Sunday, 26 April 2015

HackShips of the Cryogenic Rats

 Build me a HackShip!
Click to build a HackShip

(Made with Logans Generator
This isn't weighted to produce a true 3d6 result
there are probably ways to do that with
I'm a writer Jim, not a mathmagician!)

Or roll 3d6 six times

Ships Hull

3 Shards of a shattered comet, held together by flickering fields.
4 Bash-compacted pseudo-plastic old escapee drone boats.
5 Origami mass-made monocarbon, crackling silver at the seams.
6 A ring of light-ceramic tubes sprayed in ray-resistant foam.
7 Half an attack-blasted light destroyer, built strong but riddled with unsightly wounds.
8 Polymer shard, light, plasticated and sharp.
9 Keel of ancient iron, cankered with re-upped cargo containers.
10 Mech-assembled zero-g steel, strung with extruded carbon-fibre webs.
11 Standard mass-made enviro-tube in a carbon lattice sandwich.
12 Hacked-together high-end modular-pods in an atomic grid.
13 Steel and nuke-hardened black carbon. Attack-torpedo refit, Leviathan class.
14 Organized-diamond dash-pod of assassinated system-lord, upgraded and re-fit.
15 Pseudo-cuboid hyper-structure engine block with irregular interior voids.
16 Giga-droplet of void-forged steel with bubbles tunnel-linked inside.
17 Black-hole backwash-warped helix of titan-iron.
18 Star-core cooled neutronium flange, interior carved by antimatter torch.

Ships Drive

3 Puttering Ionic Breeze-Machine, brownouts at LaGrange.
4 Terrestrial reactor, hacked half-open and strapped on, pointing out.
5 Ruined sensor-beak of an alien 'crow machine', its fields converged.
6 'Matchead' hydrogen drive, well kept, impellers upgraded gold.
7 Collapsed hot-rod tokomak, shielding frittered, ignition dark.
8 Downactioned 'Lightning' class Go-Box. 1000 years old. Entrails unknown.
9 Dumble-Pulsing ultra-photonic fans, the reliable 'Bee' drive.
10 Fusion-grumbler, geysering magnetic fields.
11 Nuke-pooping kill-engine. Brutal. Dumb. Never breaks.
12 Semi-self-replicating blackbody sloaric engine-swarms.
13 'Lalelith' silent-light drive, runs inertialess and cold.
14 Razor-spec stealth-banked fusion spike, operating on the edge.
15 Vogue-vectored magnetopods, ex-military, off the books.
16 Gold-Chromium DarkMatter furnace-turbine.
17 Laser-pinioned rift-engine glinting like a wolfs eye.
18 Ravening coronal shard lensed by antimatter latticework.

Ships weapons

3 Juiced-up construction droids strapped onto the hull. Rivet guns firing DPU.
4 'Tidal' class magneto-ballista launching 'monkey-puzzle' ice flechettes.
5 Allegedly-effective psychic scrambler-pulse. Only hurts organic thoughts.
6 Overcharged pyramidal phase-taser E.M. interference ray.
7 'Rolling Thunder' low-tech high-velocity minigun stacks up-jacked for zero-g.
8 Cheap knockoff polymer-sheath 'Raptors-Eye' railgun array. (Looks like real thing.)
9 Brute-mass macrocannons with dum-dum ferric rounds.
10 Platinum heat-exchanged rapid-firing maser-banks.
11 Low-yield 'Hiroshima' class torpedo tubes.
12 'Lottery Cannon' liquid-hydro-cooled ultra-rapid laser-spatter-banks.
13 'Thuggee' monofilament laser-guided strangle-cannons.
14 A real 'Raptors Eye' railgun array with babysitting sniper-specific AI.
15 Semi-intelligent self-assembling 'Gravity Knife' torpedo swarm.
16 'Jester' class Chance-Cannon, can ignite cascading fails.
17 'Godhammer' triple-barrelled neutron-bomb shotgun. Long reload time.
18 'Kali' class antimatter lens, ringed by moaning stabilising drives.

Ships Sensors

3 Scattered glitch-eyes mosaicked by a dumb-core.
4 Robots-at-a-telescope, plus am/fm listening sphere.
5 Strobing navigation lasers disco-balling local zone.
6 Cybernetic spiderleg dish-orbs circulate the hull on everscan.
7 Faceted-eye cyberfly swarms bleeping composited waves to a video hive.
8 Deep-field lens arrays analysed by photographic brains.
9 Active E.M. interference-shell upsets and traces local sines.
10 Perma-scan optico-radiodromes plus active E.M. 'ping' for search.
11 Hull networked with frozen stingray-cells to subtly interpenetrate immediate energy-sphere.
12 Omni-valent semi-cetacean deep-wave passive scans, slow but range is long.
13 Slaved and disarmed ex-materiel hunter-killer missile cone umbilicaled to ship.
14 Nano-derived 'dementia' lenses track anti-spectrography of seemingly empty space.
15 Rippling warp wave frets space for pseudo-seismic pan-Geiger eye.
16 Deep-gravitational skein illuminates all shifts in local mass.
17 Darkmatter-responsive Nano-antennae, black and unblindable.
18 Planck-length quantum-obscura shows total mass/energy state for immediate AU.

Ships AI

3 Free-download 'Ship Ops' app running on a phone.
4 Recycled city sewer-sys maintenance-mind, sometimes tries to flush the ship.
5 Cheap black market gaol-brain predictive E.M.I. jacked to compute.
6 Defeated military simulation set sold off by winning side. Purposeless and vague.
7 Obsolete friend-connection-network stripped and sold off in-one.
8 Terrestrial S.E.T.I.-Analysis code. Good listener, glitches when it moves.
9 Stack of chips yanked from a submarine, silent, wary, likes to light the emergency bulb.
10 Robust-smuggling code. Competent, always tries to steal.
11 Extra-real singularity-fugee hypermind Alzheimer-virused to comprehensible smarts. Seems sad.
12 Hyper-competitive ex-financial hack. Gold with probabilities, poor impulse control.
13 Super-computer wrapped in ultra-cryo coolant bath, staggeringly calm, yet fast.
14 Bio-molecular gene-computing clock, starts slow but adapts relentlessly to any threat.
15 Photonic brain encoded on the spin of held electrons in a grid. Perceptive.
16 Holographic thought-engine, can fissure tiny perfect selves for special tasks.
17 Samizdat dead-genius last-minute deathmask-mind recording, illuminating turbulence.
18 Dimension-folded hyperpalace burning as a point of light. Startling, intuitive and precise.

Ships Flair

3 Unlikely fastness of a doom-perv cult. Troubled child-ghosts haunt the halls. Odd stains.
4 Glitched eject-recyke sys means ship shits itself in times of stress.
5 Ship dandruffs space with drive-plate shards, leaks E.M. moans, annoys all near.
6 Ship greebled to a dark degree, nothing added on ever removed. Hull a maze of functionless stuff.
7 Unnecessary plating stripped. Visible bits a nasty coagulated sight.
8 Interiors are brown.
9 Odd-proportioned micro-meteorite pattern scars look something like a human face.
10 Former owner liked Feng-Shui, crew compartments neatly calm.
11 Remains of a first-class paint job still barely visible.
12 Voice programmed with reassuring tones like a chummy Shakespearian thesp.
13 Severed grapple-hands from waxed piracy try dot the hull; look kind of cool.
14 Assembled by an aesthete engineer, looks like sweet kinetic art.
15 Chiaroscuro hull-angled floods make ship look massy, dark, like wearing shades.
16 Angular black stealth-carapace, non-functional but still looks good.
17 Zorro-scar laserlance battle damage, just short of disfiguring, looks cool as heck.
18 Last crew died heroes in superfly species-wide redemption-adventure, ship literally gilded.

This is kind-of based on Nathans star-ship creation ideas he hacked from Into The Odd. The ships are broken down into six 'stats' or qualities. Each roll gives you a number showing the quality or power of the thing, like in D&D, higher is better. each roll also gives you a specific thing about that ship.

It doesn't really work for a variety of interesting reasons. Ships having stats is ok but these don't match up with the most-necessary ones. There should be shields and drives and engines should be separate things.

Its too oddly-specific for generating a really wide range of ships, but the use of the 3d6 method and the way it creates its probability curve kind of suggests that there is a 'normal' or a likely arrangement of parts.

The d20 decision / 3d6 stat thing doesn't really match up that way with technology or the way technology works. Or perhaps its simply that the way technology works just doesn't match up that well with the need for adventure.

After a certain point, differences in technology make advanced versions just _better_ than what came before. Tanks kill cavalry, helicopter gunships kill tanks. Breach-loading rifles kill bows and automatic rifles kill breach-loaders. The main source of adventure is in staying the fuck away from anyone with massively better tech than you.

Hence, I suppose the technologically incoherent 'deep-futures' of 40k, Gene Wolfe etc in which any fucking thing can turn up and a super energy knife can beat an AK47, because you can tell a more dramatic story that way. Technology erodes and makes irrelevant personal qualities and the d20 die does quite well with those intermeshing personal qualities that are the key engine of both drama and adventure fiction.

Anyway, I'm rambling.

This is for a kind of Quasi-Setting / Game which I think I'm calling 'Cryogenic Rats'

This is the setting that would incorporate the Exo-Suits of the Hot Girls and the masks of the creatures from before time.

Groups of punk girls from an anemic climax future (like Ian Banks 'Culture' if, instead of being a place to fulfill the highest human dreams, was just a bit shit. Like De Tocqueville's nightmare of democracy. People can do whatever they want and everyone is dull as shit) make off the the LaGrange points where drifting technology from a million years of culture hangs about not being used. They hack together ships and mechs and go off to explore the only part of the galaxy so-far ignored by all, the starless exo-worlds that drift between systems.

There's no hyperdrive so they just have to cryo their way there over a thousand years or so.

And on these worlds are various terrible things that they have to fight in giant mechs, and strange treasures and impossible technologies which they can steal, and strap onto their mechs.


  1. Another distillation of the collective future... Awesome...

  2. After reading this post I really hope "Cryogenic Rats" becomes a game...

  3. what's the best science-fiction book you know, where can I find more random-gen sci-fi charts, and why is blogger's commenting so difficult and shit

    P.S. Singularity Sky was a very good book with a disappointing ending.

    1. Cordwainer Smiths 'The Rediscovery of Man'. The Final Flight Fantasy Rogue Trader RPG books and we are at war with a nascent AI trained to annihilate human thought.

  4. Thank you Patrick. While you are here could I ask you what you think about making a "mission statement" for a game like "What is the point of this game, who is its intended audience, what do the players do during the game" or should it ideally just be held together by pure psychic energy like Rifts or something? I like the second one way better which is why I ask

    1. partly it is just I shrivel at the term "mission statement"

    2. I have never doe a mission statement for a thing, generally because I don't fully know what I am making until I begin making it. But I have had to come up with coherent statements of intent when working with others as they ask me questions about what I want or what I think things should be and that has sometimes been useful in clarifying what path to take on a project.