Dead... and Back is a survival horror Role Playing Game. The Anarchy Zones is its official setting - aliens, reanimates, and the ruins of 2055 America.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Convoy Matters

"Hey Dale - we're in the green! If you've got a location in mind, we can get going any time."
"Got it Jess."
"And what?"
"Where are we going?"
"Don't know."
"That ain't gonna go over well with the others in the convoy. They're relyn on you."
"Look sis, I've gotten us this far, but for what? We got torn apart when we tried to scavenge at that city, we're using a bus as a quarantine for a dozen sick children, and our population is now more retire-ees than able-bodied young adults. I'm not sure if there is a place I direct the convoy to."

Jess leaned over and flipped on the air-conditioner. Sure, it was wasteful - but they had the full rocky mountain sun shining on the collector panels, and this was one of those times that deserved it. No point in fretting and arguing when sweating like pigs - is there? Dale already looked half-melted. At one time, someone could have mistaken the two for twins - same short cut brown hair, about the same height, and well much to Jessie's constant chagrin, she didn't have much of a profile. Now lines of dirt and worry made it look like her older brother had aged thirty years in a matter of months.

Behind their camper was a convoy of sixteen other vehicles. Re-purposed city buses transported most of the awake populace, a gyro-stabilized semi-trailer once meant for moving intricate components was the road train's sleeping car. Some modified sports cars were scouts, a lunch truck was a field kitchen, and a pair of six by six APCs rounded out the force protection.

"Aren't we near that big underground complex. They've got enough spare electricity they put on a light show with huge arc lightning the other night." Jess began.
"We're not going to Tesla. I can tell you that much. They've got an entire F-ing city and won't share."
"Well, just cause they have a city doesn't mean they always have enough to go around."
"You've heard the rumors about Tesla. I'm surprised they haven't engineered themselves to not have to eat."
"Oh come on - you know that can't really happen with modern medical technology?"
"Did you know that mom had a false arm?"
"What, no she-"
"It was damn near snapped off when it got caught in the rigging on one of her racing sails. A cotter-pin came loose during bad weather, things swung around, and crunch. By the time the coast guard arrived, blood had been cut off and bones poked out for quite a while. Amputated and grew a new one."
"In a lab - she isn't - wasn't - a lizard"
"Dad pulled a lot of strings to do that you know. They need to DNA match, build collagen skeletons, clone - it took longer to finish the paperwork than the arm. There is a reason why bionic limbs are preferred - you can produce them a lot quicker, and they're easier to take apart and repair if a problem crops up. A problem with the cloned arm during creation - start over."
"What does this have to do with all the people behind us?"
"Well if the rumors are true - the people in that city might want nothing to do with normal humans. Too busy with their new society experiment to bother. What kind of people try to build something new without caring for the old around them?"
"We could turn South to Vegas, but that is a lot of desert."
"Tell them we're camping here for a while. Excuse it with how the prairie gives us good sight-lines or something. I just ain't ready to choose."

Monday, April 25, 2011

Atomic Generation Complex 5, Southern Germany

I see the dials in my sleep. Old analog "steam-gauges". Everything is under computer control, yet they chose those for user interface reasons. A digital number just shows you what its at now - not rate of change or the limits at the extremes. You see the red line, watch the needle waver far more intuitive. Not that they ever got near the red zone. They've been lying on the bottom for months now. Nothing needs my megawatts. No one has asked yet.

Any day now, someone is going to knock on the door and ask. Chance are, there hasn't been a gram of coal mined or or a milliliter of sugarcane-gas reacted. If there is another man alive besides me, who wants to switch on a light-bulb, they will come to me.

My plant sits near the confluence of rivers, just Southwest of Regensburg. I use the water for cooling purposes. Turbines, the magnets, emergency systems. Not a drop in the vessel itself. No, for that, its carbon dioxide driven by great fans no oxygen for the graphite to burn, no water to mess with the moderation. Just hundreds of football sized pencil lead colored spheres. It is pencil lead more or less really. Graphite. Holds eraser sized chunks of mixed oxide.

Like coffee beans on a cooling table, they swirl about pushed by a giant arm. Add more. They heat up. Warm the CO-2 wind, which then goes to a heat exchanger. Turns water in the secondary loop to steam... and that drives turbines, and One-thousand-five-hundred megawatts later, the process repeats.

Someday my summons will come. All across Bayern, the people will know my name, perhaps as far as Wurzburg and Stuttgart. Society needs electricity. It runs our cars, our computers, the trains. I keep watch on the electrons.

All the others left. Put the core into to shutdown, and ran off. Wanted to find their families during the national emergency. Or were worried about the government using poison gas on the abominations nearby. Cowards. The control building is hermetically sealed, over-pressurized, and under-ground. I couldn't be safer if there was an angel with a flaming sword standing at the east gate of the compound.

Course I can fill in for them now. All there is to do around here is read the technical manuals. Or go to the training center in the northwest quadrant of the complex and run simulations. I've already rigged the solar system that keeps the emergency batteries tapped to also power a few amenities for me. A warmed greenhouse to grow food all year round, lights, hot water. All to myself.

Its already been One-thousand-Eight-hundred-Sixty-two days. Day fifteen-hundred was a fun one - threw a big party to celebrate watching the plant for as many days as its electric output. Will be a while till I have another for the thermal output of course, but someone will come by then. Begging.

I'll be a hero. Perhaps even a saint. I mean, watching an entire ten square kilometer complex by yourself has to be some sort of miracle. All the documentation recommends at least four people present in each of the control rooms - one per each f the three reactors, no less than eighteen times. On page six, seven, nine, fifteen, and thirty-four of the brown book on operations, One, two, fifty, sixty three, in the blue manual, and page two, four, ninety-six, One-hundred five, and one-hundred six of the safety manual.

Wait that is only fourteen. Where are the last four? I should know this! Its vital information for running the plant! The turbines need me to know this! How else will Germany gets its electricity! Where is that orange book...?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Diego on the NESTS

"Good evening wasteland. Mr. Hobbes is feeling a bit ill today, so I'll be taking over. Please excuse the lack of Wolfman Jack impressions.

So, there have been some more questions about NEST structures. Most specifically, how do you break into one? What is inside? Is it worth the effort? If not a NEST, where else?

I need to preface this by saying, neither I nor Mr. Hobbes have been inside one of these structures. Only one or two people we have spoken with have been in, or even near these super towers. Most of the units in the system were either quickly sealed and thus continue to host a population dedicated to fiercely defending them, or quickly hit a critical mass of reanimates, and no longer contain anything alive. Entrance is unlikely.

NEST structures are quite like flakturm. These the giant reinforced concrete anti-aircraft bunkers and air raid shelters built around Germany in the second world war were so tough, that not only did they survive allied bombing, point blank Soviet heavy artillery couldn't scratch them, and after the war, conventional demolition techniques didn't work either. Some were simply buried under the rubble, others continue to stand. I would not be surprised to learn people have started living in them again.

This is where I would complain in his headphones that Mr. Hobbes is off topic, and in turn, he would say it is an educational service. I am not as fast paced as my employer, but I do have some humor.

So given that they are made of extra-tough materials and designed to be locked down to contain emergencies, how do you get in? Well, first of all - you can try the doors. Think a shopping mall or stadium - there needs to be some way to let thousands of people in and out in a reasonable amount of time. The bottom level is often set up like a strip mall on the outside, so there are individual shops where the employee back door has been missed and left unlocked. Or perhaps the entrance was smashed by previous looters, and if you have picked up the rather useful skill of bypassing locks - well, good for you.

Failing the most obvious, the next trick would be one that applies to most multi-story structures. Stand back and find a way to shoot out a window on the second or preferably third story. A ground floor forced entryway will let reanimates and such walk right in - but only a few can climb or jump seven meters.

Few people realize how far the basement of these things really goes. There are probably an extra ten or twenty stories going beneath the structure. If you can find a subway entrance a few kilometers away and make your way through the monster infested underground, you will find yourself in a terminal, and bypassing normal security is an exorcise left to your own discretion.

Another underground possibility is getting in through the grates that cover one of the hydrological systems. At the very least, they have a sewage treatment system, and probably another inlet for drinking water. Heavy machinery like pumps, high-speed elevators, and power generators need coolant - so that may be another inlet.

For those with access to the exotic - a helicopter flown to one of the various helipads is an option. There are usually a minimum of eight heliports - to accommodate landing from various directions - and because there used to be a large amount of air traffic. After-all, they hosted police, fire, medical, and military facilities, all of which used helicopters on a daily basis.

Once inside - well, I don't know how many times this needs to be said - they are a city in a bottle. Whatever you could want is either there, or was there but was looted by a better scavenger than yourself.

You will find an all you can eat buffet of reanimated. And then some. Tons of rats, birds and bats are also rather likely, along with other vermin chewing the electrical and helping themselves to forgotten food stocks. In turn, those are probably preyed upon by the escaped pets of the former inhabitants, maybe some birds of prey in the larger atrium. Given time, these places will become ecosystems unto themselves. But for now you will probably only worry about vicious German shepherds and insect borne diseases - not something evolved specifically for hunting in a super tower.

I would imagine many of our listeners are quite unwilling to take a hundred plus story dungeon crawl lightly. There are a few options,as the Economical Design and Governance Enclosures. An edge - colloquially known as a "NEST Egg" is a similar idea, but on a much smaller scale in an attempt to avoid the massive costs, time commitment, and logistics of making a NEST.

Unlike the NESTs, there are somewhat more hap-hazard. Many were designed in blocks and for adding on as necessary. Some are one structure akin to a large stadium with outliers, and others are more like underground complexes with a few domes on top for agriculture. Population could be as low as three thousand, to perhaps ten times that. Generally speaking, megastructure arcologies were built near the coasts and between major cities to alleviate urban sprawl and take advantage of existing infrastructure. Edges are more likely in places with less capacity to transport materials, farther inland - or in parts of the West Coast where the massive supply chain for NEST building would have crippled the city's services. That is why there is no Los Angles arcology for example.

Unfortunately, we are out of time, and will have to explore this again later. Good night and good luck in the zone.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Boneroads, Murderyards, Boilertown

A century after its construction, and a radical shift in transport patters and fuel source -  the US Interstate highway system remained a major part of life. Despite decades of dreaming futurists, flying cars don't exist - getting to altitude would be inefficient, and hundreds of people above the ground could render any crash potentially catastrophic. Even after the event, most people still think of distance in terms of driving.

However, the savy ones know to avoid the highways and major road systems when traveling through the Zone.

Even with the automatic guidance systems, the roads could get fairly choked up on holidays.One can use tele-presence to replace trips to the office, but that doesn't work so well for swimming with dolphins in in the Florida Keys.

Remote operation works even less well when trying to evacuate enmasse from cities where the dead are beginning to rise and rumors are flying that an alien orbital strike could be only hours away. The roads quickly became choked with vehicles of all description, many driven under manual control by those who wanted to get out faster than the automatic systems would allow, or when those systems were out of commission entirely. But each accident, as seen on highways streching back into the 20th century - means an exponential slowdown at the bottleneck, and when the columns of cars got too slow, creatures would emerge from the shoulders.

Five years later, the service roads and off-ramps are still littered with the bones of those too shredded or trampled in the panic to be reanimated. Weather-beaten, looted, and smashed cars are parked bumper-to-bumper for miles in some places - a good supply of spare parts, but unlikely to move again, and choking the thruway. Since the roads channel people into predictable paths - bandits are a bit more likely than if blazing a trail.

Most people are reasonably sure that the Reanimate phenomenon is not a supernatural one, and yet at least some are convinced certain places are haunted. The one agreed upon fact, however, is that there are areas of unreasonably elevated danger. Few people are willing to approach an area rumored to be a muderyard, and even fewer - if any - return.

Of course, there is some contention on this point. It could be that the rumors are simply a ruse to keep people out - if outsiders are too afraid to approach the walls, they're unlikely to climb over them. Many supposed murderyards coincide with places that would feature heavy environmental contamination - old bomb ranges, Superfund waste dumps, unmaintained chemical refinery and the like - meaning that toxins, hallucinogenic compounds, radiation, or normal wildlife exposed to teratagens - could play play a part in the deadly reputation of these places.

Also detracting from the veracity of these claims is the wide range supposed phenomenomn observed in or near these places. A partial list includes:
  • Large concentrations of reanimates
  • Claims of type Four, Five, or unclassified strains of reanimate
  • Military vehicles that match no known human or citizen models
  • People in hazmat gear and gas-masks moving about aimlessly
  • Mirages, unexplained fires
  • Aggressive and deformed wildlife
  • Citizen Military Outposts
  • Military or Center for Disease Control camps (of either refugee or termination variety)

Some places just smell like trouble. Any building is up for looting, but a few are rumored to be true treasure troves. Anyplace with water and a bit of flat terrain could house an outpost - but some areas are just the perfect location. If someone doesn't take control of the area decisively and quickly, it becomes a warzone. Like an uncovered pot- they're dangerous, and can spill over into surrounding territory.

It would not be incorrect to compare boilertown to the boom-towns of of gold-rush fame. A lot of people after the same resource, and then some more that are preying upon the former group.

If a boilertwon is ever covered, it can turn into a nice place. The Capital of New Birmingham would be archetypal of a site that would instigate this kind of fighting - water, sea access, power, a nearby city, and of course a research hospital. However, since the area is secured, it is instead the linchpin of a powerful and expansionist state.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Apologies and a Quick Note on Agribusiness

Despite trying not to, I've managed to miss about a weeks worth of updates, and I'm sorry. Migraine headaches, prior commitments, and passover Seders preceded by intensive cleaning all conspired against me. Probably beginning next week, I'm going to do a solid seven or eight days of posting to catch up.

Farm Funny Business
By the 2050s, meat prices were way up, and herds way down - a matter of giving up land due to climate shifts, lack of water and resources to intensively factory raise animals, and anti-biotic resistant infections.
Nano-vac was beginning to combat the latter problem, but only in animals.

Nanotech derived treatments don't work with plants. Plants don't have the regulation of internal temperature required for optimal results. (Incidentally, they don't work for "cold-blooded" animals either) and their main food source outright destroys it. (Ultra-Violet radiation breaks down nano in minutes.) 

Outright genetic manipulation was required instead. A number of very hardy GM crops were eventually created, but at great cost in time and money. In an effort to recoup these losses, and silence critics who worried about the release of "franken-foods" most of these new plants we're implanted with replication limited telomeres. To put it in layman's terms - slow burning fuses were in the plants DNA, and they self destructed after a few months. Seeds wouldn't form, or couldn't germinate - either entirely, or without special chemicals fed to the plant at specific intervals.

These efforts managed to produce new strains of plants that could grow in marginal lands like warmed tundra or areas of Europe cooled down due to disrupted sea currents. In fact, these managed to be in every way improvements over the primitive GM products of the late 20th century - at leas so long as one could maintain their supplies.

Game Terms
The upshot for most players - is that seed stocks are limited, unless they can find an actual biology lab. A lot of communities find themselves fighting over stocks of agricultural products more so than oil, ammunition, or medicine.

A few places that use organic heritage seeds might be ok - but the work required, susceptibility to problems, and comparatively low output per acre.Finding such a backwater place, and getting them to part with enough seed to start a farm elsewhere is quite a tall order.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sounds Like Trouble

This - isn't a good sign. Aliens are shooting at something, a mile or two up the road. If you're real quiet, you can tell its them. Their rocket guns sound like fireworks - thoosh! Tok! Bam! They don't hit supersonic speeds instantly. You don't really hear lasers, there is kind of a sound like popcorn if it hits a soft target that immediately bubbles or cracks, but nothing like movie stock footage.

What does make a unique sound is the radiation gun particle beams - this loud constant crackling or saw like noise. Which strikes me as a bit odd - the X-ray tubes I worked with at the hospital way back when didn't do anything like that - a soft hum maybe - more likely a loud buzzer hooked up to the system to give an audio warning the machine was in operation. Maybe its the same sort of thing - an added sound device so no one accidentally goes waving around a gun shooting invisible death beams.

Of course, the big give away more often than not is missiles. Their supplies are a lot more reliable than accidentally wandering across a take that was slagged before it got off all its shots. Still, they seem a bit reluctant to use them now. Early in the occupation, they would use missiles to collapse buildings to deny their use to guerrilla fighters preemptively. Now they tend to wait until something is a confirmed threat, and after clearing it, use conventional demolition techniques.

We don't hear them complain about it as much, but it must be five years for them too. Maybe by now they'd be willing to talk a bit more. Not too sure how to do that though. I mean, you could just walk up, wave, and say hello. But its hard to tell if what you'll hear next is "and good day to you too" or a circular saw like warning buzz.

I suppose you could find them when they're engaged in combat, and shoot a few targets for them - prove you're on the same side. 'Course that also proves you're armed and a good shot.

Right away I can say a white flag wouldn't work. Its not like their signatories for the 19th century Hague convention on lawful warfare. They probably don't even know what a Hague is or where it is. Heck, I don't know where it is either.

Wait, wait. The noise is getting louder, the aliens are getting closer! What do we do, what do we do? Well, yeah, I suppose we could just play dead and wait for them to pass. Easy for you to say, you already are. But what about me? Never really made plans about what would happen if I ever found myself in a burned out APC talking to a bunch of skeletons about aliens. Didn't really come up when I was cramming for the medical exams. Mom warned me about this, but she was quite drunk at the time...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Radio Power

(Computer problems and an outing with friends prevented the normal posting, sorry.)

Hello Wasteland! Enjoyed t this morning's music? Ok, well for our lunch time break, we're going to answer a few questions sent to us by listeners.

The big one I get is why we don't expand our coverage or have a SPHERE version. Well, we're lacking three pieces of equipment necessary to do that. If you happen to have a nuclear power plant, a communications satellite, and a rocket that put it into geosynchronous orbit - and care to donate them to us - let me know.

We are already supplied with photovoltaic panels and those helical wind generators. However, this station was meant for civil defense flash messages, not long radio shows, and we've already boosted transmission power beyond the normal settings. There are no nighttime broadcasts because we're charging the battery banks.

Then of course, there is the matter of visible horizon. we've already set up a few extra towers about as high as two people without much special equipment can - we kind of improvised some pulleys and scaffolding - our first broadcast was a good five or six months after we go here. And we're already covering a pretty large area - nominally somewhere between 100 and 150 miles away, though that is dependent on atmospheric conditions, interference, even the time of day. Technically, we could get a better range at night - but how many of you would be awake to here it then. AM transmission is weird like that. Oh, and Hi-Fi FM would be pretty much line of sight, and thus a lower range, so once again - we think reaching the listener is more important than technical limitations.

So without a NEST sized antenna fed by a nuclear pile, we're a bit limited, and as usual - ask that our listeners make recordings and pass the information on.

As to the sphere - well, that is based on computers an order of magnitude more powerful than the old dust covered machines we have here. Heck, two of the three are still binary - which causes a few headaches, but well, you know what they say about a gift civil defense shack in the middle of nowhere...

Anyway - AM is inadequate to transmitting that kind of data, and the kind of connects we do need are kind of gone. EMP from the event, space junk, deliberate citizen anti-satellite actions, and the simple lack of maintenance communication to remind the probes to change orbit to avoid atmospheric slowing and debris means there is no satellite network. Some of you in big cities might be able to find hubs for the old undersea cables - provided you have the know-how, and natural disaster or other problems haven't compromised them yet.

For the rest of you, communication has shrunk to a pretty small area. Five to ten miles with small comm devices, two three times that with better grade stuff. The transmission equipment atop a NEST should have a horizon of a few hundred miles -but since they're not broadcasting, I'm guessing those antennas were melted during the event.

On to another question about broadcasting - we have no affiliation with those religious broadcasts from New Birmingham. What we have heard about them is mostly second hand, and frankly, less than glowing. However, we try to be non-partisan here, and some sort of functioning city-state is better than living hand-to-mouth or not living at all, so its really not our place to say anything about them. We're willing to host representatives, though its a long way between here and Alabama.

In fact, I should point out, we are not affiliated with anyone, and our only endorsement is better you work together than hang separately.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Teenage Hunters (Part One)

Kendra slipped the darkened lenses down over her eyes, everything in the room took on a spectral appearance- darkened, yet highlighted along the edges by animations. Using the tack-ball mounted on a wristband (tactile feedback is so retro) she clicked on the message indicator floating off to her left. A large plant began to grow in front of her, the stem and vines twisting in a nearly hypnotic pattern, before shooting off a single carnation like flower from the top. The adults would dismiss it as one of her friends displaying their animation skills, but in fact the pattern held a code for those in the know. Now the trick was to to get out of her room and too the meeting place the vines to mapped to.

For this trick, she had set up a map of the halls, and taken notes on where people were likely to be and when. All she would need to do was take off her shoes to avoid squeaking on the linoleum floors, and follow the floating notes. In theory at least - people did have a tendency to be occasional move or break with routine. It went without a hitch this time.

Sidling up to the door, she gave a quick knock and broadcast the entry code. A bolt shifted, and it swung open reveal most of her co-conspirators were already there. Jeff of course cheated - he only called the meetings once he had found a good location, and thus was de facto always first. Heckoya's apartment block was quite close - she just had to climb out a window, repel to a roof six meters below, run across, roll down the awning, jump over the stairs, and a few other tricks that were by now boring for the dark skinned free-runner.

"How did you get here so quickly?"
"I just told my mom I was rehearsing for a play with friends. She practically forced me out of the apartment."
"Good story - but isn't she going to expect us to actually preform eventually?"
"If it comes to that, well we can use our interface. We're gonna have to use virtual sets due to lack of materials on hand -right? So if we got our lenses on, then then the text can just scroll past. give it a once through a day before so it isn't too obvious, and we good to go."

"We will now come to order," Jeff interrupted, serious as usual. At least a few of those involved took the planning as more of a thought experiment, but he was dead set on actually going on an expedition. That drive, combined with the notes from his father's notes from his time with the Wasteland Patrols made him the natural leader of the group. In a way, he was both the source of the greatest excitement, and the biggest kill-joy.

"Let us begin with a quick inventory - a trade group came through here earlier today, and I'd like to know if anyone has something new to contribute."
Jane Stood up - "Not from the caravan, but I've managed to dry and pack some more food - an extra meal for each of us I'd say. That puts us up to what - enough for three days, provided we don't scavenge anything?"
"Yes, I believe that is right. I'm still thinking of limiting the run to a 48 hour trip to Thompson - but it always pays to be prepared for whatever bat country can throw at you."

Kendra reached into one of her cargo pockets, and brought out her coup-de-gace. I managed to collect this from one of the traders, and a couple of ammo rockets."
"What is it?"
"A citizen weapon - a gyrojet pistol. Little explosive rockets about fifty-percent bigger than a double-A battery, and sized for their tiny little hands, so its easy to conceal."

Monday, April 4, 2011

Welcome to Ulysses (Part Two)

First Watch, 08:15 EST
Oh that door? No, no one goes in there. Nothing unseemly mind you, just a lot of equipment to get snagged on, and we don't have much use for it. Its the RUWTS (Roots) - Replenishment Under-Way Transfer System. The Ulysses is a transfer vessel.

What is a transfer vessel? What is a - you're kidding me right? OK, here is how it works. Oil fired ships burn fuel measured by the metric ton. Obviously - that is very expensive if you can even get the fuel. However, the world would kind of stop without international shipping, so we needed to find some alternate power sources.

Nuclear power has been used at sea for about a century - Oh hey, just about exactly now - the USS Nautilus went underway in 1955, commissioned in September I think. Where was I - right. Nuclear ships can maintain high speed, in all weather, for a long period of time - but that presents a few problems. To be economical - such vessels need to be at least the size of an aircraft carrier - which can rule out the use of a lot of ports and canals - and a lot of people don't like nuclear reactors parked near their cities.

Another option is "helicopter turbines" Basically, you fly these gyro-copter like kites behind the ship, they go up a few hundred meters, and use stead wind currents at altitude to produce electricity. They're a bit of a pain to maintain - and you can't use them much in bad weather - that tether and the power cord breaks - you're SOL.

Anyway, the idea basically came around to have large nuclear powered vessels moving back and forth across the ocean, transferring materials to smaller ships as the need came up. Not the most efficient or cheap way to handle things, but until adjustments to the whole system could be made to account for the problems of trading internationally without oil, it made do.

Those were some interesting times. Captain Morgan and Mister Walker actually served on this ship back then, though it was under German commission back then as the Von Manstien or something. They we're planning on eventually acquiring it and going into business or at least partnership on their own. Who would've expected aliens to make that happen de facto?

So anyway, that is basically a folding um what do they call those airliner docking things - and a conveyor belt for moving shipping containers.

Your welcome for the history, and the tour. Thank you for the company. The captain is really proud of his ship, and would have happily given you the tour himself, but they like getting rid of me when they can. I can't finish a conversation without going off topic onto the economics of constructing LOST SEC or politics of the arco project, or bringing up topics the officers don't want to broach.

Like what? Well, I've tried to for example come up with some alternatives to the government declaring they're back in power and nationalizing shipping. That is what the captain is hoping for. Others want to find an island and start our own base, or charter with one of the city states. 'Course there's been fistfights over which one. Mexico is kinda divided between federal districts and Owned states - I mean arguably they're running better than the USA, but its kind of like having a republican government where the congress is even divided between peoples representatives, drug kingpins, and corporations with private armies. Some of the really out there people want to sign on with some of the new pirate groups, like the Kola Collective Authority.

Nah, I don't know much about the KCA, just that its like the Baltic is once again ruled by vikings, just with cruise missiles and sidewall hovercraft this time. That book you're working on isn't going to take you there is it?

No kidding, you actually specifically raided a hospital for sea-sickness pills just so you could come aboard and do your research? Now that is dedication I can admire.We'll try to put you ashore soon then. One of the captain's big rules is no sea sickness - its hard enough to clean up after all these people. I mean the average ship has only ten to twenty crew - most things are automatic - so most of the population is squatters and improvised shelters in boxes - that is why I'm showing you up here and not bringing you to meet people. Well. I guess we can go to the main area for lunch and let you look around.

Oh wow, have we really spent that much time just standing here talking? Well. right this way then, over here leads towards the crew...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Lets Get Medieval

Ye brave souls seekth to slay thy foul abominations brought forth by the hands of the devil? More than goode steel be required for that. But, that be a goode start. Gather about this table yea, and each of you share a tale of how each in turn killth these unnatural beings before we set again to find the what evil lurks in Canterbury.

The Knight's Tail
A man's own skein is is good so that fistes do not harm overmuch - but a knife would put two of them on fair standing, and a mace or sworde overmatch. Barding of not unyeilding nature - goode boil'd leather or a shirt of iron rings doth incrse thy protection a level. A landowner's keep and the yield of many serfs may profvide Plates and helmet that are better yet. Yet even the proof-mark dent may not prove it resits all gonnes.

I doth see that few of you bear the maks of wearing armour before, but surely you will come to understand it doth drain your vigor. It will soon make ye weary, and hotte as a smith's forge almost. 

The Wife of Bath
He doth unsheathed a mighty sword and run me through a fair number of times - least till the roster crowed. Then it return to its sheath, and his blade leave the scabbard, and off he went to find sinners, though I think he found none that day.

But many types of blades there are and other means to do those who asalt thee. A goode steel blade the length of your arm or more pehaps adds an extra throw to your chance of a telling hitte.  Flailing chains or a mace can crush a man thru armour that woulde turn a blade. A bowe would lette you have the advantage of time, but not of strength, though I hear a crosse bow does split armour with surprising ease - though ye will have far fewer chances before the fiend is upon thy throat.

Doctor of Physic
Many fields have I seen, but the one of battle is be not one of them. But I have ridden wyde an far to claim goode herbs for the apothacary, and to let bloode and other humours. And I do tell you, that it is a matter of balenced acounting - much like said humours- that keeps a hos on its feet and you on its back.

Do not forget to let it graze and drink everyday, even if you must do without. Otherwise, its chance of going layme goes to perhaps the chance on knuckle-bone rolled in a game of haszurd.

The Game Master's Interjection:
Leather or Chain-mail armor will boost a character's SDI to Three, and Full Plate type of armor to Four. However, both of these old types of armor are more restrictive than a modern ballistic vest, and would be worse than useless against twentieth century weapons - they would probably shatter. As such, modern guns treat the armor as having one less SDI, while gaining an extra die of effect from the shrapnel.

A long sword adds a d6 rather than increasing damage rating, while a blunt weapon adds no extra dice, but does boast a DR of three against medieval armor. This does not necessarily apply to modern equipment.A crossbow has a DR three as well, but takes a whole turn to reload and draw.

Horses are mainly governed by scarcity rolls - d8 phased. Not feeding the animal will drop the die size. Attempting to gallop for an extended period of time or escape a threat through rough terrain requires a roll - as per usual, a failure will drop the quality - making the creature less willing to work, or perhaps even killing the poor animal if it drops below a d4.