Pointcrawling in a Generation Ship Campaign, Part 1

Within a couple of weeks I’ll be starting my first online campaign (through Google Hangouts and Roll20) as a GM. I’m kind of nervous but mostly excited. We’ll be using the Mutant Future rules from Goblinoid Games (the same who made Labyrinth Lord), while the setting will be a Metamorphosis Alpha-inspired generation ship of my own making – the Mutual of Omaha Spacecraft Vonnegut.

As the ship name might tell you, it’ll be a milieu of quasi-gonzo existential horror (in spaaaace!), but when it comes to world-building, I’ve got no worries. I trust myself, but with regards to actually running the game, I’m a bit less sure of myself. This is particularly in the case of how to handle the subdecks, or what might be more accurately named inter-decks – those more spaceshippy decks with futuristic corridors and haunted maintenance tunnels between the massive biome decks traditionally known in Metamorphosis Alpha.

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But I think I’ve come upon a solution: Chris Kutalik’s posts on pointcrawling. (I recently joined Chris’s Tuesday night Hill Cantons campaign.)

At first, I imagined the subdecks as massive dungeons, seeing as how their tunnels span same miles of the biome decks, and nearly panicked. But clearly pointcrawling is the answer. Sprinkle in a few important sites across the deck, narrate some corridor travel, roll for random encounters, and voila! everything looks great. I plan on combining this with a traditional hexcrawl format in the biomes, but we may handle exploration of these decks as a pointcrawl, at times, too. I’ll just see what works best. Additionally, whenever the PCs arrive at a subdeck site, we’ll switch over to dungeoncrawling.

Most of this is probably pretty obvious to some who’ve run a Metamorphosis Alpha campaign before, but I’m glad to have worked out what I hope is a good plan of action. I’ll write future posts talking about how this worked out. In the meantime, does anyone else have any experience with running pointcrawl/hexcrawl combinations or Metamorphosis Alpha campaigns?

Gamma World/Metamorphosis Alpha/Mutant Crawl Classics Westworld-like Amusement Park Module/Setting [sort of Monday Map]

So I’ve begun working on an module. I don’t want to call it an “adventure,” necessarily, because my design philosophy on this one is pretty nonstandard. It will be structured more as a sandbox inside this far future amusement park facility and players and GMs will be given opportunities to approach the setting (and scenarios within) from several different angles.

The basics: The PCs will begin play as enslaved clones who basically serve as NPCs for the amusement parks patrons. The clones can be from one of five distinct settings. So far I’ve only decided on a Western setting, a prehistoric setting, and a noirish city setting. Two more are forthcoming. At the beginning, the PCs will be playing this as if they are actually living in these time periods and if it fits their playstyle, GMs will be encouraged to play everything else close to the chest, not letting their players know who or what they really are. After some initial plots involving these settings, an instigating event (determined from a random chart) will cause the facility to malfunction (further than it already has), revealing the truth of their reality to the PCs.

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Map in Development (Four whole sheets of paper!)

There’s a lot more to this than I’m able to go into right now (including but not limited to sociopathic tram systems, antelope chutes, and a Nudelreich fast food franchise with its megalomaniac Nudelführer mascot). I ran an entirely improvised version of this some months ago and it went amazingly well. I enjoy it because it lets me merge my satirical scifi fiction-writing tendencies(which I don’t really talk much about on the internet) with my game-writing. The setting and scenarios are hugely inspired by PortalMetamorphosis Alpha, and a post about Dyson Logos’s R-AN (Northcott) Sociological Research Domes, probably to the point of bordering on plagiarism. Hopefully, this will be distinct enough to serve as an “expansion” of those ideas, though, and he won’t sue me.

Stay tuned!

Psychic Goldfish [Metamorphosis Alpha & Dungeon Crawl Classics]

Another creature for my future Metamorphosis Alpha Campaign–the Psychic Goldfish. These guys will be a reoccurring threat against the PCs while they explore the Mutual of Omaha Starship Vonnegut. I’ve included stats for Metamorphosis Alpha 1st ed. as well as stats for Dungeon Crawl Classics. I hope to run the game using the Mutant Crawl Classics rules when they become available with a strong mixture from the MA 1st ed. books Goodman Games is putting out. Anyway, here are those maniacal pet fish.

psychic goldfish

Psychic Goldfish in Self-Contained Humanoid Environment Exploration & Domination Apparatus

Psychic Goldfish
Armor Class:
7
Hit Points: 20
Movement in Spaces: 1 land, 18 water
Radiation Resistance: 12
Constitution: 12
Mental Resistance: 18
Strength: 6
Dexterity: 18
Defect: (Risk of Aneurysm, see below)
Mutations: Heightened Intelligence, Hydrokinesis, Mental Blast, Mental Control, Telekinesis, Telekinetic Arm, Telekinetic Shield.

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Deck 47-Gimel: Biome Designation Σ-7712 – “Fantastic Weekend Getaway & Nature Resort!” [Metamorphosis Alpha]

This is one of the (many) maps I’m drawing for my own version of the starship in Metamorphosis Alpha. The Mutual of Omaha Starship Vonnegut is built of a number of interlocking discs with multiple decks, making it much, much larger than the Warden.

Deck 47 Gimel complete (graph)

With graph!

Deck 47-Gimel was once the vacation destination for outdoorsy crewmembers and passengers living in the forediscs of the Mutual of Omaha Starship Vonnegut.

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A Not-so-Mutant Free Place to Call Your Own [Metamorphosis Alpha]

Short post today

A few weeks ago, I discovered Metamorphosis Alpha–the very first science fiction RPG, published by TSR way back in 1976, eight years before I came into existence. In those few weeks, I’ve found myself imagining how far this sort of gonzo, post-apocalyptic sword & planet colony ship setting could go and it seems the answer is that it is limitless. Right now, I’m working pretty determinedly on my own setting for the game, which will (hopefully) use the Mutant Crawl Classics rules whenever they are released.

This map is the first in a series of posts I’ll be making for Metamorphosis Alpha.The plan is to share material that I’m working for the campaign, such as maps, creatures, gadgets, setting info (since I’m making my own ship: the Mutual of Omaha Starship Vonnegut), etc. The first piece is a small map that could function as either a PC homebase or encounter site.

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Yard Beetles Included.

–Billy Longino

Wilson’s Loping Neckbeard [Metamorphosis Alpha]

Wilson’s Loping Neckbeard

Armor Class: 6                                        Hit Points: 65
Movement in Spaces: 10
Radiation Resistance: 15                Constitution: 18
Mental Resistance: 3                         Strength: 17
Dexterity: 12
Defect: Diminished Senses (Sight), Mental Defenselessness.
Mutations: Heightened Hearing, Heightened Smell, Marsupial, Leaper, Taller, Out-Sized Body Parts (Neck), Quadrupedal.

Wilson's Loping Neckbeard

A domesticated Wilson’s Loping Neckbeard serving as a mount for a Psychic Goldfish wearing  a Self-Contained Humanoid Environment & Exploration Apparatus. Notice the electrified prod.

Appearance: While they retain a superficially human appearance, Wilson’s Loping Neckbeards range between 20 feet long (males) and 16 feet long (females). Their skin colors range the full spectrum of a normal human, as well does their hair color, though they are commonly found shaven if domesticated. In the wild, they are known for the luxurious manes that hang from the bottoms of their supple necks. These manes are prized by some tribes for the decoration of ceremonial garb and can be traded for valuable items.

Loping Neckbeards have squinty, nearly useless eyes, which they make up for with their broad noses and large ears. They are constantly heard huffing and snorting in their herds. They move by long loping strides, hence their name. An unmistakable arrhythmic beat heard across the plains is the sound of a herd of loping neckbeards brought on by their gangly, mutant forms.

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