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The ongoing adventures of the [Elite Dangerous CYOA]

Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Quantronic DreamgirlRegistered User regular
What's This/Isn't this a computer game?: Yes, it'a also a neat RPG made by modiphius. For anyone unaware of the general set up or stylings of either game: It's the 34th century, mankind has been in space for over a thousand years. Space craft with FTL capable drives (called Frame Shift Drives or FSD's for short) are common enough that they're equivelent to a middle class family owning a car. Players take on the role of freelancers, starting with a low end ship and trading/bounty hunting/exploring/sweet criming their way to bigger and better things.

CYOA, isn't this a tabletop rpg? Yup! It's also one with a significant amount of random generation table for things like missions, random events, trade prices and enemy encounters. As a result the idea behind this thread will be to create a group of player characters and then mostly hurl them through the motions. I'll be acting as GM in the capacities it's needed and likely running combat and other mechanically involved stuff quickly without in put from players (I'm not going to ask you if the hacker should break open the door to the place the crew is escaping from). Your role will be to guide the crew, make decisions about what they do, what they buy and who they work for. This will start with character generation.

So, to keep it simple here's a folder with character sheets in it. Fiddle with them, look at the options (it contains everything from every book) and then comment with what you'd want background wise. Please note that no skill can be above 40 at character creation. Also in terms of weird backgrounds: Partner gives you a secondary NPC that you and the GM control, Cyborg gives you 100K to spend on cybernetics. We'll be looking to make between like, 1-4 PC's (If someone has a partner I'll probably cut down the PC cap because of the work load).

So where's this take place? Well, to be blunt: Space is huge and ED's video game map does a great job of capturing that. We uh, don't want that. At least for a basic setting brief. So we're going somewhere specific and off the canon space lanes. We're going to The Development Seclusion Zone. The basic jist of this place is that Elite is a setting where real AI is super banned after it almost apocalypsed everyone. However, for our purposes, in more recent times both profit chasing mega corporations from the Federation (the representative democracy that loves the free market) and militant hardcases in the Empire (the fuedalist/democracy mix) have being pushing for loosened restrictions. Each claiming that the other is already doing it in secret.

As a result the DSZ was declared. A section of space roughly 150-200ly away from the edge of both super powers borders and with a small buffer of Alliance (independents banded to form an effective political presence) systems in the vicinity. It already existed as a developing area due to abundant resources and alien anomalies so it made a natural fit for this diplomatic and scientific experiment both sides wished to conduct (and both fully expected to fail). With corporate and aristocracy led interest groups pouring in to the newly declared libertarian 'paradise'.

A decade later and things still trudge along, if unsteadily. The central heart systems of the DSZ have settled into trade, production and research conflict free. With much of the piracy and border skirmishes happening in the barren systems between the DSZ and regulated space. The AI programs have even started to produce sentient helpers (albeit ones that are never allowed full wire free access and which must always have an identifiable 'kill point' that police can target) and the mix of cultures, the dreamy allure of new wealth and relaxed scientific ethics have created a new wave in gene mod fashion across the region.

FuselageWildcatMrVyngaardH3Knuckles
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Posts

  • AustinP0027AustinP0027 Registered User regular
    Ah holy crap. Just reading the line "The AI programs have even started to produce sentient helpers (albeit ones that are never allowed full wire free access and which must always have an identifiable 'kill point' that police can target)" gives me an idea for a cyborg/high tech commander.

    This scratches an itch the Fragged Empire setting left behind (space RPGs are just awesome). Whipping up a character for this for sure.

  • Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Quantronic Dreamgirl Registered User regular
    I wasn't planning to have an AI PC but I could probably workshop one as a background option. Though it'd come with some really obvious downsides.

    And yeah, based on interest it might just be each player gets to design their own pet PC to run through the guantlet of what RNG throws at them.

  • AustinP0027AustinP0027 Registered User regular
    Sorry, I didn't mean AI PC.

    I'm thinking someone who's deep into tech (i.e. High Tech homeworld, Hacker, etc...) with Cybernetics. I was using that line more of a starting point of having someone who sees that behavior and thinks everyone should be way more into technology than they are, so it's their basis for setting out. Make money, get more tech, show others how awesome having tech is (and be better than them on the side because you are always ahead of the curve)

  • Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Quantronic Dreamgirl Registered User regular
    But yeah, to be clear the law for AI in the DSZ is basically two rules:

    1) The AI must be in a discreet unit seperate from any wire free situations (IE, it can be housed in a ship but that ship must not connect to other stuff). This also means that if you want AI answering customer service queries it has to be like, a mechanical hand typing on a keyboard (because interacting with an actual terminal would be a breach of the law).

    2) The AI must be housed in a destroyable target with no back ups or escape routes. IE, if it goes rogue the cops need to know (and you're legally required to inform them) what building/ship/chasis they shoot to stop everything immediately.

  • AustinP0027AustinP0027 Registered User regular
    Ok, I think I'm confusing both of us with that line.

    I'm just going to build a tech centric character (meaning, skills/backgrounds are tech heavy) and go from there. The setting thought I had may not actually fit the setting, so instead, I'm just going to focus on someone who is crazy into tech, and go from there.

  • Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Quantronic Dreamgirl Registered User regular
    edited July 9
    Yeah, I believe the confusion was in AI program refering to the projects that are making AI's. Not the AI as a computer program.

    EDIT: Also you can feel free to fiddle with those character sheets. They're there to just provide a tool for people to experiment with.

    Albino Bunny on
  • AustinP0027AustinP0027 Registered User regular
    Do we need to do anything with equipment or anything like that? Or just get all the background/skills stuff set?

  • Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Quantronic Dreamgirl Registered User regular
    Equipment is automatic and the choices you get are minimal.

    Picking a starting ship is a bigger deal though most of them are self evident by what career the character wants to do.

  • AustinP0027AustinP0027 Registered User regular
    Does the max of 40 apply even if you choose something that gives you natural genius and raises the cap?

    Meaning, if it's raised to 50 due to that, can you have the skill at 50 or does it need to be limited to 40?

  • Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Quantronic Dreamgirl Registered User regular
    edited July 10
    Natural genius is there to let you bend the cap. So yes, if you have it your skill can be higher than 40.

    Edit: to clarify more the cap on your skills is rank (read level) based. At char gen harmless characters are capped to 40. Natural Genius lets you push your cap 10 higher for a specific skill. Which means you can have 50 at char gen.

    Also worth noting that you start with 10 in each skill, so you only need +30 to hit cap (only +10 for spaceship skills because pc’s get the trained pilot background for free)

    Albino Bunny on
  • AustinP0027AustinP0027 Registered User regular
    Oh sweet, didn't know trained pilot was free. That was one of my four choices.

  • Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Quantronic Dreamgirl Registered User regular
    Yeah, trained pilot is free then you get four other choices (which is why the custom sheet lets you count to 5).

  • AustinP0027AustinP0027 Registered User regular
    Tried to make a copy in that folder, but it doesn't show up there for some reason (I'm sure I just don't get how google drive works with locations).

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1gZB3qbItYXPDYCSIvQqttIT4S5PgLu9J7HYCx36Ch9Y

  • Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Quantronic Dreamgirl Registered User regular
    You can only copy into your own stuff. To stop people from like, copying me to a full drive (though that'd take a while with individual character sheets).

    For Branden what starter ship would you like?

    You've got the following to pick from:

    0calalp4szwg.png

    While I find a good form fillable system sheet and a good way to display ship data (annoyingly the formfillable they provide does 90% of eveyrthing except let you track damage/shield variance, which might be enough anyways).

  • AustinP0027AustinP0027 Registered User regular
    I think the Sidewinder FD-4 is the right choice.

    I'm envisioning some amount of trading to make money, but I also know that his skills lean towards doing things that are likely a little more dangerous, so balancing the ship to prepare for that is going to be better.

  • Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Quantronic Dreamgirl Registered User regular
    I found out they already have a spaceship sheet on that one. So put the Sidewinder and all it's base stuff in there.

  • AustinP0027AustinP0027 Registered User regular
    edited July 10
    That sheet doesn't work right.

    For some reason, it's doing a lookup where it only allows the size 3 items for power/thrusters/drive when this ship uses the 2 size ones.

    I'm looking at where it gets that from, but have no idea where to backtrack from there to determine why it's getting the wrong sizing.

    I'll manually input the right values.

    Edit: I found where and why it's not working correctly so I can fix, but have no idea why it sets the incorrect cell in the first place (as it doesn't look to be a lookup from anywhere else)

    AustinP0027 on
  • Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Quantronic Dreamgirl Registered User regular
    edited July 10
    If you're technically minded enough to fix it I'll stop with the character sheets (had a friend do one and I was working on a 3rd to be the hapless face/trader in a Hauler). At least if you're okay managing that stuff.

    It goes over my head pretty quickly.

    EDIT: Also the random generation system agreed on 'the center of the DSZ should be fucking huge'

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HyWraBPIKn0qVL_SNODFrbRw4orWc6EMj8lFn5XguhE/edit?usp=sharing

    Albino Bunny on
  • AustinP0027AustinP0027 Registered User regular
    I can fix it for any sheets that need it if you share them with me. It’s simple enough to start and maybe I’ll spend some time to fix it permanently in the template itself. For now I can do it for everyone who joins and needs it.

    Albino Bunny
  • Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Quantronic Dreamgirl Registered User regular
    It should just be those three sheets in the folder right now. In the future if we need new PC's we can just copy them from those anyway.

  • AustinP0027AustinP0027 Registered User regular
    Cool. I’ll get to those tonight

    Albino Bunny
  • Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Quantronic Dreamgirl Registered User regular
    edited July 10
    Yeah, I got board games tommorow so I'll probably generate some contracts (seems to lean towards 'of the trading/crime variety' for our trio) tommorow and then you and anyone else can take a pick and we're off to the races on thursday.

    EDIT: ALso to be clear, I'm probably only going to generate destination systems for contracts. Which is why I included the trianguation points of distance to borders and Diane-1290. So you can roughly fit in your head where they are.

    Albino Bunny on
  • AustinP0027AustinP0027 Registered User regular
    I've fixed my sheet, plus the two that were in the folder (Danielle and PC2).

    Ship page works now, and got the dropdown for ship selection to actually do the right logic to select everything correctly, plus fixed the hull choice (lightweight wasn't even in the list for some reason), and the shield calc.

    I'll spend more time later on looking over the whole thing to see if there are any other places where it's broken like that to fix.

    Albino Bunny
  • Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Quantronic Dreamgirl Registered User regular
    Okay, first mission is just going to be Danielle and Branden. Gonna presume:

    1) They're both in Diane-1290

    2) They're both relatively neutral with any given parties

    So then, the mission board:

    Haver Electronics is offering a 140,000 reward for people willing to take a couple tons of experimental computers from Yang Laboratories on Diane-1290A3 to Ross-128 40Ly away. They warn however that they've being suffering from corporate antagonism and advise traders to arm both their ships and their own person.

    The Demeter's are looking for an independent group to do a flyby scan on what they believe to be a militarized installation in Edmais. They're willing to pay 160,000 on delivery of the data.

    Avon Plastiques, through a man at Haber dock who would never confess to working for them, are being tight lipped about what exactly needs doing past a desire for thieves and professionals. 150,000 is the number being whispered at the bar.

    The Imperial Cartographers Guild want a team to check out a sensor spike in out of the way system Hydrae-21. As usual they're tight lipped about pay until they're presented with results.

    One of each of the four main types.

  • AuralynxAuralynx Thirty-Seven Keys Registered User regular
    ICG 4 lyfe yo. Explore the unknown.

    Space... what is the point of it? You have no idea.
    5f0qjnu1xfzo.png


    MrVyngaard
  • Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Quantronic Dreamgirl Registered User regular
    Sure, support the slaving fuedalists.

  • AustinP0027AustinP0027 Registered User regular
    A flyby scan sure sounds like it’s be easy, so it doesn’t make sense why they’d pay so much. Must be hidden risk, so that’s out.

    Exploration seems a little risky without knowing the pay.

    I’d rather deliver computers or possibly take up theiving and hope it’s a nice big computer that needs breaking into.

    Any preference?

  • Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Quantronic Dreamgirl Registered User regular
    For reference all the rewards are more or less based on the rewards table in the book. Even if fluff wise people aren't telling you the pay that's not something you need to concern yourself with. At least not in the sense of 'is this choice a bad wrong one'. Obviously if your point is 'the group doesn't take vague deals' that's perfectly valid. Just saying you don't need to worry about the mechanical implications for pay.

  • AustinP0027AustinP0027 Registered User regular
    Yeah sorry, was trying to play a little bit of fluff from the group perspective.

  • RingoRingo Stardust, Golden Caught in a Devil's BargainRegistered User regular
    1st Choice: The Demeter Job - If it is a military installation, they're probably going to shoot at us. But hey, we know that going in, and info about unknown threats like that are good for everybody.

    2nd Choice: The Imperial Cartographers Guild exploration-that-is-probably-something-nasty. Totally gonna get shot at by something, but at least it's something that won't expect us specifically. It'll be an adventure!

    3rd Choice: Avon Plastiques scheme. They're looking for professionals, so there's probably a plan and a chance that people follow it. What's not to love?

    Shipping parts when we know someone will be watching, waiting, and gunning for us sounds like a real drag

    ceres wrote: »
    I'm just going to go ahead and lock this thread before I feel any worse about humanity.
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  • DoobhDoobh She/Her, Ace Pan/Bisexual 8-) Stonewall started with a brickRegistered User regular
    ICG imo

    I stream, now! [Tu, W, Th: 2-6 pm EST] and [Su, Sa: 4-8 pm EST]
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  • AustinP0027AustinP0027 Registered User regular
    Why does it feel like everyone is trying to get me killed?

    Fine, we go exploring.

  • Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Quantronic Dreamgirl Registered User regular
    edited July 12
    Okay then, first things first lets get the duo a little more suited up for an expedition. Namely just grabbing them some armour and guns.

    Admittedly the problem there is in how personal weapons are rather restricted. Thankfully Danielle has streetwise so barring an abysmal roll she knows a guy. Going to give Branden a Laser Rifle, a medpack and a knife. Danielle's going to go a bit bigger with an assault beamer and climbing kit. Both are going to also pick up reactive armour and field rations for a week.

    The journey to Hydrae-21 is pretty short (the only reason it takes two jumps is because your side winders aren't exactly exploration craft and it's out of the way). So while there's tables for like, journey encounters I don't think they're super needed here.

    The anomaly is right where the report said it would be. It's signature becoming more evident as the crew's ships slow down in super cruise. Approaching the site and dropping out into sublights ten kilometers away.

    There, drifting infront of the sun and eclipsing it's light, lays an Anaconda. Seemingly inert on your sensors and yet dancing with occasional sparks of light visible through your cockpit windows.
    Also amusingly the RGS absolutely complied in making Hydrae-21 the kind of system that you'd bother to map but probably not bother to colonize this early on in the rush

    EDIT: Wow, didnt' realize quite how garbage the range on the Sidewinder is. Lets just uh, presume your character's refueled at whatever the go between system betwen Hydrae-21 and Diane-1290 was. Otherwise this'd be a one way trip :P

    Albino Bunny on
  • AustinP0027AustinP0027 Registered User regular
    Right then. Large ship, seems dead, but still something is likely off.

    Let's do a sensor sweep of the area around it to make sure we're not missing something, and then see if our computer has a way into their computer somehow. Maybe we can figure out what happened without actually getting on the thing. (Not sure if this is even possible, but thinking a computer check maybe? Branden is a hacker after all.)

  • Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Quantronic Dreamgirl Registered User regular
    The fluff describes there being wireless tech but doesn’t make it very clear how strong it is. Given there’s no e-war style hacking in space combat I’d assume you’d have to actually be present or at least standing on top of the anaconda to hack any computers.

    A general scan would work fine though. After all your employers did just ask for data and information. The big choice here is basically between just scanning and going or taking a step on board and looking around. After all, even if it’s an older model that’s still easily 150million credits floating there.

  • AustinP0027AustinP0027 Registered User regular
    Yeah, I was hoping we wouldn't have to step on the thing to get into it's guts, but it doesn't look like there's a way around that.

    So, assuming the general scan doesn't pick up anything that would make us hesitate, we should dock with it and see what we can figure out inside. Carefully, of course.

  • Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Quantronic Dreamgirl Registered User regular
    Neither Branden nor Danielle can pick up anything on their sensors. The ship just laying there infront of them. The pair hesitating uncertainly before maneuvering their side winders to couple onto the hull of the enormous beast. Stepping down onto it with a clank as Mag Boot meets military composite. This thing was expensive, there was no reason for it to be abandoned with seemingly no damage. Finding an engineering hatch and cracking it after a minute on Branden's wrist comm.

    Lights shone into the corridor. Showing a dizzying array of wires, pipes and coils. Danielle goes first. Dropping down and bracing herself with her Assault Beamer, peering down the corridor in an attempt to figure out which way would lead to the bridge. A seemingly futile endeavour as their current location matched no schematics common to Faulcon DeLacy's public records.

    Danielle jumped and span around wildly at the sudden sound of a scream. Finding it was just Branden who had slipped on his descent and caught his ankle between two cables. Causing his foot to twist painfully (-5 Endurance) the shorter man limping a little but still continuing onwards with Danielle down the corridor.
    So hey, not sure exactly how much or how little of the guts I should show but this bit is basically a series of random event tables. If they roll the same result again then they've found the store room/bridge in our case. They can back out after each event so consider this bit a push your luck thing played with their lives (and there are some mighty lethal results

    The particular manner of catastrophe driving the ship soon became clear as the pair walked into a large, spacious room. It might have once served as a hanger or fighter bay but now was covered in junk. Four seperate, half metre long mechanical monstrosities weaving in and out of the trash. Arranging it by some unknown algorithm. Before anyone can react one of them spots Branden with it's rear mounted sensors, turns and begins to writhe towards him.

    Branden had a predictable response. Start feeding ground while feeding his aggressor laser shots. At least, that was the plan, the paniced shots up into the room certainly didn't have the desired effect as two more of the rogue AI scrambled towards them. Something Danielle soon made up for as her assault beamer cut down two of them. The last one advancing even as she joined Branden in retreating down the corridor. The two mangled bodies taken by the assault beamer already stitching themselves together to form one whole unit.

    The newly created unit chased down and landed a... bite? That would have being savaging were it not for Danielle's armour. Branden levelling his gun and dissecting the aggressor effectively now he had more breathing room. Being charged by one of the two creatures still left standing and taking a nasty wound to his already pained leg. Danielle's shots going wide even as the final creature swarmed her. Missing and allowing her to plough the butt of her assault beamer square onto its chasis in reprisal. Slamming it in two (Natural 10 there, neato). Branden firing and eliminating the last of the opponents before collapsing onto the scrap heap panting.

    Danielle meanwhile was laughing nervously, standing guard while Branden patched himself up. Catching his confused look the woman just bluntly answered "so much for 'Harmless' on the job description huh?" before bursting out laughing again, her flight suit's visor fogging up.
    So, one room down.

  • AustinP0027AustinP0027 Registered User regular
    "Of course the first job would involve freak mechanical monsters in a dead ship. Anything worth salvaging here? I don't know there's a ton of value in diving too much deeper. If we run into more of these things, I'm guessing we get overwhelmed soon" Branden responds.

    "Let's look around, but hold off on opening any doors in case more of those things are waiting."


    Would these things be considered robots? If so, I'm thinking Branden would want to poke at a damaged one, see if he can glean what the heck it is via Cyber. Also, obligatory check for any computers in the area. Branden would still want to dive into the ship to get whatever data off it he can.

    I don't seem them wanting to push too much deeper for the sake of trying to salvage the ship itself. Maybe if there was a larger crew here, but just the two of them seems like it'd lead to someone (or both) dying.

  • Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Quantronic Dreamgirl Registered User regular
    Branden definitely is more than aware that this kinda hellscape is the kind of horror campfire stories passed down from people who were alive during the Rogue AI situation. So he knows on some level what it is even check free.

    For the computer check I'll probably just throw it in there as a semi tough check when you're withdrawing that gets you some bonus cash for doing a thorough job.

    Also yes, you have correctly identified that this job is terrifying. It's counter balanced by the fact that you can find some stuff that's worth absurd money.

  • AustinP0027AustinP0027 Registered User regular
    What's the "search the room" equivalent check in this RPG?

    Essentially, I want to consider pushing another room, but is it something where if there is anything, they'd likely find it, or is it something where they could fail the "spot" check and miss it horribly, meaning they risk more and get no reward?

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