A Science-Fiction combat RPG
Table of Contents
This game was copied from this website(Link broken). The original game used different game mechanics, in the form of the FUDGE® system, and I have adapted the game to use EGO®, a system of my own design. However, all of the background information is from the original text, and is copyright © 1997, John Harper and Jonathan Elliott. FUDGE is copyright ©1992 by Steffan OSullivan. EGO is copyright © 2000, Tom Doolan.
As is stated in the original introduction, and as can be plainly seen when reading the text, this game draws heavy inspiration from the Alien films, particularly the 2nd one, Aliens, and more recently from Starship Troopers. I also see a lot of relation to the now, sadly, defunct TV series, Space: Above and Beyond.
CHAPTER 1: BACKGROUND
THE FALL OF THE COLONIES
Once, there was a single Bug planet, far beyond Federation Space. Unchecked, the Bugs must have flourished there, by the billions, for unknown millennia.
25 years ago, Federation "seeder" ships from the Colony Belt found the Bug system, which was perfect for supporting human life. The colonists approached, unaware of any danger until it was too late. Without warning, the overwhelming psychic force of the Bug Hive Mind consumed the willpower of all the crews of those first Federation vessels. Their names live on in our memories: Republic, Emissary, Columbia, Mercury, Wayfinder, Pacific.
Once consumed, the Hive Mind used the crews expertise to send the ships on a return course back into the colony belt, loaded with Bug Warrior Drones. In smaller concentrations, the Hive Mind could no longer consume an entire fleet at once, but still they advanced, relentlessly, consuming unsuspecting outposts and transports. As the Bugs captured fleet grew, they returned again and again to their homeworld, loading larger vessels with drones. The tiny hyperspace slingshot brought by the first colony ships made this process a slow one.
Even so, the outer colonies fell in a matter of months. Space Force launched a counterattack, based on vague first-hand reports by survivors of an "alien menace." The first wave of Space Force vessels was consumed by the Hive Mind after only a brief exchange of fire.
Through psychic-control and careful deployment of its forces, the Bugs acquired an armed space fleet of roughly 50 ships. The remaining Space Force vessels were ordered to destroy all slingshots in the Belt with enough power to launch a ship back to earth. This they accomplished before being consumed, effectively creating a massive blockade against further spreading of the Bugs into human space. This artificial barrier, known as the Quarantine Zone, has remained intact for the past 25 years. No Bug-controlled vessels are known to have escaped the colony-belt in that time.
THE HUMAN TELEPATHIC FACTOR
The Federation Regency of Science has spent decades studying the Enemy and the consuming psychic-control of the Hive Mind. They have discovered, through rigorous experimentation, that the process is reversible if the consumed human is separated from the concentration of Bugs that consumed him or her. The individuals personality will resurface in time, though memories of the Hive experience seem to be totally lost, even to hypno-regression. In studying the Hive Mind effect, Federation scientists discovered the precise element that allows the Bug to Consume us: the Human Telepathic Factor.
All humans have some capacity for psychic transference. The human mind is constantly giving off and receiving a low-level stream of psychic energy, of which most individuals are not aware. Because of their unique collective-brain quality, the Bug species can focus its psychic force when gathered in large numbers. This force is much greater than the natural psychic threshold of a single human, allowing the Hive Mind to exert its influence. The human loses all willpower and individuality, while retaining most of its memories and skills.
Some humans, however, have a much greater capacity for psychic-transference. This capacity is known as the Human Telepathic Factor, or T-Factor. High T-factor humans are more resistant or totally immune to the Hive Mind. Humans with high enough T-factors can even psychically transfer their consciousness from one body to another, across any distance.
It is this ability that has allowed the Federation to build a space fleet to strike back at the Bugs. A fleet comprised solely of genetically engineered clone bodies, controlled by expert telepaths, immune to the effects of the Hive Mind. This fleet is known as Federation Space Task Force 9, or FORCE 9 for short.
Force 9 troopers are all clones of telepaths back on Earth. The clone bodies are simply lifeless hulks, until motivated by the telepath. While psychically linked, the telepath experiences the world as if he was the clone. The telepaths are given rigorous physical and mental training to make them the most effective fighting force in the galaxy.
When a trooper is killed in action, a new clone body is simply re-grown and shipped to the marines staging area, where the telepath once again takes control. Some new command frigates even have cloning facilities on board, making transition even easier.
Clone Death and Telepathic Shock
When a clone body dies, the controlling Telepath suffers a nightmarish experience that can mentally scar him or her or even lead to Psychic Death. Telepaths can willingly "disconnect" from their clone at any time. However, to reduce the risk of Telepathic Shock, the procedure must be done over a period of hours, as the telepath carefully severs the links to the clone form.
A FORCE 9 squad is made up of five enlisted men and one officer. One of the enlisted is a sergeant, the rest are usually corporals. The officer is a Lieutenant or a Captain. Its up to the players who gets what rank in the squad. If no consensus can be reached, play rock-paper-scissors or something.
Often, one PC will outrank the others. Since this is a fairly strict military-style game, that means that the lower-ranking PCs must shut their traps and hustle when orders are given. However, in most circumstances, direct orders will not be required. Regular group decision-making will still be the norm, but when the CO makes up his mind, thats it. No more room for argument. Good COs will learn to listen carefully to their troops before going off half-cocked, however. Too many screwed-up missions will bust you down a rank or two, so reign-in some of that ego.
FORCE 9 MISSIONS
The primary mission of Force 9 is to re-take the Human Colony Belt, which has been overrun by Bugs for 25 years. Consumed humans are to be extracted and removed to Earth for rehabilitation. The Bugs are to be killed until there are no more left to kill. No diplomats will be sent to negotiate treaties.
CHAPTER 2: FORCE 9 GAME SYSTEM (Modified)
In the original version, Force 9 used the FUDGE system. However, I have decided to replace that system with EGO (which I designed).
The EGO system uses four basic Characteristics:
Brawn Raw muscle and strength
Balance Agility and hand-eye coordination
Brains Intellectual power and capacity
Body Physical toughness; the amount of damage a character can take before dying.
These normally range from 2-12, but those limits are surpassed by the Space Marines. For each one of the initial characteristics roll 2d6+2, to reflect the superior capabilities of the Cloned bodies.
Each Characteristic will have a Die Rating based on the score of the Characteristic:
This Die Rating is used as a pool to perform a Characteristic test.
Skills in Force 9 use the normal level ranges for EGO. Space Marines, due to their rigorous training, automatically receive Hand-to-hand Combat, Gun Combat, and one other skill at 1 level for free. Thereafter, each Marine is given 10 levels to disburse among the various skills available. Each level represents a die that is rolled when checking the use of the skill. Additionally, each Skill has a related Characteristic. Add that Die Rating to the skill Rating to get the Characters Dice pool when using that Skill. Based on the difficulty of the task, a certain number of successes (5s or 6s) will be required.
Hand-to-hand Combat (Balance): Covers all close-quarters combat, both unarmed and armed. Brawn Dice are added to the Damage rating of weapons used in HTH combat.
Gun Combat(Balance): The use of small arms, from hold-out pistol to assault rifle.
Heavy Weapons(Balance): The use of weapons of mass-destruction, such as incinerators, grenades, and rocket launchers.
Gunnery(Balance): Covers the operation of crew-controlled weapons on board vehicles, including remote and turret-mounted weaponry.
Demolitions(Brains): The safe and effective use of explosives, including the ability to set and disarm mines and bombs.
Zero G Ops(Balance): The ability to maneuver effectively in low gravity environments as well as technical expertise with jet-packs and space-suits.
Stealth(Balance): The ability to hide, move silently, camouflage, and set ambushes.
Pilot(Balance): The ability to operate a particular class of vehicle, such as Ground Vehicles, Atmosphere Craft, Water Craft, or Space Craft. You may pilot an unfamiliar class of vehicle at -2 levels.
Survival(Brains): Knowledge of survival techniques in dangerous environments, including the ability to locate and catch food, construct shelter, and conserve resources.
Medical: This skill is primarily first aid and battlefield medicine, but at high levels it can represent the abilities of a skilled surgeon or medical researcher.
Technical(Brains): Knowledge of highly technical systems and information, such as electrical engineering, computer operation and programming, communication systems, and sensors.
Mechanical(Brains): Ability to maintain and repair complex mechanical devices such as firearms, vehicles, power-generators and robots.
Science(Brains): Advanced knowledge of a particular scientific field such as Bioengineering, Astrophysics, Hyperspace Theory, Alien Psychology, Xenobiology, or Psioncs.
FORCE 9 combat is very much like the standard EGO combat mechanics. For claritys sake, however, the system is described here.
Combat is fought in rounds, each of
which lasts 3 seconds of game time. During one round, a character
Make an attack
Change position (run somewhere, or get up, or jump behind cover, etc.)
Reload a weapon
Use a skill (like Medical on an injured companion)
Use a piece of equipment (like a scanner, welder, remote, etc.)
At the beginning of each round, the players decide who their characters are attacking. Then each side (Marines & Bugs) roll the appropriate number of Combat Skill dice. The side with the most successes (5s and/or 6s) wins and rolls damage to all targets hit. In the case of a tie, both sides take damage. If no one scores any successes, no one is hit that round.
The side(s) that scored hits roll the appropriate number of dice for the Damage Rating of the weapon used. Damage is assessed by totaling the dice rolls according to the following:
1,2 = 1 Body; 3,4 = 2 Body; 5,6 = 3 Body
If the character is wearing armor of any kind, the Armor Rating (AR) of the armor is subtracted from the total Damage roll, and the remainder is applied to the characters Body points. When they hit 0, they die. Bring in the next clone!
Example of Combat: Sgt. Capone is investigating a corridor. After clearing a doorway of webbing, he enters. He hears a hiss as two Spinners leap to attack. Because the Spinners are both attacking the same target, they pool their Combat Skills, giving them a combined CS of 6. Sgt. Capone is a veteran of many campaigns, and his skill with the M250 is high indeed (CS: 8). The Player rolls 8 dice (4,5,6,3,2,2,5,3=3 Successes). The GM rolls 6 dice (1,2,5,3,6,2=2 successes). Sgt. Capone scores! He rolls 6 dice for damage (4,2,5,3,6,1=12 points). His damage is enough to take out both Spinners (6 Body each). Two more wasted Bugs!
Wounds are healed with the Medical skill, or after time and rest. Every success on a Medical Skill roll heals 1 Body point. Wounds heal on their own at one Body point per day of rest.
Space Marines can move normally at 10 per round. When a character is walking carefully, as in watching for webs, movement is 5 per round. Sprinting allows a character to add +5 to his move per round for each success on a Brawn test.
As the characters fight and kill more enemies, they get better at what they do. To reflect this, Characters are given Experience Points (Exp.) based on their kills and their ingenuity.
For every enemy killed, the character gets a number of Exp. equal to the Body rating of the enemy.
For every successful use of a skill, the character gets a number of Exp. equal to his current skill rating x2.
The characters can use these experience points to learn new skills, improve existing ones, or improve Characteristics, all at the following costs:
|Learn New Skill||100 Exp. (Starts at 1d)|
|Improve Skill 1d||Current Rating x10 Exp|
|Improve Characteristic +1||Current Rating x50 Exp|
CHAPTER 3: THE BUGS
It is now known that the four types of Bugs encountered so far are actually the same organism that undergoes several metamorphoses during its life cycle (similar to an earth caterpillar).
STAGE ONE: The Spinner
Spinners are small (roughly 1/2 meter long) arachnids, with black fibrous bodies. They have the unique ability to spin monofilament from an orifice in their thorax. This monofilament is typically woven into dense strands that are used for the construction of webs and nests, or for wrapping egg sacks. The monofilament may also be laid out in extremely fine threads, which the Bugs use for traps. This mono-thread can slice through all kinds of ceramics, plastics, and metals.
Note: Bug monostrands are extremely fine and hard to spot. They require a Moderate Brains roll to notice. Coming into contact with monofilament does 4 Body in damage per strand (armor has no effect). A ship corridor or doorway is typically covered with up to d6 strands.
Dam: By Attack
Throw Webbing: Ensnares a human-sized target at 12 strength. Range: 30m. Spinners have enough webbing for two attacks like this.
Bite Attack: Damage: 4
STAGE TWO: Warrior Drone
After a four-month cocoon cycle, the Spinner emerges more than five times its original size, covered in an armored exo-skeleton, and bristling with piercing claws and rending mandibles. This is the Warrior Drone. Drones are roughly 2.5 meters long, weighing over 250 kilos, yet they can still outrun the best human sprinters. Their primary claws can rend through ceramic or titanium armor with ease.
Drones are fearless fighters, willing to sacrifice themselves by the dozens to protect egg-layers or territory. The Hive Mind link allows the drones to coordinate much better than human fighters, giving them a nearly flawless tactical ability.
Dam: By Attack
Claw Attack: Damage: 8 (if 4 of the CS Dice are 6s, target is Grabbed)
Rend To Pieces (only after Grab): Damage: 12
Tail Pincers (Can attack a target behind as a separate combat): Damage 6
Figure Out Simple Technology (how to open doors, use an elevator, etc.): 3
Figure Out Advanced Technology (read a scanner, use a comlink, etc.): 1
STAGE THREE: Winged Drone
After another four month cycle, the emerging bug is armor free, emaciated, and winged. Roughly 1.5 meters long, its wingspan twice that, the flier makes up for the lost sturdiness with a newfound speed. When facing a swarm of these fliers, the marine's best hope is to pray, for they can descend, tear a squad to pieces, and fly away before anyone knows what happened.
Primarily, the fliers attack in groups, as individually they are much less affective. These swarms are often labeled with the age old term "death from above", as their agility and erratic flight patterns make it nearly impossible to kill enough of them to reduce the swarm's lethality.
Dam: By Attack
Claw Attack: Damage:6
Winged Drones usually attack in swarms
of 6-10, preferring to have at least a 3-1 ratio on their
Flight: Speed: 30, Max: 60
STAGE FOUR: Egg Layer
No bug at this stage has ever been seen. Presumably because the droves of insects which must undoubtedly be protecting the lair, create enough of a hive mind effect to overcome even Force 9 marines.
Space Force scientists can only hypothesize about the nature of this bug. It is hoped that one day, a defense against the hive mind effect can be found, and that a live "queen" specimen can be obtained. If this were to happen, it could possibly lead to development of a poison which would kill larvae inside the eggs before hatching.
CHAPTER 4: TECHNOLOGY
M250 Assault Rifle
Fires 7.62mm explosive round. An electromagnetic charge accelerates the bullet, rather than a chemical reaction, allowing the weapon to function in vacuum or underwater. Unlike the VX-80 laser (below), the M250 is safe to use aboard starships, due to its relatively low penetration. Accepts standard MOD secondary weapon system (which may be a shotgun, grenade launcher, or incinerator -- designated M250-S, M250-G, or M250-I, respectively).
ROF: single / auto
Medium Range: 500m
Shotgun: 6 (area effect 1m)
Medium Range: 100m
Grenade: 9 (area: 5m)
Medium Range: 200m
Incinerator: 5 (area: 5m)
Medium Range: 100m
VX-80 "SABER" Variable-beam Laser Rifle
The beam on this laser weapon may be adjusted from a tight beam to a wide cone of light. The Saber is perfectly silent, making it ideal for covert ops.
Damage: 7* (1m area effect for each extra shot expended. Max: 4m)
Medium Range: 1000m
Capacity: 5 (recharges 1 per round when not firing)
*ignores armor/toughness and cover
MKII Fusion Incinerator
Rifle-like design with canister magazine of fusion material. Weapon projects a highly destructive spray of superheated plasma up to 40m. This weapon will work underwater or in a vacuum. A modular version (MKIIB) mounts to the M250 assault rifle.
Damage: 5 (area effect up to 10m) (target takes damage for 1d6 rounds)
Medium Range: 100m
P110 Marine Sidearm
10mm autoloader handgun. Like the M250, the P110 can fire underwater or in vacuum.
Medium Range: 250m
Ceramic-composite Armor: AR: 8
Non-composite Armor: AR: 5
FORCE 9 Troopers typically wear a suit of composite armor, though occasionally, the mission requires something different.
Web Disintegrator This aerosol spray will disintegrate Bug webbing or mono-strand on contact. Use liberally ahead of you when investigating previously Bug-controlled areas. Barrel-mounted and grenade-canister versions are also available.
Scanner This portable hand-unit
can be set to detect motion, heat, or electromagnetic signals. A
powerful and versatile device, the scanner depends largely on the
skill of the operator to correctly interpret the data it
provides. Make a Technical skill roll to read the scanner.
Complex or "loud" environments increase the difficulty
of this roll. The scanner requires two hands to use.
Effective Range: 100m
Comlink This multi-band communication system is usually built into a Space Marines helmet. Special cameras and displays in the visor allow video as well as audio communication.
Range: 20 miles (range unlimited w/ satellite uplink)
Note: Nuclear reactors, bad weather, or dense materials can degrade or interrupt a comm-signal.
Power Toolkit Good for battlefield repairs of weapons and equipment, spot welds, electrical work, or vehicle maintenance. The toolkit is roughly the size of a hardcover book.
Hand Comp A palmtop computer that can carry mission plans, technical readouts, or the Federation Encyclopedia. With a satellite uplink and a hyperspace radio, a hand comp can connect to the FEDNET information system back on earth. Hand comps can also interface with mainframe terminals and ship computers. The Technical skill is used to operate computers of all kinds.
AutoDoc The AutoDoc is a portable first-aid "robot" equipped with surgical lasers, antiseptic sprays, wound-stitchers, painkillers and other medical gear. The AutoDoc folds down to the size of a briefcase. Use of the AD in the field adds 1d to any Medical skill roll.
During the original War with the Bugs, Space Force developed a policy: No hyperdrive capable ships were to be sent into Bug-controlled regions of space, for fear that they would be Consumed and used against the Federation. To this end, the Slingshot was developed. The slingshot is a massive magnetic rail-cannon that is designed to accelerate small craft (6-10 crew) to hyperspace velocities, giving them a one-way ride to distant star systems.
Despite the Clone Marines' resistance to the Bug hive-mind, this policy remains in effect to the present day. It is common for "deep" missions to consist of a single assault boat, loaded with one squad of Marines, slingshot onto a [possibly] bug-controlled planet. If the marines can secure the site, a Hyperspace-capable vessel will arrive to retrieve them. If not, well... good luck next clone.
Several Bug-controlled solar systems have old Federation Intruder Defense Arrays (IDAs) as well. This system hurls asteroids at any hyperspace disturbances or unfriendly signals that approach the system. The only way to get in is to ride the slingshot to the Array (in total unpowered stealth-mode) and disable it so backup can arrive.
The slingshots themselves are kept as far away from Bug space as possible. If one of them fell into Bug hands, the Bugs could use it to fire their Drones onto Human worlds!