Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Sword Of Orion - A Post Apocalyptic Mars Side track - A William S Burroughs/Edgar Rice Burroughs/Star Trek Campaign

Man is an artifact designed for space travel. He is not designed to remain in his present biologic state any more than a tadpole is designed to remain a tadpole.
William S. Burroughs

 A couple of years ago I ran an OD&D Star Trek game based on a post made by Falconer over at the Old School Star Trek boards. I recently found my notes on that campaign that included quite a bit of  William S. Burroughs content. The worlds of Rigel were based on that entry. The Federation had some influence on those worlds but there was lots of shady deals, slavery, & drug use. With Trey's recent post about Burroughs it seemed a natural extension to throw up some of those influences.
As a young child Audrey Carsons wanted to be writers because writers were rich and famous. They lounged around Singapore and Rangoon smoking opium in a yellow pongee silk suit. They sniffed cocaine in Mayfair and they penetrated forbidden swamps with a faithful native boy and lived in the native quarter of Tangier smoking hashish and languidly caressing a pet gazelle.
Exterminator! (1979), "The Lemon Kid"
Far away from Mars across the vast light years there are other forbidden worlds where depravity, slavery, & the horror of the unknown have been handmaidens for thousands of  years. Rigel has been a known visual binary since at least 1831, when it was first measured by F. G. W. Struve. Though Rigel B is not particularly faint at magnitude 6.7, its closeness to Rigel A — which is over 500 times brighter — makes it a challenging target for telescopes smaller than 150 mm (5.9 in). At Rigel's estimated distance, Rigel B is separated from its primary by over 2200 AU; not surprisingly, there has been no sign of orbital movement, though they share the same proper motion.Rigel B is itself a spectroscopic binary system, consisting of two main sequence stars that orbit their center of gravity every 9.8 days. The stars both belong to the spectral class B9V; Rigel B is the more massive of the pair, at 2.5 versus 1.9 solar masses.
These are the worlds of the Orions. Vast untamed places where space teams with drug trafficers, smugglers,pirates, cultists, & far worse
.  Here the  hand of the Sarmak is seen in the gene manipulation of the various Orion peoples.
Green Orions
 Green Orions -They are nomadic, warlike and barbaric, do not form families, have little concept of friendship or love and enjoy inflicting torture upon their victims. Their social structure is highly communal - they have no concept of private property - and is rigidly hierarchical, consisting of various levels of chiefs, with the highest office occupied by an all powerful Jeddak.
The Green Orions are one of the most numerous & dangerous of all the Orion races. They originally started as cannon fodder for the Imperial Orion race & within decades of their introduction on Imperial controlled worlds they wiped out their creators. The question has always been why? Perhaps its the race's high population rate, their tendency toward slavery even of their own kind, the marked areas of warfare of their race, & any number of supposed reasons. There are some very hard cold facts in evidence though. Within the last several thousand years the Green orions came to be. They are primitive, intellectually unadvanced, do not have any kind of art and are without a written language. While they craft weapons, any advanced technology they possess, such as 'disruptors', is stolen from raids upon the Red Orions. They inhabit the ancient ruined cities left behind by civilizations which lived on the Rigel worlds during a more advanced and hospitable era in the planet's history.They apparently arose from a biological experimental which went awry & they are always among the crews of Blue Pirates. The word of a green Orion is his bond & once a business deal is sealed then the affair is closed. These bounds are what allow the Green Orion race to function among their own kind. The question now is for how long? The Federation is at a loss as to how a culture of nomadic, warlike and barbaric peoples can exist among the stars. The truth is because of the population rate among Green Orions portions of the race must be sold off to allow the natural resources of the various planet colonies to be used to the max efficient use. The Green Orions have a very interesting society in which certain castes of males & females are bred for pleasure slaves. These taboo castes are in fact evolved Orions whose "animistic" tendencies have come about as a result of population pressures over the last several thousand years. Given the nature of the Green Orion race most other Orion races believe that should the exploitation of the green stop another uprising of the greens might result. However certain experts within the Federation see that the green race is already turning out some of the smartest,most talented pirates,thieves,cut throats, & criminals within the last few decades. The Green Orion race uses the most traditional of Orion arms short sword,long sword, dagger,& of course the Orion disruptor.
The Green Orion race always seems to have a touch of "esper" abilities which allows them to bond with the multi legged fauna of the various Orion colony worlds.
The green race is among the most numerous of Orion races & the most likely to exploit others of their kind in slave auctions. These auctions are always held on non federation controlled worlds & various so called "pleasure" planets. The Greens are often employed as hired muscle as well as escorts. The relations between the White Slavers & the Greens is a strange symbolic affair & not easily explained to those outside of Orion culture. Federation officers should tread very carefully on Orion controlled worlds lest they end up upon the auction block themselves.
There has always been friction & outright warfare among the Greens & the barbarian warriors of Rigel VII. The barbarian warriors are another genetic artifact of the Imperial Orions. Both races are often seen in strange gladiatorial combat events which hold religious significances. The role of warrior & slave are intertwined in the green mindset. The Green Orions are a strange combination of experiment, warrior, deal maker, & slaves all rolled into one deadly package
Character Traits : -1 Intelligence, +1 Wisdom, +1 Strength, +1 Constitution  +1 Dexterity
Yellow Orions
Yellow Orions (analogous to Red Martians—they still cling, barely, to civilization?)
The Red Martians were interbred from the ancient Yellow Martians, White Martians, and Black Martians, when the seas of Barsoom began to dry up, in hope of creating a hardy race to survive in a dying world.

Perhaps the Yellow Orions share a similar origin & have been bred by the Ancients to be a hardy surviving race of people. This race clings to the remains of ancient orion technology left behind by the Imperial Orion race. This genetic tampering might be the result of the Preservers actions
The Sky Swordsmen of Orion
Yellow Orions are known though out the galaxy as some of space's great swordsmen & sword makers. Yet another hand down of technology & advanced metallurgy from the Imperial Orion race. The most impressive technology which the Imperial Orions left behind & one of the few that the Yellow Orions actually sell & use in terraforming is their atmosphere plants some colossal works of engineering. The failing air of the dying planet is maintained by an atmosphere plant, and the restoration of this is a key political part of Orion race relations.It is described as being four miles across with walls 100 feet in depth, and telepathically operated entrance doors of 20 foot thick steel. The little understood mechanism has been used to restore the dying atmospheres of other worlds in the Federation & beyond.This technology is much in demand by other races.The Orion criminal councils often use this technology to trade with other races. The Blue Orions often acting as go between for this valuable technology. They continue to act as pirates even as their agents move through the Federation with impunity
Character Traits : +2 Intelligence, +1 Wisdom, - 1 Strength, -1 Constitution, +1 Dexterity
Blue Orions .

Blue Orion Pirates -The Blue Orion pirates ply the space ways in their sleek ships raiding Federation vessels with impunity. They are ruled by a female deity whose identity is shrouded in mystery. Blue Orions are rumored to have a huge fleet of star ships at their disposal & are often encountered within their forbidden bases often times set up inside a planet's moon. 

The Tale of the Blue Orions
The Blue Orion's tale begins with a group of Imperial Orions being captured by the Vegan Tyranny. This goes back many thousands of years. Under the Vegan yoke the Orions were modified to service the Vegans as navigators,ground forces, pirates & a wide variety of other roles. The Orions rebelled & won their freedom. As part of the experiences under the Vegans a strange almost religious need began to develop for piracy which grew out of the Blue Orions support systems under the Vegans called brotherhoods. Even with the Vegan extinction today the Blue Orions continue to use many of the Vegan methods including anti gravity technology,star ship design, weapon systems, war fare tactics, & many more. The Blue Orions are fierce fighters & will bow before no man ever again. They often use uniforms once used by the Vegans in times of war. These strange uniforms have hawk like symbol on them which is native of the Orion's home planet.
Even though they are some of the most feared pirates in the galaxy the Blue Orions retreated to their home world. They established bases in hidden across their planet & once again established relations with the other members of their planet. They brought a much needed influx of Vegan technology to their dying world enabling an upshot of manufacturing akin to Earth's Industrial Revolution. As time went on the brotherhoods spread across their planet allowing a strange military caste system which works well with the Yellow Orions. The Blue Orions strike across the galaxy using techniques & technology learned under the Vegans & expanded upon by them. Theirs is a history bathed in blood & slavery where slaves have become slayers, slavers,& pirates.
Character Traits : -1 Intelligence, +1 Wisdom, + 1 Strength, +1 Constitution
White Orions 
White Orion Slavers- This is the most often seen & yet least understood of the Orion races. The Orion slavers are found through out the galaxy at one slave auction or another yet very little is know about them. They most often trade in Green Orion animal women & other captives but it is their telepathic abilities for which they are famous. They are skilled in telepathy, able to project images that can kill, or provide sustenance. These slavers are often encountered upon the space lanes within their own deadly star ships often in conjunction with teams of Blue Orion Pirate ships. Yet their origins remain strange & somewhat sinister. 
The origin of the White Orion race goes back to the Sarmak/Preserver wars. They're an artificially created race bred from humanoid & Sarmak Dna. Cruelty, domination, a propensity for enslaving others, these & worse are some of the prejudice labels given to this branch of the Orion family. They also create some of the most brilliant chemists, scientists, & geniuses the galaxy has seen.
Character Traits : +2 Intelligence, +1 Wisdom, - 1 Strength, +1 Constitution
 Psychic Powers : Mental Domination as per the charm ability of a vampire
 The Federation 

Cut word lines — Cut music lines — Smash the control images — Smash the control machine — Burn the books — Kill the priests — Kill! Kill! Kill!
  • The Soft Machine (1961)
    The Federation sees Rigel & its worlds as a prime opportunities. The Orions see the Federation as a new market that they can exploit! The Federation is now rife with agents of the Mug Wumps & the Nova Mob.
  • The Federation has been rife with agents for years. They're moving through the ranks & seeing how colonially brained  the Federation really is. 
The end result of complete cellular respiration is cancer. Democracy is cancerous, and bureaus are its cancer. A bureau takes root anywhere in the state, turns malignant like the Narcotic Bureau, and grows and grows, always reproducing more of its own kind, until it chokes the host if not controlled or excised. Bureaus cannot live without a host, being true parasitic organisms. (A cooperative on the other hand can live without the state. That is the road to follow. The building up of independent units to meet needs of the people who participate in the functioning of the unit. A bureau operates on opposite principles of inventing needs to justify its existence.) Bureaucracy is wrong as a cancer, a turning away from the human evolutionary direction of infinite potentials and differentiation and independent spontaneous action to the complete parasitism of a virus. (It is thought that the virus is a degeneration from more complex life-form. It may at one time have been capable of independent life. Now has fallen to the borderline between living and dead matter. It can exhibit living qualities only in a host, by using the life of another — the renunciation of life itself, a falling towards inorganic, inflexible machine, towards dead matter.) Bureaus die when the structure of the state collapse. They are as helpless and unfit for independent existence as a displaced tapeworm, or a virus that has killed the host.

From the chapter entitled "Ordinary Men and Women", p. 112-113
Will the Nova Mob try to bring the Federation down from within? Possibly not but to create as much chaos & confusion as possible.

Encounters Within The Sword Of Orion Setting 1d10 

  1. Shambleau hustler peddling the Black Meat 1d30 pounds of the stuff for a fast profit 
  2. Group of Federation/ Mug wump agents looking for their contacts 1d6 2nd level fighters 
  3. A seller in Green orion animal women 1d20 in stock deals rare narcotics on the side 
  4.                1d6 Pirates armed with disrupters, 3 hit points each, 1st level fighters. Looking for a ship any ship. Willing to trade a small amount of the 'immortality' mind drug for a ship. 
  5. A White orion scientist on the nod carrying a sample of undifferentiated tissue armed with a disrupter & a 2nd level Tharkiod bodyguard 2nd level fighter armed with a short swords. 
  6. Yellow orion scientists with weather machine secrets are moving across interstellar space lanes on an industrial espionage mission. They are protected by a group of 1d6 green body guard thugs armed disrupters & short whip swords as well ceramic knives. They are willing to trade safe passage for 1d4 pounds of unrefined meat of the Rigellian aquatic centipede. 
  7. A White orion scientist accompanied by his green consort are seeking passage to the main space lanes. Actually the consort is an 'old master ' black martian looking to get back home. Acts as a 4th level  magic user with 4 mental mutations ala Metamorphosis Alpha 
  8. A Federation agent on the run from 3 2nd level Mugwump assassins who can change shape. Willing to pay 300 credits to get back to Federation space & another 300 when he gets there. Has 48 hours to live otherwise 
  9. A beautiful Green Orion princess on the run from the Major Trading Houses will do anything to get away. She is actually a he. A mugwump agent who will do anything to get away from a group of very powerful Yellow Orions who want their investments back. Will put a disrupter bolt right through the party at the first opportunity 
  10. A mugwump with an agenda 
Orion Burroughs/Burroughs - Star Trek Illicit Trade Goods!
Imported Directly From Interzone! The Real Thing Guaranteed! 

Black Market 'Drugs' Of The Rigel Cluster 1d20 
  1. Bio Heroin - Made from the matured glands of the Crystal Spiders of Sedrack IV - 200 credits per dose &  +1 to all Attributes 
  2. Black Aquatic Centipede Meat - +1 Wisdom & Intelligence - 2 on all other stats. 70 credits per dose  .
  3. Feelies - Made From the Mind Lice Of  Necron - They crawl through the nasal passages into the brain. The user trips & becomes immune to psionics for 72 hours. The bugs then exit from the nose causing the user to trip & bleed them out of  the nasal passages. 50 credits per dose 
  4. God Ash - Crystal remains of the bodies of space gods. Must be snorted & gives the user empathy & precognition for 24 hours. 80 credits per baggy 
  5. Synthetic Brain Drops - Made from the brains of alien androids - Gets you high & gives +3 to wisdom . 100 credits per dose 
  6. Undifferentiated Fetal Tissues - The cloned fetal tissues of some ancient god allow you to change shape & gain 1d4 new skills as your mind adjusts to the alien mind set. A max of 4 alien shapes & there is a 30%  of being trapped in the shape the first time you inject this stuff in your eye. 200 credits per dose
  7. God King's Crown - Created from the nether regions of a race of cosmic warriors. This is the liquid essence of violence & hypocritical conquest. +2 to all stats & combat damage. But this stuff must be inhaled before going into battle through the ears.  
  8. Liquid Apathy - The Ultimate Downer -  - 3 to all stats - 20 credits per dose 
  9. Candied Martian Spiders - 200 year old fossilized Martian spiders remains. - Grants the following mental mutations for 1d10 rounds -telepathy, telekinesis, psychokinesis, & empathy. The user feels as an alien spider once did 3 million years ago. Must be smoked. 100 credits per dose 
  10. Powdered bones Of The Prophets - A bleached powder made from the bones  of alien heroes & dried under the alien suns of distant dimensions. Grants the user 1d4 spells & visions of distant lands in alien dimensions. There is a 40% of possession by alien heroes from long ago. +1 against alien demons. 200 credits per dose 
  11. Black Hole Blowback - This silver powder grants the user all of the skills & abilities of an alien astronaut. The refined silver stuff is actually the remains of astronauts that have passed through black holes & been collected by demons who wait for them at the edge of white holes.  
  12. Pickled Brains of the Prophets - Grants +2 to all stats this vile green liquid must be injected into a vein . Best not to ask what this stuff is. The user receives nightmare visions of the end of the universe. 100 credits per dose 
  13. Black Ash of The Phoenix wings - This stuff allows one to have telepathy uncontrolled. The user smokes the dose & becomes a rider on others minds for 1d4 rounds. There is a 60% chance of becoming permanently trapped in another's mind! 60 credits per dose 
  14. Expansion -Made from the growth hormones of Mugwumps this stuff grants +2 to all psionic activity but changes the user's alignment to chaotic for 1d20 rounds. 100 credits per dose 
  15. The Tea of the Forbidden Fruit - This tea was used extensively by the cult of the Old Ones. The stuff grants 1d20 visions of the Old Ones & their works. Very addictive. 30 credits per 
  16. The Slithering Darkness - This bitter pill allows one 1d6 spells but there is a 60% of insanity. The user trips back through time until he is taught by "Those who slither between the stars' 100 credits per dose. 
  17. The Bounty of Lies - This grants the user incredible charisma but only for 1d20 rounds. The user will suffer odd physical deformities afterward. 80 credits per dose 
  18. The Essence Of Orion - The user can become an Orion for 30 hours but will revert to his old species at the end. There is a 60% of permanently becoming one. Created from the soul essence of  prisoners. 50 credits per dose 
  19. The Dram of Awesomeness - This stuff grants +3 to all attributes but the user is obnoxious, condescending, & over reacts to all situations for 1d20 hours while under its influence. The stuff was made from the cloned essence of a Federation captain caught & executed while trying to seduce an Orion princess 
  20. MugWump Jism - Dm's call.. Priceless 

Tir'sra House - A Location For Adventure 

This location has migrated from Interzone right into the heart of the old Orion pharmacological family trading houses. They have been providing 'junk' for all of the younger teens & building up quite a network of agents. Many folks have gone missing around the place & officials are starting to ask questions even though the trail of  bribes & kick backs has kept folks away. The entire operation contains 40 mugwumps, captives, writers, & others. 
  • I will be using Swords & Wizardry rules for this crossover game.
  • Terminal Space, Metamorphis Alpha 
  • "Junk" is available on a D20 High roll means that its in stock & available & low means that it  isn't 
  • This is going to be tonight's game over to my buddy Larry's house. Some of the players weren't happy with Wasteworld & wanted something 'weird', pulpy, & closer to the Mars game that I'm running. So I threw this together quickly. 

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