Thursday, 30 August 2012

Thursday Tales

The Tales From Zero Point Oracle delivers something a little different...
Queen of Spades: A trio of crippled friends, none human, all without fear and destined for adventure.
Six of Clubs: A starscraper lies empty, save for the man who tries to maintain it.
Nine of Diamonds: A slum lord depressurizes a section of the station because his tenants can't pay the rent.
Seven of Spades: An epochs-old damaged war mech, one functioning weapons pod and cracked lenses, guarding the last repository of original art.

The Caretaker lives in a starscraper that is owned by the Slum Lord. He's the last person living there after the Slum Lord depressurised it because of "non-payment of tithes". The Slum Lord sees himself as a feudal baron, and because he has access codes to local environmental controls (among other things) he will see his will be done. He has some retainers, police thugs, and most of the tenants were evicted beforehand. He is waiting for them to disperse before he can repressurise it and claim their belongings, then advertise the starscraper as new living/business space. Living in the far future, his thinking is trapped in a hybrid 12th/20th century model. He holds secure a treasure trove of art, acting as banker and broker for minor art houses (some legit, some not).

The Trio lived in the outer floors of the starscraper, on the 110th floor out to space, in a relatively low gravity environment away from the core of Zero Point. They were soldiers, variously an uplifted dolphin, an uplifted wolf and a neanderthal. Wounded in battle, they retired to live out their remaining years in peace and quiet. Until now. They have left the starscraper in some basic mobility suits, but need both power, shelter and revenge on the Slum Lord... A plan is formed.

The PCs
The Dolphin: is totally reliant on the suit that she wears. A muscle paralyser dart has reduced her motor functions, and besides she can't get around on land easily without it. In the water she can get about. Her best interests are to locate the art and to have revenge on the Slum Lord.
The Wolf: has two cybernetic hind legs, and has cognitive brain functions boosted by implants. Consequently he is tactically brilliant, even if his mobility is not what it once was. His best interest is to rip the throat out of the Slum Lord.
The Neanderthal: lost his arms and eyes in combat. He has excellent vision now, his eyes boost light in multiple wavelengths and "see" what the station sees (where service allows), but his arms are very basic models, and do not fit with his body type at all. His best interest is to take the Slum Lord's place and attempt to lead well (not as a tyrant).

The NPCs
The Slum Lord: an evil greedy bastard, basically. Not too smart, but not stupid either. If there's an angle, he wants to play it. The artworks are a nest egg; he gets a cut of their appreciating value, and a cut when transactions are made. Usually, everything stays in the vault, which is guarded by the Mech: a great big ancient City Pacifier, capable of controlling a city district of 10^6 sentients single-handedly. Luckily it doesn't have the firepower it once had... Right? The Slum Lord's best interest is to do whatever it takes to get the Caretaker out of the starscraper, to establish total control, kill anyone he has to and make a lot of money.
The Caretaker: a middle-aged man, trying to find a way to usurp the starscraper controls away from the Slum Lord, hopefully permanently. If he can do that then hopefully the former tenants can move back in, and form a proper defence against the Slum Lord's future ambitions. He has a few floors pressurised, and otherwise gets around in an atmosphere rig. His best interest is to get control of the starscraper and re-pressurise it. If possible he may want to try and lock out the Slum Lord's access permanently. (could work as a PC)
Various Thugs: a motley crew of ne'er-do-wells and mercs, they do what the Slum Lord says. He pays them. Their best interest is to get the job done and drink themselves stupid afterwards. Nuff said.
Former Starscraper Tenants: have set up a shanty town nearby to the starscraper. Thugs keep harassing them, but so far it is mostly for fun. The Slum Lord will want them to be moved soon though, so that he can sell up the facilities. Their leader has lived in the starscraper for her whole life, and is uncomfortable at the fringes of the Zero Point habitat. The Tenants' best interest is to hold out and reclaim their homes.

The trio jump out to me as protagonists, but maybe that is because the Paralympics start today. I also like the idea of the themes about justice and revenge. If the Slum Lord is taken out then there may be some social justice, but possibly through the lens of revenge... Why does the Neanderthal want to lead in the place of the Slum Lord? What is the motivation?

What do you see in the Oracle?


  1. Quite simply, the Neanderthal seems himself as a better "man". He may come from primitive stock, but he is not primitive, he was after all a star warrior.

    1. You are most welcome. I am enjoying these Thursday Tales, even if I don't always have something to say.

    2. They're enjoyable to write too; I'm quite fascinated by creativity, random inspiration and generation.

      Patrick has a copy of the Oracle up on his blog:

      I might ask the other authors and see if they're happy with me typesetting it and I'll share it as a pdf.