We will be playing Starships&Spacemen starting at around 7pm at The Brooklyn Strategist (333 Court St, Brooklyn), this Friday, February 24th. Redbox regulars are welcome to come try out this Trek-ish game based on Labyrinth Lord/Red Box D&D. Message me here if you're interested.
How did it go?
Yes, inquiring minds want to know.
Sorry I've been absent a bit, but life has been, well, life-y. But I hope to start making it to more stuff.
Pre-game write up compiled from material by skidoo, james, sternum, fano and peter
Pre-Session Game Events
Mission Date 1
The CSF Endeavor, the first of a new generation of Cavalier class destroyers, launches from Starbase Anterra, commanded by Captain D'kembe Cygnus, a thrice-decorated Human veteran of the Zangid-Videni War, who plans to retire after this one last mission and sail the galaxy in the space-yacht he just bought. Important officers include:
- Executive Officer: Ensign Theresa White-Linen, a Human recently transferred from the Auberboche after a successful survey of space scorpions in the Desilu Deeps.
- Chief Engineer: Ensign Jhonny Katzenjammer, a Felician Cat-Person. Katzenjammer graduated at the top of his class at the Academy, but his career went sideways when he fell into the warp core during a reactor breach. Now he's more machine than cat! Ensigns call him "PURRBORG" behind his back.
- Navigator: Ensign Chemisa Rojas. Helmswoman and daredevil pilot. This green skinned Rigelian lady is ready for all types of action and all comers! The idea of meeting new species is … exciting. Don't misunderstand, or else you may lose more than just your head. Like her academy instructor(s). Probably why she is assigned to a mission as remote as possible.
- Sentient Life Officer: Dr. Zangor, a Gorran Lizard-Person. As young lizard, Zangor was MIGHTIEST WARRIOR of GORRAN ARENA. Zangor win GREAT GLORY, but after early retirement, Zangor have PERSONAL CRISIS, and struggled with LOW SENSE OF PERSONAL WORTH!!! Zangor spend much time WORKING ON ISSUES through INTENSIVE GROUP THERAPY and resolved to LIVE HIS BEST LIFE!!! Zangor JOIN FEDERATION to EXPAND HORIZONS !!!. Zangor rise quickly in rank, and innovate field of REHABILITATIVE WRESTLING. Now Zangor is SHIP COUNSELOR on Starship CSF ENDEAVOR and help crewmates develop PERSONAL STRATEGIES for dealing with EMOTIONAL CRISIS and ON JOB STRESS!!!
The CSF Endeavor is assigned to a one-year mission to explore the Lucanii Drift, a collection of stars above the main galactic disc where the Confederation is located. Initial surveys have located warp crystal deposits of unusual purity, which is why the Confederation is eager to survey the region. The Drift has recently become accessible, thanks to a series of waystations built across the rift to facilitate travel. This access path is called the Corridor: a three-month journey at warp 4, buffeted by hyperspace distortions, weaving between dangerous pulsars. Nevertheless, the Corridor is currently the only (known) safe passage to the Drift.
In spite of the promise of resources and territory, the current conflicts with the Zangid Star Imperium and the Videni Cohort preclude the Confederation from sending a fleet. The SFS decided to rush a new design of Cavalier class destroyer into production, and dispatch that ship to the Drift with a crew of the fleet’s finest (or most well-connected, or most expendable) young officers and recruits. The urgency of mission launch has increased recently, because Fleet Intelligence has learned that the Zangid are seeking their own path to the Drift.
With order to explore the Lucanii Drift, the Endeavor sets out into the Corridor at Warp 4.
Mission Date 25
The Endeavor arrives at Marco Alpha 7, the first of three waystations on the trip through the Corridor. She has suffered hyperwarp instabilities during the journey, but these are blamed on design flaws shaking out on her maiden voyage.
Mission Date 50
An enlisted spaceman, Paxton, shows signs of psychological instability. Captain Cygnus orders him to visit Dr. Zangor for counseling. Dr. Zangor immediately penetrates the spaceman’s disguise and recognizes him as a surgically altered Zangid spy. He alerts the crew, though the Zangid escapes his alligator grip. Finally cornered by Ensign White-Linen, the Zangid initiates a quantum cascade bomb he has placed in the nacelle (the cause of they hyperwarp instabilities). The explosion will not only obliterate the Endeavor but create subspace ruptures for parsecs around the explosion, effectively sealing off the Corridor to hyperwarp travel. Unwilling to risk the lives of anyone else to save the ship, Captain Cygnus heroically performs EVA in warp space to decouple the bomb—at which point the warp shear effects shreds him into subatomic particles spread across a dozen light years. Fortunately, Ensign Katzenjammer is able to prevent a reactor breach thanks to his new-found cyborg ability to connect directly to the ship’s computer. Smashing out of warp, Ensign Rojas's skillful piloting prevents the ship from plowing into Bifrost Colony Station at a significant fraction of light speed.
Mission Date 81
Repairs complete at Bifrost (the midway point of the Corridor). Ensigns Katzenjammer & Rojas oversee a refit of the ship's propulsion and steering systems. Dr. Zangor reports successful psychological rasslin' with the grieving crew, and so Acting Commanding Officer White-Linen deems the Endeavor and its crew fit to resume the mission, inspired by Captain Cygnus's heroic sacrifice. She promotes Fire Control Officer Ensign K’taath, a Felician, to XO. In order to make up for lost time, she orders the ship to warp 6.
Mission Date 96
The Endeavor arrives at Marco Epsilon 3, the last waystation in the Corridor.
Mission Date 127
The Endeavor arrives at Starbase Keppler, the Confederation gateway to the Lucanii Drift. The Crew is eager to disembark for shore leave, before beginning their mission in earnest. But something about that anxious hail from the Starbase makes them think they won't be stretching their legs just yet.
Game Session 1
James as Ens. Theresa White-Linen, Commanding Officer
Peter as Ens. Dr. Zangor, Counselor
Fano as Ens. Chemisa Rojas, Chief Navigator
sternum as Ens. Jhonny Katzenjammer, Chief Engineer
Mission Date 127 (cont’d)
The crew of the Endeavor is contacted by Lieutenant Darrem, Chief Security Officer on Starbase Keppler. She requests that the Endeavor redirect to nearby coordinates, where the incoming mining freighter MX-319 refuses to answer hails. The Endeavor is to investigate and commandeer, tow or divert the freighter.
As the Endeavor approaches the freighter, two pursuing ships suddenly appear behind it on the long range viewer.
The ships have their shields raised, are much larger than the Endeavor, and of a configuration never seen before. Commander White-Linen chooses to hail the ships, and Sentient Life Officer Dr. Zangor offers peaceful greetings. Soon they have a visual of one of the crew of the opposing ships: a grasshopper-headed humanoid.
“Non-beings! Leave this area of space at once. This is your final warning.” The channel cuts, and the two large ships turn and leave.
Engineer Katzenjammer uses a graviton particle beam to change the freighter’s course. The Endeavor then matches its course and speed, and teleports an away team of White-Linen, Katzenjammer, Rojas and Zangor to the freighter’s cargo bay. The team equips themselves with communicators, auto-analyzers, radiation suits, jetpacks and weapons, but since they are all lowly ensigns, no one gets all of them. Confederation rules regarding equipment requisition are very tight for new officers.
Zangor finds no humanoid life signs on board MX-319, but does find some non-humanoid life signs on the bridge and in engineering. Katzenjammer takes Rojas to engineering to shut down the ship’s engines, while White-Linen and Zangor investigate the bridge. As the first pair moves aft, they discover among the pods of compressed rare earths an open pod with some singed (and, to the Felician, delicious-smelling) fur.
Peeking through the hatch to the bridge, White-Linen spots three bodies, the ship’s pilot and two miners, dead on the floor. She also sees something skittering away. Eager to get to the controls, she asks Dr. Zangor to cover her.
WHITE-LINEN: Do you have any ranged weapons?
DR. ZANGOR: Yeah. My hands and a jet pack.
White Linen enters the bridge, but, threatened by the human, rats sparking with electricity attack her.
image by Benjamin K. Anderson
In the ensuing fight, Zangor puts one into a choke-hold, while White-Linen vaporizes another, but the electrical fields given off by the rats overcome the officers…
Meanwhile in Engineering, Katzenjammer rolls swiftly over two more bodies to the controls, while Rojas covers him. Rojas spots a sparking rat, but this one only wants to be Katzenjammer’s friend, sidling up to him. Katzenjammer gets increasingly agitated, demanding that Rojas kill the rat; but Rojas, remembering her Confederation oath, will not harm a creature that is not harming them. The furious Katzenjammer shuts down the engines, plugs into the ship’s computer to download the records and logs, all the while upbraiding the stoic Rojas. The two then leave to investigate why the captain isn’t responding on the communicator.
They find Zangor and White-Linen stumbling around on the bridge, Zangor with an unconscious rat in his arms, and White-Linen chewing on a swollen tongue. The rats have vanished. When the captain and the doctor come to, White-Linen orders the crew to take a rat for study in the biology lab, and a body for autopsy. Katzenjammer logs an official objection to bringing the rat aboard, but he is overruled.
Back aboard the Endeavor, the crew discusses how to rid MX-319 of the rats. White-Linen and Katzenjammer concoct a plan to irradiate the freighter by lowering the shielding on the ship’s nuclear drive. Katzenjammer returns to the freighter, this time with Security Spaceman Diggles, a mild-mannered human who will probably kill whatever Katzenjammer tells him to out of politeness. Fortunately they encounter no rats on the mission. Katzenjammer tethers the freighter’s controls to the Endeavor's, and they return to remotely begin the two-day irradiation process.
Upset by the day’s events, Katzenjammer has a therapy session with Dr. Zangor, which is more effective than any that happened on Star Trek: TNG.
Mission Date 128
As Chief Science Officer, Dr. Zangor ordered research on the electrical rat, and an autopsy of the miner. He assigns Spaceman Xox, a laconic Tauran (the most logical species in the Confederation) to the rat. The autopsy returns what Zangor suspected: in spite of the burn marks on the body, he did not die of electrocution. Instead, he died from a high concentration of nitrogen gas in his tissues. The environmental records showed no changes to the atmosphere, but they did show several industrial nitrogen cartridges missing.
Katzenjammer’s downloaded crew logs show that the freighter MX-319 had a six-person crew, five miners and a pilot. They were bound for Scoop City, a mining colony on Lucanii Nu 2-2 in the local sector. They then went dark as they were bound for Lucanii Theta 4. After approximately two months, they re-emerge from silent running at Scoop City, chattering about hitting it big and getting rich, though their cargo doesn’t seem remarkable. After departure from LN 2-2, one miner begins leaving cryptic logs: “It’s wrong. They should be free. I’ll free them. If they try to stop me, I’ll stop them.”
edited to add
Katzenjammer and Rojas also studied the compilation of visual and sensor readings of the encountered alien ships. They determined that the ships' large size was due to the fact that the technology was generally more primitive and less efficient than current FTL technology, although the long-distance cloak is currently beyond that of the Confederation.
Mission Date 129
The irradiation and venting now complete, Katzenjammer, Rojas and Zangor return to the freighter with Spaceman Diggles. They search the crew quarters, and discover some rubbings of unknown rune carvings on ancient parchment, and a squat figure of a chubby humanoid with an armadillo-shaped head.
Zangor takes these items for the lab, and the crew returns to the Endeavor. White-Linen orders a tow of the MX-319 to Starbase Keppler.
Mission Date 130
Who are the hostile grasshopper people? What happened to the MX-319 during its two months of silent running? What was so special at Lucanii Theta 4? What’s with all the rats, and what will Xox’s research reveal about them? How did the crew die from apparent decompression sickness? What is the origin and significance of the rubbings and the statue? What will the crew find when they disembark to Starbase Keppler? Next time, on Starships&Spacemen: The Lucanii Drift!
Is all this actually pre-game background or did you shift into first game summary and forget to note where?
Who's playing who?
Session 2, Engage! We will be playing Starships&Spacemen April 29th at 6pm at The Brooklyn Strategist (333 Court St, Brooklyn). Redbox regulars are welcome to come try out this Trek-ish game based on Labyrinth Lord/Red Box D&D. Message me here if you're interested.
I was reconsidering my dislike of leaving Manhattan, then noticed it's at 6pm. It's my regular evening out with friends lately.
"Saturday" made me assume "afternoon" for some reason.