Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Far Trek season 1 Finale!! 2018.16.02

The final episode of my FAR TREK season 1 campaign is coming up this week! I can'e believe it has been 6 months of Far trek already (technically 7, because of the Hurricane!!) Really have enjoyed this game and everything just fell into place. My players have been FANTASTIC and we embraced the Classic 60's style Trek!

Keep yours eyes on this spot for the write-up of Episode 06: Pawns in the Game

If you haven't played Far Trek yet, ask yourself why?

Paper figures by OKUMARTS

Sunday, January 28, 2018

FAR TREK play report Star Date: 2018.19.1

Episode 05 of our monthly Far Trek RPG. Tonight's episode is a hacked version of the Traveller RPG min-adventure "Mission on Mithril".

At the end of a string of survey missions the Captain chooses to take a field trip with the crew and a lighthearted episode ensues!

Intro Scene:
[The bridge of the Argo as she enters orbit over an ice covered world.]

Triarius: Here is the report on Mithril 3 Captain. May I inquire as to your interest, you've never been particularly fond of these types of mission before. Besides, I can oversee the final scans of the three anomalies from orbit.

Capt. Grim: [Looking at the data pad] Hmm, yes you could. However, I remembered that I still have a Team building exercise to administer and this planet gave me an idea. Besides you wouldn't mind a little field trip to a frozen planet would you?

Triarius: [Gazing at the main viewer.] Not at all sir, not at all.

Capt. Grim: [Hands the data pad back to the Andorian.] It's settled then, Lt. Holt report to the shuttlebay and prep for a launch. Triarius, have the other heads of staff meet us there. We have a winter wonderland to enjoy!


Scene 1: The interior of the shuttle/ Site Beta

[The main crew are aboard the shuttle Louisiana as it enters the upper atmosphere of Mithril III. We see Lt. Holt at the helm of the shuttle, the Captain in the co-pilot seat turns towards the rest of the crew.]

Capt. Grim: Okay people, we have three sites to visit and gather first hand information on. I'm going to have Triarius give us a run down on what we are looking at and then we vote on the order in which we want to tackle them. Sound good? #1 if you would.

Triarius: We have three distinct anomalies that were detected by the ships scanners and probes. Though we gathered an abundance of data, these sites would benefit from first-hand investigation.
Site Alpha - shows a spike in radioactive isotopes found nowhere else on the planet or in the system. And, reading are confined to an area of no more than 10 meters in diameter. With our environmental suits on we will be able to investigate this site without fear of harmful effects.
Site Beta - located in a very dense mountainous region has registered an odd light/shadow anomaly that presents itself for a period of 10-15 minutes at both dusk & dawn. We want to physically see what is happening here to cause this.
And lastly, Site Gamma - is an area along the northern continental ice-shelf that seems to be staying at an unusually higher temperature than anywhere else planetside. We know it is not geo-thermic in nature and need to determine what going on there.

Dr. Salec: The average temperature by day is at or just above freezing constantly, and as long as we do not encounter any adverse weather conditions or high winds we should all be able to function without harm for a few hours at a time. It would be like being outdoors on a nice winter day. I do suggest though that we each take advantage of the Environment suits regardless.

Capt. Grim: I am not a fan of radiation, so I vote we go to Site Alpha last. Otherwise I'm ready to visit Beta & Gamma in any order, and once we are done we can have our snowball fight!

Lt. Holt: Yesss!

Triarius: What is this "snowball fight"?

F'Riid: We don't have to wear the suits for that do we?

Maple: Should I assume this is how we are completing our annual Combat Exercise?

Salec: [Eyebrow raised] Who are we fighting?

Capt. Grim: Yes Maple, under Captain's prerogative this will count as both our annual Combat exercise and the Team-building training per starfleet regulations. [turning to Salec] We will break into teams and fight each other. You get 10 minutes to build a snow fort and as many snowballs as you can. Then when the time is up, we start throwing them at each other and you try not to get hit!! [big grin on face] It's amazing!!

Salec: [folds arms] There is no way out of this is there?

Capt. Grim: Nope, and you're gonna love it!

Triarius: [turning to Maple] I am intrigued with this mock-battle training, it reminds me of our own Icicle-dueling. Tell me more...
Beta Site mountains

[The crew votes to go to Site Beta first and investigate the Light/Shadow anomaly. Also we see Cade sets his communicator on an open frequency so that he can record and transmit everything that the Landing party says back to the Argo.]

Investigating the shaft

[Upon arriving at Site Beta, the crew can see a large rectangular pit in the floor of the ravine. Initial scans from the shuttle
instruments determine that this is not a natural formation in the dense local rock formations. The hole is 100ft wide x 500ft long and just over 1500ft deep. Max deftly pilots the Louisiana down into the shaft itself and lands at the bottom.

The Captain decides the dense rock that makes up the walls of the shaft will be called "Pryce-rock" after his Brother.]

Maple: That's a nice gesture to name this after your brother.

Capt. Grim: Yeah, well it is as dense as he is.

[ Lt. Holt stays on board the shuttle while the rest of the crew step out to investigate more fully. Triarius is the only one to not actually don his Environment suit, however he does carry it with him.]

Triarius: Ah, finally a proper temperature setting.

[Tricorder scans reveal that the shaft has been cut from the rock with lasers and that the entire interior surface to some degree is covered in ancient pictograms!!]

Capt. Grim: F'Riid, what do you make of these? [pointing to section not covered in ice]

F'Riid: [Intrigued, tail whisking left and right.] Unless I am gravely mistaken, these seem to be an ancient form and combination of both Kzin & Caitian pictograms. It harkens back to legends of our peoples from before the sundering of the tribes. This is very interesting!

[Triarius discovers a set of tunnels that are filled with ice but are artificial constructions cut into the rock like the shaft itself. It would seem these were used to descend from the surface down into the shaft. The Doctor also discovers a unique ice-crystalline life-form.]

Dr. Salec: Fascinating, what at first i thought was only natural frost forming on us because we are warmer than the surrounding air, are actually microscopic silicate lifeforms. They seem to be drawn to our heat. [Takes sample in special container.]

F'Riid: Remind me of Lice.

Capt. Grim: [Checking the shuttles engine vents] Hmm, better make sure they don't want to warm up in the shuttle, like a cat on an engine block!

[The crew are satisfied with the information they gather and mark this location as important for further investigation by the Federation. Before boarding the shuttle they wipe the "frost" from each other and prepare to head to the next site.]

Lt. Holt: Course laid in for site Gamma, should take about an hour to get there.

Capt. Grim: Thank you Max, alright people let's...yeeouch!

Salec: Captain what is it... ahh!

Maple: Arg, stinging!

[Dr. Salec makes a quick medical scan of himself, the Captain and Chief Maple.]

Salec: Interesting, we seem to have been the recipients of the death throes of the silicate micro-organisms. A few somehow still were on us, and seemingly reached a critical mass from the warmer temperature inside the shuttle. They burned themselves out and have expired. There is no lasting or permanent damage just a burst of mild discomfort. I can prepare a more thorough decontamination method so as to avoid any further mishaps.

View of crystal-lice expiring from heat absorption.
Capt. Grim: Well Doctor, since you found them I think they will be named after you. What do you think of Salec-crystals?

Salec: I suppose that will do as a place saver, until I can categorize them and give them a proper scientific listing.

Capt. Grim: Salec-Crystals it is!!


Scene 2: Interior of shuttle on approach to site Gamma
Site Gamma

Lt. Holt: Captain, I am having trouble keeping our bearings. There seems to be severe magnetic fluctuation affecting navigation sensors because of our proximity to the planets northern pole.

Capt. Grim: Is it serious, do we need to contact the Argo?

Lt. Holt:  Commander Triarius, I'm sending some data to your console. Do my calculations look good?

Triarius: Hmm, adjust the navigational sensor frequency by .002 to account for orbital shift and I think you will have it.

Lt. Holt: Thank you Sir, adjusting to .002.  We should be fine Captain, the adjustments have taken care of any issues we might have had.

[A few minutes later the shuttle lands safely at site Gamma, and the crew disembark to take a look around.]

Lt. Holt: Captain, I'm staying on board and updating the Argo with our telemetry on the magnetic issues.

Salec: The exterior temperature here hovering at around 35 degrees with no wind-chill. We do not need to wear the Environment suits, but I would still advise bringing them along. I will however don mine.

Capt. Grim: Okay everyone got that, bring your suit but you don't need to wear it. Let's see what we have going on here.

[Once outside the crew see the entire coastline is becoming shrouded in a dense fog. Also large crystal-like formations pop up through the snow all along the ice shelf itself. Maple and F'Riid head towards the edge of the shelf to look out upon the ocean, while Cade, Salec & Triarius investigate the crystal formations.]

Salec, Cade, & Triarius around a crystal formation.
Salec: They are quite beautiful in the way they refract the sunlight are they not.

Capt. Grim: Yes they have a sort of internal aurora borealis effect. Is it warmer near these formations, or is it just me?

Triarius: [Tricorder scanning the formation] It would appear that these formations are absorbing the ultra-vilolet radiation from the sun and that process is what is causing the temperature difference in this area. Not only is the local air temperature considerably warmer but the effect extends about a kilometer off shore from the coastline as well.

Capt. Grim: Should we take a sample? I'm putting this spectrum effect in as the Maxine lights, and the temperature alterations, I shal call the F'Riid Effect!

Salec: I will leave the samples to Triarius, may last encounter with crystal formations was less than pleasant.

Chief Maple: Doctor, come look at this! [ Maple is pointing out in to the water just offshore.] Large aquatic creatures of some kind, they are amazing!!

[The crew gather along the ice shelf and look out into the waters. They see what look like large whales moving in pods and breaking the surface every now and again. Instead of taking in air or expelling water the creatures seem to be absorbing light just like the crystal formations, and they create a dazzling light show as they do so, which can be seen glowing beneath the waves.]

Salec: Fascinating, my reading show these creatures are a variation of the Crystal-lice we encountered before. However here we have a large interconnected silicate organism. Sort of a giant sea-sponge whale if you will.
Scan of a Maple-Whale

Capt. Grim: This one is all you Chief. I'm thinking we have some Maple Whales on our hands here!

Maple: [rubbing his chin] Uh, I guess okay....

F'Riid: [Leaning in towards the Chief] It's better than Sponge-Maples.

[After a few more scans and sample are taken the crew heads back towards the shuttle when...]

Capt. Grim: Maple! Incoming!!

Chief Maple: [before the chief can react a snowball explodes across his back] Hey, what the...!

Triarius: Is this a...

Salec/F'Riid: Yes.

Chief Maple: I thought you said we were doing this after we finished the surveys. {leaning down to grab a handful of snow, while keeping an eye on Cade.] That wasn't fai....OH!!

[Suddenly the loose powder at Maples feet explodes upward launching the Officer a few feet off the ground and dropping him on his rump! A two meter tall six-legged insect-like creature emerges from the snow and opens a toothy maw towards the shocked man!]

Maple: My phaser was knocked loose!

Capt. Grim: [drawing a type 1 from his waistband] I've got you Leonard! [Cade expertly fires and sears the creatures foreleg closest to the Chief.]

[The creature rears back as the appendage seems to dissipate in a cloud of steam, it releases a high pitched scream then dives into the snowbank and disappears from sight!]

F'Riid: [handing a snow crusted phaser to Maple] Here you go Chief, that was something huh?

Capt. Grim: Watch out, it could still be here!

Salec: [scanning] Taking into account the data we have already collected and extrapolating it to compensate for a multitude of variations in life-forms, I can say the area is free of that . . . thing.

Triarius: [scanning as well] I agree with the Doctor. Besides the whales, ourselves, and a small scattering of the Crystal-lice, there are no other lifeforms in range of us now. That creature reminded me of our own andorian Ice-terrors. A rather nasty predatory creature that strikes from the depths of cold, very similar in function I would guess to this one.

Capt. Grim: The Triarius Terror it will be then. Let's stay alert for any more of those!

[ Final scans and samples are collected then the crew board the shuttle to continue the mission.]

Lt. Holt: [looking at the data disk the Captain hands her] You're naming this Ice-shelf the Coconut Cliffs?

Capt. Grim: [leaning back in the co-pilots chair, grinning] I never realized how much I would enjoy this naming convention thing!


Scene 3: Shuttle flying low over the ocean towards the final site.
On route to Site Alpha

Triarius: [ looking over data from the shuttle scanners] Captain, we should be coming up on a large swath of what appears to be a forest like terrain. Could we drop in for a closer look.

Salec: The scanners also show large numbers of life-forms in the same area. Most are ones we have already encountered, however there are new ones as well. I believe a visual fly-by would be most satisfying.

Capt. Grim: Fine by me, Max lay in a course. I want everyone to put on your environment suits though. Since we are heading towards that radiation anomaly I don't want to take any chances.

Crystal Forest
[ Maxine takes the Louisiana in low and slow so the crew can get a good look at the crystal forest of Mithril III. Everyone is in awe of the extraordinary alien beauty of this frozen planet. They see some of the snow-spiders (Triarius Terrors) hunting among the trees, trailing a new creature they hadn't seen before. A sort of six-legged antlered deer-like creature (dubbed Hexa-pods). Also, a second new creature is spotted in the crystal tree-tops. A small monkey-like primate that was quickly named the Tar'get Monkey. Later scans revealed that even this creature was a silicate life-form like all the others discovered on Mithril III. ]
Tar'get Monkey

Lt. Holt: Beautiful and creepy all at once, with those Terrors roaming around. But that's nature for you.

Cat. Grim: Hmm, the Grim Woods. That's what we will name this region.

Maple: [to F'Riid] I would love to see the looks on the faces of those Starfleet Officials when they read our reports!

F'Riid: I agree Chief, priceless I would imagine!!

[ The shuttle continues on its way towards the site of the radiation. As they travel on the crew sees the detrimental effect upon the environment as they get closer. ]

Triarius: As we near the radiation source the fauna grows sparse, and that which is present has been greatly affected. The area is severely poisoned.

Salec: Yes, even the few life-forms I have detected are suffering effects of long-term radiation degradation. I wonder why it is localized only to this region?

[ The shuttle eventually flies over a bowl-shaped valley, and at it's center is the source of the radiation readings. The area is highly irradiated, but the levels are safe as long as the crew only spend a bout an hour here. Triarius determines that should be more than enough time for them to get what they need.]

Capt. Grim: Max, keep the engines warm. I want to get out of here as soon as the Doctor and Triarius have what they need.

Lt. Holt: Aye, sir.

Triarius: We were correct in our initial assumptions that this was not a natural phenomenon. [scanning with tricorder] There are over a thousand units here. Most are buried under the surface, and quite a few have their containment seals broken or cracked.
Site Alpha

Maple: It's not ship wreckage, they're too small. Looks like they might be cannisters of some sort.

Salec: A refuse heap. A radioactive waste dump.

Capt Grim: Are those markings there, on the sides. F'riid do they look similar to the ones we saw at the Shaft?

F'Riid: [scanning with tricorder] Yes and no. Though there are pictograms, they are not religious in nature. These are more technical in meaning and I do recognize them as warning symbols. No doubt because of the lethality of what was contained within.

Capt. Grim: This place just earned the name Louisiana Hot Spot.

Alien Cannisters
[ All necessary readings and measurements were taken and the crew departed the site. Engineering Chief Zav later headed up a clean-up crew which safely removed the cannisters from the surface of Mithril III. They were deposited in orbit then destroyed with phasers by the Argo. A great number of the cannisters were still functioning well within safety limits and were studied by the crew. Determined to be the waste product of atomic-powered starship engines from over one thousand years ago. Are they connected in some way to the ancient Temple site? A mystery for later perhaps.]


Scene 4: Commodore Stones office on Starbase 13 / Snow field on Mithril III

Records Officer
Records Officer: Sir, I can't believe these reports coming in from the USS Argo. This is preposterous, how can we let them continue naming everything like this. The "Nightmare" Continent, Coconut cliffs, Louisiana "Hot Spot"! You'd think they were club hopping on Rigel IV. Sir, please!

Commodore Stone: Trust me son, this isn't nearly as bad as some of his brother's reports. Besides, a little fun never hurt anyone. This should liven up some of those dull science review meetings though if nothing else!

[ Meanwhile on Mithril III, we see Maxine holding her own in a snowball fight against F'riid, Salec & Triarius while the Captain and Chief Maple encrusted with frost look on.]

Maple: Holt is very feisty isn't she?

Cade: [smirking] Yep, and I wouldn't have her any other way. F'Riid, Triarius, even Salec and yourself Leonard. You're all special in your own way, and those differences are what make us stronger and what connect us to each other. I don't just want a good crew, I want a family. That's what the Argo is to me, and I hope you as well.

Maple: I didn't think I was going to like you at first, but now I think we might just become best friends.

Cade: I felt the same way Leonard. I think we better get out there and give Max a hand don't you?

Maple: [cupping snow in his hands] yes sir, I do!

[Scene fades out to the crew throwing snowballs at each other.] 


Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Thing board game: AWESOME!!!

I was lucky enough to be invited to play the new "The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31" board game at a friend's Holiday party. I will say this is one outstanding game! If you are a fan of this movie, you need this game. It really, really captures the tone and feel of the movie and the creators did a hell of a job in my opinion.

The re-playability of this game is great because you never know who is or when someone else will become a "Thing"!

The board, cards and figures are all really cool and you can identify each member of the team easily. A very important part of the game is interpersonal dialogue between all the players as the rounds are played. Proclaim your humanity, admit how you can help accomplish the missions as they come up without revealing just exactly how helpful (or not) you can be.

Once you get a flamethrower you can force a blood test on another player and make them reveal to you if they are human or NOT! But only you and that player know the truth!!! Can you then convince the others he/she needs to be torched!!! Or are you lying and hoping to get rid of another human...

My wife fooled us all and was chosen as the person to lead the escape team at the end phase of the game only to reveal to the other four survivors on the Helicopter that we were doomed and humanity had lost, she was the Thing!!!!

Great fun, movie quotes and dialogue were slung back and forth all night, we listened to the movie soundtrack in the background. I cannot wait to get a copy of this for myself and play again.

The only drawback I see is that it states you can play with 4-8 players. However to get the maximum paranoid effect from this you need no less than 6, and for greatest effect 8 players like we had!

Super cool game, go find one now!

Happy New Year everyone!!!