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TheAuldGrump

The Salvage Crew - SF RPG Campaign WIP

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Very early stages, not even a system chosen yet.

 

Core concept is that the PCs are a salvage crew - roughnecks that make their living salvaging damaged, derelict, or abandoned starships.

 

Sometimes working for a commission, sometimes for what they can sell the scrap for.

 

Always trying to keep up with the costs and payments for their ship, always hoping for a big job that can pay off the ship, and leave them entirely in the black.

 

Don't think Star Trek or Star Wars, think the crew of the Nostromo from the original Alien movie. (Though something akin to that loader from Aliens is definitely on the bill of sale.)

 

The ship is big - but mostly engine, with a salvage pod that can be detached when they think they can salvage an entire ship.

 

Wormholes between systems cover the bulk of traffic, travel in real space is typically between wormholes, and takes months - the ship can travel hundreds of light years in a moment when using the wormhole - but wormholes connect between two specific systems, and the lost ships are often far, far off course.

 

Alternately, something similar to star travel in Babylon 5 might work. A wormhole connects to hyperspace, which allows faster travel, then another wormhole is used to exit hyperspace.

 

Early on, the PC's ship will have no weaponry, aside from a short ranged, but powerful, continuous beam laser that is used to cut through the ships to be salvaged. Power hungry enough that the laser and the drive cannot operate at the same time.

 

The core worlds are cyberpunk.Corporations own everything - maybe not as soulless as in most cyberpunk games, but capitalism is the name of the game.

 

And in the process of salvaging one of their larger prizes, the PCs uncover a mystery.

 

Ideas? Possible game systems?

 

Plenty of time - this will be after the superhero cops game, which is after the fantasy cops game, which is still in early days of the campaign.

 

The Auld Grump

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I play Starfinder and am familiar with GURPS Traveller. I think that SF could easily fit into your plans as you would already have a system you are somewhat familiar with. Also, already has ship templates and good space maneuver rules.

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1 hour ago, TheAuldGrump said:

Wormholes between systems cover the bulk of traffic, travel in real space is typically between wormholes, and takes months - the ship can travel hundreds of light years in a moment when using the wormhole - but wormholes connect between two specific systems, and the lost ships are often far, far off course.

 

Alternately, something similar to star travel in Babylon 5 might work. A wormhole connects to hyperspace, which allows faster travel, then another wormhole is used to exit hyperspace.

My Amid The Tangled Stars setting concept may be a good fit for this.  The idea for ATTS is that FTL travel is done via alternate dimension "threads" that twist between various places in real space. They're like wormholes in the sense that you can only go where they go, but you can "grab" a thread and leave it from anywhere along its length.  Interstellar star maps look more like abstract subway maps - the distance along a thread has no relation to the physical location of the stellar systems these threads intersect.  A short thread may take you to the other side of the galaxy, while a longer thread might go to Orion before looping back to Proxima Centauri. 

The advantage for your salvage crew idea is that sometimes ships leave the threads far from systems for a variety of reasons. 

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do you want to concentrate more on the ship stuff or the on foot salvage work? is the plan to use ships as more like dungeon crawls or heists? do you want everyone to be human or are you looking for a system that does alien and robot PCs too?

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I guess the question would be how “physics-y” do you want to be?  And how long would you expect the story to stay centered around the ship? Is the mystery going to take them planet-side in one or more places?

 

I’d default to Traveller, just because*, but, depending on how much system support you want for the ships, you could use any of the generic systems (Basic Role Playing, GURPS, Savage Worlds, Fate) without too much issue.

 

*I was amused to discover that I have my own entry in the Traveller wiki...

Edited by Rob Dean
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White Star? 

Yeah, my Swords & Wizardry stockings are showing . . . .

 

But it was either that or pointing out that Stars Without Number has a merchant expansion, a cypber punky expansion, a military campaign expansion, a naval campaign expansion . . . .

 

Okay, I also admit to being a Kevin Crawford fan.

 

 

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I had been thinking maybe Traveller: The New Era, using Fire, Fusion, & Steel to create the hardware - problem is that I am probably the only one that would enjoy the number crunching calculator frenzy....

 

Neither heist nor dungeon crawl, with exceptions in both directions. The PCs aren't criminals, per se, but their moral compass is up to the players.

On 8/28/2020 at 7:51 AM, Doug's Workshop said:

White Star? 

Yeah, my Swords & Wizardry stockings are showing . . . .

 

But it was either that or pointing out that Stars Without Number has a merchant expansion, a cypber punky expansion, a military campaign expansion, a naval campaign expansion . . . .

 

Okay, I also admit to being a Kevin Crawford fan.

 

 

 

You know, I think I have the PDF on DriveThru... it was a Deal of the Day a while back.

 

High Space is another possibility.

 

Another... goes a different direction - I have the Mongoose Babylon 5 game, and could just set the Salvage Crew in the B5 universe - and given the war... there is plenty to salvage.

 

For that matter, my plot would dovetail nicely with some of the existing B5 plots.

 

The last time I ran a B5 game, the PCs got posted guarding sheep in a low gravity, helium rich environment as a punishment detail....

 

The Auld Grump

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7 hours ago, TheAuldGrump said:

I had been thinking maybe Traveller: The New Era, using Fire, Fusion, & Steel to create the hardware - problem is that I am probably the only one that would enjoy the number crunching calculator frenzy....

 

Neither heist nor dungeon crawl, with exceptions in both directions. The PCs aren't criminals, per se, but their moral compass is up to the players.

 

You know, I think I have the PDF on DriveThru... it was a Deal of the Day a while back.

 

High Space is another possibility.

 

Another... goes a different direction - I have the Mongoose Babylon 5 game, and could just set the Salvage Crew in the B5 universe - and given the war... there is plenty to salvage.

 

For that matter, my plot would dovetail nicely with some of the existing B5 plots.

 

The last time I ran a B5 game, the PCs got posted guarding sheep in a low gravity, helium rich environment as a punishment detail....

 

The Auld Grump

may also want to look at modern age/the expanse

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The Expanse... I have never seen the show, but heard excellent things about it.

 

I have Modern AGE - but have never run it.

 

I will need to see the show, but that is another maybe.

 

The Auld Grump

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On 9/1/2020 at 9:18 PM, TheAuldGrump said:

The Expanse... I have never seen the show, but heard excellent things about it.

 

I have Modern AGE - but have never run it.

 

I will need to see the show, but that is another maybe.

 

The Auld Grump

it's pretty good. I mostly recommend modern age because it's pretty easy if you need to homebrew or improvise bits

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AGE is an odd system...

 

Having one die control the quality of success, rather than the total of the roll.

 

The Stunts... not sure if I think fast enough on my feat to determine SP on the fly.

 

True 20 might be a possibility as well.

 

All sorts of odd questions - do I want psionics? (Leaning toward Yes.)

 

Do I want android/robot/synth PCs? (Again, leaning toward Yes - but not sure how humanoid.)

 

Do I want alien PCs? (Leaning towards No. Have the aliens be mysteries.)

 

Do I want to give the PCs the rules for creating and modifying their own ship. (And will they do so if I give them the tool box?)

 

I do know that I want space travel to take months or years - the ships cover light years in minutes, but the first and last few light hours take a long time, and a lot more fuel.) Again, the Nostromo being the primary inspiration - the Synth/robots being the only ones awake.

 

How lethal do I want combat?

 

A final possible system, that has the advantage of familiarity, is Spycraft 2.0.

 

The Auld Grump

 

 

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Leaning towards Bots and Synths - Bots are built to specific tasks - so a cargo hauler will be be big, strong, and maybe not all that bright.

 

Synths are general purpose - and are just different enough from humans in appearance that they do not trigger the Uncanny Valley aspect. Mostly. (Pleasure synths creep the heck out of people that do not share that fetish.) They tend to be more general in their programming - though the ones on ship will have ship handling built in.

 

Both Bots and synths can learn, and expand their programming - one of those big, dumb cargo handlers won't be nearly so stupid after it has been around for a few decades.

 

One of the other aspects of Bots is 'chatter' all Bots and AIs in a given environment are in contact with one another - so a Bot might get a bit of information from a curious toaster wondering why there might be ninjas sneaking around the food storage area.

 

Another is Hierarchy - a Bot takes orders from any Bot that is higher in rank. So, while the toaster may ask the cargo handler questions, the cargo handler, being of greater Hierarchy, does not need to answer, and can tell the toaster to forget all about the ninjas that it saw.

 

But the security system, with an even greater hierarchy, will record both the toaster seeing ninjas and the cargo handler telling the toaster to forget the ninjas.

 

Most - but not all - synths are not part of the 'chatter'.

 

The Auld Grump - I can tell that you're upset about this, Dave.

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Ashen Stars is another possible system - built around Gumshoe.

 

Got to love a skill called Bull**** Detector.

 

But Ashen Stars would more likely need some pretty strong changes made - I do not love the setting.

 

The Auld Grump

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Eclipse Phase might be a good fit.  I think the only thing missing is interstellar travel, but I think you could add that pretty easily (especially if using a soft physics approach for FTL travel).

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