Space Is A Dangerous Place: Bring The Right Tool For The Wrong Job


Humans really aren't designed for space. Sadly, space is where all the good stuff is. We can figure something out.

Main Roles
Tankbot - Giant robot with a brain hidden under the armour (Fighter)
Dreamer - Astrally projects into the mission rather than going in person (Caster)
Genesplat - Extensively altered vacuum-adapted human (Rogue)

Optional Role
The Crew - Shipboard command and assorted minions (Cleric)

Jarhead, Mechborg, Android, Golem, Explant (opposite of "Implant"), Heavy Metal, Canned Brains, Synaptoid, Tinman, Chrome Dome, Bucket o' Bolts

Here's what you've got to know about robots: They don't just try. They don't strive. They don't dig deep. If they are capable, they do it. They might break something in the process, or take a long time, but they can either do it, or they can't. They don't need to psyche themselves up to overcome pain. They don't have sudden flashes of incredible strength when a loved one is in danger. They just Do The Thing.

And, with modern advancements in technology, you can Do The Thing too!

You are:
  • A Big Damn Robot
  • A chunk of brain, in a box, deep inside that robot
  • Expensive
  • Noisy
  • Faster than you'd think
  • Supremely Reliable

You can:
  • Lift really heavy stuff
  • No, even heavier than that. The floor is more likely to give out first
  • Carry and fire huge weaponry
  • Break Stuff

You've got:
  • 6 Big Slots (each slot can fit a Limb, Big Weapon, or Big Gear)
  • Enough limbs, weapons and gear to fill those six slots
  • Cameras, microphones, speakers, floodlights
  • Black Box: includes brain, life support, I/O ports, emergency beacon
  • Two pieces of Small Gear

Power Train
Made out of four parts. Each part is reinforced, but not indestructible. If any part breaks, things will steadily grind to a halt unless you can make repairs or find replacements:
  • Fuel tank
  • Generator
  • Battery
  • Heatsinks

Limb Options
For each limb, choose from 2 to 5 "fingers", fewer is stronger, more is dextrous:
  1. forklift, hydraulic pincer
  2. crusher claw
  3. cargo grasper
  4. manipulator hand

Limbs can also be specialised for movement:
  • Tank Tread
  • Bipedal
  • Insectoid
  • Jump Jets
  • Rocket Booster

Big Weapons (normally installed in a Big Slot, can wielded with two arms)
  1. Mag-lev Sawblade (reverse the mag-lev to launch)
  2. Giant Claw (either reinforced or grapple-launched)
  3. Laser Guillotine
  4. Electric Whip
  5. Pile Driver (spear/jackhammer combo)
  6. "The Hole Puncher" (clamp in place and slowly push a fist-sized hole through anything)
  7. Giga-Drill
  8. Chainsword
  9. Nanonic Buzzaxe (power-hungry, dangerous)
  10. Flamethrower (doubles as propulsion)
  11. Missile Launcher (expensive)
  12. Triple Miniguns (18 barrels total)
  13. Flak Cannon
  14. Gatling Slug-thrower
  15. Plasma Cannon
  16. Particle Beam (sends a stream of protons moving at a sizeable fraction of c)
  17. Railgun
  18. Rapid-Fire Grenade Rifle
  19. Automatic Sniper Turret
  20. Vulcan Laser (breach-loading, spent shells are radioactive)
  21. Thunder Lance (fires cable, lightning follows path)

Big Gear
  • Reserve fuel tank
  • Backup generator
  • Spare battery
  • Enhanced coolant system
  • Bunker shield
  • Force-field projector (power hungry)
  • Passenger seat
  • Drone control/charge station
  • Hacking cable
  • Auto-repair kit
  • Directional and broadcast comms
  • Sensor suite
  • Tractor beam

Small Gear
  • Small sidearm
  • Grenades (frag, EMP, flashbang)
  • Foam sprayer
  • Scout drone
  • Holo-projector
  • Scanner (signal, motion, tech, or life)
  • Stalk eyes
  • Grapple-hook (rated for tankbot weights)

Watch out for:
  • Orbital weapon signatures
  • Mind-control effects
  • Total spatial obliteration
  • Proximity hijack attempts
  • Running out of fuel

Sleeper, Oracle, Projectionist, Sleep-walker, Wizard, Orb, Orb-Lord, Floatie, Cursor

Roughly 12% of all baseline humans can astrally project into another universe, when properly dosed on phenotoximescanal and krypto-barbituates. This isn't very useful, as these projections are basically just consistent hallucinations, and so far, we haven't been able to meaningfully communicate with the other universes. However, a tiny percentage will astrally project back into this universe. Naturally, capitalism has jumped right on that.

You are:
  • An ordinary person, sleeping soundly in an isolation tank, dosed to the eyeballs on proprietary drugs
  • An astral projection, a glowing orb conjured out of your mind

You can Concentrate on two of the following Actions at the same time (double up for triple effect):
  • Standard, all:
    • Move, float at walking pace (within a distance limit of your body)
    • Lift, one "hand"
    • Speak, transmit close-range telepathy
    • Inspect, a close clear view, otherwise all is dreaming fog
    • Activate, turn on a device
    • Illusion, a hologram in the mind of sentient viewers
  • Advanced, pick one (for now):
    • Torture
    • Hypnotise
    • Burn
    • Freeze
    • Adapt
    • Assimilate
    • Resonate
  • Major, pick none (yet):
    • Precognition
    • Teleport
    • Dominion
    • Obliterate
    • Alteration

Watch out for:
  • Sharp physical contact, it can pop your orb and give your body a stunning migraine
  • Anti-psi lattices made of tungsten mesh, common in settled areas
  • Other Dreamer orbs with strange powers
  • Even weirder things out there...

Lizard, Mutant, Spiker, Heartless, Miracle, Tubular, Vatborn, Genie

Vacuum. Cold. Heat. Darkness. Blinding light. Radiation. Projectile impacts. Isolation. Hopelessness. Turns out, all these and more can be fixed pre-vitro. Funny that.

You are:
  • A heavily modified human
  • Immune to space, and most things in it
  • Fast, Perceptive, Tough and Dangerous (circle two, mark as "very")

Nine Lives: If there is even the remotest chance of you surviving something, you can do so, but there is always a cost.

Potential Abilities
Choose two, but you can pick them any time (including just before they are used):
  • Chameleon Skin
  • Psychic Power
  • Acid Spray
  • Modular Limbs
  • Impossible Reflexes
  • Exotic Senses
  • Reinforced/Backup Organs
  • Concealed Weaponry
  • or something else!

The Crew
The Cavalry, Eye in the Sky, Stagehands, Troopers, Red-shirts, Teamsters
Baseline, Basey, Basic, Meatsack, Fleshbag, Fleshy, Squishy, Norman

You are:
  • Staying on the ship
  • Space sucks man, ya know?
  • Check it out, we got a drinks machine and everything!
  • Let us know when you're done, we'll come pick you up

You can:
  • Look after everyone's stuff, like the body of the Dreamer
  • Send down resupply
  • Active Scanning, pick rooms to see what is inside
  • Recover spacers and salvage
  • Open entry/exit holes with the laser cutter
  • Big messy attacks for killing stuff
  • Send in a squad of fleshies, hopefully after the "all clear"
  • Send in a specialist

Stuff you've got:
  • Laser cutter (slow)
  • Missile tubes (expensive)
    • Torpedo
    • Heat-seeking missile
    • Limpet mine
    • Smart munitions
  • Point-defence turrets
  • Energy shields
  • Personnel shuttles
  • Tractor beam
  • Scanning suite

First of all, 99.9% of all situations requiring on-the-ground armed units can be better resolved with a small meteor and filling in the crater afterwards. These missions are all rounding errors. They can't be solved with money, and they can't be solved by a missile. By the time a reasonable action plan involve a Tankbot, a Dreamer or a Genesplat, you can tell things have already gone very weird.

Union Dispute: Ten civilian tankbots have gone loopy after mis-wiring. Remember, these civilians are victims, and it's supposed to be impossible for these malfunctions to happen, so keep an eye out for sabotage. That said, these machines weight ten tons apiece and are equipped with welding torches, concrete saws and rapid-fire rivet cannons.

People Pleaser: A Dreamer has gone rogue, and begun acquiring a hedonism cult. They've already got by the mayor, the sheriff, four power-troopers, the woman's bowls club, a senator's daughter, the station sys-admin, and the precious team we've sent in. The only indispensable one is the Dreamer, we need a new high-tier Hypno after what happened on Europa, but don't let them know that, or we lose all leverage.

Kill It With Fire: Grey Goo attack on a civilian station, passive shielding being overwhelmed by dedicated constructs. Kill the nanonic monsters, but don't breach the shielding or everyone inside will die, and then the goo will reach the reactor core and everyone else will die. Don't let any of the nanites escape! Get any energy supplies out of range of the goo, and then we can quarantine the station until they run out of power.

Surgical Precision: Someone has parked an undocumented cargo hauler near the braided gravity stream of a wormhole. Can't blow it up without getting shrapnel in the wormhole (bad). Can't use a tractor beam, not with the gravity braid that close. Can't just leave it there, the shareholders are already yelling. So, land a team on it, and move it away from the wormhole, very, very, carefully.

Place Yer Bets: A floating gengineered zoo has "crashed" into a casino station. Confeds are guessing insurance fraud, so it's a messy business. The customers have evacuated, but are watching via the live feed, and betting on the outcomes. Smart money is on the tyrannosaurus-rhino hybrid. The laser sharks are a bit of a wild card.

A Right Mess:
"Um... sir?"
"... yes, what is it now."
"According to unsubstantiated eye-witness reports, the Experimental Quantum Fusion Reactor has had a malfunction and, umm... opened a portal into, Heaven?"
"You mean to say to me puff on cigar, smoke collected by hovering drone that Jesus, Jesus Harold Christ himself, is gonna come down on a rainbow, and absolve us of all our sins? Well... I'm sorta a fan of all my particularrrr sins. Shut it down."
"...but... but it's-"
"Did I stutter? Do I need to repeat myself?"
"No sir. I'll make the arrangements, sir."
"Good to hear."

Starting Sequences
Character creation happens while the mission is just about to begin. Each of the three main roles comes with an initial "tutorial" scene that covers what you are, what you do, and the choices you need to make.

Tankbot: Character starts seeing only darkness and a complicated Start Menu ("activate any two muscle groups to start"). They then see all the HUD start to appear, 0% battery, 0% fuel, 0/0 ammo remaining, camera and microphone disabled, everything off and disconnected. Once they turn on the camera and microphone, they can talk to the bio-engineer and surgery-tech that are ready to install them in a new body. You're the only brain available, they explain, good luck! You'll figure it out as you go along.

The available mech has three legs, one arm, and two weapons of choice. Further modifications and swapping out limbs can happen during downtime.

Dreamer: Character is undergoing routine screening to see if they can Astrally Project, right before the mission starts. They can!
  1. "Welcome to the Astral Projection Induction Initiative."
  2. "Please use your new projection form to Move up, down, left, and right. Rotate to observe your sleeping body. It will have the best of care while you are projecting." [pod closes up and disappears]
  3. "Please avoid your projection coming into contact with sharp physical objects or tungsten alloys while dreaming. This will disrupt the projection, and can have bodily side-effects such as: migraine, nausea, seizure, stroke, insomnia, heart attack, disobedience, headache, other."
  4. "Please do not worry, the experiment subject you can currently see has been confirmed D-class personnel, and is fully expendable."
  5. "Please Lift the orange cube into the green slot." [cubes are red, green and black, along with an orange sphere and a purple card]
  6. "Please read the six digit code on the underside side of the purple card. Viewing fine details may require you to Inspect an object. Use your ability to Activate devices, to enter the code into this keypad." [projections can only use two powers at a time, if the player is Lifting the card, Inspecting it and Activating the keypad, the card will drop]
  7. "86% of Dreamers have an ability to project false images and hallucinations into the mind of an organic observer. Please produce the image of a: pony, in the mind of the test subject." ("Subject, if you can correctly identify the image transmitted, you may be eligible for a level 2 reward") ("you mean I can talk to my wife?")
  8. "We are nearly finished. Please demonstrate any unusual abilities you may possess on the provided test subject."
  9. "Please dispense with the test subject, however you see fit."

Genesplat: Character is being defrosted from an unmarked cryo-chamber. "Is it a combat splat? Kinda looks like one. Let's wake it up and see if it'll save us all. Now, the thing you've got to know about genesplats is that they are all Fast, Perceptive, Tough and Dangerous. There's some crazy stories though, I heard about this genesplat that..."
  • Cut off a guys arm while he was firing an assault rifle, and kicked the whole arm in a perfect circle, killed his three buddies.
  • Turned invisible and stole a Confed cruiser with nothing but a ball-point pen.
  • Got shot in the face, caught the bullet with its teeth.
  • Kicked a reactor core and survived, lost a leg but still.
  • Melted right through the visor of a power-armour suit with just its spit.
  • Won a staring contest when the other guy had his head go all, ya know, explode-y.
What have you heard about genesplats?

The Crew: Players should only play The Crew after playing a different role for at least one session. Their character creation involves drawing their ship to some level of detail, making sure to mark areas for break rooms, toilets, meeting halls, ammo storage, airlocks, fuel tanks, and whatever else they need while out on missions.

They're Made Out of Meat
Ways To Die In Space

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