicated outsider.

SO that is what I have for the fashion among the stars. I could write about this for days, as there is no bottom to this well, but I just wanted to lay out some basics. I would love to hear any thoughts, comments or criticisms on this or any of the previous posts.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Stars Without Number: Adventures of the Pictoris

A little while back I started a campaign of Stars Without Number. We started with character creation and some setting creation work. By the end we have the Starship Pictoris, recently won in a game of cards by the new captain, Srinivasan Krishnatray. As of two days prior to the adventure start he was still putting a crew together. Merrak is the muscle for the ship, as well as being the ship's purser. Ardalia is the ship's pilot with a desire to find a way to help her planet rise from the ashes. Ben Holiday is a psychic and the ship's doctor. None of them know all that much about each other, or of the ship. I am sure that will never be a problem...
Here is the recording, should you want to watch:

Between character creation and the first session, I had to take a week off. Some things came up, don't want to get into it, but I had to miss a session. Anyway, during that week the players got together and discussed what they wanted to do as a crew and such. I am not privy to what went on in that psuedo-session, however I think it was good as it helped the crew meld, I guess.

Moving on. In the first session the characters are looking for work. They were docked in orbit around Halia, and logged into the Daybreak Society network to find a job. They decided to go with a simple retrieval mission for the Glinka Organization. After several arguments between the new crew as to whether to take the job, they agree. Merrak laid down some sweet negotiations and managed to get them 9,000 credits upfront and a potential 10,000 in bonus if they can bring everyone and everything back to Halia intact. After all the discussion as to whether to take the job, enter another long long discussion. This discussion is about how to spend the money they have received up front. The crew are still getting used to each other, and so are still getting to know each other and trust each other. Finally they agree to buy a bunch of things that would be useful for all the crew in the long run, a bunch of toolkits, communicators, and vacc suits. They buy them from one of the criminal contacts of Srinivasan.

The organization sends three technicians to the ship with some gear to gather up whatever artifact the corporation wants. As they drill through to the next system the crew attempts to get some clue as to the nature of the thing the techs are sent to retrieve. They find out some things, Merrak reveals that he used to work for the Glinka Organization as a security specialist, and Srinivasan discovers what kind of people his employers are. He discovers that the company is threatening the life and livelihood of the assistant to the two technicians. Through all of this, they discover nothing much about the artifact they were sent to retrieve. The session ends with the ship arrived in orbit over the planet Diego, preparing to go down and retrieve the object in question.