Design Diary: Flying Pig Campaign 5

(Originally posted on www.dragonlairdgaming.com on 10/1/2006)

Our September 24th session got delayed until tomorrow night (October 2nd) so I’ve got some more time to prep and review what I’ve planned so far. Let’s review my open work items.

  • Review the advice from my article in the double-sized issue #100 of Knights of the Dinner Table magazine (now freely available).
  • “Seed” the PCs by giving players details on their character’s relevant areas of knowledge.

  • Earl Shiloh – Browncoat Underground
  • Jeremiah Jones – Terraforming/settlers, etc.

  • Develop a ship-oriented challenge that will let them use their ship stats.
  • Develop the Terraforming Consortium Facilities on Beaumonde.
  • Develop obstacles to reaching “Simon” and what Key Simon has.
  • Develop what happened on the “Dorado” job on Paquin. Give to Vinnie.

  • Okay, so let’s take a crack at these. First, let’s give Earl some details on the Browncoat underground. Not sure if this will tie in tomorrow night, but I want the player to know that his character has a role to play in things. I want the Browncoats to be more dangerous than they appear in the Firefly TV series, a real threat to reappear. Let’s say that Earl got tangled up with some of these characters in the past, so we’ll give him a recap of that.

    To Earl: “About a year before Earl met Captain Riley, he was working on an orbital skyplex over Santo doing construction for a Blue Sun subsidiary. He’d made some friends among the other workers and they would end up at a no-name bar in the lower tiers of the Skyplex. One night he met a man named Joshua Brand, a grizzled Browncoat veteran. At first it was just some story-telling from the war days, but Earl soon realized that he was being felt out by his friends. Curious, he gave them his pledge to secrecy and they brought him into their group, the Phoenix Battalion.”

    “The Phoenix Battalion was an Independence movement made up of browncoat veterans. They were convinced that the war wasn’t over. They were just waiting for the moment to ‘rise again’. Earl learned enough of them to decide that they were committed but also didn’t have a chance in hell against the Alliance. In Earl’s opinion, the Alliance had been making moves since the end of the war to ensure that a united resistance couldn’t rise again. Not everything they’d done worked, but it would be much harder to start a war.”

    “Before Earl’s ticket was over on the skyplex job, he learned that Brand and the others were seeking to find one planet where they could hide and operate from without the Alliance watching over their shoulders. If they could find such a place, they would be able to collect recruits, train, and gather their resources, making them much more effective, and, possibly, a threat to the Alliance.”

    That certainly brings the Browncoats in as a viable force related to Columbiana. Now, let’s give Dr. Jones some more information on settlements and terraforming.

    To Jeremiah: “Jeremiah has worked countless times at the dirt-scraping settlements on the more recently terraformed planets. He’s seen weird things with crops and new variant diseases plaguing the hardy settlers. On some of the planets there were still Terraforming Consoritum facilities, so Jeremiah has seen them up close.”

    “The TC maintain Monitoring Outposts on terraformed worlds until some obscure set of environmental criteria are met. They work through uplinks to a mesh of TC satellites observing the planet. The Outposts contain a tremendous amount of computing power and expensive sensor equipment, so they are well-secured by heavy permacrete structures and biometric scans for entrance through heavy steel doors. Thought they are well-equipped, the Outposts are notoriously undermanned, often with only a handful of facilities people (guards) and a set of 5-7 scientists.”

    “Jeremiah has been inside an Outpost before, making a ‘house call’. He remembers that the guards had access to Sonic Rifles (stun people) and pistols as sidearms. They also had ballistic mesh vests as armor. They weren’t hard-core like Alliance troops, so they might get surprised or duped.”

    Lastly, I need to provide Vinnie with background on what the Dorado job was on Paquin. Review of Paquin: A border world known for its theaters and cultural entertainment, as well as more pedestrian carnivals and sideshows. Some call it the Planet of Masks.

    To Vinnie: “In the middle of your robbery spree with your brother Bruno, you set your sights on the Dorado Theater on Paquin. Of course, this was another bright idea of Bruno’s, figuring that the money raised at a big charity performance would make a nice haul, maybe 50,000C.”

    “The key to the Dorado job was to sneak in as members of the Dorado staff (uniforms, identity cards) and bluff an electronic key from the staff of the Control Office. Once the key was obtained, the plan was to sneak out of the facility and do a public terminal transfer of the credits to grey account. You got in easily enough and were able to get the electronic key from Control Office clerk, but the Dorado had safeguards in place to prevent downloads of such large sums. All they netted was about 500C that Vinnie pocketed from the Control Office. For the Alliance authorities, the job doesn’t even show up as being credited to the Franco Brothers.”

    Well, that’s a start. I’m hoping Vinnie will connect the dots and realize that Bruno planned to bluff his way into the Terraforming Consortium office to get an electronic key. What I haven’t connected yet for them is that they need an electronic key to unlock the real values of the Columbiana data module. The current data they see has a built-in skew that makes the data nonsense. I haven’t given them a hint of this yet, but I’ll have to make sure they learn this soon.

    Okay, what’s next? How about the ship-oriented challenges. Let’s review the Serenity RPG book to see what the rules support…

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