My Games

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Tunnels & Trolls: Maximum Hack Pt. 1, Character Creation and Attributes

This is a super old draft from like 2019. I kinda stopped with TNT after I had an off-putting interaction with one of the TNT devs (won't say which one, and will say explicitly it was nothing terrible, more just a difference of opinion?) and also because my Aquarian Dawn TNT Campaign got killed by covid (or maybe it had gotten disrupted by work, I don't remember anymore).

Anyway, I haven't been up for writing lately but wanted to post something, so I'm digging this out, make what you will of it. There's a part 2, I forget if that's sufficient or if I had left it in an incomplete state, but I'll post part 2 eventually as well.

design notes in this color

Tunnels & Trolls: Maximum

Or, 

The GLOG of TNT


I've been playing TNT for a little while now and really love the system. Here were my initial thoughts when I first started getting into it. This is my attempt to create a new version of the game, one that streamlines things and makes some heavy modifications, but is still true to what TNT is; in the spirit of DIY efforts towards old-school D&D from the OSR movement, and in particular GLOG. Even though I actually have very little experience playing GLOG, one thing that I like about it, is its emphasis on streamlining DIY and customization, and I hope this hack for TNT ends up working in a similar regard. While this hack does change the core game, it should be mostly backwards compatible with other versions of TNT, with a little bit of adjustment. It is probably presumptuous of me to assume this hack could have the same impact for TNT as GLOG has had for OSR, but that's the goal. I should also say that at this stage this hack is mostly untested, except for the pieces of retroactively integrated into my current campaign, but TNT is a simple enough system that I feel reasonably comfortable with the changes I've made to the system.

One additional note: I may decide to "rebrand" this entirely, removing TNT-specific terminology and making it effectively its own game, since TNT doesn't have a proper OGL or equivalent. My understanding is that the TNT people are pretty reasonable, but if I take this far enough, I'd like to actually have ownership of it, and I think the end product will likely be distinct enough to justify it. But at least for now I will continue to refer to it as a TNT hack.

I've been appreciating following Jones Smith's Fiction First system unfold at wasitlikely, so I've decided to break this hack up into several posts as well, and then I'll collate it all at the end. This makes it more manageable, and it also allows for me to adjust things based on any feedback.

Another note, I will likely continue to make new Character Types and Hacks for TNT Deluxe as I've been doing, but when possible, I will try to include versions for TNT Max as well, and also to make TNT Max versions of other Character Types I've already posted.

Character Creation

Roll 3d6 six times, drop the lowest two, and assign the values to the attributes Physique (PHY), Finesse (FIN), Presence (PRE), and Luck (LCK). You can be less generous at your table if you'd prefer, but I like to be nice.

If you roll triple values on any one of those 3d6 rolls, roll 3d6 again and take the total as a single value, and put a * next to that attribute for every triplet.

Either before or after attribute rolls, choose or roll randomly for a Character Type and apply any starting abilities.

Take an equipment package or some starting amount of gold (250 for instance).

Take three talents.
I've reduced the attributes for simplicity and out of personal preference. I'll explain my reasoning for these attributes next. Otherwise, this is mostly similar to standard TNT. I increased the number of talents because I think talents are a nice, light, flexible way to give characters special abilities, and talents will also effectively replace kindreds. I realize kindreds (race in D&D) is something many people like about the game, but I don't think it works as well with the decreased number of attributes since it's based on mulitplicative modifiers and how they affect combat adds. Even with D&D I prefer a race-as-flavor or race-as-class approach. However, if you want special kindred abilities, talents can be used in that regard (as discussed in a later post).

Attributes

Physique (PHY): This attribute reflects physical abilities, such as the ability to inflict physical harm, fighting skill, weight-lifting / encumbrance (if you're so inclined), physical durability, fortitude, etc.
  • Use for PHY SRs.
  • Add each point above 12 to damage total as Combat Adds.
  • PHY also reflects the maximum amount of damage you can take before being incapacitated.
Finesse (FIN): This attribute reflects dexterity, flexibility, acrobatics, speed, agility, defensive maneuvers, hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, etc. 
  • Use for FIN SRs.
  • Add each point above 12 to damage total as Combat Adds.
  • Use for missile attacks and finesse attack SRs.
Presence (PRE): This attribute reflects certain ephemeral aspects of a person; their force of will, magical abilities, ability to draw an audience, etc.
  • Use for PRE SRs.
  • Certain spells have a PRE minimum in order to be cast.
  • PRE also reflects maximum mana for spellcasting.
Luck (LK): This attribute reflects luck as an actual force of nature in the universe, but also gets used as a catch-all for things that might not fit neatly into the other attributes, such as item durability (Wear & Tear). In certain cases it is also used to defend against the effects of magic; primarily curses or magic which affects fates and destinies.
  • Use for LK SRs.
  • Add each point above 12 to damage total as Combat Adds.
  • Use for Wear & Tear SRs.
Attributes are where this hack most differ from core TNT. I prefer to have a few, very broad, very archetypal attributes. TNT Deluxe attributes aren't bad, and I can understand why somebody might want to keep Strength and Consitution or Intelligence and Wizardry separate, but that's not what I'm doing here. I've said before on this blog that I'm a big fan of Cypher System, so this is somewhat modeled after that. I've always liked the idea of "Presence"; in part because I don't like Intelligence as a quantitative attribute, but also because Presence allows you to condense magical ability, charisma, and some of these other ephemeral qualities in a useful and interesting way, so you can avoid dump stats while still codifying these qualities. I don't plan on making the curse / fates aspect of LCK a major sub-system, if I make it at all it would be bolt-on, but I do think that with four attributes, it doesn't make sense to have magic condensed solely into a single attribute. 

In subsequent posts I will talk about the different character types, talents, character advancement, and other basic mechanics of the game. It is mostly pretty similar to TNT Deluxe except where it is accounting for these attributes, but I do try to somewhat standardize characters and NPCs with a uniform Character Rating metric, but I'm getting ahead of myself!

Monday, August 15, 2022

MRD2 PR 6: Napalm Octopus, Razzle Dazzle Dog, and Turkey head on a stick (Shalom Bebee!)

This ended up being a great session. Really leaned into the Concept Crafting in this Survival Sandbox Scenario (S^3 ;)) to great effect. I try to write these PRs within a day or two after the session but this time I got busy, so it may be briefer and more approximated as a result, but it was a great session.

Current Index
Play Reports

Some other posts for context


Color Codes:
NPCs, the actors I try to embody with my so-called "voice acting"
Design Notes

THE CAMPAIGN

The Corporation
RegeXperience: “Live for the RegeXperience”. Childishly edgy experimental entertainment and defense company that doesn’t want the world to know what’s really behind their algorithm. EXPERIENCE, ALGORITHM, ENTERTAINMENT

The Manager
Baz Beetz: Infectiously enthusiastic “artiste” and true believer in the company mission who is as profound as nonsensical.

The Cyblessed Liaison
“Tastes like eating out the ass-end of human progress.”: Like a cheap flaccid little candle dripping wax down an otherwise glorious cake wearing a tacky suit reminiscent of a 1980’s faux-wood-paneled station wagon.

The Issue

The Team must survive on Neo Siberia Bead, overtaken by the angelic Ophan bio-engineered slime molds, Smiling Boy Cultists, and famine. Not only must they survive, but they must hatch an escape plan within a month, before the Solar Scorch immolates the entire Tomino's Array (and lasers Washington DC into oblivion...)

The Team


Ben: Larry
Nazarite Contract: Fast Lane Fintechnomancer
Larry's past life was one of public mission in conscious contrarianism to his peers partying with the money of their employers. The brief accolades received from new acquaintances never quite made up for the lack of money and freedom. When he'd ask what others were doing to make the world a better place, they'd stare as if they had never considered the question before. What's the point of caring if no one else does?

Lukas: Ikarus
Nazarite Contract: Infrared Ranger
Was an heir to a crime family but betrayed them when his conscience caught up to him. In need of structure and a sense of justice, but without any good frame of reference and few other options, he shortly thereafter accepted the Nazarite Contract with The Corporation.

Huffa: Ernst
Nazarite Contract: Psychonautical Sub-Mariner
Golem: Forgetting Pile - An oozey amorphous Golem collective made of empowered trash and detritus.
An old man who trawls through the unconscious sea gathering the things people forget from their dreams. Sometimes its material that The Corporation deems useful.

Crisis Captain preview of things to come...

Where we left off...

On the verge of bringing the Upstartups into the fold, the Team must now deal with the Space Settlements. The Corporate Alliance and Ziegler Bead are on the verge of war, and the Amalekite Fleet lingers ominously just beyond their reach.

The Team chose to follow Cyril Ziegler aka THE EMISSARY to Ziegler Bead on Tomino's Array to negotiate terms of war. The negotiations quickly go sour as Captain Cobra and the Pirates of Perversity crash through the castle. In the process, The Team learns that the Royals present in the negotiations except for Cyril were all body doubles and that The Zieglers and their personal army have invaded Asimov's Array. They are remotely triggering a Solar Scorch, wherein the Solar Tech of Tomino's Array will be harnessed to overload, burning out the entire Array, and pointed towards Washington DC to incinerate the entire city. They also learn that Captain Cobra and the Pirates of Perversity were inadvertently responsible for the Ophan Crisis, overbreeding wild Ophan, the bio-engineered slime molds of the Array critical both as maintenance droids and livestock, in order to collect on the bounty (aka the Cobra effect aka Perverse Incentive). On top of all that, Ikarus' Karma attracts him to a folklore book on Hibernating Hyberia, a supposed ancient advanced civilization that had encrypted itself into history, whose 111th Genius Prince and Spirit Companion will raise them back to glory, and that Hyberia may have been part of or contemporaneous with the Amalekites.

Despite The Team's attempt to halt Conflict between the Pirates and the (false) Royals, pinkish Ophan flora overtakes Ziegler Bead, funneling The Team into the completely overtaken Neo Siberia Bead, along with Captain Cobra and Cyril Ziegler, who they've convinced via Karmic Attachment to find new purpose working against the Ziegler Family who were prepared to sacrifice him.

They've begun to scavenge resources, fix broken systems, and build shelter, surviving the Ophan wilds and the Smiling Boy Cultists, until they can plan their escape before the Solar Scorch, and (maybe) save Washington DC.


Cleaning the Lake

After securing shelter, the Team must clean Magenta Lake so they have clean water and food, before the end of the phase (~1 week). Investigating closer, they find two Smiling Boy Cultists, Sheepish Esme and Himbo Hogarth. The affable Hogarth tries to indoctrinate them into the brotherhood, encouraging them to starve themselves in service of the Ophan, which they politely resist.

Ernst summons The Forgetting Pile for a moment, modding their Gear with a PORTAL, using the trash powers of The Forgetting Pile to filter out the pollutants from the water to a safe location and ungunk the Pipeline Pig mecha, then sending it back to the Tehomic aether before more Pipeline Pigs would arrive in retaliation.

After cleaning the Lake, they found a buried treasure HARPOON and some resources OIL and GLASS.

Napalm Octopus Drone and The Razzle Dazzle Dog

With some spare time on their hands before the end of the phase, The Team decide to build some Gear for defending their shelter and exploring safely around the Smiling Boy Cultists.

Combining OIL+POWER they craft an Inflammable Octopus Drone, its tendrils shooting out oil from slits in the shelter, creating an oil mote that Ikarus can light up with his Eternal Flamethrower. They Mod it with RUBBER ((OIL+POWER)+RUBBER) to make it bouncy like a Napalm Octopus Drone.

They also combine ILLUSTRATION+GLASS to create a jeep-sized, dog-like quadrupedal vehicle with Razzle Dazzle camouflage, The Razzle Dazzle Dog.


Turkey head on a stick

Smiling Boy Cultists, including Sheepish Esme and Himbo Hogarth, but also Virtual Boy headgear-wearing Sarai and Cult Leader- Ropemaster Abe (Michael Parks type, especially like the Kevin Smith movies Red State or Tusk), arrive at the Domicile, with the intention of forceful conversion. The Cultists wear masks like faces within faces, or like tanned human baby hides.

Hiding in plain sight among them are two Cyblessed Poachers, visible to Ikarus and Larry respectively given the Karmic Attachments they made in what they thought were dreams at the end of Phase One (previous session).

Cyblessed Poachers: A posse of Cyblessed are illegally hunting humans amid the chaos. Wearing pink hunting gear in the style of the girl’s cartoon Shalom Bebee like Hello Kitty meets Pink Panther cartoon.

“Patriarch”: Gaunt old man in a blue collar shirt naked from the waist down, his light barely penetrating a ball of white hair like an anemone. Wd12 Impossible Proofs told through Dogma.

“Patronizer”: Gaudy but good-looking middle aged professional, entirely in gold, surgical light for a head, wearing too many expensive watches telling different times. Pd12 Unconscious manipulation of non-spacetime dimensions.

The Smiling Boy Cultists can't see the Cyblessed Poachers, nor can be convinced of their presence, and they refuse to see the Cyblessed as anything other than god-like saviors.

A mysterious Visceral Eviscerating Hollering, a sound as if coming through a broken beer bottle, snipes one of the Cultists, setting off Conflict.

I should have written the Conflict notes ASAP, but roughly from memory...

Larry activates the Napalm Octopus Drone and Ikarus lights it up with the Eternal Flamethrower, brutally burning many Cultists and a murder of tamed Ophan, while Ernst works with Captain Cobra to take down some more Cultists and activate The Razzle Dazzle Dog for an escape.

For defeating some of these threats, they receive ROPE, ROCK, and ROCK.

"Patriarch" attacks Ikarus with an Impossible Proof, triggering Ikarus' Crisis Captain Nazarite Feature.

I asked about a Henshin / Power Rangers Morphin' Time-style transformation sequence, and Lukas hadn't thought about it so tbd on that, but imagine something like that for yourselves.

The same mysterious force that sniped the cultist with a beer bottle funneled Visceral Eviscerating Hollering attacks Leaping Lorenzino, and rather than reactivate the Karmic Attachment to protect him somehow, Larry chose to let it happen, so the Venus Figurine mini-Golem body broke and Leaping Lorenzino is back to being a homoerotic smartphone app.

Larry <did something I no longer remember...> to denegrate "Patronizer", transforming it into "Penniless" by devaluing its self concept, forcing it into retreat (and gaining the Mod PENNY).

Larry throws the Harpoon through "Patriarch"'s anemone bioluminescence, creating an open wound. Ikarus throws a ROCK through the wound, which eventually gets pushed out as a PEARL, but managed to injure "Patriarch" (I think it was a bit more involved than I'm describing, wish I had written this sooner after the session...), forcing its retreat as well.

Eventually everyone gets in the Razzle Dazzle Dog and makes a stealthy escape.

Phase Three Fresh Air

At the beginning of Phase Three they notice that the air is getting thinner, and must acquire more oxygen before the end of the phase. Larry uses his Zip Ribbon Regressor Nazarite Feature to learn that the oxygen generator is broken, that it exists in the Ophan Forest, and it's part of a complex of buildings that the Smiling Boy Cultists have co-opted.

They infiltrate in the Razzle Dazzle Dog, and Ernst alone uses their WetOps Nazarite Feature to "hide in plain sight" as a "janitor" for the Cultists. Seeing Sarai zonked out wearing her Virtual Boy goggles, Ernst uses the Sub-Atomic Treasure Nazarite Feature to pull an object from Sarai's subconscious that might aid in fixing the oxygen, instead finding that Sarai's subconscious is a direct portal to the Virtual Zoetrope Superhighway Vessel of Tehom (from Session 2). Ernst pulls crimson VR voxels of the rings from the Virtual Zoetrope Superhighway and uses them as gaskets to fix the oxygen machine, and The Team extricates without drawing the attention of the Smiling Boy Cultists.

They investigate the perimeter of the Neo Siberia Bead with their spare time, finding a suspicious looking alter atop a hill, upon which is the skeletal remains of what appears to be a child sacrifice, which they take as *SKELETON (the * denoting it's a special item in this case).

The Team attaches a WING Mod to the Razzle Dazzle Dog ((ILLUSTRATION+GLASS)+WING) to turn it into a flying machine, and when they investigate from the skies, they find that the Cultists, Ophan, and Pipeline Pigs, including Ophan-infested Truffle Pigs, are converging towards them, and towards a flying human child - Ophan hybrid creature, staring directly at them... and that's where we end the session ;).

Unfortunately due to some scheduling conflicts we're going to have to pause for a couple weeks or so, but looking forward to seeing where this goes! I might end up running a FIST one-shot in the meantime involving FIST and CYCLOPS teaming up against The United Spacetimes of America, if I can find enough people and figure out the scheduling...

Sunday, August 7, 2022

MRD2 PR 5: Captain Cobra crashing the castle in 5...4...3...2...1...

Despite a few hiccups on my part, this was another good session bringing some new stuff to the table. In fact, one of the players said it was their favorite session yet, and the others also really liked the direction of things. I'll clarify where I think I went wrong, but on the whole I feel good about it. Anyway, this might not be my best play report, but the scenario around Neo Siberia Bead is really cool and will be followed up on next session so if nothing else check that part out!

Current Index


Some other posts for context

Color Codes:

Design Notes
Hyperlinks

THE CAMPAIGN

The Corporation
RegeXperience: “Live for the RegeXperience”. Childishly edgy experimental entertainment and defense company that doesn’t want the world to know what’s really behind their algorithm. EXPERIENCE, ALGORITHM, ENTERTAINMENT

The Manager
Baz Beetz: Infectiously enthusiastic “artiste” and true believer in the company mission who is as profound as nonsensical.

The Cyblessed Liaison
“Tastes like eating out the ass-end of human progress.”: Like a cheap flaccid little candle dripping wax down an otherwise glorious cake wearing a tacky suit reminiscent of a 1980’s faux-wood-paneled station wagon.

The Issue
On the verge of bringing the Upstartups into the fold, the Team must now deal with the Space Settlements. The Corporate Alliance and Ziegler Bead are on the verge of war, and the Amalekite Fleet lingers ominously just beyond their reach...

The Team

Ben: Larry
Nazarite Contract: Fast Lane Fintechnomancer
Larry's past life was one of public mission in conscious contrarianism to his peers partying with the money of their employers. The brief accolades received from new acquaintances never quite made up for the lack of money and freedom. When he'd ask what others were doing to make the world a better place, they'd stare as if they had never considered the question before. What's the point of caring if no one else does?

Lukas: Icarus Tromp
Nazarite Contract: Infrared Ranger
Was an heir to a crime family but betrayed them when his conscience caught up to him. In need of structure and a sense of justice, but without any good frame of reference and few other options, he shortly thereafter accepted the Nazarite Contract with The Corporation.

Huffa: Ernst
Nazarite Contract: Psychonautical Sub-Mariner
Golem: Forgetting Pile - An oozey amorphous Golem collective made of empowered trash and detritus.
An old man who trawls through the unconscious sea gathering the things people forget from their dreams. Sometimes its material that The Corporation deems useful.

Where we left off...

The Team met with the other Corporate representatives in the Vessel of Tehom known as Venus City, where violence is physically impossible. The Stakes at hand were:
  • Form a Corporate Alliance or work independently.
  • Fold the Upstartups into the Corporate hierarchy or crush them.
  • Consolidate power on the space settlements or appease them.
The Team took the Positions to form the Corporate Alliance, Fold the Upstartups, and Consolidate power on the space settlements, and tracked down the stakeholders for the other Corporations and through various means convinced them all towards a majority vote in favor on their Positions.

Scales of Conviction

As a result of their efforts in the previous session, all of the votes work out in The Team's favor. THE EMISSARY* (now given a name and description) invites The Team to come to Ziegler Bead on Tomino's Array to discuss terms of war civilly. The Team are reminded of the Amalekite Fleet near the Space Settlement, and also consider first discussing this matter with their manager Baz Beetz, before ultimately deciding to accept the offer.

*Cyril Ziegler (THE EMISSARY): Distantly royal dandy and martial arts master who is competent and ambiguously unambitious.

Discussing with my players in our debrief at the end of the session, the Players did not feel like they were fully aware of their options- e.g. investigating the Amalekite Fleet independently, trying to infiltrate Tomino's Array rather than going along with Cyril, or leveraging other resources like Baz for more information. Some of that they felt was on them for not thinking of those things, but I felt like it was more a failure on my part in not making the options more salient or having more hooks for them.

Miscellany

Meanwhile, Ikarus holds a private conversation (via Discord DM's during our in-person game) with Barney Bates, the nepotistic patron and uncle of Finny Bates, the Manager from QuinceSoft who the Team caught attempting to sell secrets to The Amalekites. The conversation is kept private from the rest of The Team.

Tomino’s Array

One of several space settlements near Earth. An Array consists of individual city-sized settlements called Beads, which are combined as they develop, forming an Array. Tomino’s Array is the oldest Array at nearly 20 years old, and has developed a culture of its own.



Ziegler Bead

The most affluent and well established Bead of Tomino’s Array. Has a quaint charm like a rural Slavic countryside, ignoring the exposed technological infrastructure supporting the Bead. Has a beautiful but also somewhat disturbing aesthetic reminiscent of old Eastern European aristocracy.

The Team discuss briefly with the Ziegler Family, all of whom are present aside from the de facto dictator of Tomino's Array Redic Ziegler. They learn a little more about the Ophan, the bioengineered slime molds crucial to the functioning of Tomino's Array, that were starting to turn feral and overpopulate. They learn that the Ziegler's had put out a bounty, but that Captain Cobra and the Pirates of Perversity were abusing the bounty in some way. However not long into their conversation, THE ADMIRAL predicts the exact moment in which Captain Cobra and The Pirates of Perversity will infiltrate the castle, in 5... 4... 3... 2... 1...

Captain Cobra: Effortlessly charming space pirate and former government agent who is always pursuing half-baked schemes that work until they don't. Black and gold costume like a cross between Yatterman and Cobra Commander with kinky leather overtones. Domino mask with aviator sunglass lenses.

This played out very differently than I expected. I don't remember what queued it up, but it was not my intention to have Captain Cobra arrive that soon and in that way, it just kind of worked out organically.

A couple mecha, Captain Cobra, and some Pirates of Perversity foot soldiers crash through the castle, immediately killing THE ADMIRAL.

I had designed the scenario with the idea in mind that The Team would have to decide whether or not to side with the Ziegler's in their own self defense (the Pirates attacking on-site) and for the sake of setting the terms of war (basically the pre-war "Geneva Convention"), or turn on the Ziegler's because they are fascist assholes and Pirate Queen Prismasha (Empress of Space) asked them to look out for Captain Cobra, and then it would turn into a conflict. Instead, they tried to use their various mind-altering Nazarite Features, Golem, and Mods to create a ceasefire and discuss terms. This was successful, but really muddied my plans and this is where I feel I choked a bit and kind of railroaded them. They were happy with the direction things went, but agreed it was a little railroad-y. Which is especially bad because I had more than enough prepped to where if I hadn't railroaded them it would have still been totally fine >.<.

It plays out where they learn that Captain Cobra is at least partially responsible for the devastation that has occurred in the Neo Siberia Bead with the overpopulating Ophan, by engaging with a Perverse Incentive / Cobra Effect around the bounty.

Ikarus' Karmic Attachment to IQ Warburton III (THE COFOUNDER) leads him towards a book on the Ziegler's bookshelf, a folklore book about 

Hibernating Hyberia: A long-dead prehistoric super-civilization that encrypted itself in what would become history. The manuscript was found mysteriously in one of the early space settlements. Not given much acknowledgement on Earth, but has become popular modern folklore in the settlements. It is prophesied that the 111th generation prince of Hyberia will be a genius warmonger, and alongside their spirit companion, will decrypt the civilization and bring it back to its former glory. Some speculate that Hyberia was an Amalekite Kingdom, or contemporaneous with them.

Some kind of glowing pink flora overtakes the Bead, consuming everything except The Team, Cyril Ziegler, and Captain Cobra, who all collectively agree to take the escape hatch towards Neo Siberia Bead, seemingly led that way by the flora itself. Captain Cobra reluctantly agrees to work with Cyril as they have no recourse.

They learn that all the royals besides Cyril were actually body doubles, that the reason why Redic was not present is because he is the most famous / recognizable and would have been hardest to fake. The Ziegler's and their army left for Asimov's Array which they have overtaken, and triggered a Solar Scorch on Tomino's Array. The Array will be gathering a surplus of solar energy over the course of the next month, honing the energy into a solar beam to wipe out Washington DC (and also burn out Tomino's Array to a husk, taking out the Ophan and Pirates of Perversity and the remaining population of the Array all at once).

Trapped in Neo Siberia Bead, they must first learn to survive, and then escape, within a month.

So ya I admittedly bungled that part above, I mean they still had fun establishing the ceasefire, but I muddled how it played out, but once they got to Neo Siberia Bead, that's where they all really enjoyed things.


Neo Siberia Bead

Overtaken by fuzzy glowing pinkish flora like a forest, a sickeningly addictive sweet and floral aroma surrounds the space like an olfactory aura. Few humans found out in the open, those out seem to have gone insane, or are afraid, hostile, and unwilling to interact. The Team are attacked by Ophan Bugs immediately unless they seek/make shelter or find some other solution.

The Ophan flora knowingly seal the Bead exits immediately after The Team arrive, even barricading the extradimensional vertices of Tehom and spacetime. The only escape is to make a Sacrifice to the Shamir at enormous cost, destroy the Ophan, or something more ingenious.

There are four phases (each ~1 week). At the end of phase four the Solar Scorch would happen, requiring Sacrifice to the Shamir or death.

Ophan Bugs: Without shelter or protection, get bit by BuzzWords. Must be taken; if over Mod capacity, must remove another Mod. Using these BuzzWords takes 1d6 Damage of the respective kind, or sometimes they just trigger randomly, getting used up but incurring Damage.
  1. PAIN (NAT)
  2. HUNGER (NAT)
  3. SICKNESS (WIS)
  4. MADNESS (PRO)
They first tried to summon their Golem to protect themselves from the Ophan Bugs, but this attracted the attention of Pipeline Pigs (like this but as giant robots) which burrowed out from under them. When they unsummoned their Golem, the Pipeline Pigs left them alone. 

Ernst uses the Mod HONEY to create a protective balm from the Ophan Bugs, using up the Mod at the end of this scenario, but they must still establish shelter by the end of Phase One.

The Survival Zone consists of the Dilapidated Dome Domicile in an open plains area by the Bead entrance (where they arrive), and it is between the other two areas, the Magenta Lake and Ophan Forest.

Dilapidated Dome Domicile

They investigate the Domicile first as that's where they're starting, and it's their phase one survival requirement. The Dome must be repaired in order to provide shelter, such as using METAL or PLASTIC. The shelter has one METAL and requires one more resource to repair. Has a Defense Turret (DEFENSE + TURRET) which can optionally be repaired by creating a Gear for it (affecting its final form), or salvaged for one of its mods. The turret can be used as a free action for the Team as a whole once per round of Conflict. A small murder of Ophan are digesting a few Smiling Boy Cultists and are hostile to The Team.

They use the Mods ALGORITHM+PARASITE to create a Gear repairing the Defense Turret, where it shoots out slugs (literal parasites not "slug" as in bullet) that can decode a genome and break down an organism into goop. They then use the turret to goopify the murder of Ophan, and they use one of their Mods WALL + the available METAL  to do the repairs on the Domicile.

Given how efficiently they handled the Ophan Bugs I gave them a little extra time to explore Magenta Lake before the end of phase one.

Magenta Lake

They learn that Magenta Lake offers POLLUTION+WATER until cleaned, and can be fished for livestock Ophan. A Pipeline Pig is trying to clean the lake but is in a clearly dysfunctional subroutine cycle. It must be destroyed and removed in order to clean the lake, but will be hostile to Golem.

End of Phase One

The Team each experience a nightmare and/or malnutrition/anxiety delusion, creating either a Karmic Attachment or taking Enhanced Damage (d12) of the respective kind.

"Patriarch": Gaunt old man in a blue collar shirt naked from the waist down... 
"Patronizer": Gaudy but good-looking middle aged professional, entirely in gold, ..., wearing too many expensive watches telling different times.
"Protector": Ernst chose this one, and had to take the Nature Damage because they already have 6 Karma. By taking the Damage, they got no further description of this nightmare.

I believe Ikarus took the Karmic Attachment with "Patriarch" and Larry with "Patronizer" but I should really double check that ๐Ÿ˜ฌ.


End of Session

The Players really liked this survivalist / base-building turn of events. I'm annoyed at myself for how messy the Ziegler Bead scenario went, but they still had fun and like I said they were very into the Neo Siberia Bead. Concept Crafting lends itself well to this kind of thing, and the world of MRD is so weird and abstract that it's arguably even more so effective because it grants the level of diegetic flexibility in how the Mods are handled and what they can do. One of the Players said this was their favorite session yet, and another said that this was unlike anything they've done before in another RPG, and the latter especially is one of my favorite things to hear so I'm happy with that :).

There are still a few more phases to go in this Survival Zone so I'll try to use the time between now and next session to polish that up even more, and I've also got the Amalekite Fleet scenario largely prepped, so I think the next handful of sessions will be really good. And given how much they are enjoying the survival / base-building stuff, I will likely try to add more of that into the Campaign going forward.