In Springfield USA
sometime in the 1980’s
terror lurks in the mall…
Unknown to the shoppers at Springfield Mall, a reality-jumping alien ship has arrived, invisible and untouchable, in one of the closed stores. By day, everything appears normal. By night, strange beings prowl the dark shops stealing and causing mischief. But something far worse awaits the people of Springfield on Black Friday. Terror beyond imagining lurks within the ship, preparing a campaign of mind-bending domination. (more…)
Posted in 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, Location, rules agnostic and tagged Class of 198X, ClassOf198X by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
In a distant age, at the edge of the galaxy, on a planet named Voek ( UWP: D525A76-6), industrial facilities in the wasteland churn out power generators, spaceship parts, and other machinery for the Grand Imperial Duchy of Abiodun.
Overview – Gamma Complex* is a city-sized science-fiction role-playing setting where a monopolistic corporation, criminal syndicate, royal family, communist dictatorship, or other totalitarian group controls every aspect of life for the residents of the technocratic, massive, hyper-efficient habitable Complex.
The corridor walls of the huge indoor Complex are covered in official murals and motivational posters, and the gray plasticrete passages stretching throughout connect the pay-by-the-minute sleeping-tube warrens to the various work areas and corporate-run stores.
Outside the habitable complex, in the thin air, an immense Scrapyard sprawls for many kilometers. Beyond that, rocky badlands with sparse bits of alien scrub stretch out to the horizon in every direction.
Many workers are in debt to the corporation, and if unable to refinance or get loans, can not afford places to sleep, and eventually, due to their negative credit ratings are only allowed in the access corridors and outside where the atmosphere is thin and their only hope of clearing their debts is bringing in valuable materials from the Scrapyards.
Others, desperate, cunning, or otherwise, take advantage of the Ducal Corporation’s Crime Reporter’s Service, which offers large Gamma Credit (GC) bounties (usually between %5-%20 of the total fine) for any information leading to the fining of any who steal or otherwise violate corporate policy.
The local industry involves significant material recapturing programs, which on planet Voek are concentrated around Gamma Complex, an immense enclosed city-sized building towering over an endless scrapyard. The major industry at Gamma Complex is managing the waste materials from industry in a way that captures valuable materials and keeps costs down.
The whole planet is under the jurisdiction of the Duke of Abiodun. Those without noble titles or connections have little recourse to the law. Workers are classified by the Ducal Corporation into different groups based on their credit scores. The richest Contractors are the Purples, followed by the Greens, Blues, Yellows, Oranges, Browns, and finally, those with debt, the Reds. Workers are required to wear clothes of colors matching their Credit Band – usually some type of work jumpsuit.
Contractors – Most workers at Gamma Complex are “Contractors” or “Sophant Resources” who have made legally recognized arrangements (weather voluntarily, or under duress, or as a result of their parents’ debts) to sell their labor for a period of time. As part of their local job assignments, they are given a certain number of Gamma Credits (GC or GC’s) per local work rotation. Those workers who come from offworld are often delivered to Gamma Complex with significant debts already owed, such as for transport and feeding while being brought to Voek. Many have been sold off as “work-release-prisoners” or “undesirables” under system law from some world or another. Others were born here, inheritors of their parents’ debts. Everyone is required to wear color-coded clothes and mandatory position-tracking name-plates that all visually indicate their job duties, and therefore pay grade and relative status.
Contractor Grades are as follows, and represent cash or credit equal to:
PURPLE – 25 or more Megacredits
GREEN – at least 5 Megacredits
BLUE – at least 1 Megacredit
YELLOW – 500,000 – 100,000 credits
ORANGE – 100,000 – 10,000 credits
BROWN – 10,000 – 0 credits
RED – 0 or fewer credits
Law – Within Gamma Complex and in the Scrapyard the central authorities have total control and tracking of the Contractors’ movements. Contractors can use their nametag-badges to access their work areas and any recreational or sleeping areas that they can pay for. Those without Corporate authorization to be at Gamma Complex will be arrested, subdued if need be, imprisoned, fined, assessed for work skills, and then offered a Corporate Contract to refinance their fees and then pay off the debt over the course of many years. Depending on the contract, interest rates on loaned credits can be quite high, and Contractors often find themselves in debt from which they can never realistically escape.
Crime – All crimes are punished with monetary fines in the form of GCs. From indecency, public intoxication, and vagrancy, to theft, to assault, and other violent crimes, all result in lost Gamma Credits, or if destitute, with debt. Particularity heinous crimes are met with fines in the millions of credits. Those with sufficiently high debts (such as murderers) are concentrated in high-security areas from which they can only access the Junkyard (usually referred to as “The Kennels”). Anyone with a negative credit score (aka debt) is classified as a “Red”, and is required to wear a red jumpsuit to identify themselves. Wearing the wrong color clothing is punished by a heavy fine.
Contractors can also earn small GC rewards for reporting crimes that result in assignment of fees. Usually they earn %5-%20 of any fees levied, varying somewhat depending on the individual contracts and crimes. As a result, the Contractors of Gamma Complex are quick to report any theft, vagrancy, malingering, anti-company-plotting or other “morale code of conduct violations”** to the Corporate authorities. This of course results in false accusations for profit or out of spite, which if caught itself results in a major fine.
Economy – The Ducal Corporation that owns and operates Gamma Complex provides dispensaries where registered Contractors can spend GCs for food, clothing, and other necessities. Sleeping arrangements are paid for by the minute in a vast complex of Corporation owned and operated accommodations. Steep interest rates are charged for any debits workers incur. Debt refinance and consolidation are available, but only from the Corporation. Some seek loans from illegal underground criminal groups. Either way, debtors usually end up in worse debt.
The entire complex is overseen and run from a central command center, where cameras scan every corridor, tracking badges and color-coded clothes are required at all times, and any one without proper clothes, noble connections, or lots of GCs to spend is going to be reported to central security for intruder interrogation or, if resisting arrest, neutralization.
Due to the ever-lowering wages, and the ever-escalating food and sleep-minute charges, the only way to survive in Gamma Complex is to continuously out-compete all of the other workers. Those whos’ Ducal GC debits remain in the negative cannot buy accommodations must go out into the sprawling Scrapyard where all of the planet’s industrial waste is dumped. There, robots and workers dig out the most valuable bits and bring them back to exchange for GCs.
The Scrapyards – The Scrapyards stretch for miles in every direction around Gamma Complex, interrupted only by the spaceyard landing pads and the ribbon of raised plasticrete roadway, a ribbon of white soaring high above the Scrapyards on high arches, carrying roaring supersonic trains and whizzing cars over the horizon towards the planet’s main starport at Sigma Complex.
In the scrapyard huge machines slowly push around mountains of junk, which sky-screeching cargo shuttles and smelly, creaking dump trucks deposit in ever-growing piles. Mobile smelting bots pick bits of metal and drop them into their furnaces. The resulting ocean of trash constantly swells, heaves, and falls in super-slow motion waves as the machines and Contractors methodically sort through, and fight over the scrap.
Characters who are not protected from hazardous materials or connected to the Corporation’s extensive and ever-changing material-cataloging database, and who travel in the Scrapyard risk the following encounters (roll 2d6 as often as appropriate, such as when entering a new area, or pausing and engaging in loud conversation):
2 – An Enormous Mutant beast lurking in the sludge attacks, or perhaps the PCs risk falling into a dangerous but hidden toxic sludge pit or similar hazard?
3 – A huge mobile refinery-robot-smelter threatens to scoop up and melt the PCs, or some other huge machinery like a crane, trash shuttle or dump truck is about to carelessly or maliciously drop a huge amount of trash on them and crush them…
4 – Radioligical or bioligical hazard that looks like good salvage – a warhead, data cache corrupted with a computer virus, special ammunition, etc.
5 – Attacked by a larger force of salvagers in red jumpsuits, who will take whatever they can.
6 – 8 Panopticon in the Junkyard
If spotted by a patrol in flying car, or a snoopy or Gamma-Credit-hungry shuttle, ship, worker, robot, or satellite, the PCs might be stopped and questioned by Corporate security. They will fly up in an Corporate Security vehicle and demand that the PCs present official Corporate ID or be immediately subdued and arrested. If arrested for unauthorized presence, non-Contractors will be fined a hefty fee, and then be offered a contract to work for the Ducal Corporation to pay off their fees. Those who sign are evaluated for fitness for work assignment, and then given work duties according to their abilities, with varying pay based on worker availability and seniority. Most unauthorized persons end up like the majority of residents at Gamma Complex: in an ever-deepening debt that can probably never be paid off. Those who refuse to sign up for a Contract will be assigned to the extremely onerous Default Contract and put to work in the Scrapyard.
9 – Scrap dealer or collection station – the PCs find a place where someone is buying scrap, whether for GCs, or barter, or whatever else, or perhaps an automated station or giant land crawler that is accepting choice scrap for secure transport back to the smelters and factories.
10 – Useful scrap of some type – Space-radio? Jet packs? Food? A friendly but damaged robot? Skeleton key for their space-handcuffs?
11 – Puppet Masters Ship – Standing among the heaps of junk and trash, an off-kilter beat-up 1950’s Earth-style refrigerator lies with it’s door-side tilted up at the sky like a swollen belly. Behind the door of the beat up refrigerator is a multi-dimensional-reality-jumping-ship operated by insectoid creatures known as Puppet Masters (see Class of 199x). They bring their ship here sometimes to collect materials and kidnap people to use as mind-controlled slaves. Entering requires significant work to bypass the super hi-tech / magically warded door, or the use of one of the mind-control collars that all of the Puppet Master slaves wear.
12 – Overlooked Salvage – for some reason this very valuable piece of salvage, be it a trophy, piece of technology, spaceship or vehicle of questionable quality, or a massive gemstone or idol) has been misplaced in the Scrapyard.
Outside of Gamma Complex
In the huge wasteland around Gamma Complex the people are mostly escapees from the Junkyard or the non-employees: a group of humanoids, mostly Voekian natives, who have adapted to the local toxic environment to various degrees. Some have advantageous mutations, but most just die, be it slowly or quickly.
Terrible creatures great and small, and wondrous ones as well, thinly pepper the harsh scrub of the highlands for many miles.
*with much love to Paranoia the RPG, and hilarious memories of nonsense in Alpha Complex, back in 1998x-199x!
** including belonging to or associating with any organized group, political party, fellowship, union, cult, or religion
Posted in Campaign Setting, Location, Lore / Worldbuilding, Region, rules agnostic, Science-Fiction, Traveller and tagged Class of 198X, ClassOf198X, Paranoia, Skein Reach by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
In a large shopping mall in the 1980s strange things are afoot. Under a veneer of everyday happy consumerism lurk sinister beings from another world, plotting evil deeds. First the mall will be plagued by a rash of mysterious thefts, followed by kidnappings, and culminating with a devastating fire. If the heroes fail to discover the evil behind these foul acts, they risk a horrible outbreak that threatens to enslave the entire world.
The Player Characters (PCs) could be teenagers, or they could be fantastic D&D characters transported to this modern setting. They could even be law enforcement agents, paranormal investigators, or science-fiction style space-time police.
Posted in 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, Adventure, rules agnostic and tagged ClassOf198X by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.