Wednesday 21 January 2015

Hilli and Sci-Fi Short Story by Niles Alling

Here is a fine character and fiction submission by Niles Alling: Mr. Alling says he welcomes anyone to contact him to collaborate on Challenger RPG projects, or to just bounce around ideas. He's also willing to share material, or swap stories for critiquing. 

This is game Number One.

Character #1: Hilli

Standard issue bio-mechanical scouting unit. Highly upgradeable/customizable.

Cat sized robotic platform. Quadrupedal at speed, bipedal for item manipulation. Built for speed and scouting. Easy to upgrade. Automatic solar power cell recharge. Refillable Nanobot-repair clusters, 3 charges carrying 1d6 repair points.

-PULSE PISTOL, short range pistol wielding, up to 10 meters, 1d6.

-MAG-CARBINE, medium range carbine wielding, up to 50 meters, 1d10.

-HACK, 50% chance opening any low-level security door, 50% chance info recovery of any low level data terminal.

-RE-LOAD, brainbox data sent to secure orbiting satellite and made instantly available to nearest robotic platform in event of total destruction. Total equipment loss. Retain any electronic funds.

-CLOAK, basic equipment, 50% chance of escaping enemy notice until combat begins, upgradeable light-bending optics, acts as camouflage. Must be activated (not a passive skill, 10 minutes of total cloaking time before recharge is needed).

-FLASH, once per encounter an expanding sphere of light energy emits from unit, blinds any biological enemies or scrambles any electronic circuits. 25% chance of total immobilization of enemy for one round. 

-CAPTURE, unit carries two, small remote hacking devices. Must be placed directly on robotic enemy unit. 25% chance of obtaining direct control over enemy unit for 1d6 rounds. Retain control over unit until next encounter or for one day if original encounter ends with enemy unit under PC control.

-ION SHIELD, once per day a spherical shield can be generated. 75% chance of blocking all damage. Blocks 50% of damage even upon failure.

-GEOSYNCHRONOUS EYE, once per encounter data can be streamed from any available satellite giving nearby enemy locations or any POIs, building blueprints. Does not function for subterranean structures. Uses two full turns to complete during an encounter.

-KINETIC HARPOON, once per adventure 1d6, 3 foot long solid masses launched from orbit upon an enemy dealing 3d10 damage each. 25% chance of hitting man sized enemy. 50% chance of hitting vehicle sized enemy. 100% chance of hitting stationary building or building sized enemy. All PC's must be outside the 100 meter safety zone. GEOSYNCHRONOUS EYE must be activated successfully before use.

The only information this character starts with is that his human body is somewhere on the planet in a research and development laboratory. Character starts by soft reboot just outside of a small community of natives with a standard issue monomolecular knife (replaces natural weaponry, 1d4) pulse pistol and 100 galactic standard units (most common form of currency).


Self Discovery

Chapter One

I knew as soon I woke, something was off. It was the way I woke, I think. It wasn't the gradual spiral up out of sleep I'm used to, I came-to like flipping on a switch. 

Directly in front of me was a long thin hand, three fingers and slightly heavier opposable thumb. I'd seen the material somewhere before. Ultralloy. A strange mixture of carbon nanotube and exotic high nickel metal. Twice the strength, a quarter the weight. Good stuff. How did I know that...?

An artificially calm female voice spoke:

"Warning. Evasive maneuvers recommended. There is a low speed, high mass object incoming."

Without thinking I answered back, "What?"

"Warning. Evas..."

"Yes! I got that but... what's going on? Who are you?" I observed more of my body as I swung my head around, looking for the speaker. Just to add a little flavor to my already confused mind, parts of me seemed to fuzz out of focus or whole chunks would disappear altogether. 

"I have been given no designation. I am this unit's A.I."

I could feel the ground rumbling now. Whoever she was, she was right. There was something big, and it was close.

I turned my head to look behind me, and seen the huge metal grille of a Class D land train. I knew they were big. The balloon tires they ran on were ten meters tall by themselves. 

And apparently the voice talking to me in my head has a different idea of 'low speed' than I do. They sustain a cruising speed of 130 kph over the flat desert terrain. Funny the useless little facts your brain will feed you when you're truly in panic mode...

I found that when you're about to kiss the front bumper of a land train they appear to be moving a whole hell of a lot quicker than that.

"Requesting permission to take temporary control over unit."


The next few seconds were just a blur. My view to the front lowered close to the ground, sage brush flew past at a dizzying speed and I could feel the rumbling begin to die down. 

At what the A.I. determined to be a safe distance she relinquished control and I looked back at the train. Watching the thirty two pairs of ten-meter-tall balloon tires roar by I realized how lucky I was. 

"Thank you. I think you just saved my life."

"Self preservation software is built into this unit's A.I." 

"I see. Look, I really need to know what's going on here. What information can you give me about... this?" I gestured my ultralloy hand vaguely around myself.

"I have been given a data file and was instructed to give it to you when the unit finished its soft reboot. Would you like the data now?"

"Yes. Please."

My view of the world blinked out and was replaced by the severe face of a silver haired woman in her sixties. Intelligent brown eyes peered at me over the lenses of oval wireframe glasses. 

"Hello Dr. Reso. This is Dr. Bruckner. We weren't sure what you'd remember at this point so I've prepared a quick overview of the situation. Odds are you have more questions than answers right now.

We are working on 'Project Binary Grail' for the Department of Advanced Artificial Intelligence Development, an embedded agency within the United Republic of Free Star System's military.

Recently we have made astounding progress toward the truly thinking and learning machine, thanks in large part to your experiments in total synaptic transfer and immersion. 

So much so that the higher-ups have taken an interest in the project and demanded a full disclosure report on all methods, techniques and findings. Needless to say we put them off for some time. I guess we pushed it too far. 

On Friday, the sixth of January in the year 2164, Earth Standard, a black ops sting operation was carried out to collect the research and its subsequent data. 

You were immersed at the time of the sting and the only reason everything was in place for this was due to the thorough foresight of yourself and Senior Design Engineer Ackley. 

A small escape pod with the unit you're immersed in now escaped and was loaded on a transport to the Freemason system where it was to dump you on one of the planets in the Goldilocks band. 

Also loaded into that unit is the A.I. you've been developing since this project began. You've got something there Doug. We don't know exactly WHAT you've got, but it doesn't behave like a machine... shit, it behaves more like something out of myth. 

Anyway, you need to obtain another means of transportation after you've found a particular individual on that planet. His name is Grant Ronlin. Back when he was still on the radar he had ideas almost as crazy as yours. Rumors say he's gone native and has completely dropped off the net. Reasons for this behavior range from too much pressure in his old working environment, to cult activities and everything in between. 

Find him, we believe he may be convinced to help you. It's a long shot, I know... But this is as far as we could get you without raising any red flags with the trans galactic teamsters. And besides, you always wanted to meet him. Looks like you have a good excuse now. Do not try to contact the lab or anyone involved in the project, we're being watched. When this blows over we will try to get in contact with you.

Good luck Doug. And take care of her."

"End of message." Said the calm female voice.

If I had lungs I would have taken a deep breath, let it out slowly, and had myself a good solid round of cursing.

--Niles Alling.

Monday 15 December 2014

Cow Bell and Reap Tracker Adventure 2 Part 1

This adventure is still in progress.

Cow Bell's Uncle Larry, who now rules the Kingdom of Am and is somewhat evil, summons the heroes to the court and requests that they defend the border village which I forgot the name of against the hostile forces of the forest of Nos.

He gives them a squad of 100 of his best soldiers and the king's seal which means that if anyone disobeys them, lightning will shoot down from the sky and kill the offenders.

They travel to the village and find it embroiled in a nightly war against zombies from the forest. Unknown to the heroes, the High Priest from the previous adventure is in league with the forces of death and controls the zombies who are attacking.

The heroes track the zombie forces into the forest and find a cave they are coming from. They enter and find a portal which the Reap Tracker's horse/dragon sniffs out for them. The portal leads to the northern swamp of doom where the ancient black castle lies with the stone golem pyramid. Selky has mind controlled the High Priest and taken control of the 4 invincible elemental forces of the land to destroy the kingdom.

A new hero joins the group. She's a telekinetic, but apart from that I forgot. They have a fight with some stone golems, but the dragon eats them and gets indigestion. Cow Bell digs with a shovel and finds a scroll that gives him visions of a fairy girl who tells him they cannot attack the evil castle without the 4 elemental weapons scattered across the lands.

They split their forces into the Desert of Flame and travel to the Vale of Ghosts where they recover the wind whip. Next, they travel into the frostlands and reclaim the water scimitar of healing from the bottom of a lake.

Air elementals attack Cow Bell, but he flies around the world 5 times and then ignites them with his laser eyes in a factory filled with gunpowder.

At this point, we had to break up the session so this adventure is to be continued...

Challenger Cow Bell and Reap Tracker Campaign Adventure 1

By request, here is the summary of one of my currently running Challenger campaigns:

Episode 1: Adventure 1 Reap Tracker and Cow Bell Campaign.

The two heroes are a super-man look-alike named Cow Bell instead of Kal-El and a hunter/tracker named the Reap Tracker who never reveals her true name to anyone.

The players used an outdated version of Challenger to give themselves super powers and made an NPC for their party who is a first level healer/pirate who has infinite uses of the Raise Dead power.

The evil tyrant king of Am requests the players help in rooting out assassins in his court. The players show up and stop an assassination attempt in the throne room. They resurrect the assassin and find out that it could be either the court wizard or the high priest who is responsible. The court wizard is Selky the Illusionist.

Meanwhile, Cow Bell is seeking a blue magical stone from his people lost somewhere in the city. They find the stone and his people show up to steal it from him. When they return to the castle one of the king's three daughters is dead. They resurrect her and suspicions fall on the High Priest.

The players attack at midnight on the rooftop and find out the High Priest has the stone. The evil wizard of the court attacks the High Priest and they discover the king himself is evil as well. The Reap Tracker gets a huge dragon somehow and there is a battle against Selky's illusions which the players lose and still survive. They crash the dragon into the castle and defeat the evil king.

Cow Bell's Kryptonian Uncle Larry takes over control of the kingdom and the two heirless princesses who are still alive (one died under the bed somehow and didn't get resurrected) follow Cow Bell around like groupies.

As reward, the Reap Tracker now has a huge dragon which can turn into a hippogriff or a horse at will and only needs to eat one piece of silver a day to stay alive. It can also breath: fire, acid, and ice and travels at 1,000 miles per minute.

End of Adventure One.