(Continued from Part 4.)

Blue Heaven

The crew of the Valkyrie had just barely escaped a planet being overrun by the Infected (humans transformed and turned mindless by the alien species known as the Vruex). Harook and Galahad were injured, and they still had a way to go before their final destination, so they decided to rest up and restock.

The closest refuge was Blue Heaven, a space station famous for catering to the rich. However, like any space station out of Central Government control, it was filled with criminal activity. Those who arrived may not notice, blinded as they were by the lights of the hotels and casinos where white collar criminals, bureaucrats, and celebrities alike all schmoozed. Meanwhile, in the streets right next to the wonder and splendor was the seedy underbelly. Grifters sold stolen art, pickpockets found tourists, and con men took advantage of addicts to make a quick buck.

Space Station dreamed up for Playboy and Virgin Galactic

Thomas Tenery/Playboy Enterprises

While the mega-corp businessmen and women patrons gave the satellite an air of legitimacy, the truth was that the neon lights only served to blind the truth: Blue Heaven was just as rotten as Kingdom Come, but for a higher class of criminal. Which only meant higher stakes.

Losing a Knight

It was here that Galahad asked to be dropped off. While he respected Harook, the ship doctor, for helping to heal the injuries the knight had sustained in the town, he wasn’t exactly pleased the rest of the crew had abandoned the folks in need.

He believed that with the help of them, he could have saved them. Once they arrived at the space station, Galahad wished them all good luck before walking off into the crowd.

It would look something like this. Art by Sperasoft Studios

The Rest of the Crew Hangs Out

Yana also chose to get off here, but only temporarily.

“I have a couple of things to take care of and some people around here who may be able to help with it. Don’t wait up!” she winked.

Considering her job, this seemed like the kind of place that would have people rich enough to cater to her services. The crew wasn’t interested too much into prying into the details. 

Harook decided to stay in his lab and study the details of the hand he had obtained from Whitaker 7. Galahad’s warning was ominous, but it also served to stoke the fires of curiosity within Harook’s scientific mind. Unfortunately, such moods of passion could at times be temporary because of the side effects from being bonded to mold. He decided to take advantage of this period of motivation before the mold’s passive stoicism took over. 

Brian shrugged. He had no need to stay on the ship. It was time to explore this place. He had heard a lot about it.

The Victorian Section

He wandered the fake cobblestone streets lit with lanterns. They emitted a light like gas lamps, but of course, they weren’t. The owners of Blue Heaven gave various sections a theme. This section was supposed to have an air of Victorian class. On the main path, it very much had that.

However, walk into any one of the many dark alleys, and a visitor would find themselves walking out of a Charles Dickens’ novel and into a Jack the Ripper one. Newcomers coming for the spectacle turn a wrong corner and often find themselves spied upon, pick pocketed, or conned. And for those who couldn’t afford the lavish casinos, and can avoid the cheaters, there was a buck to be made at back alley games.

The Wanderers and the Hunters

It was on these streets that Brian ran into a strange pair of travelers looking for an outgoing ship. One was named Ludovico, a blue-skinned Sartha holding a little personal computer where he made calculations while speaking oddly. With him was a treasure hunter named Dinnae. Brian observed them playing a street game to get the funds to leave.

Gambling House by Gediminas Einikis

The game was a simple affair with three cups and a ball on a table. The bank player put the ball under one of the cups and arranged them around his table. His hands were certainly quick but Dinnae had a quick eye. She picked a cup.

“Great job, my lady. How about I increase the speed and the stakes?” He pressed a button on a console next to the table with the pot and they watched it increase.

Dinnae gave a quick glance to Ludovico. “Sure.”

She didn’t have a lot more, but she put it in any way. Once again, the ball was placed under a cup. Even faster this time, they were rearranged.

Ludovico’s Talent

Meanwhile, Ludovico had scanned the table. It had a mechanical component and emitted some sort of radiation. Overall, he had to admire the sophisticated setup for a simple con game. This way the banker could manipulate it without touching it. Ludovico would expect nothing less from another Sartha. They were famous for their skill with technology and their ability to keep secrets. With a few buttons, he admitted some counter-radiation to disrupt whatever it was the machine was supposed to do. Sartha also had light mind-reading abilities, so he made sure to try to shield his own mind.

A good example of what Ludo’s PDA would look like. Art by Ian Llanas

Dinnae waited longer in thought this time. She wanted to give Ludovico enough time to do whatever it is he usually did with technology. When she was satisfied, she picked one.

Conning the Con Man

“I’m sorry, my dear. But better luck ne- Wait, what? I mean, most impressive. Truly, you are skilled. One more time perhaps?”

Dinnae smiled. Her eyes were pretty quick. As long as he didn’t get the chance to cheat, she figured she was good. However, she had already bet all she could.

“Um…. nope! I think I’m good. Money, please!” She held out her hand.

The Sartha coughed. “Haha well, you see, you are the first people I have played with tonight and I do not exactly have a lot on me…”

Dinnae’s eyes narrowed. “You really thought you’d win, didn’t you? Look, you’re going to have to give us something. We need the money to get off this ball of glitter they call a satellite.”

The con man laughed nervously. “Well, you see… Haha. I can’t exactly help out with that at the moment. However! As it happens to be, I read the minds of many powerful women and men who pass through that street. Unaware of my presence in this alley, they let their mind wander at times. Perhaps I can help you out with some information instead?”

Ludovico’s Dream

Ludovico kneeled forward slamming his two hands on the box with the cups on it.

“Yes! Yes! Aha! At last, perhaps you can help. For you see, I am on the hunt for a Philosopher’s Stone. But not one that turns lead into gold, no, no sir, for this one’s ability is greater. So much greater.” He leaned in close as if whispering a secret, but even from across the street Brian could hear it. “Flesh into machine.”

“I’m afraid not, sir. I have also heard of that, but it is only a myth. You must have been told this before?” The con man said incredulously.

“Lies! All lies! Cover ups and conspiracies. What do you know? This is where secrets congregate, or so I have heard. Any little information helps.” Ludo shook him. “You owe us.”

Brian watched the whole scene unfold wondering if Ludovico was all there.

Dr. Sigmund Velzen

“Ah. Yes, of course. Hm. Well, perhaps, there is one thing. There is a professor from one of the capital universities, a Dr. Sigmund Velzen, I believe, I want to say theoretical physics and engineering? He was laughed out of his tenured position, and all of the academia, for holding some crackpot theories. He studied the Ink, he believed it had properties that still had to be unlocked. Maybe… that?”

Ludovico let the man go and smiled brightly. Humans often say Sartha smiles can be unnerving, but Brian felt that this was a special case. The gambling man continued. “Or, perhaps, he was just as crazy as you are. The stuff is poison when applied directly. Don’t raise your hopes up. It may have just driven him mad. But his research may lend a clue.”

Ludovico let the man go and hurriedly made notes in his palm computer.

Based off SimCity, owned by EA

Obtaining More Skills

Dinnae was more disappointed.

“Look, I appreciate you tagging along and helping me find artifacts but I have to be honest Ludovico, I don’t think it really exists. Anyway,” She shook her head. “The important thing is we have useless information and no money.”

Ludo seemed to be half paying attention while he keyed things into his palm computer. “Yes, yes, and I appreciate you helping me on my search. You do seem to be quite talented on “finding” things. With your intuition and my brain, we’ll have the Stone in no time, Dinnae. Don’t worry.”

Brian saw an opportunity. They did have more money now for additional crew members, especially if they succeded on this next delivery and made it back to

“I couldn’t help but hear that you guys are looking for a form of interstellar travel. If you’re willing to work, we could use some people with your skills. An engineer/hacker, and… ” he trailed off while looking at Dinnae.

“Treasure hunter.” She smiled.

Brian nodded and shook their hands. A crew liked them who worked on a budget could use a good scavenger. He brought them back to the ship and introduced the rest of the crew to their new members.

Making Friends and Maybe More

Harook stayed in his lab and Elias gave a grunt nod. Parvus was the first to actually help them bring in their things and give a warm welcome. He introduced the two to Marvus who helped them setup their room. Dinnae was happy to find some more friends to travel space with.

Yana said a quick hello but seemed distracted. She asked them if they knew the Dorel Ben Shi dialect on some Atramency papers she had and when they said no, gave an exasperated sigh.

“I have to check on some old friends who can help me out with something. I’ll just rent a shuttle. No need to hold up the mission. I’ll meet you at the Kogim colony… Oakenhowl, right?” She barely paid attention to their affirmative response, too busy packing her things. She gave a flash of a smile before leaving.

And with that, they took off to their next destination.

Dinnae was happy to find some more friends to travel space with. Ludovico barely noticed the acknowledgments. He was most interested in the specs of the ship and the computer.

“Hello, Valkyrie.” Ludo said while typing on his computer. “Surprisingly advanced for such a simple model. How exquisite.”

“Hello. Who are you?” The ship’s computer responded.

“Ludovico. A Sartha hacker. You are already quite beautiful, but… with some tweaks, I believe I can make you better. Would you be okay with that, Valkyrie?”

“Improvements are acceptable. But I suggest any system upgrades be postponed until any nearby danger has passed. Sensors detect incoming objects.”

A New Threat in Space

Up to this point, the crew had tried to ignore his flirting with the computer, but this perked up their attention. Thousands of objects flew at them. No, not at them. Past them. They were unbelievably fast. Once they appeared on visual, Valkyrie showed them: giant winged insectoid looking creatures with two sets of silvery wings, legs that were all blades ending in points ignoring any need for aerodynamic, and long pointed, silver stingers. The rest of them were jet black, camouflaging with the space behind it.

I don’t have a picture of the whole insect but here’s a cool insect wing.

The creatures flew by ignoring the ship’s presence. Still, the warning alarms blared.

“Captain, hull damage detected on sections 1, 6, 8. Extreme damage on section 3, with increasing danger of full breach.”

The wings and legs of the creatures were sharp enough to cut huge gashes in the side of the ship. Every now and then one would get stick in the ship before ripping itself out to fly free with the rest of its swarm.

How to Prove Yourself

Brian immediately went to go put on a space suit and attach it to a line.

“Wait!” called Ludovico. “Let me help. I’ve repaired worse.”

“Fine. Hurry up and put on a suit!” Brian pointed the way, but Ludo had already memorized the ship schematics and was halfway there.

Dinnae helped them put on the suits, attach the lines and activate the magnetic boots. She then watched from the inside and got her own space suit ready in case they needed the help. Or worse, there was a full breach.

Ludovico repaired the ship while Brian deflected what Silver Flies from their new engineer that he could. At one point, one of the creatures cut up the line that attached Ludo to the ship.

Like in that one movie… (Gravity, Warner Bros.)

Brian launched off and grabbed him before he could fly out into the cold, infinite space. Dinnae reeled them in as fast as she could before Brian’s line could get cut, too.

“If that’s enough to repair it, we should get out of here!” She yelled at them through the comms. While she reeled the two in, they looked out and saw something coming from the direction that the space insects flew from. It was large. And something about it disrupted their radar sensors, in such a way that it appeared a thousand ships were approaching.

“Oh no,” Brian said.

An Old Threat Returns

As soon as Dinnae pulled them inside the ship, Brian got up as quickly as he could. She helped him up and tried to help him out of his suit. His hand stayed hers.

“Don’t. Keeps yours on, too. Valkyrie, warn the crew. We can’t complete the repairs. Get the crew to put on their suits.”

Captain Elias locked down what he could on the ship. Brian trudged through the ship knocking on doors, telling them to put on their space suit and keep everything locked.

Meanwhile, Ludo had remembered something he had detected while scanning the ship. He ran down to the cargo hold, threw off a blanket. There it was – the mech. It was even more beautiful than its passive energy signature would suggest.

He did a couple quick scans to figure out how to unlock it. It wasn’t too difficult, a lot of the simple locks were the same. He entered it. It was time.

The Space Whale apparated out of thin space right next to the ship, using its momentum to aid its massive jaws in taking a bite. Already weakened, huge chunks were ripped out of the ship. It caused an oxygen leak. Luckily, everyone was safe. Small objects got sucked out of the whole, along with the bullets from Brian’s gun as he shot at the beast.

The Sacrifice

It turned around.

Aimed towards Brian.

It was too quick, the ship too slow.

The whale’s mouth opened.

That’s when Ludo fired the mech’s jets into the hallway. It pressed every button the machine had. Rockets, grenades, at least 4 machine guns. It lit up the darkness of space like fireworks in a night sky.

“Yessss!” yelled Ludo triumphantly.

That’s when the beast once again appeared out of nowhere and took a chunk out of the ship and the mech suit in a single bite. Ludo even felt its fangs rip chunks out of his body. He began to wonder what was blood and what was oil from the broken mech suit as it all mixed together. He couldn’t help but think that it almost looked fake. Well, if he’s going to die he may as well make it good.

As the beast made another turn, Ludo flew towards it. Dinnae and Brian fired behind him with everything they had. The sartha ejected himself from the suit at the last moment, trying to kick away from it back towards the ship while holding his breath in the vacuum of space. Once again, Brian caught him. Dinnae brought an extra space suit. He woke up with the two around him. And at last, being able to breathe.

Imagine floating in a damaged spaceship stuck in a spacesuit until it arrives. It probably looks something like this.
Derelict Spaceship by Hakob Minasian.

Aftermath

Meanwhile, the space whale didn’t seem to find the explosive weapons in the mech suit nearly as appetizing. While it didn’t look too injured, it also didn’t appear to be particularly pleased with its latest meal. The poor creature shook its head in disgust before flying back towards the silver flies.

Ludovico looked around at the half destroyed ship. He watched as all the supplies not tied down or locked up flew up into space. From the ground of the spaceship, tied down in his space suit, he could look up and see stars. Or was it the lights of the ship reflecting off blood and oil. It was difficult to tell.

“I don’t think I’ll be able to repair all this without the proper supplies or time,” He said matter-of-factly.

Brian laughed. “I’m the soldier. You know these were literally made for us moditians to use in combat. You should have let me use it. Also, I’d hate to bring it up now, but that was kind of our collateral for a deal we made with the mob.”

Ludovico shrugged. “There was no time.”

“You just met us.” Brian shook his head.

“Yeah… Maybe I am kind of crazy.”

Dinnae couldn’t help but smile. She just joined the crew and already had bonded with them all in that way you can only do in near death experiences.

“Thanks for letting us join.” She beamed.

Kogim Colony Bound

Elias wasn’t nearly as happy and grimaced at his half-destroyed ship with the huge hole in it. “Set a course for that god damn kogim colony, Valkyrie. Slowly. Let’s finish this drop-off. Until we arrive in an atmosphere, any crew not out here on the bridge in a space suit already or repairing something is to stay in their locked and sealed rooms.”

The rest of the crew gave a half-hearted response affirmative. Valkyrie limped off towards the set coordinates.

The Kogim colony they are heading to would look something like this. Art by Mike Mars.

(The adventure continues in Part 6.)


Crew Aspects

An important part of FATE is the aspects that each character is given. Here is the PC crew members as of this time and their aspects. Hopefully, these examples will help other new players to FATE imagine what a good aspect to be. I included DM notes about some of these aspects in order to provide further help.

The first aspect will always be the high concept. The main concept involves your basic character concept distilled to a short phrase. You can include their species (if applicable), career, title, etc. What your character would define themselves as. What they do.

The second aspect will always be the character’s trouble. These could be inner struggles, such as Love for the Bottle or Anger Management Issues or Hero Complex, or they can be outer conflicts that dog your character or they will be sure to run into. The former types of aspects are great because they can help define your character’s personality and make them interesting (and easier) to roleplay. The latter types of aspects are also great because the relationships that define that trouble to other people or organizations will aid in building the story, provide NPC’s for the GM, and provide cool situations for the character to spotlight in.

Players should think of these two main aspects of their character together. They should build on each other to create a well-rounded character. A lot of the aspects can be improved and will be as the campaign goes on.  So keep in mind that if you are in a FATE campaign, it’s okay to refine the character as the players and GM learn more about how the game works.

PC Aspects:

Captain Elias Ironside
  1. Space Pirate “Captain Ironside” 
  2. In Debt w/Some Bad People (we later determined it to be a criminal organization called The Black Hand)
  3. Fragile Bonds
  4. Found My Bloody P.I.
  5. Didn’t I do a Job With You? (if an aspect seems to general, it is good to think about who it would not apply to. in this case, this aspect can be used on most people in the criminal world, but there are definitely people that Captain Elias would NOT have done a job with. It can also be compelled against him, such as if he is trying to stay hidden and someone from a past job recognizes him.)
Brian Arngrim
  1. Moditian Ex-Soldier Private Eye
  2. Pacifist / Aversion to Violence (I could compel this better…)
  3. “The Squad Slayer” (a title that others would refer to Brian as. it refers to him killing his own squad. it can be compelled for the obvious references to the PTSD that would cause or the infamous reputation of doing such a deed, but it can also be invoked for the uncontrollable berserker rage that Brian’s player wants the character to have because this title was gained during a moment in his backstory when he had that rage)
  4. Harook is my Favorite Doctor
  5. No Man Left Behind (this is an example of a great aspect that can be easily invoked for a bonus, such as when the character wants to go back to save someone, or compelled by the GM to cause complications, such as if someone, even an NPC, gets left behind and Brian is forced to shove himself into danger to save them.)
Yanamari Seshati
  1. Survivalist Call Girl
  2. Lost Family (this is her character’s central goal, and it’s one that can easily conflict with the goals of the group or bring other enemies or groups down to bear on them. It’s a great Trouble that skirts the edges of both a personal trouble and relationship one.)
  3. A Change of View (some of these aspects imply other parts of her backstory the player wanted to keep secret from others for story purposes, so I decided to let them be more vague than they normally would be)
  4. Siren’s Song (this implied her ability to calm down Brian when he gets into a berserker rage, but could probably also be applied to others. I Could do a better job at telling her to be more creative with using it to pacify or lure others.)
  5. A Debt to be Paid (I don’t exactly remember what this aspect means and what it can be invoked or compelled with, which means it can probably be improved)
Harook
  1. Rogue Scientist/Doctor
  2. Rejected from Tribe (we decided also implies he’s seeking one)
  3. Bonded with Sponge (Because Harook is trying to cure his sponge bond and it can often cause him to become inert and ignore the world, this is also a great trouble. This and the actual one above are basically interchangeable. The official trouble he picked makes a good character motivation that can bring them into trouble so we decided to keep that as the main one)
  4. “Not the Kogim, Never Again” (the non-human races in this setting require an aspect to denote their race, sort of as a cost. this is a good one because it implies a certain respect for his species that can be invoked to help save or advocate for them, but can also be compelled to force him to do the same in bad situations)
  5. Getting High on My Own Supply (this is a great flexible aspect because it implies his horticultural expertise that allows him to make drugs, but can be compelled for obvious reasons)
Ludovico
  1. Eccentric Sartha Cyberware Savant
  2. Obsessed with Details
  3. “My reputation proceeds me”
  4. “This device looks familiar…”
  5. “I must succeed at all costs!” (as a talkative, oddball of a character, quotes make excellent aspects for Ludovico. Usually, I would encourage more variety, though.)
Dinnae
  1. Outer System Treasure Hunter (for humans, aspects that denote what part of the System they are from can serve as a good substitute for “racial” aspects)
  2. Wanted for Thievery
  3. Likely to Go Off and Find Valuables/Trouble (40/60) (a wordy aspect for sure but the idea is funny to me so I allowed it)
  4. Friends in Odd Places (implies the sketchy background of a thief but in a creatively worded way)
  5. “Let’s do it! What could go wrong?” (quotes usually make amazing aspects)

There is also Marvus and Parvus on the crew right now but they are NPC’s. Just from thinking of a personality for NPC’s, it can be easy to come up with aspects for them on the fly.