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Brave, New World

Slugs in Space

by Charles Dunwoody
Jul 05,2005

 

Brave New World

Slugs in Space

By Charles Dunwoody

Break's Over

I was only able to get one player for my Bulldogs! campaign due to the busy summer. My good friend, Kevin Delaat, came through and made four 1st level characters eager to begin exploring the Kravell Sector. Before we engage the hyperdrive, however, I want to do a little time travel.

Time Travel

Twenty years ago my brother, Tim Dunwoody, came to me with the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons books (we didn't know it was 1st edition back then). He was going to DM an adventure in a dungeon for a couple of his friends and my friends. Thanks Tim!

I almost always played the halfling thief. The first time I was made party leader, we opened a door to a barracks full of goblins and I panicked (in character and in player) and slammed the door shut. My brother talked to me about being bold and adventuresome and let me reply the scene. Thanks Tim.

I (that is my halfling thief) got swallowed by the giant frog by the moat of the keep outside of the Village of Hommlett. We didn't know about the Temple of Elemental Evil yet because those modules hadn't been published. I think the frog, or one of its relatives, is still there. I (my halfling) single-handedly slew the harpy that put everyone else to sleep. Tim didn't fudge one roll, he let me win or lose on my own. Thanks Tim.

I first GMed Gamma World (gray book, again I didn't know it was the 1st edition). I vividly remember my brother Tim finding the four-handed sword made for the orlens, a can opener, a suit of wooden armor, and an artifact of the Ancients that duplicated any item put inside it (I wasn't a wise GM yet). Good job Tim.

Two decades have gone by and I'm still GMing, as is Tim. We game together when we can and go to Gen Con together. In fact, I'll be visiting him in August.

Galileo Games and Brennan Taylor, author the Bulldogs! game, accepted my idea to write a Bulldogs! supplement. So, when I'm not racing the deadline to write this column, I'm writing my supplement. Which, I guess, now makes me a game designer. Not that, despite fair treatment by both Galileo Games and Brennan Taylor, I'm ready to quit my day job by any means. And all because of my first DM. Thanks Tim.

Just days ago, Brennan Taylor asked for a GM to run Bulldogs! for him at Gen Con and the GM would get his expenses covered. Despite what I learned in the Army, I volunteered. So now I'm going to be running Bulldogs! at the biggest gaming convention in the world on behalf of the game's designer. Life can become amazing very quickly.

I say all this for two reasons. One, Kevin and I only played a quick Bulldogs! adventure and I only have a few details to share. I call this sharing my gaming experience, most editors and less forgiving readers call it padding.

Two, anyone who GMs, loves games, and is willing to work on writing and read a lot can become a game designer too. I just thought I'd mention it, because many people here at rpg.net are game designers but many are still on the road to becoming one, even if it's part time, and haven't gotten that first gig yet.

If you're on that road with me I want to let you know that getting published is very doable. The internet is the second best thing that happened to my writing.

The first is I just keep reading and writing everyday.

Oh, and I almost forgot. I made it the highest level in Tim's campaign. Because of the XP charts, my halfling thief hit 4th level just before our party got wiped out by crossbow wielding bandits. Thanks a lot Tim!

Kravell Sector

Bulldogs! comes with quick start character basics that got Kevin and me off to a good start. He created four characters from those basic write-ups.

Slug (Splurb is its given name but it never uses it) is an expert pilot and decent at repairs. Slug is about three feet long and looks like a slug with a giant eyeball and arms. He grew up in the slums on a highly urbanized planet and learned some interesting feats there. He's an expert at running people over. (Since I'm working on vehicle rules right now I'm excited about this knowledge of Slug's. Scared. But excited).

Devaar likes to shoot things and blow them up. Big things though, like starships. He's humanoid but with purple skin, white eyes, and no hair. Like the rest of his race he is tough, steeped in religious dogma, and aware of his importance in the Galaxy. Yeah, right.

Carl is basically human, although his race rules a vast empire. He is quiet and reserved and an expert medic. Credits motivate him, however, and he's willing to go to great lengths to get rich.

Talus is large, nearly ten feet tall. He has blue pebbly skin and three of just about everything: eyes, arms, and legs. He's weak for his race, only as strong as an average human. However, in addition to his engineering skills he's an expert in explosives so he doesn't get picked on too much (or for too long).

This four violent, greedy, broke individuals are flying the Slimer I, a broken down medium freighter, into uncharted space to explore brave new worlds and to boldy make 49% profit an anything they find that they can sell.

First Adventure

First, though, they needed to top off the tanks and they stopped at Telemetry Station 006 to do so. Run by more slugs, but with colorful shells, the station had little to offer and the Slimers were down to their last credits anyway.

I used the adventure Sen Gamma Rescue, which is available for free here: http://www.galileogames.com/bulldogs/pdf/SenGammaRescue_Adventure.pdf

When the station manager came looking for help they were eager to assist. After, that is, they learned that the manager would cover their fuel and throw in 50,000 credits if they returned his lost survey ship and crew to him.

Concerned about what would happen if they were attacked by space pirates, Talus pointed out how truly expensive it is to repair a damaged starship. The Slimers borrowed some money from their patron and brought spare parts along; the idea of getting into battle and losing money every time they got hit made them cringe.

The Slimers found the missing survey ship in orbit, abandoned. Cursing their luck, since they were under contract they couldn't sell the ship for profit, they landed to look for the crew. Instead, they'd have to risk their necks looking for its crew. No crew no credits.

They found an empty escape pod and a muddy world. Slug, usually the slowest, was now the fastest in the wet and slime. He took point. And led the team into an ambush. Hey, he only has one eye all right?

The Slimers took down the vicious alien ambushers and allowed one to surrender. They learned that space pirates had the other slugs in a nearby cave. The Slimers then killed their captive. With his own spear, to save on the cost of power packs. (Pretty nasty business killing prisoners and it just goes to show what happens when you don't let alignment be your guide.)

We ended at that point, with the Slimers reluctantly looking for the credits, I mean the slugs, so they could bring them home.

What I Learned

The Slimers are ruthless. And poor. I suspect I can get them to do just about anything for money. And if I need them hungry and broke I can just have space pirates take a few shots at them to lower their credits. Good to know.

I haven't had a chance yet to unveil any secrets. The pirates are part of a larger group operating in another system. I'm really curious to see what the Slimers will do with that information.

Bulldogs! is a fast paced and exciting as ever. The Galaxy makes low life scum out of just about everybody. The Slimers should truly enjoy themselves as well as get in a lot of trouble as they explore the sector.

What's Next?

I'm going to keep fleshing out the Kravell Sector. I want to let the Slimers get a few credits and levels ahead and then head off toward what interests them.

I really need to set up a vehicle chase and battle so Slug can run over some NPCs. And put the lure of more credits out there for Carl.

I want to have an adventure on a mining station or other isolated setting. I have a monster from the Monster Manual that I have set loose there. It can hide in hyperspace and come out to devour its prey. I'm sure the Slimers would enjoy meeting it.

Next Month

I'm sure the Slimers will have killed more sentients by the end of July. I'll let you know how they react to any secrets they uncover. And what they thought about the monster called the devourer that came from hyperspace.

Keep your blaster handy and always shoot first,
Charlie

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