Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Prologue: It's Not the Heat, It's the Catpeople (GURPS: Reign of Steel Solo Playthrough)

I've been wanting to play in the Reign of Steel setting for years now and I finally found my muse in the form of Morning Coffee Solo Variations, a solo gaming engine being developed based off of the Mythic GME I'm always talking about. I started thinking this through days ago and, honestly, I just hate crunching numbers right now. I'm not sure why. Summertime blues, maybe. So I didn't bother actually making character sheets and approached with more emphasis on creative storytelling (which is really usually how my solo playthroughs end up anyway). I like to get all my rolling done first, then write the scene afterwards, which seems not to be the standard.


When has BW ever been 'normal' anyway, amiright? Here's what I came up with. I'm not sure if I'll continue the story or not, as this was more about testing out the MCSV than anything else. Still, one never knows. Amazing artwork is always inspiring...

SCENE ONE PROPOSAL: Heracles and Megara are scouting the jungle alone, looking for leads on Red Dawn.
CHAOS DIE ROLL: Unmodified (0)
ORACLE QUESTION 1: "Will there be combat in this scene?" [50/50, (6)"Yes"/(8)Unmodified]
ORACLE QUESTION 2: "Will the combat be against Red Dawn?" [Likely, (5)"Yes"/(4)But...]
ORACLE QUESTION 3: "Will the two win the confrontation?" [50/50, (5)"Yes"/(5) Unmodified]
RANDOM EVENT GENERATION: [http://tangent-zero.com/zero_dice/zero_dice.htm?&pic1=0601.png&pic2=0461.png]

INTERPRETATION: Heracles and Megara discover a small encampment of Red Dawn soldiers and, after studying, decide to attack. There seems to be only a few soldiers and, while they put up a fight as best they can, it's clear that the soldiers are actually in the final throes of some sort of illness and are easily defeated.

Stalking slowly towards the firelight they'd seen in the distance, the two artificially created soldiers acted as one. It wasn't quite a full moon but with the clear sky overhead, there was plenty of light to hunt by. Their prey, a human resistance group known as Red Dawn, had been active in the jungles for several years now - something the Caracas AI could no longer tolerate. True, it was ruthless when it came to dealing with captured humans, but it wasn't the worst place to live, if you could find a cave and just leave everyone alone. That's what many did. Reports were that there was upwards of a few thousand still living in the Andes. Caracas was fine with that. Ambushing and destroying dumbot convoys though? That was too much.

The program to develop biological androids had yet to be fully tested, in fact. This was a trial run of sorts. A company of the latest models - dubbed 'Panteras' by those who'd seen them and lived - had been released into the field a few weeks ago with instructions to hunt down and eradicate the Red Dawn by whatever means necessary. It was only a matter of days before the accompanying exterminator robots proved too slow or unable to pursue more abstract lines of reasoning. They were dumped within the first week, gladly recalled for other duties. Of course the accelerated growth tanks and breeding gave the Panteras an edge that no amount of programming could - and just to be sure, they'd undergone some intense basic training. Every single Pantera in the field had successfully stalked and killed human prey under controlled conditions. Now, with the collars off and full autonomy in completing their task, the Red Dawn wouldn't last long.

Some conversation drifted through the thick undergrowth but it meant little to the hunters - spoken language wasn't among their serious training. Just enough to understand orders, and that only in English since that was still a lingua franca among the AIs. The voices sounded weak though, and had it not been for the three days of near constant skulking and scouting, the Panteras might have planned a little better. As it was, they were tired of this cat and mouse game. Time for the cats to play.

A simple glance from the larger one - the male, dubbed Heracles by his bot trainers - was all the signal that was needed. Rushing the final few yards to the circle of worn soldiers was easy when you weren't slowed down by boots or armor. The first one to fall never knew what hit him - a well-placed blade silenced him forever. Next, Heracles leapt at the only other human standing who, with eyes wide, managed to wake the others with his gurgled cries. Stealth switched to full combat when Megara, the other Pantera, opened fire with her assault rifle from cover and dropped two of the Red Dawn members before they could grab their weapons. The last soldier, a young lady full of bruises and cuts, scrambled backwards until hitting a tree trunk. She wasn't even trying to fight and it didn't take a translation to understand she was terrified.

Certain the camp had been cleared but for the girl, Megara emerged from the jungle with her weapon at the ready. Heracles glowered down at the girl but hesitated. Something wasn't right, and Megara could sense it too. These people shouldn't have gone down that easily. A closer inspection of the bodies, and the cuts on the cowering girl, and the Panteras could see the reason: The soldiers were sick. Real sick. It wasn't part of the training to understand why, or to even care, but something stayed Heracles' hand.

"Human is Red Dawn, yes?" he inquired in his deep voice. "Human knows where there are more Red Dawn...?"

The question was clear enough, even in a language more foreign than the girl had ever heard before. She looked back and forth between the two before pointing off towards the West and chattering away unintelligibly. The Panteras weren't impressed and likely would have ended the girl's misery right then if she hadn't started scribbling in the dirt. It was a crude map but one which Heracles and Megara, having been around most of the jungle either in-person or in simulations, could identify. The girl was indicating a location at the foot of the Andes mountain range about seventy-five miles east of Lima compound. It would be another day or two of traveling and they'd have to check in with their robot masters... but it might turn out to be worth it.

The girl finished her map and sat back. Not more than ten or eleven years old, it struck the two biological androids that the trio was likely fairly close in age. The accelerated growth hormones had drawbacks, though not to the machine overlords. Life expectancy for Panteras was, at the outside, three and a half decades. Given the nature of their existence, not many would ever last that long anyway. They turned away, leaving the girl alone and soon to fall victim to whatever had begun its work in her already.

Life expectancy for Panteras was still probably longer than most humans nowadays...

[So that was fun, and not altogether a disaster! I enjoyed the ease of not flipping back and forth in the Mythic book, and I really like the streamlined presentation for using Chaos. I'll link to the MCSV once it's published for all you Bwogonauts to run out and grab it for yourselves!]

With Brightest of (Post-Apocalyptic Jungle) Greens,

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