Sunday, 14 June 2020

ODD Sci-Fi #1: A Quick Meet-and-Greet Job (Part 1)

ODD Sci-Fi played 31 May 2020 (online session)

The Game Pitch

The core worlds are owned by the corporations. 
The savage frontier is inhospitable. Adapting to life on the fringe means becoming something not quite human. You have to go into deep space to get anywhere. Some parts are better travelled than others, but all the same deep space warps people in terrifying ways. 
There was an ancient race of alien precursors. Their technology was far superior to ours, but that did not stop them from being utterly destroyed. 
You are damaged goods. 
You have incurred a colossal debt and have a share in a spacecraft. 
Now get trucking.

First session of an on-going campaign.  Character creation happened.

Game Master


Mutant muscle.
Scamp Padmore
Captain of the Bastion.

Pvt Hudson
Bugged-Out Marine.

Chauncey de Vere
Swindled tycoon/ former politician/con-woman.

Crimson  Staine
Reformed assassin.

The Crew of the Freighter Bastion

Clockwise from Top Left: Scamp, Hudson, Chauncey,
Crimson and Hock
  • Scamp Padmore – A former test-pilot.  Genetically and mechanically engineered from animal stock (mostly mouse in Scamp’s case) and treated as expendable by his creators.  He is captain and owner (having stolen it) of the Bastion.
  • Pvt Hudson – Bugged-out out marine.  He’s seen things...
  • Chauncey de Vere – Con-woman and the crew’s ‘Face’.  Her greatest con was to be elected President of a remote colony - which made her immensely rich until she had to leave in a hurry.
  • Crimson Staine – Reformed assassin.  His last, uncompleted job was to kill Chauncey: he often expresses regret for not carrying it out.
  • Hockjoint – Mutant muscle.  Many Mutes can pass for Norms: Hock can’t.  A standard mook from the knees up, he can't do anything to hide his massive chicken feet.  Partly to draw attention from this (and partly because he likes the heft when he grips it) he carries an unfeasibly large weapon.
The crew has a debt of 10,000 credits to Jacob’s Ladder, a Mercenary/Security Group.

The Job

Our employer
We were contacted by Elias Cordell, an antiquarian and Spiritualist, well-known as a collector of alien artefacts.  He had become aware of the discovery of one of these artefacts – a linga, a two-foot high crystal carved with alien glyphs – on the mining colony of Morbus Fracastorii.  If we could extract this item he would pay us 2,000 credits.  Cordell gave us the name of our contact – Chuck Jerrit – who would meet us at the Gallicus Spaceport on Morbus Fracastorri.
Morbus Fracastorri is owned and operated by Wendigo Corp, who mine and refine the highly volatile mineral Luciferium for fuel.  The atmosphere on the planet is ‘technically breathable’, but the surface is sparse and desolate.  Settlements are domed and linked by a monorail system.  There is one known major indigenous lifeform: Terranomorphs – immense, winged creatures with four legs and three eyes: one in particular (nicknamed ‘Mother’ by the colonists) is renowned for its ferocity.

At Gallicus International Spaceport

On the way down to the spaceport we discussed cover stories.  We decided that we could either be a) potential investors (relying on Chauncey’s skills), b) health inspectors or, c) pest controllers – depending on whether our priorities were access or keeping a low profile.  As the official vetting on arrival consisted of an indifferent “business or pleasure?” no story was required, and we held them in reserve until we found out more from Chuck.

But there was no sign of anyone fitting our contact’s description (a one-legged miner with a friendly face) among the scruffy hangers-on in the rather run-down arrivals ‘lounge’.  Our group split up in their attempts to find him, each following their own methods.  Crimson Stain checked the restrooms, examining each stall and unscrewing the covers of air vents: Hock went to the nearest bar, sat down and ordered a bottle and a glass. 

All the pre-planned cover stories dissolved as Hock chatted with Belle the proprietor, and explained that he was looking for work and that his cousin had suggested that the mining colony was a good place to find it.  Belle agreed that there was always work for those willing to stomach it.  When Hock mentioned his cousin’s friend Chuck, Belle's face lit-up: everyone knows Chuck she said, though it was odd that he’d not been around lately.  He lived in Company accommodation at Morbustown, so he might be there, or he might have been on a bender at Elliott’s Cantina (“Now that’s a rough dive”).

In the meantime, Chauncey, Scamp and Hudson had settled in at one of the tables, and were considering the rest of the clientele.  Conscious of the fact that neither she nor Scamp were armed, Chauncey decided to try her luck in picking the pocket of one of the more drunken sots.  She was successful in relieving him of his rather antique pistol but was noticed by the drinkers on adjacent tables, and was soon looking down the barrels of four guns.  Shots were fired (the drunks all missed, only wounding one of their own) and the bar exploded into a brawl.

Chauncey successfully escaped through the nearest exist while Scamp used his small stature to devastating effect and Hudson took on a miner armed with a broken bottle.  Hock remained at the bar, sharing a drink with Belle.  She seemed supremely unconcerned, and started laying out glasses.  Right enough, as soon as Wendigo Security arrived, the first thing the four goons did was to knock back shots.  They then kicked some of the prone customers and lined up the rest along the wall for questioning.  Hock and Hudson repeated the story about looking for work, and were given directions to the Company Office and told to move on. 

Meanwhile Scamp, Chauncey and Crimson had found that in order to get on the monorail system one either had to buy a ticket or have a Company pass.  The crew re-assembled (Chauncey was particularlly disgusted that no-one had used the cover of the brawl to steal anything else useful), decided to make their way to Morbustown, and went to the Company Office to enquire about registering for work. They found that this would mean entering into a six-month contract, default on which would incur a large debt to Wendigo Corp. No-one was willing to risk this.

Again, each of the crew decided to tackle the monorail problem in their own ways: Crimson went to the gents again and mugged a miner, stealing his ident card; Hock vaulted the barriers and hid in the baggage compartment; Scamp jumped on Chauncey's shoulders and imitated the action of a fur stole (this disguised suited them both so well, that they kept it up long after it ceased to be necessary), while she shrugged and bought a ticket.

Morbustown: Enter a Rival

Our dastardly rival
Other than a ticket inspection, the trip to Morbustown was uneventful.  However, on arrival the crew were surprised to run into their greatest rival – Barnett Kale – and his lackeys.  Kale was something of a Dude - a former child actor turned bounty hunter.  A tense stand-off followed, during which it became clear that Kale was also in search of the alien artefact and knew of Chuck Jerrit’s involvement with it.  After some posturing and mutual sneering, the two crews went on their ways.  Kale boarded the monorail heading to Elliott’s Cantina, while the Bastion crew decided to check Jerrit’s apartment it despite Kale having said that it was empty.  As Kale’s train pulled out of the station, pointing us out to Wendigo Security officers. 

Jerrit’s rooms in the Company block had been ransacked – Kale had obviously done a good job on it.  Crimson Staine found and took two boxes of Luciferium ore, partly because they were valuable in themselves, but also because he always has an eye out for anything that might be turned into an improvised explosive device.  Other than that, we found nothing useful.  Questioning Jerrit’s neighbours, we discovered that he had last been seen being taken off for questioning by Company Security; but we also got the names of two of his fellow dodgy-dealers – Tommy Booth and Cornelius Heal.  They were most likely to be found in Elliott’s Cantina. 

Cursing the lead that Kale had on us, we headed back to the monorail station.  However it was crawling with Wendigo Security!  Through some quick-footedness we managed to evade them and get on a train just as it was leaving.  Unfortunately it wasn’t heading to Elloit’s Cantina, but we worked out that if we got off at the next station we would be able to cut through the mine to eventually get there.

Underground, Overground

On descending down to the workings, we adopted over cover as pest controllers.  Chauncey questioned some workers who told us that there was an opening to the surface nearby which lead to where Chuck and Tommy Booth had made an ‘odd discovery’.  We reconnoitred the shaft and found that it led to the surface.  Some ancient standing stones could be seen in the distance.   However, there were four Terranomorphs circling in the sky above.  We returned to the workers, explained that we were there to clear the Terranomorph infestation and needed their help.  They were persuaded to do so with the promise of trophies and bragging rights if we managed to killed the legendary ‘Mother’.

We constructed a plan whereby we stuffed a set of workman’s overalls with an explosive device fashioned by Crimson from the Luciferium.  This would be tied to a rope, be thrown out on the surface and jiggled about.  When the Terranomorphs took the bait, we would set off the device.  We’d then saunter across to the ruins, pick up the artefact and be home for tea.

This plan worked to an extent.  One of the Terrenomorphs was killed in the explosion, and two of the others frightened away.  The fourth turned its attention to us.  A battle ensued, with it stabbing its head into the mouth of the shaft.  It was eventually killed, but not before seriously injuring Chauncey.  We examined the ruins and found evidence that they had been explored, and that something had been removed.  We still had to make contact with the miners.

Elliott’s Cantina

We therefore resumed our trek to Elliott’s Cantina with the hope of meeting Chuck’s friends.  Again, some evasion was needed to avoid the attention of the guards who were closely monitoring the monorail station.  The cantina itself was much larger, busier and noisier than Belle’s Place at the spaceport.  With the ease of well-practiced routine, the crew took up positions: Hudson and Chauncey (still wearing Scamp) took a table; Crimson found high ground with a good view; and Hock took up position at the bar with a glass and a bottle.  In chatting to the bar staff, Hock was able to indentify Tommy Booth and Cornelius Heal playing cards, which he communicated to Chauncey; but both he and Crimson were able to see that there were two or three groups of men keeping close watch on the pair.

Chauncey asked Tommy to dance and he naturally abandoned his cards.  Covered by the noise of the raucous music, Chauncey explained that we were Chuck’s off-world contacts and were here to retrieve the artefact.  Tommy immediately suggested they step outside to do business.  As they headed to the door, the watching agents stood up from their tables: a distraction was needed...

Hock finished his drink, turned to his neighbour at the bar and head-butted him.  When he threw the unconscious patron onto the nearest table, the cantina erupted into a general brawl.


  1. Wash, we got some local colour happening. A grand entrance would not go amiss...

    Looking forward to hearing about them getting even deeper in the shit so the GM has to invent another NPC on the spot to pull them out of the fire and stop the entire campaign coming to a premature grinding halt.

    1. As it happened, we did had to resort to the use of the NPC. I'll try to get the write-up out soon (it's number three in the queue for posts): it was another head-cracking session!

  2. Yes, we could do with a laser canon...

    We're just starting the second session in media res. Two more crew members have arrived.


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