Sunday, January 10, 2021

Review & Commentary on Adapting Joseph Mohr's 'Pay What You Want' Cepheus Engine Rpg Adventure 'Hydra' to The Hostile rpg

The Halek Corporation has genetically modified a flower obtained from a remote world with an exotic atmosphere. This new strain of orchid has psi properties when consumed. The Hydra corporation is willing to pay well for someone to "obtain" a specimen for them to examine. 

The Hydra Corporation has recently discovered that an agricultural ship is being used to grow these plants for the Halek Corporation. They know where this ship will be in port in a few days. Daring travelers might use this opportunity to get aboard the vessel and get a specimen."

So tonight was a night where 'Hydra' ' a pay what you want' Cepheus adventure from Joseph Mohr came unto the dissection table for redesign for a Hostile rpg campaign .  'Hydra' is a perfectly solid Cephues rpg adventure within its own right. But the themes with Hydra are perfectly suited for a space marine or mercenary esponisage campaign. And this goes for quite a few of  Joseph Mohr Cepheus Engine rpg adventures. But modifying  'Hydra' for a Hostile rpg campaign is going to take a bit of DM reworking. But let's start with the background right from the start; " While resting between jobs the travelers are approached by a representative of the Hydra Corporation. Hydra does scientific research in a number of diverse areas. Some of this research is not entirely legal. An Robertson is a scientist and low ranking manager with the Hydra Corporation. He offers CR 30000 for acquisition of a new strain of flower being grown by a competitor. This flower is believed to have hallucinogenic properties when consumed through smoke or by grinding it’s petals into flour. These properties are also believed to have psi enhancing effects." 

 Right off the bat we're going to have to use the psi system from Cepheus Engine Rpg rules for the psi powers. But this isn't a problem at all. There were implications of full blown psi abilities within the original  Dark Horse Alien comic books & the Alien Earth War books as well. The psi powers play a key role within this universe that gets overlooked for the flasher Xenomorph these & story elements. But with such a micro cosm of  Eighties sci fi  goodness focused on the Hostile Rpg an adventure like  'Hydra'. And its the corporate war in space aspect of this adventure that needs to be turned up to 'eleven' to really bring home the stakes of this adventure. 

The most obvious is that  'Hydra' could be used like a Western 'Great Train Robbery' situation in which the  Shamburan is an agricultural ship would be stolen. But the murder of the employee's would be a huge complication within the adventure. But these are PC's so situation 'normal' & there are some folks whom we've talked with yesterday who asked if this could be avoided. 
Well something occurred to our group's dungeon masters & it has to do with the make up of the Shamburan itself; "The Shamburan is an agricultural ship. It has special provisions for growing plants aboard. One of the rooms of this ship is set up to be a green house. Artificial sunlight is provided so that the plants can thrive aboard the craft. Air circulation aboard the ship is tightly controlled so that the spores from the plants aboard will not be breathed in by ship’s crew or agricultural workers residing in other parts of the ship. The vessel has no ship’s weapons. It tends to stay near populated systems so that pirates are not an issue. Generally the Shamburan stays in primary shipping lanes and rarely visits planets except for resupply or repair. The Halek Corporation keeps a close eye on this ship. Industrial espionage is not unknown in this line of business. Armed guards are always aboard the craft even when in port." 
If  'Hydra' is wearing its influences on its sleave & so is the Hostile rpg then we have the option of using the classic Seventies sci fi film 'Silent Running' as an influence. 

The PC's are going to requite a bit more subtle methods such as getting one of their number aboard as a xeno botanist and or ecologist aboard the agru ship when its in port. This is going to require hacking into the  Halek Corporation to forge identities to this or getting one of the party hired by the corp to serve aboard the ship under a fake identity. This is where Zozer Games's Zaibatsu rpg  cyberpunk rpg comes in handy.  We just went ahead to lulu & ordered a copy of Zaibatsu. Why?! Because the  Zaibatsu rpg   takes place in the Hostile rpg universe & its very accessible for creating an Eighties Cyberpunk asthetic so important for a Hostile rpg campaign. 

The Hostile Rpg actually does have hacking rules & their very good but players have already expressed an interest with using  Zaibatsu rpg for PC generation as part of running this game. Now let's get back to  'Hydra'. If the PC's manage to obtain the flower & then get it back to their employers will they become the target of assassins & wetwork men themselves?! This is the Hostile rpg universe so 'yes'
Well this speaks volumes as to the quality of  'Hydra' which lends itself as an adventure to really solid beginning or ending of a campaign. Overall I'd rate  'Hydra' about four stars because it does its job & provides the DM some really solid options for bringing the players to the table top over all. 
Six reasons to bring   'Hydra' to the table top as a campaign starter: 
  1.  'Hydra' has a stated goal & background to marry to the Hostile rpg easily & quickly. 
  2. The implication that there's more going on in the backdrop of  'Hydra' & it fits the universe of the Hostile Rpg 
  3.  'Hydra' may be a far better mid tier adventure for this style of campaign rather then a beginning one because of the adventure plot's complex nature. 
  4. If  'Hydra' takes place within a universe similar to 'Outland' then there's a good chance that the law may act as assassins themselves so the PC's may become outlaws the second the theft of the flower is discovered. 
  5. PSI abilities may offer a campaign wrinkle that may or may not fit your game campaign especially with a  Hostile Rpg campaign universe of your own design. 
  6.  'Hydra' has some solid grounding to expand upon for the   Hostile Rpg campaign universe. Such as where did the flower come from, who were the originators of the flower's species, and what other life forms are there?! 

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