Metamorphosis Alpha: In Search of Adventure

Personal Log ZAN02: Grandpa's Are The Best

Personal Log of Zandor

It’s odd the things that pop in your head sometimes. My family has been hunters and trappers all the way back. My grandpa taught me to hunt and his grandpa him. I figure that in most hunter families you have two ways of hunting the fathers way and the grandpa and grandsons way. Now that’s not what popped into my head. What showed up while that medicaldroid was working on ole Jeb was a song my grandpa used to sing. He said you should always have something in your head. You don’t want to be wondering around with it empty. That’s dangerous. If your heads empty all manner of junk gets in there and distracts you. His solution to this was songs. Grandpa loved old songs especially the ones that had words he didn’t understand. Not made up songs, just old songs of the ancestors with words that he did’t quite grasp. I think this gave him hope for the future.

I don’t want a pickle
I just want to ride on my motor-cicle
And I don’t want a tickle
I’d rather ride on my motor-cicle
And I don’t want to die
I just want to ride on my motor-cy-cle

I’m not quite sure what brought these odd lyrics to mind. I’m not really hungry for a pickle and I have no clue what a motorcycle is. However, I am sure I don’t want to die and grandpa always said everyman can use a good tickle now and then. I should ask Hayseed if he knows what a motorcycle is. Three wolves down at least two to go.
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Personal Log JEB02: Whoopin' Stick Blues

Personal Log of Jebediah (Jeb)

The Ancients sure were a funny bunch. Turns out they lived in caves underground, all done up with glowing ceilings and cement ponds. Ol’ Jim is in hog heaven, but I ain’t too impressed. I got ahold of one of the Ancients‘s whoopin’ sticks thinking it’d even give Pa-Paw‘s hickory switch a run for its money. Turned out to be the most sissified whoopin’ stick I ever saw. The Ancients must have been a sorry bunch if that sent ’em scattering.

About the only thing worth a damn down there was our new friend, Hayseed. He’s a fella made of metal. At first, I figured he had metal clothes on, but nope, he’s metal straight through. He’s even got metal brains, which is probably why he’s kinda dumb. I imagine his brains overheat pretty easy. Still, he’s good people.

Hayseed‘s got a brother too, Medicaldroid. Medicaldroid is made of metal too. He’s also got four arms, like that Guardian Pines down in Habitat. But Medicaldroid ain’t a deputy; he’s a doctor. Matter of fact, first time I met him, he pulled out some ancient doo-hickey and cut all them ears and noses off of me! I still feel a little sickly, but Medicaldroid says I ain’t got the glow-sickness anymore.

I tell you what, them metal boys are first rate. When we get done fixing up the weather, I’m gonna take them out to the farm and have us a whoopp-it-up-tear-it-down kinda night. I know they’ll love Pa-paw’s liquor, since he adds a lot of lead to it.
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Session 02: Environmental Control Center

Ship Personnel

Personnel Location

Ship Log

STARDATE:2525.153
TIME:13:00

Jeb, Jim, Mister Pointy, and Zandor were not the only scouts sent from Habitat; four other groups were sent out. The northeast group was led by a true human named Willy, but the others were all mutants. While walking through the frozen Birnam Wood, they stumbled upon a flock of large birds with bright red plumage. The birds were starving… and were meat-eaters. They swooped in, killing a villager before the group even realized that the birds hunted with the Glow. The rest of the scouts fled, but the flock pursued. The men ran several miles and another died before the birds gave up the hunt. Exhausted and thirsty, Willy and the last mutant, Max, walked through the brush toward the sound of the Ranger River.

Through a break in the trees, they saw Jeb, Jim, Mister Pointy, and Zandor run across their field of view. Willy and Max hastened to catch up and arrived just in time to be attacked by the piercer chasing the other group. The mutant bear’s claws left deep furrows in poor Willy, who collapsed on the snow-covered ground. Refusing to leave his team-mate, Max spent several minutes battling the great beast with his spear. He was unable to land a telling blow and only the mutant human’s heightened dexterity saved him from Willy’s fate. When Max saw Willy breathe his last, he knew there was no point in continuing the fight. He carefully withdrew from combat, leaving the bear to his dinner. Max followed the footsteps of the other villagers into the hidden tunnel to the Environmental Control Center.

Unaware of Max‘s life-and-dead struggle, the explorations of Jeb, Jim, Mister Pointy, and Zandor in the entrance tunnel was described in the previous Ship Log. As they waited for Hayseed’s return, Jeb took a closer look at his new bracelet. Written across the surface was:
UWSC * 2290AD [] WARDEN * HOR

His limited mind grew very excited to think that there might be official whores on Warden.

The group was surprised and a bit disappointed when Max arrived. He was an unpopular man at the village; a failed Enginer apprentice, he was always spouting off about his apocalyptic beliefs. He believed that the Warden was not a planet but a doomed ship. A vessel under the control of a being only known as Al. Without human intervention, Al would crash the ship, killing everyone. These tales were similar enough to the concepts proposed by Hayseed that the group knew the droid would only encourage the madman.

Max appeared only moments before Hayseed returned. The droid brought guest badges for Jeb, Jim, and Zandor and informed the group that they would be held responsible for any damage done in the Environmental Control Center by their pets (i.e., Mister Pointy and Max). Jeb gave Hayseed his bracelet, explaining that he found it and wanted to know what it was. Hayseed told him that it was a horticulture access control color band and that he would return it to ship security. To Jeb’s dismay, the droid placed the bracelet into a secure compartment in his chassis.

Worried about the radiated moss before the entrance, the true humans asked Hayseed to carry them and Mister Pointy across. He did so without any ill effects. Max carefully examined the moss and then followed the others across without any robotic assistance. The moss glowed but did not burn him.

Once past the entrance, the party found themselves in a large clean, white hall illuminated by circular lights embedded in the ceiling. A few doors, smooth and without any handles, exited from the corridor. The corridor itself turned to the left after roughly 15 feet.

The villagers discussed their options with Hayseed and decided to investigate the Auxiliary Control Room which was located nearby. Hayseed led them forward and into a connecting corridor before walking up to the marked door for the control room. The door slid into the wall with a slight hiss and the party entered the room.

There were several chairs inside as well as desks with unknown equipment. Small dark windows were mounted on stands. Hayseed explained that from this location, he could maintain the level’s weather for up to 24 hours. The time was limited since the main control center was still in operation. Zandor asked for a map of complex and Hayseed activated the room’s equipment. The room was filled with a low hum and the dark windows lit up with information. A simple map of the first two levels was spit out of a slot into Hayseed’s hands. Detailed information about the third and fourth levels, containing horticulture laboratories and the transportation sub-system, was only accessible to authorized personnel.

Hayseed still required repair so the group followed him down the hall and into the freight elevator. This small room mysteriously moved them all to the first level of the complex. Nearby was a large room (marked as GARAGE on the map) which Hayseed explained was the party’s destination. The villagers entered the garage and discovered two humanoid wolves pawing through the contents of large cabinets along the wall. Remembering tales told in the village, Jeb and Max recognized the beasts as wolfoids. The group only had seconds before they were noticed so they attacked. The element of surprise worked well for the party and the wolfoids were brought low before any of the villagers were harmed.

The large garage was empty except for the two metal cabinets. Two doors led to interior rooms while two large doors provided an outside exit. One of the interior rooms was the Robot Repair Bay. Jeb and Hayseed entered the bay and began repairing the droid’s damage. The others stood watch in the garage for the 30 minutes the repairs required.

The next stop for the group was directly across the hall from the garage: the Veterinary Clinic. They wandered through several examination rooms, finding little of interest until stumbling upon a wolfoid. The man-wolf was lying on the floor in a room surrounded by empty and partially-empty medication bottles. He was shivering and occasionally whimpering while staring at the light in the ceiling. The party readied their weapons and Zandor tried to speak with the wolfoid. The beast simply stared at the man until he noticed his own twitching tail and began to chase it in a circle. Suddenly, the man-wolf stopped, voiced a terrified yelp and raced for the exit. Jeb smashed his club of the Ancients into the man-wolf to little effect, but the beast couldn’t ignore a poisoned quill from Mister Pointy! The man-wolf collapsed and breathed his last through a muzzle of foam. Disappointed with his new toy, Jeb clubbed the body again but the relic did no better than before. It was simply a poor club with no special effect.

The party continued to explore the clinic and found a door that had been smashed open. The revealed room contained two chilled cabinets filled with medication and another metal man! He stood against the wall and did not react to the group. When asked, Hayseed informed the group that the man was a medical robot. He activated when commanded and was able to treat the radiation burns which still plagued Zandor and Jeb. He even operated on Jeb, removing his cancerous growths, and cured his cancer! The medical robot was not programmed with a personality like Hayseed; he did not respond to the villagers’ chit-chat as he worked. When all treatments had been completed, the robot returned to his room and deactivated.

Captain’s Addendum

Surely I’m not the first referee to deal with a discussion about whores after a party finds a Horticulture band?

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Personal Log ZAN01: Zandor's Bad Day

Personal Log of Zandor

It’s cold, I’m hungry, and there’s a porcupine in my head.
Diary entry one in what I feel will be a short list of days I don’t care for.

Leaving the village is never good. Some people don’t seem to mind the glowing animals and vegetation that seem to be abundant in the world but I don’t. It’s never good to leave the village very far. Being a good hunter is all about the best places to lay traps. The cleanest animals don’t like the glowing areas either and the best animals bring the best trade. This works for me. Recently it has gotten very cold, too cold. I have been selected along with three others to find the cause. This is not good anything that can alter the weather is not something that I should be messing with this seems like engineer work to me.

We found a metal man. It walks it talks it’s a modern marvel. This can’t be good.

Hidden entrance to underground lair. Guarded by bear. Also not good.

Second entrance guarded by wolves that walk with guns. Alsoer not good.

Moss that glows when stepped on. Positive that’s bad.
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Personal Log MP01

Personal Log of Mister Pointy

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(It makes sense to a porcupine.)
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Personal Log JEB01: Who Irradiated My Corn Squeezins!?

Personal Log of Jebediah (Jeb)

My name’s Jebediah but everybody calls me Jeb. I grew up on a farm outside of Habitat, and all I ever wanted to do was inherit Pa-paw‘s still. Pa-paw makes the best corn squeezins in Habitat. Some folk’ll tell you Pa-paw‘s no account and our whole family is no-account and our liquor is no-account too, but you just ask those folks to explain the night Vizor Toom got so unravelled from Pa-paw’s drink that he came into city hall riding backwards on a cow wearing nothing but a fake mustache and calling himself Orville Farnsworth, Esquire. And we still don’t know how that cow got a fake mustache or a law degree.

But like I said, all I ever wanted to do was inherit Pa-paw‘s still and make the best corn squeezins in Habitat. That means helping Pa-paw out while he’s brewing up a batch. Problem being Pa-paw‘s brains have gone a little wormy last few years. I don’t know if he just didn’t notice them corn husks glowing or he thought the Glow‘d make some sort of super-squeezins, but either way, he got me to test that batch and by the time I started feeling poorly, I’d already drank half the jug.

Now, the Glow ain’t always bad. My Aunt Roberta fell into a glowing pond back when she was pregnant and had her one of them lizard babies. His name’s Mikael, and he can swim underwater. When we go fishing, we send him down to scare up the fish just like a coon dog. Plus he’s real smart. Got them Glow-brains, we call ’em.

Anyway, I didn’t get no gills or Glow-brains. I just got these ears sprouted up like mushrooms across my chest, and half of ‘em can’t hear worth a lick anyway. Plus there’s a nose that been growing right near my pecker for the last couple weeks or so. I tell you what, it smells something terrible down there.

Worse than that, I’ve got all weak and girly-like, so pitiful I can’t hardly hardly lift a bag a yeast any more. And about a week ago, I started coughing up blood. I’ve seen that before, and once you start coughing up blood, you’re done for. Might as well order up your pinewood box right then.

But then this terrible cold came down on Habitat, and Toom asked for volunteers to go figure out what was wrong. I figured I was a dead man anyway, I might as well make myself useful before I croak. Toom teamed me up with Jim and Zandar and Mr. Pointy, although I don’t know what the town’s pest control expert is gonna do out in the wideness. But we got some swords and armor and I even got a bow and arrow. Then we headed up north, same way as the Rangers came down way, way back. Maybe they left some supplies behind that can help us. If not, I recon it don’t matter much to me anyhow.
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Session 01: Dire Straits
Welcome to the summary of our first game! Before I begin sharing the exploits of our daring heroes, I believe a few words about the setting and my logging conventions are in order. Metamorphosis Alpha is set centuries after a civilization-shaking catastrophe. Strange radiation killed many and mutated much of the remaining life. Players have the option to play true humans with unaltered genetics (as far as they are concerned), mutant humans, or mutant animals. Although the player characters believe they inhabit a world called Warden, in reality they live in a colony starship: the Warden.

Each adventure log will contain the following sections: Ship Personnel, Personnel Location, Ship Log and the Captain’s Addendum.The Ship Personnel lists the player character(s) referenced in the log. Personnel Location lists the initial setting of the game session within the ship. It may be somewhat vague at times to avoid providing the players with too much information. The Ship Log is the summary of the game session. The Captain’s Addendum contains any comments I as the referee have about the game session.

Ship Personnel

Personnel Location

Level Unknown : Habitat Level 2 : Habitat

Ship Log

STARDATE:2525.153
TIME:10:00

The village of Habitat was in trouble… and the Council of Elders knew it. They assembled a group of twenty volunteers in the barely-warm confines of the council lodge. Everyone of importance was in attendance: the Council, Enginer Rorke, and Vizor Toom. Vizor Toom spoke for the Council and told the assembled men, women, and animal friends that they were being sent out on an urgent mission. The recent extreme winter weather had already killed the crops and was freezing the lake. The village was simply not prepared for weather so much more severe than previous winters, particularly during the summer months. Several villagers had died from the cold and it had only been two days. The Council hoped the volunteers would find some place of shelter, supplies, or perhaps a useful relic of the Ancients in the wilderness.

All the volunteers drew lots to determine where they would be sent. One unlikely group, consisting of a young farmer named Jeb, an Enginer apprentice named Jim, a mutant porcupine named Mister Pointy, and a huntsman named Zandor, were tasked to go north along the Ranger River. They were given weapons and supplies, including a couple of valuable duralloy shields and an ancient slug projector. Duralloy was a miracle metal of the Ancients, light-weight and almost impervious to physical blows or energy attacks. Unfortunately, the villagers had lost the knowledge to create or even shape the metal, but they were able to build shield frames around the four-foot triangular sheets. The slug projector was one of the few ancient weapons owned by the village and Jim jumped at the chance to use it. Enginer Rorke himself taught Jim the Prayer of Loading, the Mantra of Targeting, and the Prayer of Humble Jam Clearing. Before sending the party on their way, the Enginer presented Jim with seven dum-dum rounds for the slug projector. The rubber projectiles could subdue the toughest opponents.

The group left Habitat and followed the eastern edge of the Ranger River north through Birnam Wood. They trudged through the frozen forest for several miles before Mister Pointy noticed the glint of metal high in a tree ahead. The tree seemed to be some form of weeping willow and although frosted by the cold, it still held on to its yellow-green drooping leaves. These leaves prevented Mister Pointy from getting more than a glimpse of the shiny metal.

After a brief discussion between the villagers, Zandor shouted a greeting. A strange voice greeted him in return and warned him to beware the tree! The voice also pleaded for his help and asked that ship security be contacted. This odd reference led to an even more confusing conversation in which the group learned that the owner of the voice was a Habitat Control Droid, serial number HCD-31E5F3, whatever that meant. This droid creature also mentioned other strange “facts”: the Warden was a ship instead of a planet, the group was located on Habitat Level 2, the current year was 2525, and the ship launched with a population of 1.5 million colonists and 50,000 crew members.

After hearing such nonsense, Zandor was prepared to move on. They had a village to save; who cared about a droid? However, the interest of the others was piqued by the strange being. Jeb crept up to the tree until he could see the creature through the foliage. He saw a humanoid wearing masterwork metal armor and held by a thick vine. The droid shouted a warning to Jeb as seven other vines whipped down. Jeb backed away before he could be caught in their grasp and the vines disappeared back into the leaves.

Mister Pointy decided it was time for him to step forward. He concentrated his pyrokinetic power on the tree trunk. The frost melted off and soon the tree began to shake. After only 15 seconds, smoke began billowing from the bark. After 30 seconds, flames danced along the trunk and the hidden vines collapsed to the ground, releasing the droid.

The droid walked to the group and thanked them for their help. Once again a confusing conversation ensued. Mister Pointy was constantly referred to as a pet by the metal man; he simply didn’t comprehend that an animal could be intelligent. The droid explained that he was not wearing armor and that the metal was his exterior. Jim and the others grasped that he was a strange machine of the Ancients, but it took quite some time for Jeb, the simple farmer, to understand. The droid also claimed that he had been maintaining the weather for 206 years. A pack of wolves had damaged him and taken control of the Environmental Control Center only two days ago. The metal man needed help to regain control and restore the normal weather but only had two hours before he succumbed to his injuries. He could repair himself at the facility if he was defended from the wolves. The center was only an hour away.

Although still unsure of the droid’s claims, the group knew the village was desperate so they agreed to help him. The metal man led them several more miles along the river. During the trek, he recommended the group call him Hayseed, an old nickname based on his serial number. He also mentioned that there were three entrances to the Environmental Control Center: two were located on the main level where the wolves attacked while the third was an auxiliary emergency entrance. The auxiliary entrance was connected to the second level of the center. This level provided a route to the robot repair bay that did not pass the main control center, the last known location of the wolf pack. The group decided to give the auxiliary entrance a try.

The tunnel to the auxiliary entrance was hidden behind a waterfall. The tunnel gate was rusted open and there were signs that a large animal used the unlit tunnel as a den. The signs were proven accurate when the group encountered a mutant bear inside. This descendant of a black bear had sharp quills along its legs, fur that blended with the tunnel walls, and when it roared, the entire group (other than Hayseed) were filled with an unnatural fear. The party fled the cave, leaving the bear to his den.

The psychic dread eventually wore off and the heroes regrouped. After a short discussion, they roasted jerky over a fire to draw the bear out of his den. They then dashed inside, throwing even more of their provisions to the beast. Unfortunately, they forgot to prepare a torch. While Zandor and Jim watched for the bear and worked on a torch, Jeb and Mister Pointy stumbled down the tunnel after Hayseed, who had low-light vision.

Rounding a bend, the two discovered Hayseed waiting by a door. The area was dimly lit by glowing moss around his feet. The green glow brightened at the approach of Jeb and Mister Pointy. Laying across the moss was a complete human skeleton. It was dressed in a one-piece garment of unknown material. A light-green bracelet was wrapped around the skeleton’s right wrist. Next to the out-stretched right hand was a dark 10-inch-long cylinder with a strap on one end.

Wary of the moss, Jeb asked Hayseed to identify the skeleton. The droid noticed a patch on the clothing which read “Simpson, Kathy.” Jeb then instructed Hayseed to continue into the complex. The droid told Jeb to wait with his pet (Mister Pointy) and disappeared behind the door.

While waiting, Jeb’s curiosity overcame his wariness and he stepped onto the moss. Although the green light intensified, he felt no ill effects so he gathered up both the cylinder and the bracelet. He gave the cylinder his full attention while Mister Pointy watched for any other effects from the moss.

After spending less than a minute standing on the moss, Jeb began to feel a burning sensation in his feet and lower legs. He raced off the moss but the pain continued. He was gently rubbing his legs when Zandor and Jim came around the corner with a lit torch. Jeb told them that Hayseed had gone through the door and Zandor went over to investigate. He had just started walking across the moss when he threw himself backward. He pulled off his boots to reveal that his feet and legs were severely burned. Jeb had pulled off his boots and his skin was burned as well, but it was obvious that Zandor was afflicted the worst. Both of them ate Heal Pills from their supplies and felt much better. A majority of Jeb‘s burns healed instantly, but the cakes could only help, not completely heal, Zandor’s horrible burns. He was left with painful blisters on his feet and raw burned patches on his legs.

Jeb finished his examination of the cylinder and determined that it was some form of simple club. There was an obvious hand grip on the back end near the strap. Using the strap, a person carrying the club could secure it to his wrist. There was a little window on the front of the cylinder through which could be seen a reflective chamber. Jeb thought this chamber might have some combat effect, but it could just as easily be used to signal others by reflecting ambient light.

Captain’s Addendum

Whew. That was a lot to write. I hope my summary wasn’t too boring. I skipped over the entertaining dialog from the session after I discovered that writing it while keeping it entertaining was not easy. I hope it is enough to say that the conversations between Hayseed and the others had us all laughing.

Some of you may be interested in the glowing moss and the items found by Jeb. I can’t really reveal any secrets about Jeb’s items since he will be reading this log, but I am willing to say that the glowing moss generated an intensity 8 radiation. Intensity 8 is really not that high (range 3-18) but Zandor had almost no radiation resistance so he was burned quickly and badly.

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