barnabas_truman: (young whistler)
A few months ago I came up with a great idea for a creativity exercise: I got a stack of blank index cards and wrote the title of one of my GURPS role-playing game sourcebooks on each one (I have a lot of GURPS books); I draw three at random and try to quickly think of a game setting or plot that would incorporate all three. Today I went through the whole deck; here are some of the highlights:

• Japan
• Ultra-Tech
• Psionics

In the not-too-distant future, Japan is an anachronistic mixture of ubiquitous advanced technology and retro-feudal styles in culture and architecture. The player characters are a group of college students who gained strange mental powers when a mind/machine interface experiment went haywire.

• Vikings
• Black Ops (elite commando teams investigating and eliminating paranormal threats)
• Aliens

Leif Skywise knew something was wrong when he saw a star moving in a very unfamiliar way, especially when it seemed to touch down on the coast off in the distance. He took his ship and crew to investigate, and his suspicions were confirmed: the "star" was some sort of flying ship made of metal, and its demonic inhabitants attacked when Leif approached. The demons fought fiercely, but the Vikings triumphed. Though they had no idea how to re-activate the flying ship, they nonetheless found many powerful weapons and other strange magical objects on board. Now they sail the seas, seeking out supernatural evils to vanquish and ready to defend Scandinavia from further demon invasion.

• Middle Ages
• Places of Mystery
• Supers

Various persons from all over the medieval world feel strangely compelled to visit certain monuments--Stonehenge, the Sphinx, Uluru, the Forbidden City, etc.--late at night on one fateful equinox, and, in a flash of light that none of them remember clearly, gain amazing powers. Their abilities differ widely, but all include the ability to instantly travel from one place of power to another. They band together to form a secret society of heroes.

• Blue Planet (human colony on distant oceanic planet, probably inhabited in distant past by high-tech aliens)
• Time Travel
• Imperial Rome

A team of scientists and explorers on the Blue Planet discover an ancient alien device that appears to be some sort of time machine. They manage to get it working and send themselves back in time, hoping to encounter the ancient aliens who built it... but instead find cities of marble columns inhabited by humans in togas. Could there have been contact between Earth and the Blue Planet in the distant past?

• Cliffhangers (1930s-style modern adventure serials)
• Mecha (giant piloted robots)
• Mars

Edison and Tesla put aside their differences and join forces once again to reverse-engineer the Martian war machines left behind after the invasion, and build a fleet of their own to take the fight back to the Martians!
barnabas_truman: (oldstyle)
RPG idea: each player creates (let's say) three character sheets that are essentially four copies of the same character concept but with minor adaptations to three different eras in history (maybe medieval, industrial, and modern). Game sessions alternate between these three eras, with characters in the later eras gradually uncovering bits and pieces of the lives lived by characters in the earlier eras, perhaps with an implication that they are reincarnations of each other, or with later characters solving mysteries or finishing tasks left incomplete by earlier characters. Time travel may be involved at some point, or maybe not.
barnabas_truman: (army)
Highlight of the inaugural episode of the Star Trek game:

The brash young human helmsman had been making "That's what she said!" jokes intermittently since the crew first arrived on the starship. Responses: giggling from the Cygnan chief engineer, a gruff "I don't know what you're talking about" from the Andorian commander, and a stoically confused "Who is 'she'?" from the Vulcan weapons officer.

Much later, the commander got into an argument with a more experienced officer about proper safety protocol for testing new combat tactics, and said "I can see that we have very different ideas about experimentation!"

The Vulcan responded, in complete deadpan, "That is what she said."

...and, as the rest of the crew cracked up, "Was that correct? Did I do it right?"
barnabas_truman: (army)
After many delays, the GURPS Star Trek game is about to begin!

The chief officers of the Federation frigate USS Mercury are as follows:

Commander Akoval Endival Ghorev, Andorian commander and security specialist, formerly of the Andorian National Guard. Recently selected for a lateral promotion into Star Fleet in command of the Mercury.

Ensign Kivik, Vulcan weapons officer. She has had some internship experience assisting with weaponry maintenance on a starbase, and recently graduated from Star Fleet Academy on Earth.

Ensign Pellinar Srin, Cygnan chief engineer and physicist. She attended the Cygnan School of Engineering, spent a year as engineer on a merchant freighter, and continued on to Star Fleet Academy, from which she recently graduated. She is looking forward to being in charge below decks on a ship with more power and high speed.

Ensign Apollo "Quasar" Jones, Human helmsman and navigator. Young but highly skilled pilot with a good sense of spatial awareness. Recently graduated from Star Fleet Academy.

Dr. Amethyst "Ammy" Wong, Human doctor and biologist. Trained in medical treatment for a variety of intelligent lifeforms; fascinated by alien biology. Recently graduated from Star Fleet Academy.

The Mercury itself is a frigate--a small saucer section with two warp nacelles attached underneath--with two photon torpedo launchers, a reasonable phaser array, a pair of shuttles, some science facilities, and a crew of 160 (including 30 security personnel, all Andorians from Akoval's old platoon). Its mission will include training for the aforementioned recent graduates, survey of unexplored planets and astronomical phenomena, border patrol along the Klingon Neutral Zone, and protection and resupply for distant colonies and outposts of the Federation.
barnabas_truman: (army)
It's been far too long since the last time I ran a role-playing game. Time to fix that.

I'd like to start a new regular gaming session, probably something like every other Friday afternoon/evening, in Davis. As such I'm looking for, say, four or five players. I'll most likely be using GURPS for the rule system. Contrary to what you may have heard, the only really complicated part is character creation, and I'd be happy to walk you through that.

Since medieval fantasy is so cliche, I'm thinking of making the topic more sci-fi-adventure-ish. Possible themes:

Player characters would be the officers of an exploratory starship on the Federation frontier, in the same time period (and general theme and mood) as The Original Series. What I like about this one is that it lends itself to an episodic format, wherein each gaming session is a separate "episode" of the "show," allowing for a new setting and plot each week while keeping (and developing) the same main characters. Fair warning: if ship-to-ship combat happens to occur, I'd probably be using Star Fleet Battles to resolve it; however, if you don't want to bother learning the rules for that, I could manage all the paperwork and token-moving while you, as the bridge crew, simply declare (in-character) what you want the ship to do. (GURPS Prime Directive does have a pretty good system set up for this already.)

Set in the not-too-distant future; a colony (mostly researchers and Pacific Islanders) has been established on a recently discovered habitable planet covered mostly by ocean. Then Earth suffers a major economic collapse and can no longer afford to support the colony. The colonists are completely on their own for a couple of generations, then a ship arrives from Earth, announcing that Earth has gotten its act back together and is retaking possession of its colony. Player characters would probably be the crew of a research ship or something like that. One of the neat things about this setting is the variety of characters it allows: scientists, sailors, oldschool islanders, colonial police, bio-augmented humans that can survive underwater, and even uplifted cetaceans with telepathy helmets.

Player characters are well-to-do wives of adventurers, explorers, scientists, sea-captains, etc. in Victorian London who form a social club for company while their husbands are away. While discussing the various research and explorations and discoveries of their husbands, they begin to notice some strange connections that said husbands (who presumably haven't been collaborating) hadn't realized, and decide to investigate on their own. Would probably have to be an all-female group to work properly; maybe one dude as the butler who tags along to keep them out of trouble or whatever.

Yeah. Probably a little combat-heavy but might be fun for a one-shot or something. Mainly I just want to see what happens when the sheriff with a gatling gun takes a stand against a charging Tyrannosaurus.

So! Anyone interested? Post here if you have a preference for a particular setting.
barnabas_truman: (Default)
One of my students and another kid just came in and asked "If I'm a wizard, and he's a sorceror, and we got in a fight, who would win?"

Me: "Do you mean in Dungeons & Dragons, or in general?"

Student: "Um, in general, I guess."

Me: "Well, in general they usually mean the same thing."

Student: "Oh. Dungeons & Dragons then."

Me: "Hm... if I remember correctly, a wizard learns spells from books, while a sorceror knows spells intuitively; is that right?"

Student (to other kid): "See, I told you he would know."
barnabas_truman: (army)
The heavy cruiser USS Serendipity, under command of Captain Hazel Burnsides, traveled to the Gamma Draconis system (unclaimed and unexplored territory) to explore its fifth planet, an M-class with moon. Ship sensors revealed an ancient abandoned alien building on the planet surface; several away teams were sent to investigate by both transporter and shuttlecraft.

During the planetary survey the Destruction, a Klingon D7 battle cruiser, arrived in the system and demanded that the Serendipity leave immediately, claiming that Gamma Draconis was claimed by the Klingon Empire and any Federation presence there would be considered an act of war. This message was followed almost immediately by an attack by the Destruction's disruptor beams against the unprotected Serendipity, the latter's shields having been deactivated to allow the use of transporters.

At this time information from the science team revealed the alien structure to be a surface-to-space weapons platform including a class IV phaser cannon and a class III defensive phaser array. The Serendipity raised shields and armed weapons, determined to defend itself and its personnel on the planet surface.

After a brief but furious battle, the Serendipity was crippled, having been hit from behind by several overcharged disruptor barrages. Captain Burnsides ordered the weakened ship to switch to emergency power and retreat with all possible speed. As it left the system, however, Burnsides transported herself and all of the ship's security personnel into the shuttles already on the planet surface, in hopes of maintaining possession of the ground base and further investigating its capabilities.

The Serendipity was able to escape the system badly damaged but still in one piece, and jumped to warp speed on its way back to Federation space. During the battle, the away team managed to activate the weapons systems of the ground base and fired the phaser-IV at the Destruction, taking down its rear shield and dealing a small but effective amount of internal damage. Slightly bruised and unable to transport troops to the planet surface without exposing itself to much more damage, the Destruction also left the system and returned to base for repairs.

What else will Captain Burnsides and her crew find on this strange planet? What unknown dangers await? Will the captain give in to the wit and charm of her chief weapons officer, Lieutenant Truman? Will the ground base's moderate defenses be able to hold off Klingon attacks until Federation reinforcements arrive? TO BE CONTINUED!


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