Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.12 of the “Vortex: the Gryphon” telecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Sunday, 14 October 2012. We’ve been using Fantastic Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment 3rd Ed. Starblazer Adventures/Mindjammer, Bulldogs, and an online dice roller.
In one future, humanity has begun to colonize the Sol system, but environmental degradation, population pressures, and internecine conflict persist. The rediscovery of mystical abilities and open and official First Contact with galactic societies, themselves at war, threaten Terra’s very survival. Can heroes rise to the challenges?
- “Hector Chavez” [Beruk A.]-male Latin American Terran human, former spy and communications expert/engineer of the Appomattox and Gryphon
- “Jasmine” [Sara F.]-female Martian Felinoid (Synth, “Uplifted” tiger), former professional pit fighter and onetime crewmember of the Appomattox, now apart from the grifters in “MarSoupAiL” with boyfriend Darcy
- “Chris McKee/Agent Prometheus” [Josh C.]-male Terran human cyborg, former sniper for the North American Aerospace Marine Corps. and eugenicists at Black Box Security Co.; onetime crewmember of the scout ship Blackbird
- “Jax” [Robin H.]-male human from the Asteroid Belt, vain space pirate and pilot of the Slipstream and Gryphon
- “Orion Starchaser” [Geoff C.]-male [blue humanoid alien] outcast, irrepressible mystic and adrenaline junkie
- “Dr. Srinu Pahul” [Byron V.O.]-male Indian Terran “near-human” (bioengineered) xenobiologist, shadowed by scandal and confident in survival skills
- “Jim Delaney” [Robert A.S./absent]-male Terran “near-human” gambler and psi
“1 to 4 April 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” After the initial voyages of the Venture, the Blackbird, and the Appomattox, other would-be adventurers met at New Gdansk in Earth orbit. The Gryphon made its shakedown cruise to Mars, where its crew explored the outback, participated in dangerous races, and foiled a casino heist before heading to Jupiter.
The Gryphon docks at the orbital habitat of Elysium, capital of the Jovian Commonwealth. Hector Chavez stays aboard the luxury ship to continue his research into the items smuggled from the Vatican Museums.
The burned op also reviews the case files of murders possibly connected to the Zumiz Krott/Harbingers of the Righteous Order of Submission (biomechanical probes of the Zarkonian Armada). Hector considers contacting Annamaria Balzana, a onetime rival referred to him by handler Max.
Jasmine plans to go to Jupiter’s moon Europa to meet Shortwave and Quickfin, two Delphines (“Uplifted” cetaceans) in the Synth Liberation Front. The tiger woman also warns her boyfriend Darcy to avoid Tabitha Hanahi, a felinoid (lynx woman) friend of hers.
Chris McKee asks Orion Starchaser to come with him to see Lt. Brock Ellis, a former colleague at Black Box Security Co., at Tazer’s Tavern in Port Edillon. But first, Chris and Orion go with Jasmine to Europa.
Jax has a leisurely breakfast with Bonnie Kawagura in the Gryphon. He gives the woman, who is friends with his wealthy fan Cassandra, a tour of the yacht and its swimming pool. Bonnie eventually leaves, and the pilot ignores the awkwardness among his crewmates, pleased that his reputation will spread among the pirates at the “Floating Cove” on Ganymede.
Dr. Srinu Pahul compiles his findings on the nanite (microscopic robot) samples from the Zurmiz Krott, which can induce cannibalistic madness in Terrans. The disgraced doctor also sends a message to his parents on Earth warning them to evacuate before the Zarkonian Armada arrives.
Jasmine, Chris, and Orion go to Liberation Plaza in Port Reagan. Furred Jasmine is pleased to notice that fellow “Synths” (genetically engineered humanoids) are more common than in the inner Sol system. Jax cleans the Slipstream, his personal vessel.
Orion learns of a deep-sea dive beneath Europa’s 30-mile-thick icy crust and calls Srinu to see if he’s interested. He is, so they rent scuba gear, a sled, and harpoon and net pistols. Wary Chris notices that he and Jasmine are being watched by a maintenance robot and a woman in the plaza.
Meanwhile, back at Elysium, engineer Hector notices Tabitha in the docking tunnel. She asks to come aboard, and Hector gives Darcy some friendly advice about discretion and not angering Jasmine. The tiger “Synth” claims that he is ill and asks to meet Tabitha sometime later. She readily accepts, her tail twitching.
A Delphine in a cybernetic walker drops a note near Chris, and the sniper hustles Jasmine away from the watchful eyes of the robot and woman in the plaza. The S.L.F. members tell Jasmine to meet them at a clock tower at midnight.
Orion and Srinu take a turbolift down and enter Europa’s frigid waters. They see some life forms, although it isn’t clear whether they’re indigenous, of Terran origin, or recently introduced after First Contact with extrasolar species. The alien wanderer checks his plasma blade, and the doctor clutches his harpoon gun.
The two divers soon have other things to worry about when two sleds and a submarine close in on them! Orion senses another alien mind, and Srinu tries to parley. The Ru’ulok (heavy-gravity reptilian alien) pirates order them to surrender, and Orion grabs the sled’s controls and flees.
Dr. Pahul radios Hector. Jax fires up the Gryphon and picks up Jasmine and Chris at the colony of Port Reagan. Chris calls ahead and orders Srinu’s nurse bot MEGAN to fetch his Salvorain (amphibious alien) trident.
Orion uses a telekinetic shield to clothesline one of the pursuing Ru’ulok, and Srinu makes evasive maneuvers around chunks of ice. The enemy sub looms above, but mystic Orion convinces a nearby sea monster to block its torpedo tubes.
Gunner Chris blasts a path for the Gryphon with a particle beam. Hotshot Jax takes the ship plunging through Europa’s crust, as Hector monitors the sublight engines and the ablative armor. Jasmine and Darcy stagger to damage control.
The remaining Ru’ulok close in on Orion and Srinu. The Europan kraken devours one hapless diver, and Orion psionically removes a hose from another’s helmet. Srinu fires harpoons at the Ru’ulok and ducks behind the sled.
The kraken grabs Srinu’s leg with one of its many tentacles, but then the Gryphon arrives. Chris fires at the beast, injuring it, and shines a light as the kraken sinks into the depths.
Orion defies Murchem, the Encegulan (slug-like alien) captain of the Round Hole. Jax plays “chicken” with the enemy vessel, then flips to throw the Ru’ulok sleds into its path.
Wily Hector uses the Gryphon’s electronics warfare suite to partially disable the Round Hole’s propulsion. Brave Jasmine takes the turret while Chris suits up and goes to the airlock to retrieve Orion and Srinu.
Jasmine hits one sled, and Chris is thrown from the yacht as it evades the slaver ship. Orion grabs Srinu and Chris and swims upward. The blue-furred alien also telepathically blocks the Encegulan captain.
Jax swiftly brings the Gryphon around. Chris replaces Jasmine in the turret. The gunner taunts the Ru’ulok and targets their life support. Srinu wishes he could chemically freeze the area around the Round Hole, but he has no delivery system.
Hector hails the enemy vessel and orders it to surrender, but Murchem says he won’t allow himself to “be taken captive by primitives.” The Encegulan sets his ship to self-destruct, and Jax sprints for the surface, with Chris reblasting a path through Europa’s ice.
Hector and Srinu want to go back to get samples of the alien technology, but Chris notes that local authorities will soon arrive. He sends an image of the kraken to Asdann Fre’vel, a Gustrall (orange-furred, antlered, raptor-like alien) hunter friend back on Mars.
Jasmine and Darcy join Dr. Pahul’s robots MEGAN and PEPE in repairing the ship as it returns to Elysium. They still plan to meet with Delphines Shortwave and Quickfin at midnight. Chris and Orion have yet to meet Lt. Ellis, and they expect trouble from Black Box.
Hector and Dr. Pahul prepare their notes on the Zurmiz Krott and a report on the Encegulan incursion to deliver to Lt.Cmdr. Hiroshi Mbenge of the Union of Solar Nations Navy. They also reach out to Annamaria Balzana and doctors at Cassini University and Crimson Cloud Hospital (Dr. Pahul names the kraken after Jax).
In support of Jax’s plan to use the Gryphon to lure other pirates, Srinu recommends throwing a going-away party as the yacht leaves the Sol system. Hector isn’t sure that many of the crew’s contacts will be able to come to the frontier on short notice. Jax agrees to ask Bonnie if she can arrange to host the party….
Please see my other posts regarding plot threads and Non-Player Characters, advancement, and scheduling. I look forward to seeing the crew of the Gryphon this coming Sunday. Note that we won’t be meeting on Oct. 28.
I also look forward to continuing in Josh’s “A New Beginning: Mystic Adventures in the ‘Big D’” (using FATE 3e Dresden Files) and my own “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” (using the Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game). Be seeing you, -Gene