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Things to do in Dyfedd when you’re Genlifted
Author: Gareth Hanrahan
System: Blue Planet
Category: Science Fiction
A tabletop scenario for 'Blue Planet' written for Warpcon 2000. The players experience a brief trip through Poseidon's criminal underworld in the floating city of Dyffed.
Graphic: Cool Picture
Introduction: Long John prospecting and mining is the single most profitable and dangerous activity on Poseidon. Without the Long John xenosilicate ore, Earth’s biogenetics industry and the hope for immortality offered by the ore would crumble. The Incorporates and independent miners scour the seafloor for signs of the rare ore. The stakes are high, but the rewards are even greater.
Poseidon’s chief crime family, the Gorchoff Mafia syndicate, take a healthy interest in mining industry. They are a lot better at keeping tabs on independent miners than the Incorporates are. Miners hang around in bars and illegal drug dens run by the Gorchoffs. They’ve got their fingers on the pulse (and sometimes, round the throat) of the independent miners. When an indie hits it big, the Gorchoffs are sometimes in position to muscle in and demand a cut of any contract the indie makes with the Incorporates.
The Gorchoff family are the big fish, but there are a few smaller faster fish who are just as hungry.
Things to do in Dyfedd when you’re Genlifted is a nice simple trip through the criminal underside of Poseidon.
Backstory: The Viacoumba Mining Company is one of the hundreds of small mining outfits that take a broken-down sub and a set of seismic sensors and particle sniffers, and look for the faint signs of Long John deposits. They weren’t getting anywhere until Caesar, an ambitious genlifted dolphin, made a bargain with a Native terrorist group, Free Poseidon. Free Poseidon had recently raided a Lavender Organics prospecting team, and stolen prospecting gear. Caesar offered a cut of the proceeds of any Long John strikes in exchange for the gear.
He then contacted GenDiver secretly, and agreed to trade them the location of any strike in exchange for money and protection. Free Poseidon has got wind of his bargain with GenDiver, and aren’t happy.
The Viacoumbans discovered a large deposit of ore off Taka reef. Before they could register their claim with the authorities, the Gorchoffs moved in. A Gorchoff sub docked with the Viacoumban mine, and a host of Gorchoff thugs invaded. They told the Viacoumbans that unless they jointly registered the claim with a Gorchoff front company, they’d flood the mine. The Gorchoffs can’t just steal the mine, because the GEO Marshals who enforce the law know the Gorchoffs don’t have the prospecting equipment.
The Viacoumbans agreed, and told the Gorchoffs that they’d co-sign the claim. The nearest claim office is in Dyfedd. If the Viacoumbans don’t show up, the Gorchoffs are going to drown the mine. As co-owner of Viacoumba, Caesar was sent with a Gorchoff minders to go to the claims office make the claim. Caesar wants out. What he doesn’t know is that Free Poseidon thinks that the Gorchoff minders are GenDiver. Free Poseidon has dispatched a team to make an example of Caesar.
Caesar, trapped by the Gorchoff minders, needs help. He has a contact number for a criminal gang thanks to GenDiver…
The PCs are the criminal gang. Caesar’s going to contact them anonymously, over the CommCore network. Then the fun begins….
· Serge Klazimakoff, the head of the gang. He’s fired up with ambition, and has dreams of becoming a criminal power on Poseidon to rival the Gorchoffs. He’s theoretically the brains of the outfit, although he’s really got more drive than intelligence.
· Larry Scjelli, a cynical and brutal bastard. Scjelli’s tired and nearly burnt out, but he’s been cutting deals and breaking bones for so long he doesn’t know how to stop. He’s always been looking for the one big score that would buy his ticket back to Earth, but never made it.
· Undercover deputy Li Fan Tsu. She’s been trying to worm her way into the Gorchoff family for some months now. She’s still trying to track down a route into the paranoid crime syndicate. She suspects one of the PCs is a Gorchoff spy.
· Undercover Incorporate covert operative Abdullah Al-Maluk is in the pay of GenDiver, a fairly unscrupulous Incorporate. GenDiver’s rival Lavenger Organics runs the city of Dyfedd. GenDiver use Abdullah to keep tabs on events there.
· Native sympathiser Genevive Sian. She joined the gang for the money, but she’s growing more and more interested in the Free Poseidon terrorist movements, and is looking for a chance to contribute to the struggle against the offworlders. She’s been contacted by the Natives – apparently, a sympathiser is under attack by the Gorchoffs, and needs the help of Free Poseidon. In exchange, he’s offering a sizeable amount of money…
· Finally, there’s Marlon Clarke. He works for the Gorchoff family. Klazimakoff’s gang haven’t proved a threat yet, but in case they do, Clarke’s there to shut them down.
Events in the Scenario:
· The characters are contacted by an anonymous message, offering them a half-kilo of Long John if they find and kidnap someone. The message does mention that the target is meeting the GEO claims officer at noon tomorrow, and should be kidnapped before this meeting can take place.
· The characters investigate the assignment, and work out a good ambush. If they’re less competent, the next scene is a lot trickier.
· The characters attempt to kidnap Caesar. The Gorchoffs try to stop them. If they’ve done their research properly, then this goes well. Otherwise, it’s a fuck-up.
· The characters manage to escape from the Gorchoffs through the underside of Dyfedd.
· The PCs are asked to pretend to have kidnapped Caesar. They call the Gorchoffs who are occupying the mining station, and pretend to cut a deal. Meanwhile, Free Poseidon start trying to track Caesae down.
· Caesar asks the PCs to help him get in contact with GenDiver.
· The PCs & Caesar meet with the Gorchoffs’ agent, Grimm, in the village of New Madrid. Free Poseidon crash the meeting. Stand-off, with either the PCs or GenDiver acting as a resolving factor.
Well, that’s how it will likely end up. However, you’ve got several groups (the PCs, the Gorchoffs, GenDiver, Lavender Organics, GEO, Free Poseidon & Caesar) and three major locations (Dyfedd, New Madrid, and the Viacoumban mining station) and if things go off-course during play, there should be enough there to come up with a fitting ending.
Dyfedd: I’m going to photocopy the relevant sections of the Archipelago sourcebook, but for a quick reference:
Dyfedd is a floating city, built on seven massive rafts arranged in a hexagonal pattern. Canals and tubes run through the rafts, making it a futuristic Venice. It’s owned by Lavender Organics, one of the great Incorporate states. Dyfedd is possibly the most technologically advanced city on Poseidon. It’s a futurist’s dream, all polycarbon and bioplastics. Dyfedd is a playground for the rich and a paradise for the scientist. It’s at the forefront of biogenetics research and medical techniques. It’s also run by the most advanced A.I. on Poseidon, the HUGO D-4 computer.
The seven raft districts of Dyfedd are:
· Hywel: The central arcology, administration and civil services.
· Ceridwen: Science labs & research arcologies.
· Gwydion: Shuttle port, docks and hangars.
· Manannan: Tenement housing, industry and manufacturing.
· Taliesin: Hydroponics. The underside of Taliesin is an artificial kelp jungle.
· Myrddin: Tourism, commerce and entertainment.
· Rhiannon: High-class residential & financial district.
Structures extend out on both the top and bottom of all the rafts. About 40% of buildings on Dyfedd extend underwater. The city also has Magneto-Hydrodynamic drives for course changes & station-keeping.
Hugo: The AI which controls many of the automatic systems on Dyfedd is called Hugo. It’s got a friendly, helpful personality, and is capable of learning about its users and adapting itself to be more useful to them. Its presence pervades all of Dyfedd, through computer stations & floating drones.
There’s going to be quite a bit of interaction with Hugo during the scenario. Adopt a Hal/The Computer voice for Hugo.
The Viacoumban Mining Co: This little gang of independent miners consists of about a dozen workers, including two fins. They’ve got a pair of exploratory subs, a towable underwater station that’s barely watertight – and a claim to one of the biggest Long John strikes around Westscape.
The Gorchoff Crime Syndicate: The Gorchoff family control almost all organised crime on Poseidon. The whole Viacoumban thing is just a drop in the ocean of their activities. They have about a dozen thugs, two jumpcraft, and a small sub. They also have ruthlessness, ambition and a reputation as the toughest bastards on Poseidon.
Lavender Organics: LavOrg are a high-technology Incorporate centred on biogenetics, computers and cybernetics. They play a fairly passive role in the scenario. They own and run Dyfedd. Like most Incorporates, they’re involved in mining. Free Poseidon stole a lot of mining gear off them, which was traded to the Viacoumbans.
GenDiver: Specialising in cutting-edge biogenetics, GenDiver are ruthless and operate barely within the law. They’re famed for cut-throat business practises and semi-legal activities.
The Scenario Starts Here
1. An Offer You Can’t Refuse
The characters are in a docker’s bar on Gwydion raft. Dyfedd’s docks are mostly automated, but there are a few technicians and engineers who maintain the systems, hence the existence of Marly’s Leeward Bar & Grill. The bar is built into a modular bay. A docking array or raft extension could be slotted in instead of the bar. Imagine a small harbour pub inside a half-built submarine.
Let the characters chat for a few minutes, then start things off. A HUGO-controlled drone approaches their table, and focuses on Abdullah. It announces it has a private communication for him. If Abdullah accepts the communication, the drone displays an anonymous message (actually from Caesar). This message is handout 1. The two attached files are both pictures. One is a holophoto taken underwater. About 3 metres from the camera is an adult dolphin with a scarred flank. The picture was taken close to the surface. The other picture is a murkier, darker shot of the same dolphin, taken from a camera off to the side. The dolphin is swimming by the side of a small one-man sub. (Both pictures were taken by Caesar’s CICADA. CICADAs are aquatic robot drones with manipulator arms and on-board computers. Most ‘fins own one. The sub in the second picture is a Gorchoff sub escorting Caesar. Datestamps show the first picture is about six months old, the other was taken about 4 hours ago. Caesar sent the pictures and email through an anonymous rerouter in Kingsport.)
2. Planning the Heist
Assuming the characters accept the mission (and they should, because (a) it’s of interest to all the characters and (b) it’s a blatant hook), they have about 20 hours before the kidnapping. Here are a few possible routes they can take. Remember that the scenario started at dusk, and it’ll be night for 15 of those 20 hours. Dyfedd is fairly active at night. Most of the rafts do shut down, but the hydroponics and the casino/entertainment centres are always active.
· Investigating the GEO Claims office:
The GEO office on Dyfedd is on Manannan. It’s a small converted warehouse, containing little more than a few offices and a communications relay and computer network. A canal runs along the raft, past the main door. See map.
· Investigate the message: If the characters investigate the message, they’ll find the rerouting stuff mentioned above. Running the photo through a computer analysis will get a fairly good close-up of the dolphin. If they then run a computer search, they can confirm the pictured dolphin is a Genlifted ‘fin from Earth, named Caesar, and co-owner of the Viacoumban Mining Company.
Li Fan Tsu & Marlon Clarke will recognise the sub as one which is possibly owned by the Gorchoff. A sub of the same make and appearance was seen during a satellite & drone stakeout of a Gorchoff-owned station near Haven.
The characters have access to two small boats (which are barely big enough to fit a dolphin onto, and then only for a few minutes), a sub, and a small jumpcraft. To transport a fin, they’ll need to be able to lift and move an animal weighing about 400 kilogrammes. The best plan is probably to airlift him out with the jumpcraft, dump him outside the city limits, and escort him to safety. There are several villages and uninhabited survival stations within range. It might also be possible to lose any pursuers in the canals and towers of Dyfedd.
The buildings surrounding the canal include several warehouses, a bioplastics processing facility, an electronics assembly plant and a housing block. There’s a Dyfedd security station at the mouth of the canal, where it meets the edge of the raft, and there’s a detachment of GEO Peacekeepers stationed at the GEO office.
3. The Dyfedd Run
At 1345 hours, just over an hour before Poseidon noon, a single dolphin, a CICADA sled, and a minisub approach Dyfedd. The sub broadcasts a message identifying the pair as free traders who intend to conduct some business with the GEO office on Dyfedd. A Dyfedd security jumpcraft does a quick flyby of the approaching group, then returns to its patrol.
The pair swim along the channel between Gwydion & Manannan, and dive under the connecting bridge. There are gaps in the bridge wide enough for the dolphin or a player character to swim through that the sub couldn’t fit into, if the PCs decide to set up an ambush there. Once inside the artificial bay of Dyfedd, the sub docks at a pier on Manannan. Two men, dressed in wetsuits and carrying backpacks, emerge from the sub and follow the dolphin down a canal. If no-one interferes, the dolphin launches a drone from its CICADA. The drone and one man enter the GEO claims office, the other man waits and watches the dolphin.
The two men are Gorchoff syndicate members. They’re armed with small, concealable handguns, and are wearing light body armour underneath the wetsuits. They’re nervous about having to bring Caesar into Dyfedd, but the only way they’re going to get the mine is if Caesar officially registers it as a joint claim. He’s been told to register it as a joint Viacoumba/Strana Mechty Mining Co. strike. Strana Mechty is a Gorchoff front.
If the characters don’t act, then Caesar panics. He rams the drone into the chest of one thug, then tries to swim down the canal. The other thug shoots Caesar, wounding him. The thugs are captured by Dyfedd security, and Caesar is hospitalised at the LavOrg Incorporated Hospital on Ceridwen. He’ll want to get out of there as soon as possible, given that he’s guilty of receiving stolen LavOrg goods (the mining gear). He’ll contact the pcs again by anonymous email.
For the kidnapping to be successful, the characters will have to be really quick and subtle. A firefight is a disaster. There’s a squad of GEO Peacekeepers just down the canal in the main GEO office, and Dyfedd security are everywhere. Ideally, the characters distract the thugs and escort the dolphin to safety.
The stats for the thugs are given at the end of the scenario.
If the characters mess up – leave them off unless they’re really stupid. Dyfedd security are going to be on them in moments, though, if they start shooting things.
4. Underwater escape:
If the characters are pursued by the Gorchoffs, run a chase through the underwater sections of Dyfedd. Fast movement and erratic courses will be noted by Dyfedd traffic control. Call for a few Pilot Submarine rolls for dodging buildings. The Gorchoffs are trying to keep a low profile, and will break off pursuit rather than get noticed. The Gorchoffs will catch up with the characters later…
If the characters have managed to get Dyfedd security after them, they’re in trouble. HUGO can track them wherever they go in the water near Dyfedd. They can either try to dodge into the hydroponics jungle that grows on the underside of Taliesin, or flee into the wildwaters. If they chose the jungle route, they’ll have to ditch their sub and swim through the hydroponic access tunnels. If they go to the deep ocean, then their best destination is one of the scattered small native villages (if they’re injured) or a survival station (a small automated pod with minimal food supplies & medical gear).
Basically, this is a big chase scene. Your goal is to get the PCs & Caesar somewhere where they can have a chat, but if the players are having fun or fucking things up, feel free to keep going until they’re all dead.
5. Breathing room
Once the characters get Caesar some place safe, they get a chance to find out what’s going on. Take a look at Caesar’s description at the end of the scenario. Caesar will tell them that he’s owner of a mining company which has made a Long John strike in the deep waters. Gangsters are occupying the mining station, and holding his crew hostage. Unless he co-signs the strike claim over to the gangsters, they’ll flood the mine and make it look like an accident – then “discover” the strike later. Caesar won’t mention the Gorchoffs himself, although he won’t deny that the gangsters could be Gorchoff. He also won’t mention where he got his mining gear from, or his connection to the Free Poseidon lot.
Caesar will tell them he hired them to kidnap him in order to get out of signing the mine over to the Gorchoffs. To maintain the deception, he asks the PCs to contact the mining station, pretending to be kidnappers holding Caesar for ransom. This has to be done soon, otherwise the Gorchoffs will kill the crew. Caesar’s prepared to offer the PCs more money if they refuse to help, but he’ll try and keep the cost of this whole debacle down as much as possible.
If they ask why he never contacted the authorities, Caesar will lie and tell them that if Lavender Organics finds out about the strike, they’ll steal it. A successful Culture role suggests this is out of character for LavOrg…
If the PCs agree, Caesar helps them set up a rerouted broadcast.
Free Poseidon: Meanwhile, Genevive receives a personal communication. It’s from her contact at Free Poseidon, a native called Storm Verimer (described at the end of the scenario). Free Poseidon have been observing the situation at Viacoumban mines, and think that they’ve been double-crossed. Verimer wants to know if Genevive, as Free Poseidon’s person-on-the-spot in Dyfedd, has seen anything of the owner of Viacoumba, one Caesar? If Genevive tells him the situation, Verimer will tell her to call him if they move Caesar to a different location. Free Poseidon are coming to collect their dues…
6. Heavy Breathing on the Line
Assuming the characters are going along with Caesar, one or more of them will have to make the call to the Viacoumba station to fool the Gorchoffs. The Gorchoff boss at the station is one Tony Grimm. He’s a stone-cold, biogenetically-enhanced bastard. He has the chief engineer at the station, Mike Petragliancy, receive the call, but Grimm steps in when he realises what the call is about.
Grimm’s a tall, pale-faced man, balding, with scarred temples, probably from surgery. There’s more on Grimm at the end of the scenario. He will ask the PCs what they want. He will appear as willing to bargain as possible, but he has no intention of paying the PCs off. He’ll suggest a meeting at New Madrid, a native settlement on Westscape, at dusk. There’s a bar there which is fairly well known, Cousteau’s Locker. The bar extends out over a pool, so ‘fins can enter. Grimm orders the PCs to bring Caesar along. If the PCs don’t show up, he warns them, he’ll kill off everyone in the station and flood the place, and neither of them will get anything out of the situation. Grimm wants Caesar back so he can get back to the Gorchoff’s original plan of getting the mine co-signed.
Grimm plans to either cut the PCs in on the deal (if they don’t want much) or preferably kill ‘em, get Caesar back, and continue on with the original heist.
If Genevive is being a good little Free Poseidoner, she should make an excuse, go to the bathroom, and tell Verimer that the dolphin he was looking for is going to be in New Madrid later. If she doesn’t, Verimer will find out through his contacts in New Madrid, but that will make the later scene a lot more chaotic…
7. Incorporate Sponsorship and all that jazz
Now that the safety of the Station crew has been assured, Caesar’s next problem is getting in contact with GenDiver. If you’re running short on time, then you can skip this bit by just having Caesar use a standard telecommunications relay to call his GenDiver pal. Otherwise, he’ll ask to be taken back to Dyfedd. His contact with GenDiver lives in one of the hotels on Rhiannon raft.
If the PCs don’t trust Caesar, and refuse this request, then Abdullah (the GenDiver PC) might go off and make contact himself. Run through that bit as quickly as possible to avoid splitting the party too much. Abdullah knows who King is, but is under orders to make contact with her only if absolutely necessary.
If the PCs made a mess of the kidnapping earlier on, then Dyfedd security are going to be looking for them. The GenDiver contact, Natasha King, is to be found in the Poseidon’s Bounty casino at practically any hour of the day or night. If the characters aren’t wanted in Dyfedd, then they can just walk into the casino and find her. If they’re in trouble, then you’ve got a nice Mission Impossible-style commando-raid through the access tunnels and corridors and (predictably) air vents. King will reject most emails or calls from people she doesn’t know – and Caesar’s been logged as a kidnap victim and can’t make calls in Dyfedd without attracting the notice of security.
King’s role on Dyfedd is to keep an eye on Lavender Organics and the high society of Dyfedd for GenDiver. She basically hangs around casinos, hotels and other nightspots. She’s a beautiful transhuman, and looks and talks like a bored supermodel. She’s a lot smarter than she appears, and enjoys her job, which is basically industrial espionage in a cocktail dress. She doesn’t particularly like Caesar, believing him to be a small time confidence-trickster, but won’t dismiss his request for aid. There’s a description of King at the end of the scenario.
King will promise to contact her superiors at GenDiver and have them despatch a relief force to the Viacoumban mine and to New Madrid. She can’t make any guarantees on how long the relief forces will take to arrive, so she urges the PCs to stall the Gorchoffs for as long as possible.
8. A bar in New Madrid
New Madrid is one of the largest native villages on Westscape – which isn’t saying much. It’s a cluster of log cabins and other structures arranged in a semi-circle around a deep-water bay. The sub-tropical jungles cover the steep slopes of the volcanic mountains overlooking the bay. Westscape is a newly-formed island, only about eight million years old, and is very active tectonically. There are two active volcanoes and numerous hot springs. With Recontact, the coming of outsiders to Poseidon and the construction of places like Westscape Industrial Complex and Dyfedd, New Madrid has become somewhat more modernised. Motorboats bob at anchor next to native sailboats, bioplastic domes mark modern housing – and neon lights advertise shops and bars along the waterfront.
New Madrid has its share of Free Poseidon sympathisers. Once the characters arrive, they’re going to be marked and reported to Storm Verimer.
Cousteau’s Locker is a fairly well-known bar on the waterfront. It’s built around a massive bulkhead that was dredged up from the wreck of the colony spaceship half a century ago. The scarred metal bulkhead forms the rear half of the bar. The front of the bar extends over a small inlet, allowing easy access to the water for cetacean and aquaform customers.
Basically, imagine a Mexican border bar transplanted to a South Sea island, in a film written by William Gibson and directed by Tarantino, and you get the feel of Cousteau’s Locker. There’s a map of the place with the scenario.
The owner of the bar is an aged Native, Ishmael Jones. He’s seen a lot happen in his time behind the counter, from volcanic eruptions and disastrous storms to Recontact and vast changes brought by the coming of outsiders. Throughout ash falls, tidal waves and Corporate wars, he’s kept the beer flowing and the bar intact. Nothing phases him, but he’s canny enough to clear the bar when things look dangerous. Most of the patrons in here tonight are regulars, and know Ishmael’s body language. If the PCs or someone else starts shooting, the bar empties instantly.
This is probably the final scene of the scenario, and a lot of stuff happens here.
Events in the bar:
· Before the PCs arrive, three Gorchoff goons arrive at the bar. One hides in a corner booth, the others join a card game going on near the inlet.
· If Verimer knows that the PCs & Caesar are coming here, then Verimer takes a seat at the bar. He has an arrangement with Ishmael, and has a assault shotgun concealed under the bar. If Verimer doesn’t know, he doesn’t turn up ‘til later.
· The PCs arrive.
· Grimm arrives by Jumpcraft, which grounds on the beach outside. If Caesar isn’t in the inlet, he demands that the dolphin be brought here – now. If the PCs don’t comply with this, jump to So they’ve started shooting, below.
· The bar begins to clear.
· Grimm meets the PCs. He’ll ask what they want. He’s willing to offer “you walk out of here alive, and we don’t come after you.” His goons in the corners reveal the guns they’ve got pointed at the PCs.
· Render, a Free Poseidon orca (genlifted killer whale), wearing a torpedo launcher & chain gun, surfaces in the bay outside the bar. He blasts Grimm’s jumpcraft with a torp, blowing it into smithereens. In the distraction, Verimer grabs his gun and leaps over the bar for cover. The PCs have a chance to get to their weapons.
· If Verimer wasn’t here already, he walks in the door holding his shotgun.
· Verimer announces that Caesar is an enemy of Free Poseidon, and will either give the “heroic freedom fighters of Poseidon the dues he owes them, so that they may continue the armed struggle against the despoiling Incorporate states”. He demands 20 kilos of xenosilicate as payment for the mining gear, and a share in the mine.
· Grimm will point out that if they kill him, the Gorchoff thugs at the mine will flood the station and the mine will be useless to everyone. He suggests killing the PCs and splitting the mine with Free Poseidon.
· The PCs either stall until GenDiver get here, or cut their own deal, or start shooting.
So They’ve Started Shooting: When someone draws a gun, the whole situation goes to hell. There are three Gorchoff goons (two by the inlet, one in the corner) and Grimm. On the Free Poseidon side, there’s Verimer, Render the orca, and about half a dozen youths in New Madrid who’ll be willing to shoot things.
The Gorchoffs’ primary goal is to survive. They also want to capture Caesar and steal a boat or some other means of transport, but that’s a secondary concern.
Free Poseidon want Caesar. They’re assuming at least one of the two groups (Gorchoff & PCs) are actually Incorporates. They want their money.
The firefight should be as chaotic and bloody as possible. If the PCs have any sense, they’ll throw their lot in with either Free Poseidon or the Gorchoffs. Their best bet is to stall things as long as possible, then go with Free Poseidon.
GenDiver: If the characters never got in contact with GenDiver, then they’re in trouble. They’ll have to sort out the situation for themselves. If they did, then about 10 minutes after they meet Grimm, GenDiver sends them a signal indicating that an assault team is in transit.
10 minutes after that, a GenDiver jumpcraft drops out of the clouds and hovers above the village. If the characters are in the middle of a firefight, the jumpcraft opens up on the village with whatever’s required to end the combat. If they’re not in the middle of a firefight, the jumpcraft uses infra-red to see inside Cousteau’s locker, works out which heat sources are targets, and wipes out the bad guys.
There are numerous possible endings to this scenario. The most likely one is that GenDiver wipe out most of the antagonists, and rescue Caesar. The PCs will either be paid off (if they did very well as Caesar’s thugs) or else handed over as kidnappers to Dyfedd security.
Alternatively, either Marlon or Genevive (respectively, the Gorchoff & Free Poseidon spies in the party) could backstab everyone else and steal the mine. If the PCs have screwed up a lot, then Dyfedd security could end up arresting everyone. Go with whatever works, but don’t go out of your way to make it a happy ending. The whole scenario is something of a catch-22 situation.
10. (possible encounter): The Viacoumban mining station
It’s possible if unlikely that the PCs end up visiting the Viacoumban station. It’s currently on the sea-floor out by Taka reef (bottom left corner of the map). There’s a fairly flat section of reef where jumpcraft can land. A few survival tents and portacabins mark the temporary base. Half the crew (6 people) are crowded into the largest cabin, watched over by three Gorchoff guards.
The station is a small, cramped underwater habitat. The central portion is a drillhead. Arranged on spokes emanating from the drillhead are docks, labs and construction arms. The rest of the crew are down there, being watched by another half-dozen Gorchoff goons. The Gorchoffs have also wired mining charges to the drillhead, and are gathering the raw xenosilicate ore.
Appendix 1: Non-player characters
Caesar: When Caesar was young, he was separated from his pod during a terrible storm. For eighteen hours, the young dolphin swam through the swelling and roaring waves, living from second to second. Caesar has never really escaped that storm. He’s something like a psychotic dolphin, in that he thinks quite like a human. He’s ambitious and manipulative, a kind of cetacean Machiavelli. He knows humans either underestimate the intelligence of dolphins or treat them with affection and awe. He’s quite willing to play on either perception to get his own way.
Storm Verimer: The local head of Free Poseidon, Verimer’s a hyperactive native man. He never just speaks, he shouts and rants and leaps around like a man possessed. His boundless energy means he gets a lot of work done for the Free Poseidon movement, but he’s also somewhat unstable and irritating.
Grimm: Grimm is a machine. He’s fanatically loyal to the Gorchoffs, who won his truth with promotion and rewards. When he’s on a mission, he disregards personal comfort and morality. He’s a stone cold killer. He never raises his voice except when he’s intimidating someone. He’s filled with biogenetic implants and upgrades, and is a nightmare in a firefight.
Natasha King: GenDiver’s barfly/spy in Dyfedd. She maintains the demeanour of a worthless upper-class socialite, but she’s a competent covert agent. Her primary goal is maintaining her cover while advancing GenDiver’s interests.
Appendix 2: Combat Stats
Initiative: 40 Speed: 55 Rounds: 3
Attack: Handgun 60 Damage:1/15 2/35 3/55 4/75 5/90 6/100
Initiative: 55 Speed: 55 Rounds: 3
Attack: Submachine gun 55 Damage: 1/15 2/40 3/65 4/85 5/95 6/100
Free Poseidon Terrorist:
Initiative: 30 Speed: 60 Rounds: 2
Attack: Hunting rifle 30 Damage: 1/5 2/15 3/25 4/50 6/75 7/85 8/100
Initiative: 75 Speed: 90 Rounds: 2
Attack: Custom Handgun 85 Damage: 1/15 2/35 3/55 4/75 5/90 6/100 (double damage)
Initiative: 55 Speed: 55 Rounds: 3
Attack: Shotgun 55 Damage: 1/5 2/15 3/30 4/55 5/80 6/100
Render the Orca:
Initiative: 20 Speed: 40 Rounds: 3
Attack: Torpedo (special) – doesn’t miss, but takes 5 rounds to fire Damage: lots
Chain gun 40 Damage: lots
Appendix 3: Email
THE GEO CLAIMS OFFICE ON MANANNAN. 14.30 HOURS TOMORROW. GET THE ‘FIN OUT ALIVE AND HOLD HIM, PENDING FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS. PAY WILL BE 6 KILOS OF XENOSILICATE. IF YOU ACCEPT, HIT REPLY NOW.
HOW TO RUN Things to do in Dyfedd when you’re Genlifted IN FIVE MINUTES
Right. I’m assuming you know nothing about Blue Planet, or the scenario. Good luck.
BLUE PLANET is a hard-sf game set on a waterworld called Poseidon. The Poseidon system is linked to Earth’s solar system by a wormhole. The wormhole and Poseidon were discovered about a century ago. A colony ship, the Cousteau was sent off. Then, Earth collapsed into anarchy due to a genetically engineered Blight that wiped out food crops. Only the forces of the Global Ecology Organisation, a massive world government set up by the UN to fight the blight, and the Incorporate States (basically cyberpunk-esque corporations) brought humanity through the chaos.
Humanity returned to Poseidon, drawn by the lure of an ore called Long John, which allows massive genetic engineering and immortality. The GEO is still the world government, and is clinging to power despite possibly being obsolete. The Incorporates are mining Long John at a great rate. The Natives, the descendants of the original Poseidon colonists, have changed into a low-tech society aren’t too happy about all these Outsiders landing.
The characters are a criminal gang on a floating city called Dyfedd. They are as follows:
· Serge Klazimakoff, the head of the gang.
· Larry Scjelli, a cynical and brutal bastard.
· Undercover deputy Li Fan Tsu, a cop
· Undercover Incorporate covert operative Abdullah Al-Maluk. He works for GenDiver.
· Native sympathiser Genevive Sian. She’s in contact with the Free Poseidon native terrorists.
· Marlon Clarke: he’s a spy for the main criminal gang on Poseidon, the Gorchoffs.
The characters are hired to kidnap a dolphin called Caesar. (Dolphins were uplifted to sentience a century ago through biogenetic engineering).
Caesar is owner of a mining company called Viacoumba. The Gorchoff criminal syndicate are holding his miners hostage, and won’t free them unless Caesar registers the Long John mine as being co-owned by the Gorchoffs. Caesar doesn’t want to do this, mainly because he’s already secretly made a bargain with an Incorporate, GenDiver. Caesar hires the pcs via email to kidnap him.
He then makes them contact the Gorchoffs and claim to be his kidnappers. Grimm, the leader of the Gorchoff gang, offers to meet with the PCs at a bar in New Madrid, a native village. Meanwhile, Storm Verimer, the local head of Free Poseidon, is trying to find Caesar. Free Poseidon stole a load of mining gear off Lavender Organics, the Incorporate owners of Dyfedd, and Verimer wants a share in the mine. Free Poseidon think the Gorchoff forces holding the mine are actually incorporates. Verimer contacts Genevive, and turns up at New Madrid.
The characters return to Dyfedd to make contact with Natasha King, GenDiver’s agent in Dyfedd. She promises that GenDiver security will rescue the miners, but they’ll need time. The characters have to go to New Madrid to buy time.
The final section of the scenario is a possible shootout or standoff at New Madrid.
NAME: LI FAN TSU
AGE: 26 DATE OF BIRTH: 4TH MARCH, 2163
Poseidon is a near-lawless world.
The Incorporated States control their towns, and enforce their own justice – which basically amounts to “the Incorporate is always right”. The native settlements are primitive, and native law-enforcers can’t cope with the influx of crime and corruption brought by newcomers from Earth. In the independent cities, the GEO tries to keep the peace, but the GEO Marshals are understaffed and underfunded. Poseidon is a chaotic patchwork of crime and corruption. To bring justice to the frontier, the Marshals have had to take some fairly extreme steps.
The kingpins of organised crime on Poseidon are the Gorchoff family crime Syndicate. They control every aspect, from drug running to industrial espionage. They’ve built this criminal empire on a reputation for ruthlessness and an iron grip on security. No-one talks about the Gorchoffs, and no-one leaves the Gorchoffs. Only those prepared to give their lives for the Gorchoff Syndicate join the upper ranks.
One person came close. Serge Klazimakoff is a small-time drug runner and gangster based on the Incorporate floating town of Dyfedd. Word is that he once came close to joining the Syndicate, but backed out and went independent. You’re a special agent attached to the GEO Marshal’s office. You’ve been assigned to go undercover and get close to Klazimakoff, and find a way to join the Gorchoffs. You’re on deep cover, and it’s going to be a long assignment – but in the end, you know you’ll bring the Gorchoffs down and bring justice to this new world. Poseidon deserves better than to be drowned in crime and corruption.
Klazimakoff has built a small gang to support his criminal endeavours. Your Marshal Academy-trained skills have given you an edge on the street, and you’ve attempted to play the role of an ambitious gangster girl. You’ve put on a good show, and you know that you’re going to have to break the law in order to worm your way into the Gorchoffs. You do draw the line at murder though.
Roleplaying notes: For the last few months, you’ve been living a lie. If your fellow gang members realised who you are, you’d be killed in seconds. You’re under a lot of stress, and tend to turn this stress back on them in the form of anger and violence. Underneath the layer of deception, though, you’re a dedicated policewoman with a love of justice.
· Serge Klazimakoff: The head of the gang. Serge’s set himself up as a rival to the Gorchoffs, but he’s your only link so far to the Syndicate.
· Larry Scjelli: A very dangerous old man. Larry shows signs of biogenetic enhancement, just like you. He seems to wander on the borders of sanity.
· Abdullah Al-Maluk: A slick bastard, very calm all the time.
· Genevive Sian: An airhead, basically. She’s native-born, and you wonder what she’s doing on Dyfedd. This city’s not known for its native population.
· Marlon Clarke: He seems to just be the muscle of the group. You suspect he’s hiding something.
NAME: LARRY SCJELLI
AGE: 62 DATE OF BIRTH: 3rd June, 2137
It’s become almost interesting in an intellectual way. Call your life a sociological experiment.
You were born on Earth. You used to be an executive with Atlas Materials. You had the best of everything. From your beautiful home, you controlled the lives of thousands. Your every need was taken care of. You were one of the super-rich, the powerful, the elite, the superhuman.
You were reassigned to Poseidon, to oversee the construction of an underwater arcology. It should have been the next step in your climb to greatness. Instead, it was a disaster. You cut corners to save money and time. In your drive to have the project completed faster and cheaper than anyone else, you built the arcology below the specifications. It was still totally safe and secure – under normal conditions.
If the Free Poseidon bomb had exploded when the arcology was inhabited, four hundred would have died. As it was, it merely collapsed costing billions. Your career was over. Within a day, you found yourself wandering the streets of Haven, penniless and homeless. You should have died. You didn’t.
You found that, in your heart, you’re an utter bastard. It served you well as a Corporate boss. It’s serving you even better as a gangster and killers.
You’re a cynical, scary man. You look old, but your genetic enhancements mean you’re tougher than kinds a third your age. You’ve found you can almost enjoy the pathetic dregs of life you’re left with.
You’re a member of a drug-running gang based on Dyfedd. Dyfedd’s a floating city, a resort for the rich and influential. You drag sacks of pharium through the Morlock tunnels, and look up through the narrow gratings at the rich. People like the person you used to be.
You want it back. You need it back. But you’re not going to make it without money. You need to make a big score, a big heist. Then you can screw this useless drug-running gang and get back in the corporate game.
You learned to kill people for food. This should be easy. All you need is one break.
Roleplaying notes: You’re a nasty, cynical old bugger who messed up big time and is still paying for it. You’re willing to trample anyone, but you’re enough of a schemer to disguise this. No-one knows about your past, by the way.
· Serge Klazimakoff: The gang leader. A thug, but he likes you and won’t betray you.
· Li Fan Tsu: Ambitious little minx. She reminds you of you in your younger days – but there’s something odd about her. She’s hiding something.
· Abdullah Al-Maluk: He’s Corporate. You can almost smell it. Who’s he working for? Did Atlas send him to punish you more? Keep away from him until you know what he’s up to.
· Genevive Sian: Useless. An idiot.
· Marlon Clarke: A dangerous man. Don’t turn your back on him.
NAME: ABDULLAH AL-MALUK
AGE: 35 DATE OF BIRTH: 29th JUNE, 2164
During the Blight back on Earth, the megacorporations had to make the change from mere profit-grubbing industries to national governments, Incorporated States. The change was not an easy one, and the dual motives of profit and duty don’t sit well together. As the Incorporates re-engineered themselves to be nations, a shadow class of people emerged. Not quite spies, not quite agents, not quite anything that existed before. A person who could act in the best interest of the corporation situations which the corporation had never been in before. Secret police who looked at the bottom line.
Now, as the Incorporates develop the new world of Poseidon, these people are needed more than ever. Poseidon’s a world in chaos, and the Incorporate states see it as an incredible opportunity. They hold more power here than they ever did on Earth.
You work for GenDiver, one of the largest and most powerful biogenetics Incorporates. You work the grey area between corporate profit interests and national security. You’re working undercover in the floating city of Dyfedd. Dyfedd’s owned by Lavender Organics, one of GenDiver’s competitors. Another high-ranking GenDiver agent, Natasha King, keeps an eye on the surface of Dyfedd, on the high-society movements and big corporate events. Your role is to watch what the people of Dyfedd call the Morlock levels, the lightless places under the decks. If Lavender Organics does something…interesting in private, you’ll be the one to find out.
Your cover has you working as part of a drug smuggling gang. You’re not worried – if you get caught, then GenDiver have promised to get you off the hook. Your work with the gang gives you access to channels of information you wouldn’t normally have.
If you do good work here, you’ll get promoted. The possibilities are limitless for an intelligent man who knows what’s important.
All you’ve got to do is survive the troubles and turmoil of the criminal lifestyle for a while longer.
Roleplaying notes: You’re always very calm, very collected. You have hundreds of contacts, and give the impression you know everyone. You’re always making deals and playing the odds. In the back of your mind, though, you always know GenDiver’s protecting you, so you can afford to take risks and turn on your contacts if necessary.
You’re an undercover corporate bastard, basically – and you’ve learned that the only difference between the Incorporates and the criminals is that the Incorporates aren’t stupid enough to make the mistakes criminals do.
· Serge Klazimakoff: The head of the gang. Basically an overgrown thug.
· Larry Scjelli: Interesting…Larry’s an old man, but very tough. He’s eccentric and private, but something about him suggests an Incorporate background.
· Li Fan Tsu: Hello, Ms. I’m-working-for-someone-else-and-I’m-going-to-bring-Serge-down. She’s too good to be truly loyal to Serge, and is probably working for his rivals, the Gorchoff crime syndicate.
· Genevive Sian: A native girl. Natives are generally either useless barbarians or troublemaking radicals. She’s a crossbreed – a useless radical. You’re fond of her though, in the same way you’d be fond of a big-eyed puppy who keeps falling over.
· Marlon Clarke: Some kids blunder into crime. He did. Don’t rely on him.
NAME: GENEVIVE SIAN
AGE: 21 DATE OF BIRTH: COLONY YEAR 89
Your great-grandparents were born on Earth, and lived much of their lives on a choked, dying world. Your grandparents were among the first generation of humans to live on the new and pure world of Poseidon. They had to cope with the Abandonment, as the death spasms of Earth’s biosphere sent humanity in crisis and Earth ignored the Poseidon colony for decades. In the Abandonment, technology broke down without spare parts from Earth to repair it. Your parents never knew computers or advanced technology, and lived in harmony with the ecology of Poseidon. You’ve grown up as Earth returns to the world it once abandoned.
The outsiders tear up the seafloor for the xenosilicate ore. They slaughter the sunburst fish for its hide. They break apart the islands for minerals and build vast metal towns in which they plan to pack the uncounted billions of Earth’s excess population. The watery world your ancestors learned to love will be drowned beneath a flood of Outsider technology and Outsider people.
Free Poseidon is an organisation, a revolution, which offers hope to the Natives. Free Poseidon will fight the Outsiders, drive them offworld like blimpfish before a storm. You would pledge your life to Free Poseidon if you could, but not yet.
Storm Verimer, the local chapter head of Free Poseidon, asked you to make a great sacrifice for the revolution. The organisation needs weapons, subs, supplies. Verimer asked you to go to the Outsider city, to the floating city of Dyfedd, and make contact with the criminals & gangsters. Only though such people can Free Poseidon reach the black market which will provide the tools to build a revolution. Your job is to stay with the gangsters, work for them, until you’ve made inroads into the black market.
You’ve gone from a village without radio to a floating city run by an artificially intelligent supercomputer. Dyfedd scares you, it’s a very strange place. You’re far less scared of the gangsters you’ve joined up with. They’re not so different to the villagers from home, just a lot angrier and more confused. They don’t treat you very well because you’re an uneducated native, but you know more about the true, wild Poseidon than they ever will. They’re here to make money or hide from themselves – you’re here to win back your home.
Roleplaying notes: You’re fairly inexperienced and naïve, but your faith in Free Poseidon is boundless. You seem fairly happy most of the time, and many people thing you’re a brainless airhead, but it’s just the natural exuberance of a Native. You can be surprisingly practical – or vicious - when necessary.
· Serge Klazimakoff: The head of the gang. He dismisses you as a fool.
· Larry Scjelli: A scary old man. You’ve never even dreamed anyone like him could exist.
· Li Fan Tsu: She reminds you of the best hunters from back home. Don’t get in her way.
· Abdullah Al-Maluk: A charming man, who you get on well with. He’s an Outsider, though, so don’t trust him.
· Marlon Clarke: You don’t like him. He’s strange, and you’ve never sure if he means anything he says.
NAME: MARLON CLARKE
AGE: 24 DATE OF BIRTH: 30TH MAY, 2175
In every criminal outfit, there’s some loser who’s in it for the money or the girls or the drugs or the thrills of hurting people, and doesn’t realise it’s a business. These losers are either idiots or freaks, and end up screwing things up.
You got promoted into the high ranks of the Gorchoff crime syndicate, the biggest and most powerful criminal outfit on Poseidon, by making sure that all the losers were dead before you did any important operations.
You were born into organised crime back on Mars. When you were ten, your mother showed you a new report on the discovery of a xenosilicate ore on the rediscovered world of Poseidon. This ore allowed the reconstruction of human cells – immortality. Your mother told you that this ore was going to be bigger than any treasure or drug in history. When you were 18, you shipped off to Poseidon, with one aim in mind – becoming the richest man in history through organised crime.
The Gorchoff family crime syndicate rule the underside of Poseidon, so you joined them. One day, you’ll marry into the Gorchoffs, and climb to the top that way. For the moment, you’re building your section of the empire. One big unexploited area is the territory around Westscape, including the rich city of Dyfedd. The Gorchoffs told you that a rogue operator, Klazimakoff, had claimed Dyfedd. You’ve gone undercover. If Klazimakoff’s good, you’ll recruit him. If he’s bad, you’ll kill him and take over his organisation.
You’re posing as the kind of loser you hate, a pathetic twisted freak who’s into pain. It disgusts people, makes them turn away and underestimate you. That’s where you need to be. Watch Klazimakoff, watch his people. You’re going to rule this world someday, but you’ve got to be patient.
There’s another Gorchoff agent out near Westscape, a man called Grimm. He’s ex-military, very dangerous. You’ll have to work out a way to take him out, one day. He doesn’t know who you are, but you’ve been watching his career.
Roleplaying notes: You’re a rising star in the organised crime world. You’re intelligent, skilled, patient and ambitious, a very potent and dangerous combination. This thing with Klazimakoff and Dyfedd has forced you to pretend to be the sort of person you despise. It’s getting harder and harder to play the fool, to bite your tongue instead of giving Klazimakoff orders.
· Serge Klazimakoff: According to the Gorchoffs, he once had a future with them. He seems to be nothing more than a small-time loser.
· Larry Scjelli: Psycho killer. Ex-Incorporate, but he’s not ex-Incorporate security. You don’t know who he is, really.
· Li Fan Tsu: Ambitious climber in the ranks, very competent. Much better than Klazimakoff. Either make alliance with her or kill her. The alliance option is much more alluring, but you’ve got to keep yourself free to marry into the Gorchoffs.
· Abdullah Al-Maluk: A slimy smooth-taker. He’s working for someone else, probably an Incorporate. Find out who and why.
· Genevive Sian: A fool of a native girl. The loser of the gang.
NAME: SERGE KLAZIMAKOFF
AGE: 39 DATE OF BIRTH: DECEMBER 12TH, 2160
You were born on Earth, in one of the Free Zones. The Earth governments long ago abandoned any pretence of enforcing law and order in the Free Zones. You spent your early years in a war-torn hell hole, where local gang lords fought constant skirmishes against each other. You left the Free Zone when you were a teenager, after basically hitch-hiking your way across the battlefields.
Outside the Free Zones, things weren’t much better. An uneducated, uncultured Zone kid wasn’t wanted in the high-tech Incorporate world. You could have ended up in a dead-end job, but instead you took a risk and signed up for a five-year stint on Poseidon as a construction worker with Atlas Materials. They stuck you in a cryogenic coffin, loaded you onto a hulking freighter, and shipped you across a few billion miles of space. Then they cracked the seal on your coffin, and you breathed in the warm, rich air of Poseidon – and you knew you were home.
You worked welding support girders and sealing bioplastic domes 200 metres underwater for a few months. The work was hard, and you were glad of your shore leaves in cities like Haven and Kingston. While on leave, you got involved with the pharium industry. Pharium is a drug native to Poseidon. It’s kinda like opium, only better. You left Atlas and worked as a bouncer and enforcer for the pharium dealers.
Organised crime on Poseidon is run by the Gorchoff family. They control everything from pharium to prostitution to gun-running to espionage. You started working your way up in the criminal hierarchy, but about five years ago you ran up against a ceiling. You couldn’t go any higher without basically becoming one of the Gorchoff’s servants. You’ve always hated being trapped, so you looked around for something that would give you both the lifestyle and the freedom you noticed.
You found it on Dyfedd. Dyfedd’s a floating city run by Lavender Organics. In 2194, LavOrg were adding two new rafts to the city, to expand the tourist district. Dyfedd is a retreat for the rich – especially rich tourists come to sample the wild life of Poseidon. Rich tourists…
You moved faster than the Gorchoffs, and have cornered the pharium market on Dyfedd. You’ve had to be very careful -Dyfedd security or the Gorchoffs will stamp you out if you get too noticeable. You’ve built your own little network of pharium dealers supplying rich clients, and expanded into other little enterprises. A little theft, a little protectionism…you intend to one day expand until you’re as big as the Gorchoffs. Poseidon’s your home now, and you’re going to be both rich and free…
Roleplaying notes: You have no illusions about yourself. You’re a criminal who wants to become very rich. Your youth in the Free Zone taught you that laws are just an illusion in peoples’ mind, that what you can get away with is what counts. You’re not unnecessarily cruel, but you are a survivor.
· Larry Scjelli: Your right-hand man. Larry’s been with you from the start. He’s a good man to have in a tight spot. You still feel like you don’t know him though.
· Li Fan Tsu: Ambitious little tyke, this one. She’s been pushing for Larry’s position in the gang. You wonder how far she’d go to get it…
· Abdullah Al-Maluk: Abdullah’s the one person you don’t trust. He’s too calm, too well-connected. He acts like he’s always got a wall to his back. Someone’s supporting him – and it could be the Gorchoffs.
· Genevive Sian: Little Genevive Sian. Your runner, dogsbody and general helper. It’s like someone took a bouncy, helpful cheerleader and ordered her to join a criminal gang. On the bright side, she’s utterly expendable.
· Marlon Clarke: Clarke’s a good member of the team, he follows orders, and usually gets them right. He doesn’t have much ambition, though – which is good. You’re top dog here.