One thing we’ve seen in the Alien RPG we’ve been running is that while rolling is more limited, high-stakes actions out of combat have been leading our characters to occasionally panic. This seems a bit overboard for the usual run of the mill “losing their shit” that people do under stress. We’ve all had these moments — you’re so frazzled you forget what you were doing or where that thing is, you suddenly develop dropsy, you snap at people, you hide in the bathroom for 30 minutes…

So here’s a more appropriate social/normal day panic chart. Adapt as needed/wanted:

Screen Shot 2020-04-02 at 09.27.53

 

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…

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

 

Some of the stuff the characters were toting in the game:

GRIZZLY HSW 6.5mm Riflef4

A high-end semi-automatic sniper and battle rifle, the HSW uses a high-speed, long-range armor-piercing round. The gun uses a 10 or 20-round magazine. 

Bonus: +1   Damage: 3   Range: Long   Weight: 1   Cost: $1200   Comment: Armor piercing

 CZ PDW-10-M 10MM machine pistol

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The CZ PDW-10-M is the military version of this 10mm machine pistol. It can be fired semi or full-automatic, has a30 round magazine, and rails for lasers (adds +1 bonus), and telescopic sights (range: long).

Bonus: +1   Damage: 2   Range: Medium   Weight: 1   Cost: $950   Comment: Full Auto

30 round magazine for 10mm cased ammo. Semi and full-auto settings. Rails for lasers (adds +1 bonus), and telescopic sights (range: long)

MATEBA PDR 10mm Revolver

5345364476_eb22dc8eb5_bThis revolver uses an electrically fired caseless 10mm round used by the Colonial Marines. These weapons have been popular with police services on Earth for handling issues with synthetics.

Bonus: +1   Damage: 1   Range: Medium   Weight: 1   Cost; $800   Comments: Caseless ammo.

This week, we picked up where we left off with the campaign-style adventure for the Alien RPG from Free League:

The characters, with the help of a pair of scientists and a synthetic (Stella 12) attached to the crew of Honest Mistake were investigating U.S.C.S.S. Cronus, a Weyland Corporation vessel missing for almost 80 years. This ship is the setting for the scenario Chariots of the Gods, which we played to test the system before attempting a campaign. They had learned the ship had put down on Luther Colony inthe GJ1256 system because of irreparable issues with the drive system, and that there was some kind of contagion aboard.

The characters moved aft from the bridge, having heard voices, and found the two hapless terraforming techs that had been dispatched from a nearby atmosphere processor, and another man (Cham, the roughneck from the scenario, and in our game, the undercover synthetic working for LaSalle Bionational. ) But not before they come face-to-face with the results of the denouement of our playthrough of Chariots: a bloodbath involving a woman who is terribly mutated, her head apparently mildly elongated, her eyes hazed over, and her limbs stretched and strange. She has been killed with a half dozen .45s to the torso and is clutching the helmet of the shooter, a redheaded woman going ripe who died when the helmet — torn from its suit — had cut her carotid artery. Another woman lies just inside the medbay, her skin turned slightly translucent, like the mutant outside, but nowhere near as turned.

The men have been searching the ship in compression suits and rebreathers. Cham, the last survivor of the U.S.C.S.S. Montero, has been trapped here for weeks. As for the contagion: the doctors of Cronus had come up with a vaccine to the disease that created the horror in the vehicle bay, but it wasn’t always effective, instead mutating the recipient, like Miller, his captain; and Clayton, the shot to Swiss cheese mutant and former corporate rep on Cronus. At that time, they get a warning from the bridge — the Weyland synthetic is active and has warned them about the rogue synth on the ship. they did very well on their observation tests and realized this was Cham, but not before he disarmed Max, breaking his trigger finger and nearly wrenching the helmet from his suit.

Wade, protecting his brother, gave chase and finally shot the android down with his Mateba 10mm. They then had to start piecing together the situation from Ava 6, the Weyland android, the notebooks of the scientists and a data core that had been gathered up by one of the Montero crew. They found two of these in a hidden EEV, still alive but in cryosleep. The ship had set down on 26 Draconis 𝛃 and had suffered some kind of infection from an archeological dig. The crew had taken aboard vials of some kind of fluid that seemed related to the disease and in an attempt to inoculate the crew ad cobbled together a vaccine that was only 90-95% effective. Stella and Ava, working with the scientists, Kumbe and Mignault, began working on an improved cure, while Wade, Jensen, and Pugh did a sweep of the ship for any more surprises. Jensen then began downloading what he could get out of the ship’s computer, while Wade and Pugh set the ship’s reactor to overload on a code typed in from any console. Honest mistake, meanwhile, buttoned up and waited — if things went awry they would take off and destroy the ship; otherwise, the landing party would set the ship to scuttle and get back aboard in time to get out of the blast radius.

Simple.

Except the spores, which Stella had surmised were some kind of nanotechnology, had infected one of the workers, Said. The two had been sequestered in the room with the medpods for the two or so hours the crew was doing their thing. While the characters were working, Said gave birth to a bloodburster, which killed Said’s partner, then escaped into the air vents. Stella burned the room to prevent any other issues, but with the creature loose, Wade went to get Jensen from the MU/TH/ER compartment on Deck A. The two men met at the forward junction, but before Jensen could climb down to B Deck, wade was grabbed by the juvenlie bloodburster, injured by its claws in the leg, but he was able to kick it off. Jensen opened fire on the critter and missed and the chase was on.

Max and Pugh were on their way to aid the screaming Wade when the alien attacked, knocking Pugh to the ground and doing the classic evil, slobbering grin schtick. Pugh tossed it off, Jensen had a clear shot by blew his stress roll and panicked, freezing up. Wade opened up on the thing, emptying his Mateba (this has become his thing, and it tied nicely with the Overkill talent he has). The creature was killed, but not before it did a tail stab on Max. I ignored the “automatic” head hit and had it impale him, instead. Slumping to the ground, Max was out of the fight. Wade’s shots sprayed acid all over the place and it melted Pugh’s foot, requiring Ava and Mignault to amputate, while Kumbe and Stella managed to save Max’s life.

While the scientists did emergency surgery on Max, Stella and Ava finished the vaccine for the 26 Draconis infection and gave it to the people exposed to the air — Wade and Pugh. We ended with Wade finding out Max would live. He, Pugh, and Jensen were all trying to rest — Jensen doing well with the drug addiction he’s picking up, and Wade from the alcoholism he’d already kind of had from play. Meanwhile, Pugh began to change as the vaccine turned him into an abomination. Wade had been dozing but realized something was wrong at the last minute…he was disappointed to find Pugh turning into one of the monstrosities, and turned on him.

With a “Aw, Pooch…” from Wade, we ended for the night.