Here are the NPCs that have been turning up in our campaign connected to Lasalle Bionational.

EDINA LASALLE

3FA79D8B00000578-0-image-a-1_1493655969819Edina is the heir to the Lasalle fortune and the new CEO of the company her father built. Her mother, Shana and her father are both of Irish decent and Edina has a slight accent when emotional. Unlike her siblings and father, she does not view Lasalle as a “Texan” nor “American” company — nationality is a dying thing to her. She has been doing an audit of the company since taking over, digging up a lot of dirt, and investigating the disappearance of certain key scientists and other mysterious events tied to the Special Projects Division.

Nowhere as tall, strong, or attractive as her half-siblings — the “test tube twins” as she privately refers to them — she is still highly intelligent and ruthless. Edina still confers with her father on the direction she is taking the company, and her siblings are often jealous of the close relationship between their father and their half-sister.

She is considered one of the most eligible single women in the world and it is rumored she turned down an offer of marriage to the king of the Three Worlds Empire.

ATTRIBUTES: Strength 3, Agility 3, Wits 5, Empathy 3

SKILLS: Command 3, Comtech 1, Manipulation 3, Mobility 1, Observation 2

TALENTS: Cunning, Personal Safety, Take Control

SIGNATURE ITEM: Ring once part of the Royal Jewels.

BUDDY: Brendan Lasalle

RIVAL: Mercedes Lasalle

MICHAEL LASALLE

25-Chris-Hemsworth.nocrop.w710.h2147483647The face of Lasalle Bionational’s operations, Michael Lasalle is also a walking advertisement for their “designer child” line. He and his sister Mercedes were the first truly successful products of the bioengineering division at Optima Reproduction.

He is now the Chief Operating Officer of the company, and assists his “natural-born” half-sister Edina run the company. He is cunning and observant, with little empathy for other people but an excellent eye for their behavior. He has been learning his half-sister’s strengths and weaknesses in an ongoing effort to learn how to effectively manipulate her and improve his chances of eventually taking over the company. He is also dedicated to the idea of making genetic engineering of humans a respected and accepted thing.

While he disapproves of some of his twin sister’s activities and shortcomings, he is devoted to her.

ATTRIBUTES: Strength 6, Agility 5, Wits 5, Empathy 2

SKILLS: Close Combat 1, Command 2, Comtech 2, Manipulation 3, Mobility 2, Observation 2

TALENTS:  Personal Safety, Second Wind, Take Control

PERSONAL AGENDA:  He wants to make bioengineering a thing.

PROBLEM: When pushing roll, gains 2 stress.

SIGNATURE ITEM: Father’s ring.

BUDDY: Mercedes Lasalle

RIVAL: Edina Lasalle

MERCEDES LASALLE

3157550F00000578-3510081-image-m-48_1458950973226Brilliant and beautiful, ruthless and sociopathic. While she has little empathy, she can “model behavior” of others quite well. She is tall and deceptively strong and fast. She is a practitioner of yoga and jujitsu.

Mercedes is the head of the Special Projects Division of Bionational. Like her brother, she is one of their original “designer children” — physically and mentally superior to most humans…and she knows it. Unlike her brother, she stays out of the company limelight and prefers to be involved in the day-to-day research, but has crafted an image as a socialite to create the impression of being unserious and shallow. She has been romantically linked to a number of men. She is generally underestimated and she likes it that way. They rarely see her coming…

She has been slowly moving to discredit her sister so that she and her brother can take over their father’s kingdom. This has involved shady operations, the investigations of dangerous alien technologies, unethical experiments, and the disappearance of those that might cause her trouble.

ATTRIBUTES: Strength 4, Agility 6, Wits 6, Empathy 2

SKILLS: Close Combat 2, Command 2, Comtech 2, Manipulation 2, Mobility 2, Observation 2, Science 5, Stamina 2

TALENTS:  Flyweight, Second Wind, Take Control

PERSONAL AGENDA: Power…raw power.

PROBLEM: When pushing roll, gains 2 stress. She is sadistic and violent when crossed.

SIGNATURE ITEM: Necklace w/ her DNA profile.

BUDDY: Michael Lasalle

RIVAL: Edina Lasalle

We’ve been focusing more on the corporate intrigue end of things in the Alien universe and we quickly saw a move toward a more cyberpunk-styled world, to fit with the ’80s vibe of the Aliens period setting. (We even have two characters, brothers, appropriately played by Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen ala the late ’80s.)

The company that has been up front and center in the game has been LaSalle Bionational, and I added a slightly Blade Runner flair to LB by making one of their main product lines “designer children” for the rich and powerful.  To that end, some of these designer babies are now adults.

GENETICALLY ENGINEERED HUMANS

The designer children fad hit in the early 2130s, and was spearheaded by the Lasalle Bionational Corporation through their Optima Medical division. Created by genetic manipulation and artificial insemination, these children, while physically and mentally gifted, were often plagued with particular emotional issues. Some of the early children also had unexpected genetic abnormalities. Optima Reproductions stepped back their more ambitious research, focusing on more reliable assisted reproduction technologies, but the designer baby services remained available to those willing to chance the risks. NDAs and legal release agreements are typical for customers of the Advanced Biomanipulation Technologies division, now directly under the Special Projects of Lasalle.

These characters receive a +2 to two attributes, but their Empathy score cannot be raised above a 3. Additionally, they receive +2 stress when pushing a skill roll, and suffer a permanent mental trauma of their choice from the list on p. 101 of the Alien RPG rulebook, or the following:

Generalized Social Disorder: The character has some form of processing disorder that makes it difficult for them to connect with people. They receive a -1 die to any Empathy-based skill test.

Memory Disfunction: The character has a short or long-term memory disorder that causes them difficulty. -1 die to Wits’-based tests.

The player can also choose some form of behavioral issue that can be roleplayed but which does not have a mechanical impact, such as kleptomania, sadism, masochism, obsessive lying, self-aggrandizement, etc.

We’ve played a few sessions since I last reported on our shift to a campaign game using the new Alien RPG by Free League. We had tied the new campaign into the cinematic adventure provided with the game bundle, Chariot of the Gods, and you can see the last installment here. Having survived an attack by a juvenile bloodburster, one of the characters was near death but saved by the medics, while the damaged synthetic Ava (from the original adventure) and their ship’s synthetic, Stella, worked quickly to improve on the vaccine for the 26 Draconis infection. Having saved the one mortally wounded character, they had to test the new inoculation on those characters that had been exposed to the air during the other action scenes. This had led to only one failure — and the only character lost to the mission. The characters found themselves battling their former buddy turned abomination and hastily had to abandon ship.

They had set the reactor of Cronus, the ship from the Chariots adventure to blow and had to convince the captain of their ship to let them onboard. Left in quarantine for 24 hours in the vehicle bay of their vessel, the characters seemed to be alright. They would so after rendezvous with a Colonial Marine ship, at which point they were poked and prodded, interrogated and interviewed, and finally found safe to proceed on their way. The characters had decided to tell the marine interrogators that they had not recovered anything from the hulk — a lie — but unbeknownst to them, the marines downloaded everything they needed from Stella’s memory.

The players did some upgrades to their characters and got paid for their work. At this point, we discussed the system and how it seemed to work. We had already played Tales from the Loop, so we had a good idea of how things worked, but there was a pretty consistent opinion that the three skills/attribute mechanic on TFTL didn’t quite fit the Alien universe so well. We thought the skill list too truncated. I thought a “science” skill was appropriate, and there were a few other suggestions to open the characters to a bit more differentiation. considering there is a more comprehensive (though not by much) list of skills for the Coriolis RPG using the same mechanics, we’ve decided to let people build out differing skills, and perhaps adjust their attributes. (I did not see this as an option in the Alien rules, though I seem to remember it in the TFFL.

So how did it play? We found expanding out the universe from the eponymous critters and looking at the corporate espionage and synthetics angle worked for us, and in the next play sessions, we returned to the characters, with different additions, back on Earth lying low with new identities…until an agent from Lasalle Bionational turned up to hire them to look into their original mission to steal the Cronus data from them. Edina Lasalle, the CEO of the company, is looking into security breeches and strange disappearances throughout their facilities. She suspects an insider is helping someone to damage the company and she was impressed with the way they managed to disappear, then reappear a month later having procured the information they so desperately had sought on the 26 Draconis mission. Soon they found their way to Japan (with a new PC, a corporate security officer) to investigate who had hired them.

Along the way they discovered they had ticked off the security contractors whom they had used as cover — a company owned by the yakuza. Additionally, their initial suspicions, that they had been hired by Weyland-Yutani to spy on Lasalle looked to have been false. The group that had attacked them was a top-tier military and security contractor called Constellations . Some of the team began looking into Constellations, only to be found by the yakuza, leading to a full chop-socky style fight in the kitchen of the coffee bar/internet cafe they were in . The other half hit up a high-end bar/sex club to find out what Constellations was up to and in the end the groups returned to compare notes in their hotel.

Their hacker, Jensen, had found a bank account that the Lasalle security guy, Hauer, was able to track to the National Bank of Polynesia — a bank owned by the Lasalle Financial Holding Company in Colombia. He worked out the time and date, and even terminal that had created the false account used to launder the funds for multiple operations Constellations was doing around interstellar space, then narrowed down the suspects until he had one: Mercedes Lasalle, the genetically engineered super-genius daughter of old man Lasalle and twin of their Chief Security Officer (and Hauer’s boss) Michael. They seem to have stepped into some kind of family feud for control of the company! They also noted to new contracts paid for — one in Tokyo, and a protection detail for a VIP going up to Luna City. At that point, a flash bang grenade came through the window, and they were captured by Constellations operatives that then bundled them onto a plane headed who knows where…

walther_PPS_CCP_DSC6626web

So, I got lucky a few weeks ago and won a raffle. The prize was a choice of three similarly-priced pistols. I chose the Walther PPS, seeing as how I love the bigger PPQ and my old PPK/S. I’d fired a PPS M1 a few times years ago and liked it well enough, so I figured I would be happy with the new pistol.

The new M2 version has the American magazine release button, rather than the trigger guard paddles that most of the German manufacturers prefer (because learning a slightly different [and easier!] manual of arms is hard) The replaceable backstrap is a thing of the past, which makes for a very small pistol that is slim and super-concealable The weight is very low — noticeably so compared to my PPK. The trigger is good, with pull of about five pounds and an audible reset. The pistol comes with a flush fit 6 round magazine and an extended seven round that allows the shooter purchase for their pinkie. Unlike my PPK/S, the PPS is much more comfortable to fire with the finger extension; I prefer the flush fit and my little finger curled under on the PPK. Go figure.

The recoil and muzzle flip on the light PPS are manageable, but stout. The thinness of the grip made control, for me, difficult at ranges beyond seven yards, and I found my groups were awful. Assuming I was having an off day, I swapped to the PPQ and shot laser-tight groups. Same with the PPK/S. Back to the PPS and I couldn’t group to save my life beyond that seven yards. The PPK? three inch group at 15 yards with little issue.

A few trips to the range and I just wasn’t getting any better. Finally, this Monday, after a particularly annoying long weekend, I’d had enough. I finished my range time, when out to the showroom and traded the PPS for a new CCP M2 in .380. I’d shot the 9mm version and found it accurate and the recoil fairly tame compared to the PPQ. The pistol uses a delayed gas system similar to the old Heckler & Koch P7 series (a great gun!) to mitigate recoil on the small and light handgun, and it works. In the 9mm, the recoil lost a lot of muzzle flip that you see in the PPS. But the new hotness was in the store, so I went with the CCP in 9mm short.

I then took it and Rolf, my Ranger-made PPK/S from the Interarms era (see below), and compared them side-by-side. The CCP in both calibers is the same size. It’s a bit longer in the grip than the PPK/S, so it’s got more real estate than the smaller PPS; but otherwise the sizes between the venerable old pistol and this one are about the same. I’d like to see a flush fit magazine for the CCP to aid in concealment. Slide manipulation is incredibly easy. My eight year old daughter and wife can run the slide without issue. Both the 9mm and .380 use the same eight-round 9mm magazine, just with a block to allow the .380 to seat properly. Additionally, the CCP features a thumb safety, for those who want that added bit of peace of mind. The PPS, like most new Walther offerings does not have an active safety.

IMG_0930

Function out of the box and without a cleaning or lubrication was flawless on three types of ammo — Armscor 90 gr., Aquila 95 grain, and the American Gunner XTP 90 gr. bullets. In the lighter .380, the recoil is negligible and follow up shots should be very fast. They’re not, though. The trigger is smooth and breaks at about 5 pounds, but it’s long and the reset is terrible — you are almost off the trigger when the inaudible, vague reset happens. This slows follow up shots considerably, if you are used to the swift reset of the PPQ or the even the PPK. Accuracy from the fixed barrel superb to ten yards, and the grip — which uses similar stippling and contouring to the larger PPQ — really aids in control. The pistol is very light, and one-handed, I had no trouble putting lead where I wanted, so long as i took my time. I only did a single string of eight out at 15 yards and found the grouping was good, but the pistol was shooting low and right…that could have been me getting used to the grip.

So how did the CCP fare next to the PPS? They’re both competing for the concealed carry market, but they come at it from different philosophies. The PPS uses the usual canted Browning-style lockup and is hyper-reliable with anything you put through it, but I found it was jumpy and uncomfortable. After a few boxes, my thumb hurt in ways it didn’t dropping similar amounts of ammo through my 10mm 1911 or my PPQ. I just could not get it to shoot where I wanted it to. The CCP functioned flawlessly, shot great groups where I wanted them unless I was raid firing, then the groups got… unimpressive. The recoil of the .380 is light and pleasant, especially compared to the thumb-busting recoil of the old PPK/S, but the accuracy isn’t to PPK standards. (Yet..? I did only run a hundred round through it, so I might just need to get used to the pistol.)

As an aside, how does it compare to the PPK/S? The recoil is significantly more pleasant, the grip is better, and it carries an extra round in an ever-so-slightly bigger package. If you want a modern striker-fired pistol that is light and concealable — the CCP is your choice here, especially if you’re talking the new PPKs with the long tang, which I find bites the hand when shot and also makes the PPK much harder to draw from a pocket or concealment. (Nope — I don’t like it. Gimme the old design.) If you want a faster-shooting .380 that is pretty much flawless, get yourself an ’90s Interarms period PPK/S or the new Walther-made stuff. Steer clear of the S&W period pistols; I shot a few and they were Jamomatics.

As for field stripping, the PPS is the big winner here. It’s the usual striker-fire takedown. Pull the slide back a hair and pull down on the takedown nibs, then run the slide off. The end. The CCP requires you to push on the plate covering the striker, then to pop a little button to the right. This releases the striker assembly, then you pull up and run the slide off. After that, the CCP looks a lot more like the PPK, with recoil spring on fixed barrel. I cleaned the PPK and CCP back to back. The process didn’t take that much more time for the CCP, save for the initial placing of the slide: getting the gas piston into its home channel is a bit of a pain in the ass, but once done, the rest goes smoothly. (You don’t need a tool like the original M1 CCP.)

Walther_CCP-M2-Black_BA_5080500

The CCP in .380 is much easier to shoot and much, much more pleasant than its bigger 9mm brother. You get the small number of rounds in the same size and weight package, so if you want power — the CCP in 9mm’s a better choice; it you want comfort, go with the .380.

So, in conclusion: I really like the feel of the new CCP in the hand, and it is a pleasant companion to shoot. It would make a decent CCW pistol for everyday carry due to the light weight and small size, but I think regular practice will be necessary to get proficient with follow-up shots. I don’t think it will replace my PPK anytime soon, but — for me, at least — it’s a better choice than the PPS.

Your mileage may vary.

(Yes, I realize the PPS shown above is an M1… SCR)

WALTHER CCP M2 .380 Pistol

The newest offering from Walther for concealed carry is the CCP chambered in .380. This makes it a direct challenger to the venerable PPK/S handgun. The original CCP was in 9mm.

Walther_CCP-M2-Black_LA_5080500

The CCP, however, uses a delayed gas blowback system similar to that of the old Heckler & Koch P7 to mitigate recoil (what they call the SoftCoil system.) This allows a fixed barrel which gives the pistol good accuracy and control. The magazine takes eight rounds. Thedownside to an otherwise excellent package is the long trigger pull and reset. For those used to some of the modern handguns, and especially Walther’s superlative triggers on the PPQ and Q variants, it’s loooooong and makes for slower follow up shots, or more jerky ones, affecting accuracy. Operation is flawless with most types of ammunition.

The pistol is well designed to fit the hand and is almost as comfortable as the PPQ (maybe more so for smaller hands.) The grip is textured for decent grip, and is a bit taller in the grip than the PPK/s, otherwise they are almost the same size. The CCP also has a curious take down system due to the gas system, requiring the shooter to push on the plate over the striker and flip a small switch to allow the pistol to be taken down. Putting it back together is a bit tricky at first, trying to line up the piston to its seat.

Walther_CCP-M2-Black_BA_5080500

Fired side by side, the .380 version has almost no recoil and is easy to handle, as well as slightly lighter. Size-wise, they are almost identical save for a hair’s lighter frame for the .380, with an 8 round magazine for both. Shooters will notice after extended time firing (30+ rounds on the 9mm, 50+ on the .380) that the frame gets quite warm directly above the trigger finger — where the gas pistol is positioned — much like the old H&K P7.

PM: +1   S/R: 2   AMMO: 8   DC: E   CLOS: 0-3   LONG: 9-12   CON:-1   JAM: 99+   DRAW: +1   RL: 1   COST: $400

GM Information: The 9mm version has the same specifications as the .380.

(The trigger on the new CCP isn’t gritty or heavy, but it is long, with a tragically long reset that is vague and unlike the other Walther products, not audible. Otherwise, it’s an accurate little shooter with very mild recoil and an easy slide to manipulate for weak or arthritic hands. SCR)

Despite hectic and sometimes crushing schedules, The Sublime Porte, our guide to 1930s Istanbul is moving toward completion. The game book will be available for Ubiquity and Fate, both in print and PDF.

Here’s a taste:

IstanbulStreets7

I didn’t want the same ol’ for the Alien game we’ve been playing so after peeping through the interwebz, I came on this lovely:

lucas_orstrom_02

Introducing, Honest Mistake

The U.S.C.S.S. Honest Mistake is an older Ostrrom M305 G-Class Transport. With a length of 55.2m, a beam oof 34.6m, and a draught of 28m, she has two main crew decks (A and B), and a vehicle bay/cargo bay (capable of 10 tons of cargo) on C Deck. The M305 uses vectored thrust nacelles for planetfall, and a fusion pulse drive in the main hull. Honest Mistake has an uprated FTL drive that gives her an FTL rating of 12. The standard crew complement for the class is six crew, but the airscrubbers and galley can accomodate 10. The cre accomodations are minimal, with hot swap bunks for the off-duty crew, and only a single cabin for the captain. There is a Type 337 EEV for evacuation, and a medbay that can be repurposed for basic scientific missions. The ship’s operations are overseen by an upgraded Seegson METIS artificial intelligence system, replacing in the old APOLLO system.

Additionally, Honest Mistake boasts two nose-mounted light railguns and an external bay for eight Short Lance ASAT missiles to complement the modified drone deployment system, which is now used to dispense sensor decoys in combat. The ship is commanded by Richard Dunn, a retired Weyland-Yutani ship officer, now independent. The three-man crew is also aided by an older Weyland Series 12 gynoid, Stella.

Game Stats: HULL: 5, ARMOR: 5, FTL: 12, SIGNATURE: 0, THRUSTERS +1