The Alexandrian

I try to limit the number of non-content posts here at the Alexandrian, but it can be useful to occasionally take stock. And we haven’t had one of these updates in nearly a year, so you’ll have to bear with me. I’ve also been getting asked a lot of the same questions lately, and this would be a good opportunity to kind of bring people up to speed.

RATE OF UPDATES: Many of you have noticed the obvious, which is that the rate of updates at the Alexandrian has dropped again over the last six months or so. The primary reason for this is that the Infinity RPG has been chewing up a lot of my creative time. We’re hoping that the core rulebook will be getting delivered soon (although, to be honest, we’ve been hoping that for a long while now). Once that happens, things should loosen up a bit and I’ll be able to dedicate a bit more time to the Alexandrian.

(There’s also another project — this one still top secret — which I’m hoping I’ll be able to make some announcements about shortly. But that’s also been pending for awhile now, so… it’ll happen when it happens.)

You may recall that, when I launched the Patreon for the site back in December 2014, I mentioned setting up the patron options to be for a paid-per-post format for exactly this reason: The Alexandrian won’t always update regularly (although the patrons make it possible to update it a lot more than it would be otherwise), and I don’t want anybody paying for content unless that content actually exists.

As a reminder, this really offers the best of both worlds: If you’d really prefer to make a monthly contribution, set your contribution level to the amount you want to contribute and set your maximum contribution to the same amount. As long as I post something each month, you’ll make the monthly contribution you want to. (When pledging without a maximum contribution level, however, remember that the ideal update schedule for the Alexandrian is Monday-Wednesday-Friday each week, plus bonus content. So if you backed for $0.10 per post, you’d be spending $1.20 or $1.30 per month to support the Alexandrian.)

GOAL LEVELS: Since my last update, you may have noticed that some of the funding levels for the Patreon goals have changed. There’s a couple of reasons for this.

First, because of people setting maximum pledges the amount of money Patreon reports me earning per post is not really accurate. For example, if it says I’m making $50 per post then that’s how much I make for the first post each month. Subsequent posts then drop if people have reached their maximum contributions. In practice, by the end of a full month of updates I’m making a little over one-third the amount per post Patreon is claiming. Goal levels were shifted up slightly to reflect the reality of what I’m getting paid (in large part because the higher funding goals were set with the expectation that I’d be able to pay for graphics, maps, and other elements which are part of them.)

Second, Patreon changed the way that they calculate the amount of money paid per post. Or, rather, they’ve changed the amount they publicly claim is being earned per post. When I first set up the Alexandrian Patreon, they reported the total amount pledged for the first post. They now run that number through some sort of weird, black box algorithm (which they don’t share with anybody as far as I can tell) and then spit out a number which is supposedly a more “accurate” reflection of how much I’m actually earning (supposedly based on how many pledges were declined when they attempted to charge credit cards in previous months, but the math on that doesn’t actually add up). When this happened, goal levels were then shifted down a bit to reflect the fact that Patreon was now routinely under-reporting how much my patrons were actually pledging.

PATRONS OF THE ALEXANDRIAN: When new patrons sign up to support the Alexandrian they receive a message asking them for specific permission to list them on the Patrons of the Alexandrian page. I would love to recognize everybody who helps to make the awesome content here possible! But some people miss the message and then later e-mail me to ask why they haven’t been added to the list. I’m guessing others miss the message and never e-mail me, so this is just a quick reminder for all my patrons: If you want to be recognized as the wonderful people that you are, please send me an e-mail and give me permission to do so!

 

$0.10? $0.25? $1.00?

Patreon for the Alexandrian

… even the smallest of pledges can add up to wondrous things.

Ten Candles: Aurora Australis

October 31st, 2016

Ten Candles - Stephen Dewey

Earlier this year I reviewed Stephen Dewey’s Ten Candles. Since then, it has easily become my most-played and most-demanded game of 2016. Everyone who experiences it falls in love with it. I want to help keep boosting the signal for this wonderful game, so as a special Halloween treat I’m offering a new module for the game. (For those unfamiliar with the game, each module offers a unique initial scenario. The game comes with 25 modules included, most of which can easily be used over and over again with radically different results each time.)

AURORA AUSTRALIS

Aurora Borealis

Dr. McMannus had said that there was something wrong with the aurora australis. That’s why he’d come down to Antarctica – to study fluctuations in the electromagnetic field of the planet. He’d taken a snowcat out onto the ice when the Dark came. You haven’t seen him since.

Your satellite uplinks went down when the Sun went out, but you were able to hear the world fall apart through the scratchy audio of your shortwave radios. There’s been some sort of interference (and it’s been getting worse), and when you’re trying to stay positive you can mostly convince yourself that’s why you’ve lost contact with everyone else, their signals vanishing into the night one by one.

All that’s left now is the harsh glare of the camp’s spotlights and the endless, icy expanse which surrounds you in every direction. Here, at least, the Darkness is not absolute: From time to time, the spectral arcs of the aurora still dance green and crimson across the sky above, casting their strange hues across the scintillating snows below.

Someone has activated a navigational beacon at Paradise Harbor. It might be that evacuation ship they kept promising to send. But this morning you also picked up a second signal, this one from Dr. McMannus’ snowcat. What you’re hearing doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s possible he’s still alive out there.

Areas of Note: pod habitats, prefab storage containers, snowcat hanger, radio tower, science lab, the endless fields of ice

Goal: Cross the ice and investigate the radio signals

Antarctica Snowcat

Go to Part 1

ERIC RADOM – NEURALITE CEO

APPEARANCE: A tasteful exalt morph with chocolate brown hair, sharp cheekbones, and a smile of pearls.

ROLEPLAYING:

  • Smooth and controlled.
  • Likes a big smile and a firm handshake.
  • Deflects specific questions by being a “big picture guy”, but “I’m going to have one of my people get back to you with that information ASAP”.

BACKGROUND:

  • Radom was a minor research assistant on the team that helped develop the second generation menton morphs.
  • Not a very good scientist, but very good at corporate self-promotion. Ended up as a mid-tier executive on Cognite’s Thought station in Venus orbit after the Fall.
  • Hand-picked to lead the Neuralite project, Radom is going to move into the lower ranks of the upper echelons of Cognite (assuming the project is a success).

NOTES:

  • He has an ego-cide implant to prevent being captured or interrogated. He has no cortical stack, but instead backs up to a Cognite facility using an ego bridge in his apartment once per week.
  • If questioned about the connection between Cognite and Neuralite, Radom will play it down: He purchased technology Cognite was planning to abandon and independently founded Neuralite in order to capitalize on it. (He may even suggest that anything shady about the situation is the result of him ripping Cognite off; “but sometimes the little guy needs an edge, right?”)

LAURA PANNA – NEURALITE CEO

APPEARANCE: A sylph morph whose elegant features are distractingly marred by the deep lines of worry that have been etched into its forehead.

ROLEPLAYING:

  • Bubbly. Constantly wanting to be liked.
  • Smiles and cocks her head to one side whenever she’s confused.

BACKGROUND:

  • Laura is something of a patsy. She is hopelessly naïve about what Neuralite is actually doing.

LYSANDER VANGELIS – NEURALITE HEAD RESEARCHER

APPEARANCE: An ostentatious menton morph, featuring the attractively bulbous forehead modifications which were popular about five years before the Fall. His skin is a glistening, gleaming silver that seems to pool the light of the room.

ROLEPLAYING:

  • Huge enthusiasm for his research. This can rapidly devolve in to “mad scientist”.
  • Initially opening and welcoming, but quickly dismissive of anyone who reveals themselves to be foolish or stupid.
  • Scratches the back of his head with both hands when particularly worked up.

BACKGROUND:

  • Official cover story is that Lysander was “stolen away” from Cognite by the upstart Neuralite. (In reality, he’s simply continuing work he started at Cognite.)
  • Vangelis has been experimenting with the psi-epsilon opener. It’s granted him several psi sleights, but has also frayed his sanity to the breaking point.

NOTES:

  • Vangelis is on the brink of utter madness. Over the course of the scenario he will deteriorate rapidly (particularly if put under any stress).
  • Maintains a copy of himself in his ghostrider module to assist himself in his research.

LYSANDER VANGELIS

Eclipse Phase: Psi-Chosis - Lysander Vangelis Stat Block

Morph: Menton

Skills: Academics: Biology 80, Academics: Genetics 80, Academics: Nanotechnology 70, Art: Bodysculpting 50, Beam Weapons 50, Control 50, Deception 30, Fray 40, Free Fall 55, Hardware: Aerospace 50, Interests: Black Market Drugs 50, Interests: Genetics Research 70, Interests: Morph Designs 65, Interfacing 30, Kinesics 40, Language: Native Arabic 90, Language: English 45, Medicine: General Practice 65, Medicine: Gene Therapy 75, Medicine: Nanomedicine 70, Medicine: Trauma Surgery 60, Networking: Criminal 35, Networking: Hypercorp 45, Networking: Scientists: 55, Perception 50, Pilot: Spacecraft 25, Profession: Lab Technician 60, Profession: Medical Care 65, Programming 70, Psi Assault 50, Psychosurgery 60, Research 55, Scrounging 55, Sense 40

Implants: Access Jacks, Basic Biomods, Basic Mesh Inserts, Circadian Regulation, Cortical Stack, Eidetic Memory, Ghostrider Module, HyperLinguist, Math Boost, Medichines, Multi-Tasking

Gear: Backup Insurance, Dr. Bot, Drive (5 doses), Ego Bridge, Fabber, Frequency (2 doses), Guardian Angel Bot, Muse, Nanobandages

Psi Sleights: Instinct, Pattern Recognition, Penetration

Armor: Armor Clothing (3/4)

Ranged: Stunner 50 (DV 1d10 ÷ 2, shock – SA – 200 shots)

Psi: Decerebration 50 (EP, pg. 371)

Psi: Onslaught 50 (EP, pg. 371)


CONWAY FEREN – NEURALITE CHIEF SECURITY SPECIALIST

Conway can be used to bump up the difficulty of any encounter with Neuralite security personnel.


CONWAY FEREN

Eclipse Phase: Psi-Chosis - Conway Feren Stat Block

Morph: Bouncer

Skills: Academics: Astronomy 40, Academics: Engineering 35, Art: Writing 30, Beam Weapons 50, Blades 45, Climbing 75, Demolitions 35, Fray 55, Free Fall 65, Freerunning 45, Hardware: Aerospace 50, Hardware: Robotics 50, Infiltration 30, Interests: Brinker Groups 60, Interests: Esoteric Muslim Traditions 40, Interests: Habitat Infrastructure 50, Interests: Outer System Habitats 50, Interests: Scum Black Markets 45, Interfacing 25, Kinesics 45, Kinetic Weapons 55, Language: Native Arabic 85, Language: English 35, Language: Spanish 30, Medicine: First Aid 45, Navigation 55, Perception 50, Persuasion 30, Pilot: Spacecraft 55, Profession: Security Procedures 60, Protocol 30, Research 35, Scrounging 45, Unarmed Combat 65

Implants: Basic Biomods, Basic Mesh Inserts, Cortical Stack, Grip Pads (+30 Climbing included in stats), Oxygen Reserve

Mobility: Walker (4/20), prehensile feet

Armor: Body Armor (10/10)

Ranged: Medium Kinetic Pistol 55 (AP -2, DV 2d10+2 – 100 shots)


Go to Part 1

For information on using proactive nodes, see Advanced Node-Based Design.

PROACTIVE NODE – NEURALITE MERCENARY CREW

Eclipse Phase - Reaper

If Neuralite becomes aware of the PCs and decide that they represent a serious threat, they’ll a freelance mercenary pair named Lorn and Ares. (PCs may be able to trace their hiring back to Neuralite.)


NEURALITE MERCENARY CREW (x2)

Eclipse Phase: Psi-Chosis - Mercenary Crew Stat Block

Morph: Reaper

Skills: Academics: Anatomy 45, Beam Weapons 45, Blades 70, Fray 70, Free Fall 45, Gunnery 55, Hardware: Armorer 55, Hardware: Industrial 35, Hardware: Robotics 50, Interests: Merc Units 50, Interests: Music (Synth Rage) 55, Intimidation 35, Kinetic Weapons 75, Language: Russian (Native) 90, Language: Arabic 60, Language: Mandarin 45, Networking: Autonomists 35, Networking: Hypercorp 60, Networking: Firewall 30, Perception 25, Pilot: Groundcraft 80, Profession: Security Ops 60, Profession: Squad Tactics 65, Protocol 40, Research 20, Seeker Weapons 50, Unarmed Combat 40

Implants: Access Jacks, Basic Mesh Inserts, Combat Armor (Heavy), Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Cyberclaws, Extra Limbs (4), Magnetic System, Mnemonic Augmentation, Pneumatic Limbs, Puppet Sock, Reflex Booster, Structural Enhancement, Weapon Mount (4, articulated)

Gear: Back-Up, Monofilament Sword, Muse, Portable QE Communicator, Seeker Rifle with Smartlink (Frag and High Explosive Seekers), TacNet Software

Mobility: Walker (4/20), Hopper (4/20), Ionic (12/40), Vectored Thrust (4/20)

Senses: 360-degree, Anti-Glare, Radar, T-Ray Emitter

Armor: Heavy Combat Armor (16/16)

Melee: Monafilament Sword 70 (AP -1, DV 2d10+5)

Ranged: Railgun Assault Rifle 75 (AP -9, DV 2d10+8 – SA, BF, FA – 200 rounds)

Seeker: Seeker Rifle (w/smartlink) 60; Ammo: Frag Seeker (AP -4, DV 3d10+6); Ammo: High Explosive Seeker (3d10+10)


PROACTIVE NODE – MODYA THE EXSURGENT

THE CALL: At some point after meeting the PCs, Modya calls: She’s not feeling well. She worries that her condition might be getting worse. She really needs some help and she wasn’t sure who else to call. She asks them to come and meet her at the balcony park she’s calling them from.

BALCONY PARK: A large, ovaloid platform suspended between two spindle-scrapers.

When the PCs arrive, Modya is in even worse shape: Protoplasmic bulgets erupt from her skin as her cell membranes rupture and then her body rips apart as the exsurgent virus takes hold of her. Something protoplasmic and horrible (a jelly exsurgent) tears its way out of her.

THE CHASE: The exsurgent, still fueled by Modya’s panic, will attempt to flee the scene. This triggers a chase scene featuring:

  • Dramatic leaps from one microgravity building to the next.
  • Accelerated microgravity freefalls.
  • Bursting through windows and racing across office complexes only to leap out the other side.
  • Disrupting an aerial dance routine being staged on a cobweb of wires strung between balcony stages.

JELLY EXSURGENT

Eclipse Phase: Psi-Chosis - Exsurgent Stat Block

Skills: Exotic Ranged Attack (Spit) 40, Free Fall 50, Perception 60, Unarmed Combat 40

Notes: Minimum damage from standard kinetic weapons and blade attacks.

Mobility: 4/16

Senses: Enhanced Smell

Armor: 12/12

Melee: Tongue 40 (DV 1d10+3 plus toxin)

Ranged: Spit Attack (area effect, toxin); Toxin: onset 1 action turn, duration 5 action turns, effect 1d10 ÷ 2 DV per Action Turn


PROACTIVE NODE – LYSANDER THE CONSCIENTOUS OBJECTOR

CALL FOR HELP: The still-sane fork of Lysander Vangelis that is running on his ghostrider module realizes that his alpha has gotten out of control.

This fork can be used to fill the PCs in on anything they’ve missed and warn them of the impending release of the epsilon psike-out (Node 5).

DEVELOPMENT: The fork might be able to actually copy itself out of the ghost module and escape. (Or it might request assistance from the PCs to accomplish that.) The fork might become an ally or resource for the PCs in the future, but it should be noted that even before he went insane Lysander Vangelis was still the sort of guy who would experiment with exsurgent virus strains on non-consenting civilian populations.

Go to NPCs

Go to Part 1

Eclipse Phase: Psi-Chosis - Water Treatment Facility

The Nova York water treatment facility is nicknamed the “coconuts” because the water reserves are held in huge spherical chambers. Some of these chambers have been built far back into the skin of Metis (feeding water through channels in the skin to distant parts of the city), but the oldest and primary water treatment facility takes the form of a patch of stone “dimples” which emerge from one side of the central chamber.

CORIOLIS GRAV-FEEDS:

  • Four massive, rotating structures are suspended above the dimples. Huge, flexible pipes descend from the structures and can be “dipped” into the dimples below.
  • These roving platforms spin to create the gravity necessary to create water pressure throughout Nova York.
  • Two of the platforms process waste water (filtering it back into the dimples below); the other two platforms suction water out of the dimples and into the NoYo water system.
  • At any given time, generally only one platform of each type is actively spinning. (The other platform moves into position over the next dimple and activates at “changeover” when a dimple has either been emptied or filled.)

SECURITY

  • Neuralite controls security for the facility, but this has mostly been sub-leased.
  • Security guards and water treatment plant workers have no idea what’s going on.

Eclipse Phase: Psi-Chosis - Water Storage Chamber

NEURALITE GRAV-FEED:

  • Neuralite has used their authority to install “security equipment” in one of the outflow grav-feed platforms.
  • This equipment is releasing the epsilon primer and has also been recently loaded with the epsilon psike-out.

NEURALITE TEAM – ON THE GRAV-FEED:

  • Lysander Vangelis, Lead Researcher (see pg. 17)
  • Conway Feren, Chief Security Specialist (see page 18)
  • Neuralite Security Team (x8 – NPC File 1, pg. 15)

DEACTIVATING THE EPSILON FEED:

  • The equipment is located inside the grav-feed; meaning it’s underwater inside the outer ring. If the outer ring is spinning, characters will experience 1.4g of force. (Their actions will be taken under the equivalent of 2 wounds; -20 penalty to tests, -2 penalty to initiative.)
  • The grav-feed itself can only be shut down from the central control station. (This will also have the result of temporarily crippling Nova York’s water supply.)

RUNNING THE NODE:

  • The Neuralite team is likely getting ready to release the epsilon psike-out when the PCs arrive. (Either because that was the original schedule or because they know the PCs are closing in.) The only thing they’re waiting for is the next changeover when this platform will go live.
  • Vangelis will activate the platform if at all possible. Once that happens, there will be very little time before the psike-out contaminated water flows into Nova York.

Go to Proactive Nodes

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