Pollution somehow causes a virus that kills grains and so the world begins to starve. Some countries, including Britain, may or may not plan to exterminate a large portion of their population with nerve gas so that the whole country doesn’t starve to death. As society breaks down around them, a family led by an ex-military with an eyepatch and various tagalongs escape the city and head for a relative’s farm where I guess for some reason they aren’t worried about the grass blight.
More an apocalyptic than post-apocalyptic movie, but civilization goes to pot relatively quickly and there’s a biker gang in Nazi Viking accoutrements so I’ll give it a pass.
The conceit of over-saturated, fragmented flash-forwards doesn’t much help this heavy-handed narrative, and the whole film looks very cheap, but, refreshingly, the children don’t do anything too stupid and are mostly in the background.
Tropes: trigger-happy frenemy; off-screen cannibalism; soldiers mutiny; unlimited ammo; pregnant lady gives birth; coughing gives away hiding spot; gang rape; guy with no depth perception is still a good shot
(Reposted on my current blog from my old blog – for proper formatting of the Table 2003-9 see this pdf or this image )
Fluid Spaceship Zero is a worldwide, multi-player SSZ campaign, typically run at gaming conventions and game days. Players create characters that run in and gain experience from a set of adventures, as in a normal SSZ campaign, but in the case of Fluid SSZ they can bring their characters to the table with any ZM who is running a game in any location around the world. Players walk away from a game with Experience Points and in some cases, equipment that they can keep from game to game.
Spaceship Zero is on Earth 2. The year is 2026. The ship and her crew are part of the Human Underground Movement Action Network (H.U.M.A.N.) and as such are called upon to undertake many dangerous missions against the hydronaut empire and for the good of Earthkind.
What happened to the original crew? Professor Ashton is alive and well and working on a new and (hopefully) less apocalyptic BTL Drive in Antarctica. Captain Stackhouse is dead, but his clones live on. Gearbox is fulfilling his destiny on a long-term ultra-secret mission for HUMAN). Space Commodore (yes he got promoted) Dick Ross takes a hands-on approach to commanding the fleet of rocketships at SNAFFU headquarters in Calgary, Alberta.
Obviously, you can’t play the same scenario twice, even with a different character. Knowing the ending would spoil the fun!
Archetypes: No player archetypes are forbidden, but players cannot play any sample characters from the book. These are now the ZMs regular NPCs. Assume that the SSZ had a myriad of deconstituted clone crewmembers, if your players want the option of being from Universe 1.
Official Rules Changes/Clarifications: Dodge Penalty is 40, no matter what a character’s Dodge Bonus is.
During character creation, after the player assigns free points for Basic skills (Step 8, p 30) but before spending skill points (Step 10), that player gets free default values for most of her skills, as listed on table 2003-9, below.
Quirks: Avoid Plot Quirks unless they are very broad and general.
Space Navy Military Ranks: If your character is/was in SpaceCorp or is part of SNAFFU or H.U.M.A.N., you can assign her a rank, providing it is not higher than Space Commander. Exception: the rank of Space Captain is allowed to the Captain archetype.
Equipment: SpaceCorp space suits and anything in the SpaceCorp General Equipment section (pp 137-139) is allowed (limit 1 per customer) excepted the below items, which are restricted (only ZM can provide):
Insta-Cure Health Tonic Rocket Belt All atomic weapons, grenades, and other spacey guns must be approved by the ZM on a session by session basis! Keep track of your First Aid Kit uses and ray gun charges, when applicable.
Running Scenarios: With some minor modifications, Asteroid X is the perfect platform to launch your Fluid Spaceship Zero campaign (pdf and maps available on greenronin.com). Sign up to the official Spaceship Zero mailing list at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/spacecorp/ and visit the Green Ronin Forums at http://www.greenronin.com/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=14 for up-to-date news on further scenarios. “Have Raygun, Will Travel” AKA “Errant of Mercy” is being polished up by yours truly, but in the meantime please submit your own scenarios to add to the pool!
List of Adventures: Asteroid X (www.greenronin.com) Have Raygun, Will Travel (coming soon)
Advanced/Optional Rules: Use them if you like them, but make sure your players know what optional rules you’re using. I recommend using the Blunder rules (p 16)
Characters: Recommend to your players to come to your game with a character made up ahead of time. You can provide pregenerated sample characters if necessary, including the samples given from the book, but don’t let players accumulate EP for sample characters. Don’t let players play Professor Ashton, Gearbox, or Dick Ross, except by special arrangement. If they want to play a clone of Captain Stackhouse, they may at your discretion.
Equipment: Your players should not have access to restricted equipment (see above) unless you give them permission. Feel free to hand out SpaceCorp Atomic Batteries to recharge weapons if necessary.
Ship modifications: It’s probably a good idea to dismantle the BTL Drive aboard Spaceship Zero. HUMAN has the capacity to install one 3″ coil turret to Spaceship Zero. They can also paint the ship with a special coating that protects against hydronaut smart bombs 90% of the time. Since we are assuming the PCs are all H.U.M.A.N. agents, it is quite possible to play Fluid SSZ without Spaceship Zero itself. H.U.M.A.N. can provide the group with vehicles specific to the task at hand.
Rulebook Errata: p152. Star Skipper Weapons: 3″ atomic coil turret. Galactic Frigate Weapons: Rocket Torpedo Launcher, one 6″ atomic coil turret, two 3″ atomic coil turrets. Star Cruiser Weapons: Three rocket torpedo launchers, three cosmatomic missiles, four 3″ atomic coil turrets. Space Hopper Weapons: one 6″ atomic coil turret, two 3″ atomic coil turrets.
Rewards: Typical Experience Point awards at the end of a session is 5 EP for each player. Be mindful of what kind of equipment you provide characters – they may unbalance another ZM’s game.
Optional New Archetype: REPORTER The BTL Drive could be the story of the year – if not the millennium. At least that’s what you thought when you started out on this assignment. Now you’re lost in time and space, but you’re still a reporter by heart, and oh the stories you’ll have to tell! Minimum Attributes: Minimum 10 Brains Minimum 10 Bravado Fixed Zero Skill: Backbone Skill Points: 250 200 of these points must be spent on Specialty Skills. Specialty Skills: Brains Disguise Hide Language & Lore: Omnibus* Language & Lore Psychology See Balance Lockpicking Sneak Bravado Administration Backbone Persuade: Bargain Persuade: Bluff Persuade: Charm Persuade: Debate Streetwise Perks : Scooped! — The reporter, whose job it is to be in the right place at the right time, seizing every opportunity and always alert, may roll an extra d10 when Initiative rolls are called for. Add the Initiative Bonus as normal.Liberal Arts Education — The reporter gets a special, exclusive specialty skill called Language & Lore: Omnibus. This skill represents the body of miscellaneous information that the reporter has come in contact with over his years of education and research. The player distributes skill points normally into the skill, however the skill functions differently than regular skills: Once per gaming session the player may switch that skill score with any other non-basic Brains skill (including other Language & Lore skills if the ZM warrants). For example, a Wilderness Survival skill check is called for, but the reporter only has a score of 15 in that skill. He recalls, however, a story he once wrote about the famous author M. J. Durall, who forsook civilization and became a hermit. Durall showed the reporter his cunningly built lean-to, among other things, so the reporter may use his Language & Lore: Omnibus skill score of 70 in lieu of his Wilderness Survival score of 15.
What people are saying about Spaceship Zero the sci-fi serial roleplaying game:
“…the breadth of the rules is marvelous…the quality and quantity of the setting material…are unambiguously excellent…” 5 out of 5 – Dan Davenport rpg.net
Around 1900 there was a tradition among lumberjacks in North America to ascribe mysterious noises and happenings to a growing menagerie of fabulous beasts that became known as ‘fearsome critters.’ If there was a strange noise in the woods, it was attributed to the treesqueak. If a windstorm knocked down a tree, it was the splinter cat. If a ‘punky’ branch fell on or near a lumberjack, it was the agropelter. In episode 8 of Toren’s Guide to Everything I go into great detail about these and many more folklore cryptids.
A military self-repairing robot is scavenged from the wasteland and a man (Mo) who fears commitment brings it to his non-girlfriend (Jill) where it comes to life and chases her around the apartment.
This world has the trappings of a post-apocalyptic film (radiation, crappy outfits, cyborg hand) but there is a government and the woman’s apartment building has all the amenities (electricity, a security system, hot water that is more reliable than in my pre-apocalyptic building). A merchant in the first act finds out the robot’s weakness and then Mo learns it (it’s water) but in the climax of the film Jill learns it rather coincidentally. At some point in the film the robot skull’s US flag paint job goes away.
I finally finished watching this after years of not making it through the first half – quitting around the time the slovenly peeping tom neighbor invades the woman’s apartment. The dialogue is trite, and with very few exceptions, the actions of all the characters have zero bearing on how the story plays out which makes for very monotonous fare, despite the pedestrian attempts at avante garde cinematography and special effects.
Tropes: perverted neighbor; little person is a result of radiation; radio DJ exposition; shower lovin’; thermal vision sex scene; phone is destroyed to help the plot along
After an attempt to thwart an asteroid impact backfires, rocket chemicals spray the land turning everyday creatures into giant monsters. Joel is separated from his ladyfriend and spends 7 years in a bunker before he decides to take the 7 day journey in monster territory to reunite. En route he overcomes his paralyzing fear and his terrible aim, meets some new friends and bonds with a dog.
The monsters and settings were well-designed and the world was fun to inhabit. I liked that the ending wasn’t schmaltzy. It wasn’t a ‘rescue the damsel’ situation but neither did it turn 180 with the ‘men are incompetent’ trope. Meanwhile, was expecting some closure on the dog’s red dress.
Tropes: passing on a treasured keepsake; radio stops working at dramatically convenient moments; dropping the grenade;
Kevin Costner is an ‘icthyo sapiens’ with webbed toes and gills who wanders an endless ocean trying to get by. He gets caught up in a battle between jet ski marauders known as Smokers and a floating settlement that harbours a child with a tattoo that may be a map to the mythical “Dryland.” Of course he escapes with the help of the child and her surrogate mom. At first he’s a complete dick to them both but through the trials and tribulations of eluding the Smokers and their merciless leader Dennis Hopper they become a dysfunctional family.
This film has reprehensible hair as only Hollywood (and Italian cinema) could hope to achieve, sketchy makeup (nobody’s buying that gouged eye socket), 2-dimensional dialogue, and hokey action that made me laugh out loud, but it does have rich worldbuilding in the form of consistent wardrobe and amazing set pieces.
Tropes: stoic lone wolf of few words; eccentric inventor; villain has eye patch; heroine offers her body as payment; each explosion bigger than the last
Barely squeaking by as a post-apocalyptic movie, as it chronicles the tail end of the apocalypse. A war has created a lethal cloud of radiation that has done in the rest of the world, and will reach our heroes in Australia in about 4 months. I think only one of the actors is Australian, and it’s not Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire or Anthony Perkins, our main cast. While our hero Commander Towers comes to terms with his family’s death, he gets involved with another woman and then is sent on a mission to investigate a strange signal from America and determine whether or not the cloud is dissipating. Strangely, the streets are devoid of the dead OR their cars. Meanwhile, the government is handing out suicide pills to all citizens, and Anthony Perkins doesn’t know how to handle her wife and new babymama, who is in denial of the whole situation.
Meanwhile, the Waltzing Matilda musical motif is overused to the point of distraction.