Thursday, 6 September 2012

Thursday Tales

From the Tales From Zero Point Oracle...
Five of Clubs: Uplifted spider-monkey clans worship a pantheon of Echelon-II emulates.
Two of Hearts: A scroll-bearer for a librarians' cult makes a discovery.
Four of Clubs: The League of Docking Bay Families refuses passage to any and all who would attempt ingress.
Ten of Clubs: A HMBT stasis-pod drifts in to Zero Point's gravity well; the occupants awake.

The Echelon-II emulates are machine consciousnesses based on old (but still hyper-advanced) sentient software; the cores available to them in the Eighth Level Arboretum are merely functional at best. They can still think at far faster rates than humans. Or uplifts, like the Spider-monkey Clans that bring them processors, drives and other tech as offerings. The uplifts know that the Echelon-II gods are not divine, but they are technology indistinguishable from magic - and to be obeyed. One day, the gods request a very dangerous offering...

The Scroll-bearer is a junior functionary in the Sophos Cult. They track and worship knowledge - especially precious paper based media. The Scroll-bearer finds information that a lost enemy stasis pod is approaching Zero Point. The Cult has known this for years, and known that the HMBTs inside would surely wake, surge through the station and kill all inside. The Cult suppressed the knowledge because this apocalypse seemed inevitable...

The Docking Bay Families have been ordered to lock off the entire docking bay, and to do everything they can to repel the HMBTs. They are not optimistic. A Salvage-boy wonders if there might be another way when he receives a shortwave radio signal from a nearby habitat area. The sender claims to be a digital deity...

The PCs
A Spider-monkey: The alpha-warrior in the tribe, a faithful servant of the Pantheon. Called on by the "gods" to serve and to aide the Scroll-bearer. A true believer in the power of the Pantheon, he calls the HMBTs "space devils". His best interest is to kill a space devil and thus earn eternal glory.
The Scroll-bearer: Has a digital treasure trove of information about the HMBTs, and knows how to access their equipment. She needs help to get there because the Docking Bay Families have secured most of the passages. Her best interest is to use the information she has to stop the HMBTs.
The Salvage-boy: He knows all of the ways in and out of the docking bay circle, including the unblocked passages. The Echelon-IIs have promised him some truly great tech if he helps them. And what other choice does he have? His best interest is to help the Scroll-bearer and the Spider-monkey. This may be thwarted because others in the Docking Bay Families will see it as their duty to prevent any access, HMBT or otherwise.

The NPCs (lots of them!)
The Sophos Cult: They did the maths in years past that plotted when the stasis pod would return. Zero Point no longer has external defences to divert the pod away. They have gathered knowledge for years, with only a few knowing the true purpose: a faint hope that the apocalypse of the arriving HMBTs can be averted. Their best interests are to keep searching; if they think all hope is lost then they will become maudlin and possibly suicidal.
Spider-monkeys: A long-forgotten experiment gifted these creatures with human-level intelligence. Still slightly primitive even though they know the nature of the world. It is in their best interest to help the Pantheon.
Echelon-II Pantheon: If they can get access to a HMBT computer core they should be able to instantiate into a faster existence. And if they do that they may be able to find a way to defeat the HMBTs. A lot of ifs. It is in their best interests to convince representatives of the spider-monkey clans, the Sophos Cult and the Docking Bay Families to work for them. Their long term goals are unclear...
Docking Bay Families: Normally they deal with arriving ships and provide services. A central Zero Point AI has tasked them to hold the HMBTs at bay at all costs, and to allow access only to war mechs which are several days away (having to navigate through internal corridors and broken travel tubes). It is in their best interests to follow orders, but more fundamentally to stop the HMBTs and gain prestige for their caste.
The HMBTs: That's "Hideous Murdering Bug Things". When they gain access to Zero Point they will start xenoforming everything in sight. They will kill, maim and destroy, and find ways to reproduce. No-one knows quite how their reproductive cycle works - they were always too hostile to study - but they capture, kill and eat a lot of living creatures to do so. Their best interest is to get past the docking bay and into the habitats.


  1. Well, this one sounds sort of grim and full of chances for incredible heroics.

    1. Yeah, I had debated whether or not the setting had turned out just too hopeless. When we play Zero Point we use the rules and rolls from In A Wicked Age, so any story is intended to just be a one-shot. Each play would add to the "story" of this larger universe that we built using Microscope.

      I think that the hypothetical story/play for this setting could be something much smaller, but played out against the backdrop of impossible odds and impossible choices...