Hi, I am planning to offer an EP game at the Celsius 232 festical in Aviles (18-22 july, in Asturias, Spain, about fantasy, science fiction and terror. Surprisingly -it is the first time it is made-, we will have George R.R. Martin as a special guest...), and while I was thinking about which module to provide (I already ran the quickstart one three or four times, Ego Hunter looked a little too advanced to me, Glory can be too gruesome -and the shortcut of blowing the space station is quite present-, and Continuity didn't really got me a satisfactory gameplay the time I directed it, with a player's critical failure), I finished deciding to make someting in Valles-New Shanghai. So I was reading Schismatrix (I have been for more than a week... stealing minutes here and there...), watching some CSI rerruns and a little shortage on sleep, and I came with this adventure idea (quite traditional, but interesting enough): VB-48 is a design drug based on a compound taken from an exoplanet. The name comes from Vincent Barrick, the scientist responsible for that (and the only one who knows the formula, since the drug is still on testing phase), and his 48th backup, who was lost in an accident testing the compound (his next backup put some clues together and made a memory recovery of sorts, enough to get some small details). The discovery, thanks to cameras and pieces of memories recovered from 48, involved a testing with a non-uplifted monkey (lab-breeded for lab testing purposes and full of monitoring equipment) moving violently and an accidental injection of the compound into 48's blood. This produced a blockage of the cortical stack's functions and an hiperacceleration of the neural activity (easy to blame on other implants or drugs), and cerebral death within 5 minutes. The cortical stack was corrupted because of the experience, somehow, and the muse was found deleted (a root command executed by 48, surely produced by the altered consciousness state he was in). The drug: VB-48 can, if properly diluted and in very low dosages, produce altered consciousness increasing the work of the creative part of an ego. It will also activate some blockades in the Cortical Stack, preventing backup during the drug's effect phase and corrupting XP recording, but all the tests involving forks produced, past a certain point of concentration in the drug, a paranoia so acute the fork always deleted his muse (if present) and forced a restart on the backup functions of the cortical stack, essentially ensuring that the stack would be so fried that a cleaning using an ego bridge was required. Variation on the diluting compounds, however, finished with VB-48 D. The real problem. Up to this point, all works more or less Ok, and it is information the players should be able to find easily in the first 20-30 minutes of the game. Now starts the really interesting stuff: Vincent Barrick has been found dead again in his lab. Only this time, his brain was fried and his cortical stack popped (and stolen!). This should warrant an ego hunt by itself. The problem is VB-48 D. Because VB-48 D is not a recreational drug, but a transhumanist's assassin wet dreams come true. The fourth iteration in the diluting compounds will corrupt the cortical stack (requiring it to be scrubbed using an ego bridge) without any noticeable effect in the system. Which means you can go doing your bussines and die just to discover that, even if your stack is recovered, you'll need a backup. Coupled with delayed-action venoms or nanoattacks, or even "accidents" remotely executed (bombs, sudden decompressions, etc...), this means assassins can kill egos much more easily. And someone, nobody knows who, has a copy of Dr. Barrick, with all the details about the drug. The players, of course, have to find the missing ego, before anybody gets a copy of the compound. Which is kinda... hard in Valles New-Shanghai. Let's look at the possibly involved factions, and player's possibilities: - Private eye: more Noir theme here, just instead of a gorgeous babe it is the new backup of Vincent the one hiring them. - Firewall: talk about chaos! While not an X-threat, this drug is dangerous enough to threaten transhumanity. - Jovians: another ones with their wet dream come true. No backup levels the field more in humanity's favor, and a radical faction wants that drug. They were late getting into the lab, so now the mission is rescue & recovery instead of exfiltration. - More Jovians: the radical faction must be stopped! They would cause so much chaos that the Republic might be blamed, attacked and heavily damaged (or destroyed!). Not to mention, the elite in the Republic uses cortical stacks... - Police: Crime made, narcotic released, public hazard. In V-NS the police might be corrupt, but they will not sit idle when stuff like this happens. Or maybe they want a cut. - Hypercorp/microcorp security: they were paying the bills. Somebody stole their star product. They want it back, whithout sharing. - Gatecrashing team: Choose, oh evil GM, between old friends called by Dr. Barrick for help... or betrayed ex-comrades who want their share and had been hunting him, finally finding his wereabouts thanks to the news of his assassination. - Criminal elements (the triads, usually, here): The recreational drug is good enough, specially since the effects cannot be recorded (the cortical stack problem can be solved with a small addition to the drug's container blocking the stack's functions for the duration of the trip), but being able to use it for execution purposes appeals to the criminal's poet heart. They want the recipe. And the market. So here it is, a base draft of the idea with a lot of possibilities that also allows for the always interesting possibility of changing the faction that stole the ego from one game to another. Of course, to the culprit's list we can add, aside from most of the previous factions, a new one: - Animal rights groups: usually composed by uplifts, they oppose animal trials. Dr. Barrick is an example, and they might have destroyed his stack... (giving it for ego slavery would be detrimental to their cause: his forks would make more animal testing, a practice they want to end). This last faction allows for a status quo solution in case the GM does not want to introduce such a drug in the setting yet he wants to run the scenario. I still have to make the probable locations the players will visit, and of course make the characters' sheet for the players (I will run this as a firts timers adventure, so I will make a character sheet by hand instead of using one of the printed ones. Plus I will make them in spanish, of course XD).
VB-48, a game idea for the Celsius 232 event
Sun, 2012-05-27 04:35#1
VB-48, a game idea for the Celsius 232 event