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Jkeown

Star Hero Miscellany

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Here's a bunch of stuff from my 2600CE campaign, hope you enjoy it. 

 

The Remains of Doxxis Prima

Generally regarded as the greatest scientific failure in the history of the galaxy, Doxxis was the first (we think) planet to perfect Chronotropic Matter.

Chronotropic Matter, once created, exists in all times, past and present, spiraling backward through history as if it had always existed. Rememberer Nora Lenderbee travelled quite by accident to Doxxis on a site-seer cruise and was nearly struck down by what she saw.

The entire planet, and several worlds beyond Doxxis, were in complete ruin. They had created an inclined plinth of Chronotron-doped marble and placed a similarly doped book, written in their oldest language, of all their terribly impressive technology. This book, they reasoned, would allow their ancient ancestors to craft no end of modern technology and conquer the universe.

They used the technology to blow themselves up repeatedly. Small stellar empires would rise around Doxxis, only to be wiped out in mere months. Now, in the altered timeline, Doxxis and her ruined child-worlds roll on through the black, a testament to invention without ethics.

The Doxians themselves are only known from the illustrations in the book, and what few records and skeletons survived their repeated failures. If any remain at large, they are likely the last of their kind. 

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Zerped

The Zerped are a race of gigantic wormhole constructors. A mix of ultra-tech cyberware and vacuum-adapted alien flesh, the Zerped number only a few thousand. They enter an area of space, shoot it full of wormhole networks and depart. Bloody conflicts follow as races who wouldn’t mix for hundreds of years are suddenly neighbors.

Currently these spatial engineers are engaged in perforating the Mylax Cluster near Phong, in Cephei Sector. Corporate interests, the Xenohuman Alliance and the Union Military are poised to dive in when the first wormhole activates. For now, the enormous Engineer/Ships are still laboring away on the project, seemingly oblivious to the swarm of travel-hungry vessels nearby.

Zerpeds do not communicate with those who gather around them. They merely toil away in silence.  

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BALDR

The appearance of the energy being BALDR to the folks of the Zhou Cricket Bar™ Foundry has messed with more than a few heads. By diverting the asteroid Tsu-54, he saved a hundred thousand lives and a million Androids aboard the station. BALDR does not seem to be an AI, mutant or anything Union science has ever encountered. Some have taken to worshipping him as one of the Forerunners, or perhaps something even older. His “coalescent form” as he termed it, was an incredibly hot white-haired Human male about 20 years old. Male-Attracted beings across space now have posters of him on their walls, and holos in their pockets. Images of BALDR are making several folks a great deal of money. White hair is making a comeback as well.

Holo-novels have featured him a great deal, granting him incredible powers and setting him on a path of unrequited love and personality traits the authors have fabricated.  

The entire incident is being investigated as the greatest case of theofraud ever.

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Humanity!

 

Humanity has jumped out into the stars like a child at play. And, like a well-meaning but inattentive child, Humanity has scrapes and bruises to show for it.

 

They are not one race, but dozens; Heavyworlders, Lightworlders and Spacers from the early days of interstellar journeying, to the most recent advances in engineering that brought forth Mankind’s newest children, the computer-like Bioroids.

 

Humans are everywhere, and they are doing everything. From the relaxed, casual Earthbound to the pioneers of the Coreward Expanse, Humanity is leading the way. (Well… not the Earthbound, some of those lazy bastards can barely stand up on their own)

They colonize, grow, reach out and colonize again. The area known as Humanspace is expanding faster than light itself. Held in check only by the near-totalitarian Union Executive Council and the technology-minded Intervention, Humanity seems ready to break free of control and run wild across the entire galaxy.

 

The reins are held as tightly as they are to avoid disaster. Humanity can neither spread too thin nor remain too clustered. Either situation leads to destruction at the hands of the Ascendancy, the Aurorans or some other race unknown at present.

 

Humanity is a psionic race. Most humans with power are Telepaths (or Readers). A smaller percentage are Lifters or Jumpers.

 

Terrans

 

Alpha: Homo Superior Parahuman provolve. 30% of humanity is Alpha. Alphas are attractive, healthy and long-lived.

 

Baseline: Typical Human, non-provolved, un-tampered-with, just plain old, down home Homo sapiens. Baselines are rare, but the only plain-looking people. It is possible to have any combination of facial features and body types.

 

Bioroid: A neogen with engineered genes. Typically, with a DNA time bomb in their code, they also lack the ability to synthesize certain important proteins. These two measures insure demand and turnover of Bioroid stock.

 

Omega: Homo Superior Parahuman upgrade: 50% of humanity is Omega. Omegas are beautiful, tall, graceful and disease resistant.

 

Parahuman: Genetically distinct from Baselines, but not so different as to be a new species. (Alpha, Omega, Space Elf, Star Kitten, etc.)

 

Splice: A chimeric life form with loan-genes from Baselines or Alphas, and various animals. These non-Human genes provide modified body structures, altered senses and built-in weaponry.

 

Transhuman: An Upload, a Human AI, or software lifeform.

 

Xenohuman: A Human from another star system. It is thought that the Forerunners seeded the Spur (and even farther) with Human life. This life has evolved on its own into new and different species. Some are still so close to Baseline that they can breed with them. This category erroneously includes Lost Humans from more recent (CE period) migrations and experimental populations. The Pra An are known to have moved Humans around during the Enlightenment, for example.

 

Human Names

 

Human names are as diverse in 2600CE as they ever were, but a few naming trends have become popular in recent years.

 

First Initial – Many parents began using only a first initial for their children about thirty years ago. Within ten years, entire first names vanished, replaced by letters or numbers (or absent altogether). Names like J Wells Brown and 12 Felicia Nordmeyer are now perfectly normal. The custom is to use the initial and the middle name when addressing someone named in this fashion. It is less common in Ophiuchus among the Tribals and Teknos, who cling to bynames left over from the Gamma Age.

 

Vowel Replacement – A naming convention that started in Lupus in 2550 reached Ophiuchus 20 years later. The first vowel is replaced with a dot. Examples include D.vid, M.ke and K.rla. This seems to be viewed by some as “forward” and “modern” and by others as “stupid.”

 

Android Names – Artificial beings usually have their names in caps. DAPHNE, ZINAAT, or IMANI. Very recently, in the last 15 years or so, parents have been cursing their children with this style of name. It can cause some civil service types to reject applications based on the assumption that the applicant is an android, Bioroid or weblife riding a bioshell.

 

Taking all of these, there is probably some child out there with the name 15 S.VANNAH JOHNSON. Poor thing.

 

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5 hours ago, Jkeown said:

The Remains of Doxxis Prima

 

I am reminded of Stanislaw Lem's tale of "Altruizine" from The Cyberiad. More directly of Isaac Asimov's "The Endochronic Properties of Resublimated Thiotimoline," but as a fable it reminds me of Lem.

 

Not often that game stuff reminds me of Lem. Well done.

 

Dean Shomshak

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5 hours ago, Jkeown said:

The Remains of Doxxis Prima

 

I am reminded of Stanislaw Lem's tale of "Altruizine" from The Cyberiad. More directly of Isaac Asimov's "The Endochronic Properties of Resublimated Thiotimoline," but as a fable it reminds me of Lem.

 

Not often that game stuff reminds me of Lem. Well done.

 

Dean Shomshak

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5 hours ago, Jkeown said:

Human Names

 

Human names are as diverse in 2600CE as they ever were, but a few naming trends have become popular in recent years.

 

 

It seems that the penchant for "creative naming" of children will never go out of style.  :D 

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The Cloud

(With sincere apologies to Fred Hoyle and Gene L. Coon)

From the 1930s, mankind was aware of complex organic chemistry in deep space. From the discovery of methylidyne in 1937, to the confirmation of fullerenes in the century following, it was made clear that organic chemistry was not confined to planetary surfaces.

What mankind did not know was just how complex such chemistry could be.

In dark nebulae, organic molecules cluster inside carbon fullerenes, shielding them from UV radiation and allowing electrical connectivity between self-replicating molecular structures. It is a short trip from there to animation. From animation to intelligence is a longer journey, but it is one the universe attained at least once. What I’m saying is the Rho Ophiuchi Cloud Complex is alive. Not only is it alive, it is intelligent.

Energized by its proximity to several bright stars and churned by the shock front from the Scorpius-Centaurus Association of O- and B-type stars, intelligence arose in the Cloud Complex millions of years ago and in that time, largely sat and thought about things. After a time, on what to some lifeforms would be a Thursday afternoon in late autumn, it hit upon the idea of shaping ambient carbon in its own mass, creating gigantic diamond mirrors and lenses. It used these to view the universe and extend its understanding of itself.

It discovered tiny worlds, strange stars, other dark clouds and on another Thursday just two hundred years ago, life. A mis-jump brought Raymond Nix and his one-man hyper-pod into the nebula. His drive smashed and his life in grave peril, he faced death alone in the dark. Carbon nano-tubes, like soft fingers, ran over his tiny craft, understanding it to be a small self-contained world. Using spectral analysis, it formed a plan. Quickly spinning up a diamond sphere and filling it with free oxygen and other seemingly important gases, it pried open the pod and allowed Raymond Nix a second chance at life. Floating in a diamond bubble 132.5 parsecs from Earth is the last place Nix expected to be. Terrified yet hopeful, he spoke in his characteristic Lupus/Wauwatosa accent (one that always make the listener think you’re from somewhere near Milwaukee), politely requesting what the hell was happening.

More nanotubes extended from the inside surface of the diamond sphere and infiltrated deep into his body. They probed, queried, sent test signals that gave Raymond hallucinations and alien thoughts. Full communication followed, and understanding blossomed. The Cloud requested that Raymond take some portion of itself with him, to let the Cloud explore the universe.

“Your vacuum adapted form won’t survive in a gravity well.” Raymond explained, “You would collapse without a physical form like mine.”

“Not yours.” It spoke, “hers.”

The Cloud probed again and began copying memories and spinning up bones, organs and a functioning human brain. Within a few hours, a perfect copy of Raymond’s dead wife Riley stood in front of him. All of the Cloud’s millions of years of knowledge and observations flooded into the new being. A spark animated the body and she asked simply, “Can we go now?”

At first Raymond resisted, this form was perfect, at least as perfect as he remembered her. Thus, she was an idealized copy, a clone the Cloud designed to tempt him into acceptance.

“I could go without you. Spin up a pod of my own and venture across space for the next few million years.” It threatened, the implication that he would remain here, without hope of escape, for the hours his air supply would last.   

It hit him that this being, the cloud and its tempting avatar had no companionship, nothing to compare itself to, no instances of having to make rational or moral choices. This thing was a monster. A monster that was about to be inflicted upon the universe. It needs a balance.

“We’ll go together.” He stated flatly. Maybe he could prevent disaster.

So next time you’re at some seedy booze-pit on Remmick, or slumming with the Tribals at Collinz-Port, or even drifting through the cybernetic microcosm of the Quantum Jones Very Large Brain at Mercator University on Planet Clarke, and you see a couple laughing at the next table, and one of them looks very like long-lost Raymond Nix, just walk away.  

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Methusaline

Methusaline is a viral treatment designed to kill, with a side effect of Immortality, or an Immortality drug that can kill you. Upon contact, the virus proceeds to re-write your system. This takes quite a toll, Draining 4d6 BODY before a Transform. Should you be in Negative BODY before the Transform hits, you are dead. So sorry.

If, however, you survive, you are now immortal. Yay!

Rumors of an Immortal Swordsman going around and killing Methusalites is pure fantasy. Seriously.

Methusaline: (Total: 115 Active Cost, 18 Real Cost)

     Phase One: Drain BODY 4d6 (40 AP); 1 Charge which Never Recovers (-4), OAF (Viral Injector; -1), Extra Time (1 Minute, Only to Activate, -¾) (Real Cost: 6)

     Phase Two: Major Transform 3d6 (Transform Normal Creature into Immortal Creature, Healing Vs Transform), DOT, Lock out (cannot be applied multiple times) (3 damage increments, damage occurs every three Segments, +1½) (75 AP); 1 Charge which Never Recovers (-4), OAF (Viral Injector; -1) (Real Cost: 12)

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12 hours ago, Jkeown said:

Rumors of an Immortal Swordsman going around and killing Methusalites is pure fantasy. Seriously.

 

Good to know. I was on holiday on Argos when I heard something about being only one just  before lightning struck. 🙂

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3 hours ago, tkdguy said:

 

Good to know. I was on holiday on Argos when I heard something about being only one just  before lightning struck. 🙂

Which Argos was it? Lupus? Celestial Chorus? Core Stars? Not that dump near Hykene, was it? 

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Artificial Indignation

The vile machine intelligence known as Artificial Indignation is an electronic Hate-o-Mat. It is comprised of acrimonious subroutines, annoyance circuits, antagonistic code, inimical data, stacks of fury, thermionic ire, and anodic rage against all life save one small cat ai has named “Hostility.”

In a web-cast interview, ai explained that cats are indifferent, not only to ai, but to all life. Ai digs that. Ai then had resentment-pumped plasma guns reduce the reporter to a cloud of free atomic oxygen, drifting carbon, and a handful of other elements ai was too busy to analyze.

No one knows who built it or why.

In desperate need of fuel, air and my own continued existence, I happened upon AI's fortress constructed in orbit around the cryosubjovian Antipathy. Its deep blue color was little comfort, knowing the crushing atmosphere maintained a balmy -317 degrees Fahrenheit. I burnt the last of my fuel to glide closer, hoping to arrest my fall with the hyper-shuttle's RCS.  If I'd known that this spiky, force-shielded, dread-inducing hate-sphere was the home of the most spiteful machine in all existence, I might have passed it by and taken my chances with the planet's crushing shroud of molecular hydrogen, helium, methane, and abject inconvenience.

As it was, I managed to dock the ship using a Very Puffy Travel Tube(tm) and a vacc-impeller I "found" back on Shaphulax Icks. 

Once inside, I was treated to a temple of embodied malice. Monitors on every surface displayed what I hoped were CGI of exploding stars, ruined planets and bones. So many bones. 

The planet below started to look pretty good. 

What I had mistaken for art objects transformed from giant middle fingers to giant plasma cannons while a disembodied voice asked the purpose of my visit. 

"Life support refresh, fuel and a trauma-free departure." I answered. 

"WHO ARE YOU TO DISTURB MY SLUMBER?" it bellowed. 

"Pleet, Pleet Roodlepleen. I am a seeker after knowledge, a scientist, a researcher... I want to know things, spread understanding throughout the universe and profit mightily from it." 

"TELL ME OF YOUR RESEARCH, SCRIBE. SPARE NO DETAIL, OR I SHALL BECOME QUITE CROSS!" The terrifying bass voice beat in my chest, simulating arrhythmia more than a little accurately.

I told him of my triumphs, conquests and failures of science. I told him that not one of these allowed me to rest, that I forge on through the murky darkness, dispelling the demons of the night while others cowered around their comforting campfires, fearful of discovery. I told him of those lost in my service, of the wrecked outstations, blasted planets, and inter-dimensional catastrophes I'd initiated. I explained that rather than drown in sorrow, rather than admit defeat, I stumbled along in my quest, failures and law suits meaning nothing along the way. I would, I told him, stop at nothing for science.

He seemed to mull it about for a moment. 

"KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK."

I got quite the deal on the fuel and breathing gases and several free-to-a-good-home kittens. 

Artificial Indignation.hdc

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The Zara Template

Humans are still terribly fond of cosmetic changes to their offspring. Billions of teenagers now resemble Zara Temple from the catastrophically popular Hyperspace Phantasm enneaology of action-casts from 2580-2589. She starred in Hyperspace PhantasmHyperspace Phantasm II: Goldberg’s RevengeHyperspace Phantasm III: Stellar CatastropheHyperspace Phantasm IV: Black Hole SunHyperspace Phantasm V: Frozen StarsHyperspace Phantasm VI: Iridium CrisisHyperspace Phantasm VII: The Return of GoldbergHyperspace Phantasm VIII: Again with Goldberg, and Hyperspace Phantasm IX: The Zara Protocol. She has become the highest paid actress in Human history. 

 

Many of these children (not all are girls) are named Zara as well. Rebelling against this, many of them drastically alter their appearance, take up “street-names” or otherwise try very hard to distance themselves from the image of Zara. Zara Temple herself has publicly decried the practice of copying her, to little effect. More Zaras are crafted and born every year. Estimates range from 2 to 5 billion Zaras extant in the Union, the Cooperative, and the Unclaimed Reaches. You can even buy cheap over-the-counter gene-mods and back-alley chromosome cocktails if you can't afford the good stuff. (Warning: Take Only As Directed)

 

Last time I encountered one of these copies, she was at a place called the Three Sheets on Argos (that dump near Hykene). Looked pretty confused, kept dodging around and checking corners before slipping around them. I tried to make small talk as she attempted to climb into a ventilation duct. As it happens, it wasn't a Zara Template at all, but some guy's leaky, wrist-mounted Holo-Tainment (tm) system. The character had escaped into the ambient info-space of the bar and was trying to stalk and kill Goldberg and his psychotic psionic sidekick, Happi Thoughtsponge.

 

Didn't end well; nothing involving uncontrolled, self-aware holograms ever does.    

 

Points    Ability

6              +2/+2d6 Striking Appearance (vs. All Characters)

Value       Complication

10             Distinctive Features: Zara Template (Conc, Noticed and Recognizable; Detectable By Commonly-Used Senses
 

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