Interstellar Rescue

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Some notes and resources for the Mindjammer game of interstellar rescue.

Game Aspects

These are applicable to the campaign as a whole.

  • There's always someone who needs rescue.
  • Words speak as loudly as actions.

Olkennedy culture

For generating Olkennedian natives as player characters, use the following as culture Aspects:

General

  • Reeling from Disclosure
  • Fivers have wide support
  • Destiny is in the stars
  • Power of the mind
  • Machines will take over

Subcultures

Anatomy of a rescue scene

A rescue has four main components. Using the idea of the Fate Fractal (aka the Bronze Rule), and of these can be Aspects, Obstacles, or fully active "characters", depending on the situation.

  • Victims are the people in danger who need rescuing. The victims may also be things (such as technology or artworks). When the victims have been destroyed, the rescue is a failure. When the victims are safe, the rescue is a success. Victims can act in a scene, either to help or impede the rescuers.
  • Hazards are things that make the situation dangerous but don't act themselves. They can hinder progress, require extra actions to remove, or be represented by barriers between Zones. Examples include broken ground that impedes movement, sparking electricity that causes Stress, and a crowd of onlookers.
  • Threats are the active, malevolent forces that are out to make the situation worse. They could be the heat and flames of a fire, or the rolling, choking smoke it produces. Threats have active skills, often Attack victims or rescuers, and set out to exploit vulnerabilities. Threats also have stress and consequences, to handle actions taken to eliminate the Threat.
  • Vulnerabilities are things that aren't going wrong yet, but could do soon. A vulnerability could be the air ducts that could take the fire from one part of the complex to another. Threats can act to exploit vulnerabilities.

Very often, Victims and Threats go together: the Victim is a person or thing that needs to be saved, and the Threat is the agent or injury trying to destroy them. For instance, a Victim could be a ZIP generator containment field, and the Threat be the unstable ZIP core trying to escape; or the Victim could be a person in a vehicle crash, and the Threat be their intercranial bleed trying to kill them.

Rescue actions can be directed at a Threat (to stabilise the situation) or a Victim (to buy time). Attacks against a Threat will eventually defeat it; Overcome and Create Advantage could degrade its skills or set up Aspects for later use. Actions directed at a Victim will often be to reduce Stress, or to bolster a Victim's ability to defend against future insults by the Threat.

Stress recovery

You can remove Stress and Minor consequences in Victims in short time frames in rescue scenes. This essentially buys you (or others) time to eliminate a Threat or evacuate a Victim.

Use Rapport to remove mental stress, Medicine to remove physical stress, and Technical to remove System stress.

Roll the skill against a difficulty of Mediocre (+0). Every two shifts allows you to heal one level of Stress box. For instance, two shifts allows you to clear a 1-point stress box, four shifts allows you to clear a 2-point stress box, and six shifts allows you to clear either a 3-point stress box or both a 1-point and 2-point stress box. You can also use four shifts to clear a mild consequence. Moderate and Severe consequences can't be healed on this timescale.

Skills useful for rescue

Many of the standard Mindjammer skills and stunts are useful in rescue situations. For this game, I've split Medical out of Technical, and combined Melee combat and Unarmed combat.

  • Intrusion can get you where you want to be in a scene, moving through obstacles like rubble or wedged-shut doors.
  • Athletics can also help move around the scene, and can be used in combination with Physique to move people or pieces of scenery around.
  • Notice is about you being aware of what's going on around you, and picking up on developments as the scene progresses.
  • Investigate allows you to search a scene, either to identify the control panel you need or just to find the scared little boy hiding in the wardrobe. It's often the skill you use first, when you're trying to understand a scene and put limits on what you have to deal with.
  • Medical treats injured people, and prevents situations getting worse.
  • Technical lets you use rescue equipment and change the rescue scene, such as venting smoke from a burning building.
  • Science and Knowledge let you understand the scene, identify dangers and Vulnerabilities, and what would trigger them.
  • Empathy and Rapport help you deal with the people in the scene, understanding their needs and motivations and then getting them to do what you want. Those people could be the victims in the scene, the bystanders, or the inept managers trying to cover their failures. Provoke can sometimes be more useful!
  • Bureaucracy can get organisations doing what you want. It's also useful for organising and managing your own assets, making sure you make effective use of what you bring to the rescue. (Use at the start of a rescue to Create an Advantage "Well prepared.")
  • Will is what gets you through the nights afterwards, as you relive the rescue and go over what happened and what else you should have done.

New skill: Medical

For rescue operations, medicine is important, so it's split out from the Technical skill. Use this writeup.

Medical

Medical represents your ability to understand, assess, diagnose, and treat organic beings and synthetics. It allows you to initiate recovery actions for your patients (MindJammer p. 154).

  • Overcome: Assess and treat organic beings and synthetics.
  • Create an advantage: Most often used for diagnosis (creating an Aspect to represent your understanding of the condition), or to represent preparation for a medical task.
  • Attack: Rarely used directly in attack actions (except for the staple of pressing a drug injector to someone's neck), but can be used for the extended Threat/Victim approach above.
  • Defend: Rarely used for defence actions, except in the extended Threat/Victim approach, when you can use your medical expertise to "take one for the team", protecting a Victim from a Threat. Expect to take mental stress if you fail, however.

Stunts

  • Trauma surgeon: +2 when acting against an injury Threat.
  • Emergency medicine: +2 when healing stress in a Victim.
  • Improviser: ignore first two points of penalties for inadequate equipment, different tech level, different scale, and so on. 
  • Psychologist: use Medicine in place of Empathy to read a person's personality-based Aspects or predict what they will do next.
  • Psychiatrist: use Medicine to heal mental stress in a Victim, often using drugs like sedatives. 
  • Diagnostician: generate an extra free Invoke when creating advantage with Medicine
  • Anaesthetist: +2 to Medicine when patient has major or severe physical injury type consequence. 

Technical

The Technical skill no longer has the Meditech stunt: use the Medical skill instead.

Player Characters

Nakato

Olkennedian Omianto

  • High Concept: Obsessive security infiltrator
  • Trouble: Can't leave a sealed room unchallenged

Gerard va Cxoi

Commonality human

  • High Concept: Strong-headed doctor
  • Trouble: Leave no-one to suffer

Blue Sigma

Commonality mechanical

  • High Concept: I can do anything
  • Trouble: No verbal filter

Kwame

Olkennedian Van Kuvrai

  • High Concept: It's all about who you know
  • Trouble: Someone has to do it, right?

Rescues

Media inspirations

Other inspirations