Monday, January 16, 2017

Story Seed - A New World

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This is inspired by a recent decision to do a one-shot of After the Bomb RPG on my birthday coming up. It was favorite of mine years ago, and I hope it stands up to a trip down nostalgia lane.

Nobody rightly recalls how it all happened. How it started. Some say it was a war for resources that escalated. Some that it was all an accident with an advanced defense system. Others say it was a disease that made mankind mad, and in its madness it lashed out, flailing at itself with weapons of mass destruction. However it began the world was bombarded in nuclear fire and the old world was destroyed. The world died, humanity was reduced from billions to tens of thousands.

Maybe it was the radiation. Or a chemical. Or some kind of disease that changed. Regardless, as humankind fell the animals rose. Mutations rapidly changed the wild and domesticated animals of the world. Intelligence. Sentience. Sapience. Hands. Even psychic abilities. As humanity gasped against their death, the animals took their first breaths as the world's new dominant "species." The remaining humans have either embraced the new citizens of the world or banded together against them. In the ruins of the old world both parties eek out survival. 

The wind swayed the trees and brought a new scent to my nose. I sniffed and then wrinkled my nose at the odor, some kind of synthetic volatile. Motor oil perhaps, or something else. I crept forward and peered out from the hedgerow. A mechanized soldier, one of the Empire's robot suited thugs. I sat back and un-slung my rifle from my back.

Not for the first time I cursed my underdeveloped legs. Walking on two legs was beyond me for more than a few steps, unlike some of my friends who were more human in that regard. Still, I shouldn't complain too much, my hands were well developed and I'd retained the superior sense of smell of my forebears. I lifted the rifle, then thought better of it. Instead I grabbed the battered walkie talkie. It's case was held together with old silver tape and the batteries were being held in by a rubber band, but it worked. I clicked it on and quietly called for help from my comrades.

I took up my weapon and waited, peering through the simple tube scope on the rifle and waiting for my allies. I didn't have to wait long. A bellowing roar preceded the arrival of Moose. Antlers down he charged the armored soldier, slamming into it with the force of a car. Hot on Moose's heels were Shifty and Fred. Shifty held a submachinegun that was comically large in the mouse's hands but the cleverly assembled recoil brace did its job and he laid down and impressive amount of suppressing fire. Fred was another dog, but his mastiff roots made him huge and he rushed out swinging a crude maul built from an old metal pole with a chuck of concrete still fused to the end.

Two other soldiers joined the first but I managed a lucky shot and got one just below the face shield of his helmet, sending the man down in a gurgling tumble. The stream of bullets from Shifty kept the other pinned down long enough for Moose and Fred to beat the first into submission. The third ran, his robotically augmented legs carrying him away quicker than any of us could, or cared to, follow.

"They're getting brazen," Shifty said as he reloaded an extra long magazine for his weapon. "This is way closer to home than they usually patrol. Things are getting bad."

Fred nodded, "War is coming."

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Last Week Today - January 9 - 15, 2016

Story Seed - Marksman

Sadly work got the better of me this week and I was unable to prepare my usual schedule. However one more thing of mine was published this week: my adventure "Thirst" for Gods of the Fall was published in issue #8 of the CypherCaster! If you have a Gods of the Fall game running, or plan to start one, this is a great (my opinion) adventure for shortly after your players hit tier 2. Please consider checking it out. If you like the magazine please consider reviewing it on DriveThruRPG, and if you run the adventure please let me know how it went!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Story Seed - Marksman

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My comms bleeped twice; the operation was go. I mentally triggered the full suite sensor helm that was slaved into my biocomp. There was a high pitched whine as the electronics woke up and the external projectors came to life. The night fled like shadow under the noon sun. I flipped through the overlays and dialed in a combination of IR (25% opacity), active UV (20% opacity), passive light amplification (65% opacity), and ultrasonic echolocation (45% opacity). The world looked like a drug trip gone wrong, and the detail was washed out, lost beneath the optics enhancements. I dialed up the computer active framing assist to 85% opacity with a 70% sensitivity. My biocomp processed the incoming data set separately and the redrew the details I'd miss into my active display. I could have read the newspaper lying in the gutter if I'd wanted.

I gave my rifle an unconscious heft. My biocomp told me that it came in at 18.87 kilos, and the magazine was fully loaded. One hundred solid steel, polymer coated, 14mm slugs, lined up and eager to fly with the assistance of several dozen high Gauss electromagnets. I activated the smart gun overlay (77% opacity) and knew exactly where the gun was pointed. In this case at the alley below, and the picture in picture pop up on my active display was more than enough to know that there was smashed flat soda bottle at the end of my gun's current trajectory.

I shouldered the weapon and took a shooting position before locking my leg joints (100% stiffness) and dialing up the resistance in my lower back (45% stiffness). I'd barely feel the recoil at all. I waited, my reticle hovering over a bit of brick wall. I adjusted the IR overlay (65% opacity) and dialed back the passive light amplification (20% opacity) so I could better see the interior of the cheap hourly coffin bank. Details were lost as my biocomp adjusted for targeting beyond the wall and inside the building (projection accuracy: 73%). Lucky for me the uplink quickly communicated my problem with the field agent inside. His biocomp provided as much data as it could and my active display started to update with projected renders based on what he could see and sense (projection accuracy: 87% and climbing).

I waited.