Just an idea … I realize now that this was inspired by the Story Games “this with that” challenge – it got me re-reading classic Traveller and thinking about super powers.

You are going to ground, and not a moment too soon. Authority is two jumps behind you and that will have to do. It ends here, above this interdicted world with the canopy of white clouds.

The ship — your ship — implodes above you and then drifts apart into 400 tons of garbage. There are bodies aboard, the right sex, the right number. Authority won’t look too hard. After all, what kind of fool would abandon the universe, forever, for a place like this?

They fight with swords down there. And you and your “friends” are taking the express route to join them, a tight cluster of ablative eggs punching, screaming, through the troposphere.

They’ve never seen a gun. They’ve never seen a Commensal or a tool pill. Hell, they’ve probably never seen clean water. You’ll fucking rule this place.


You life thusfar has consisted of five phases. Somewhere along the line you went wrong, got bad, maybe turned evil or just pragmatic. Once that began happening, Authority started taking an interest in you and you started gathering the bug-out gear that you’ve got with you now.
Choose an option for Upbringing (any option is fine). That will point you on down the slippery path.

Criminal (leads to Elite, Technical or Street)
Aristocratic (leads to Elite, Professional or Street)
Impoverished (leads to Professional, Technical or Street)
Privileged (leads to Elite, Professional or Technical)

Elite (leads to Yegg, Activist or Entrepreneur)
Professional (leads to Soldier, Activist or Entrepreneur)
Street (leads to Soldier, Activist or Yegg)
Technical (leads to Soldier, Entrepreneur or Yegg)

Activist (leads to Traitor, Revolutionary or Murderer)
Entrepreneur (leads to Pirate, Revolutionary or Traitor)
Yegg (leads to Traitor, Pirate or Murderer)
Soldier (leads to Murderer, Pirate or Revolutionary)

GONE WRONG (Can be taken twice)
Traitor (jumps to Murderer or leads to Terrorist or Warlord. Gain Commensal or Tech)
Murderer (jumps to Pirate or leads to Lunatic or Crime Boss. Gain Implant or Weapon)
Pirate (jumps to Revolutionary or leads to Crime Boss or Warlord. Gain Weapon or Commensal)
Revolutionary (jumps to Traitor or leads to Lunatic or Terrorist. Gain Tech or Implant)

GONE WAY WRONG (Must be fifth term)
Warlord (gain Implant or Weapon)
Crime Boss (gain Tech or Commensal)
Terrorist (gain Weapon or Tech)
Lunatic (gain Commensal or Implant)


You share your body with a Commensal. A Commensal is an outrageously expensive synthetic organism that lives inside you. Commensals serve a wide variety of functions, all of which powerfully enhance human performance in some way. Examples include “auxiliary lobes” that provide additional brain processing power, and organisms that turbocharge the immune system. Military applications are also available. Commensals like to be used, and over time tend to exert increasing influence over their host’s behavior. They are fragile, however, and frequently cease functioning when their host experiences extreme trauma. Multiple Commensal are possible in a single host.
Medical: The Commensal completely prevents infection and allows healing from injuries at ten times normal speeds.
Psi: The Commensal provides access to psychic potential. Every host will have a single aptitude — telepathy (mind reading, mind control) , psychokinesis (telekinesis, pyrokinesis), or ESP (Precognition and remote viewing). You never know what your aptitude is until the Commensal turns it on — it’s more or less random.
Savant: The Commensal remembers every experience the host has ever had and retrieves information, sensations, or memories effortlessly on command. It also contains the equivalent of a 100 terabyte reference library. As an added benefit, they are able to provide an additional set of senses, as a sort of situational “running commentary” when asked.
Sapient: The Commensal is highly intelligent, and can perform simple tasks free of direction. One could, for example, gradually build a boat while the host slept every night. Sapient Commensals are extremely useful but put more pressure on the host than other types, demanding new and interesting tasks with increasing complexity and responsibility. Excellent watchdogs, too. Not for the lazy or inattentive.

Implant is the colloquial term for ethyl carbamate brain prostheses or carbon nanotube musculoskeletal enhancements. Rugged and permanent, implants provide modest performance boosts to endurance, strength, overall health, or specialized brain functions, such as language acquisition. Implants are expensive but safe. You can have more than one without any repercussions.
Protect: The implant increases alertness and agility by a factor of two when the host is engaged in vigorous, stressful activity. In addition, both autonomic and voluntary functions are carefully managed for the host. You will sleep for a week when it’s through, though.
Language: The implant allows near-real-time language acquisition and acts as a “pre-processor” for translation in any language.
Augment: Physical strength and stamina are both greatly increased on demand, providing benefits much like the protect implant.
Battlefield: The implant coordinates with other battlefield implants within one kilometer, effectively providing squad-level telepathy and team remote viewing. The implant network serves as a distributed tactical computer.

You have a personal weapon with you. It hasn’t left your side in a long time and probably has a story of its own. Take your pick. If you end up with more than one Weapon choice then double up, choose a different item, or bring along enough ammunition for your first weapon to hold off an army.
Handgun: A superbly crafted semiautomatic pistol that fires caseless ammunition. It is made of a ceramic composite and is accurate, easily concealed, and light as a feather. 200 rounds of ammunition in a case as well.
Sniper Rifle: A precision, bolt-action killing instrument, with a telescopic and light intensifying scope and integrated silencer. It is custom-built to your measurements. 100 loose rounds of ammunition.
Assault Rifle: A compact battlefield weapon, capable of firing either spin-corrected 30mm explosive grenades or tack-hammering high velocity projectiles. 400 rounds in a magazine and 50 rifle grenades in a big crate.
Plasma Gun: A sealed 1.5 megawatt torsatron reactor powers this uncommonly powerful weapon. A beam of coherent light both paints the target and ionizes the beam path to prevent plasma bloom. Although it has no other practical utility, the torsatron reactor can also be easily converted into a ten kiloton fission bomb. You’ve probably got 50 shots, and the reactor can always go critical for a really big 51st.

You have a piece of technology that survived the crash. Take your pick. If you end up with more than one Technology choice, double up or choose a different item.
Pillbox: A tool pill is a 30-gram single-use nanofactory with thousands of pre-defined simple objects available for construction. You have a box of ten. Tool pills can be set to provide everything from hedge trimmers to slabs of gold. Assume that any practical hand tool, household item, or metal part set can be fabricated, within boundaries defined by 4 kilograms and one cubic meter. If you know the desired tool’s sequence, the process requires 30 seconds and access to construction material — any matter will do. Activating a tool pill on an immobilized living being is an extraordinarily cruel method of execution, and results in a very creepy souvenir of your crime. Don’t lose your reference guide listing the many tools and their settings.
Brick Suit: A body-hugging suit of adaptive armor, covering the chest, torso, arms, and legs. Completely impervious to subsonic kinetic impacts under most circumstances (although whole-body trauma can still kill you). Resistant to both heat and cold. User-activated programmable auto-exercise routines for muscle-memory reinforcement. A brick suit will keep you alive.
Ninja Suit: Another skin-tight suit, this one completely covering the body and designed for stealth. Dampens radiated body heat and capable of specular adjustment to match your surroundings. Actively suppresses noise within one meter. User-activated Van der Waals pads on hands, feet, and all joints. Nobody will see you in a ninja suit.
Uplink: A one kilogram device that provides a wide array of communication and intelligence-gathering tools. Paired with a 10cm orbiting satellite (already buzzing overhead), the sensor suite allows observation, with one meter resolution, of any spot on the planet, in visual (with LI), IR, or UV ranges. The satellite itself can project LIDAR up to 100 AU’s to detect incoming craft. The uplink can be used to communicate with vessels in orbit, or any other uplink set anywhere on the planet.

Outlaw Gods
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8 thoughts on “Outlaw Gods

  • January 2, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    The idea here would be that you are high-tech guys with a limited array of extremely awesome equipment that makes you sorcerers in a D&D sort of landscape. The game’s about the world you remake it into, and what you do when that is in turn threatened by new outsiders, or internal rivals, or each other.

  • January 3, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Fantastic! Keep us posted on how this progresses.

  • January 3, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    It’s a damn fine pitch, and an easy throw-down for a convention GURPS game. If you develop it, keep us abreast.

  • January 3, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Thanks guys. I may think about this more after January. Last night I thought – pair a Commensal gone parasite with the unfettered ability to reshape matter to “optimize” the host and you’ve got a monster manual. Who says your criminals are the first people to break interdiction?

  • January 3, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Absolutely. And there’s always good ol’ fashioned xenomorphs.

  • January 8, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    have you read Zelazny’s “Lords of Light”?

  • January 8, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    I have not – is that what I’m writing?

  • January 9, 2008 at 9:01 am

    not quite, but it’s definitely got some similarities.

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