Monday, February 15, 2016

Mythos Space: Home Campaign Basics

Time to put your thinking caps on!
It looks like I will be running a campaign for Grit and Vigor at my local library. So as to get as much bang out of my buck, I will be running a Mythos Space campaign.
The setting of Mythos Space is a pulp science fantasy campaign inspired by comics such as Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, and the Cosmic Horror stories of the Cthulhu Mythos*, and sci-fi movies and television shows from the 1950s and ‘60s such as Forbidden Planet, Outer Limits, Twilight Zone, and Captain Video. The focus is on fun, horror and excitement rather than scientific accuracy. Crazy retro gadgets, weird creatures, sexy alien princesses (or princes), and tentacled aliens are all par for the course.
Space travel, ray guns and mankind spread across the stars is common knowledge and considered "normal" as far as Joe Average is concerned. But so is the existence of mind-shattering alien horrors, Deep Ones, Snake-People and all manner of weirdness. But most people try very hard to get on with their lives despite this.
*This includes material from H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, C.S. Moore, Robert Bloch, Frank Belknap Long, Henry Kuttner, and Fritz Leiber.

To read up on the setting, here is some material players can poke through:
The Empire of Tsan Chan (The Human Imperium).
Technology of the 51st Century (Part 1).
Space Battles (for Starships).
Bai Hu Sector (A region of space where the players will be poking around).

Making characters for Mythos Space is done in the same manner as standard character creation in Grit and Vigor. Most of the character options fit seamlessly into the setting. Even equipment and weapons is a possibility. Archaic weapons are available as well, as player characters will encounter primitive races in their travels. Below are some high tech weapons more in keeping with Atomic Rocket settings:

Ray Guns
Whether pistol or rifle, these tend to be bulky, ornate weapons with fins and strange bulbs, the barrels interrupted by disc-like protuberances. These come primarily in two varieties:
Laser Pistol, Mk 1: CAL 20, DMG 5d6, ROF 1, SHOTS 10 (Battery), RNG 300 ft, WT 2 lbs, Cost $50.00
Laser Rifle: CAL 50, DMG 6d6, ROF 2, SHOTS 10 (Battery), RNG 900 ft, WT 7 lbs, Cost $150.00

Humans predominate in the setting, but a number of other races are also available. Non-humans do not roll on the "Youthful Experience" chart at character creation, and can Dual Class if desired. Non-humans can multi-clas, but NOT dual-class.

"The Masters had ruled all space with an unconquerable iron fist. But the Masters were gone. And this new, young race who came now to take their place—could they hope to defeat the ancient Enemy of All?" -Masters of Space by Doc E.E. Smith and E.E. Evans
The human species of the 51st century are much like modern people, though distinct races are somewhat rare. Most people are of a Eurasian-Negroid race, similar in its appearance to the Ancient Egyptians. There are genetic holdouts here and there, with the more Asian looking peoples being seen as closer to the ruling caste of the Tsan-Chan Empire.
Culturally, mankind is as varied as they are in our universe, perhaps more-so. Within the Empire, the majority of mankind is thoroughly oppressed and frequently dehumanized to the point that any excuse to get out is taken, giving rise to a large number of energetic (and desperate) colonists.
Human player characters are created as standard player characters in Grit and Vigor. Within most corporations, and within Imperial Space, Humans are always considered full citizens. This doesnt mean that they recieve special treatment, but they do have full legal rights (if they have the money for legal aid).

"You don't know me, Mr. Cutler. You don't know anything about me. The thought that Dr. Link, my creator, my friend, is dead, saddens me to no end. And the thought that I may have killed him, even if by accident, is abhorrent to me. Do you understand? I do suffer. But unlike men, my face doesn't show my feelings. Now, please, leave me alone..." -Adam Link, The Outer Limits
Androids are sentient robots that resemble males, while gynoids are sentient robots that resemble females. They generally resemble streamlined, mechanical men and women though to what degree they are more mechanical or human is up to the player. Androids with a high charisma are assumed to be more finely made, possibly with polished exteriors or an Art Deco design aesthetic.
Robots and Androids tend to get muddled up in most peoples minds, though calling an Android a Robot is considered racist. Androids have rights as citizens more-or-less, but they often get treated as second-class at best. Android characters can often be found working in the oddest places, usually in dangerous or lonely positions such as miners, archivists and pilots.
Android or Gynoid characters modify their attributes as follows; Str +1, Con +1, Wis -1, Cha -1. They are constructs, and so are immune to poison and disease and need not breathe or eat. However they do not heal naturally but must be repaired using either the Electronics or Mechanics skill (GM's discretion), the results of which are the same as a Treat Injury roll. An electronics tool kit or mechanical tool kit are required. Androids suffer half damage from electricity, and have a natural armor class of 12. Androids and Gynoids can imbibe potions and receive the benefit of them.
Androids usually speak English and might know virtually any other language. They can advance to 8th level as Fighters, Scholars and Rogues.

"Some of 'em have queer narrow heads with flat noses and bulgy, starry eyes that never seem to shut, and their skin ain't quite right. Rough and scabby, and the sides of the necks are all shriveled or creased up. Get bald, too, very young." -H.P. Lovecraft, The Shadow Over Innsmouth
Gillies are humans with some degree of Deep One ancestry, but not enough to fully transform into a deep one. Alternately, maybe they would have transformed, but have been given genetic therapy to keep them mostly human; or the progression of their amphibious traits has slowed and they will not fully transform for decades to come. !ese characters may be partially or entirely covered with fine, flesh-colored fish scales that cause them to look exotic, though not necessarily ugly, or they may simply have the classic “Innsmouth Look” with somewhat bulging eyes and concealed gill slits in folds of skin on their neck. Some humans understand what these distinctive traits mean, and discrimination against these individuals is not uncommon.
Many Gillies can be found working as bio-technicians, Boojum tenders and colonists on watery worlds. Their familiarity and ever kinship with the technologies of the Old Ones make them excellent in these roles. For the most part, Gillies and even Deep Ones in the 51st century no longer worship Cthulhu, seeing him and the other Old Ones as overall threats to their own survival. The more religious of them usually revere the Elder Ones such as Bokrug or Yad-Thaddag.
Gillies are medium-sized creatures with a base speed of 30 feet. They are iron-thewed and rugged, and so add one point to their starting strength and constitution scores (max 18). Unfortunately, they are ugly and smell of fish, and suffer a two point penalty to their starting charisma score (min 3). All Gillies have a knack for swimming and suffer no penalties for operating in zero gravity.
Gillies are wonderfully observant, and enjoy a +2 bonus to all task checks involving sight. They can see up to 60 feet away in complete darkness.
Gillies speak English and Cthuloi. They might also speak Akkadian, Chinese, Dogon, Enochian, and any Austronesian or Papuan dialects. Gillies can advance in any class.

"For as he watched, Tu's face became strangely dim and unreal; the features mingled and merged in a seemingly impossible manner, Then, like a fading mask of fog, the face suddenly vanished and in its stead gaped and leered a monstrous serpent's head!" -Robert E. Howard, The Shadow Kingdom
The Ophidian Snakemen are an ancient, sorceress race that dwelt upon the Earth in ancient times, dating back to the Paleozoic era. They are snake-like humanoids, with scaly arms and a somewhat human-looking head. Lesser ophidians look somewhat more human (in bad light) that their sires and are incapable of reproducing. Many lesser ophidians will use a disguise or wear hoods to hide their true nature while among humans. Since they can often pass for human, they can often interact with humans without being noticed.
In the 51st century, the Snakemen are well integrated into human society. They have a long association with the Empire and are also well respected in the sciences. Not many people like them however, as they are a cold, hard-to-know people. And their reproductive cycle and eating habits are disturbing to other species.
Lesser Ophidians are medium-sized creatures with a base speed of 40 feet.
Lesser Ophidians are quick and graceful, adding one point to their starting dexterity score (max 18). Their lithe bodies and light frames, quick as they may be, are not particularly tough, so they lose one point from their starting constitution score (min 3).
Lesser Ophidians have darkvision to a range of 60 feet. They have a knack for search. They need only pass within 5 feet of small things to have a chance to notice them, even if they were not actively looking.
Lesser Ophidians receive a +1 natural bonus to Armor Class due to their scales. Lesser Ophidians have +1 save vs psychic powers. Finally, they have a +2 save vs poison.
Lesser Ophidians speak Common and Naacal. They might also speak Arabic, Chinese, Egyptian, Hellenic, Iranian and Vietnamese. Snakemen can advance in any class.

There are indeed a number of other species out there, but most are either rare on the fringe or SUPER WEIRD, and thus not good for player characters.

I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light
-- Henry Vaughan