AAR: Hypertellurians The First

29 Nov, 2020, updated 30 Nov, 2020 hypertellurians

Finally, finally, I pulled the trigger and tried running a Hypertellurians game. This was done in Discord, with three players. It took about three hours, including us all learning the game. We used Avrae for rolls and I made a Google sheet character keeper but we ended up using the provided pre-gens on the Mottokrosh website.

Unfortunately, this means no pictures.

Plot

The gang are flying their ship Liberator through space when they get a distress signal from the planet Cyrexx 7. Eoan and Mej from one of the royal families of a nation there are seeking aid. Their sun, Cyrexx, is due to flare directly at the planet!

Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, as Professor Zabulon made a oneirocrystal that allowed the whole race to use their collective unconscious to shield the planet. However, they’ve summoned him and his crystal, and he’s not answering. They need the heroes to visit the Bone Mountains, find him in his lab, and get him back. In time! 🏃🏼⏰🌞🎆

The players consisted of:

They set off to the mountains and immediately started scaling them, through the pine forest, aided with some small tunnels.

A raccoon watches them. 🦝

They watch it back.

Another raccoon comes out of the forest, and watches them. 🦝🦝

They try to befriend it.

They are attacked by Dread Pandas. This is where we read the sheets, and the revenant can vomit toxic bile for Brawn damage to itself and seriously upset everyone around it.

Once the raccoons are killed or scared off, the party continues to the remote laboratory of Professor Zabulon. It is suspiciously quiet, but the party approach the front door, look at it, and then tunnel under it. The dwarf opens the front door from the inside.

Household serv-o-tons approach, complaining about their mess. The revenant vomits on them, and they run off screaming digitally.

After a small amount of exploring, they find the Laboratory, which has many test tubes, flashing boxes, satellite dishes, and crystals. Zabulon is there, but his eyes are bloodshot and his head is deformed and broken. He sits in a large satellite dish, repurposed as a nest. He is clearly possessed by an Intelligence which talks but does not negotiate.

Once the party ascertained which crystal they need, they start fighting. This was reasonably-but-not-too-close and the Intelligence was defeated. More toxic bile was produced and Wonder used to buff their attacks (sorry I didn’t take notes). The critical part was the revenant (again!) who used their Conch of Sea Translocation: it summons a cubic metre of sea water (inc whatever’s in it). This broke the serv-o-tons and also brought forth an octopus.

Obviously this is now a pet.

Lessons

Robbie the robot

Trying to make pulp raypunk is something I found quite hard. I started off with 80s sci-fi, and then realised that wasn’t quite right – I need to be telling less clever stories. Not the ones that have insightful unforeseen consequences of new technology, just a different setting. Like the idea of Futurama’s Space Pirates: “Pirates: But In Space!” as Leela puts it. Something familiar in a future setting. So, with that in mind, I threw away my original ideas, and tried to think along the lines of a spaghetti Western or the A Team.

So, this story originally was more space-based, but I decided to go for a more “all on land for reasons that are not mentioned”. The only problem with this is that then the players ask for those reasons! “It’s thematic” is my response.

Note to self: Have better response.

I wonder whether grabbing some (public domain) art for a moodboard would help? Sets tone well, but is Another Thing To Do. It also wouldn’t help actually create a story per se.

Mechanics

The greatest problem I had was trying to write encounters. There’s now an example adventure with the book, but it was too long for what I was after. There’s only a few example monsters and NPCs in the book. I decided to play things relatively safe, I wanted three encounters in total, increasing in difficulty, and I just nudged the numbers up between fights. I also tinkered between raising HP, attack bonus, and armour.

Dread Panda - lvl 1. HP 3. Def 8. Armour 0. Att +5. Leaps. 1d4 biting. Strokeably soft.

They went down pretty quick, nothing special.

Serv-o-ton - lvl 2. HP 6. Def 10. Armour 2. Att +5. Can self-destruct. Damage 1, light, excruciating, electric, ongoing, magic. Arms (as staff): d6, medium

Turns out doing 1 damage is absorbed by affinity, so this was a bit pointless, but thematic tasering worked nicely. Next time, more damage. I liked alternating armour and HP.

The Intelligence - lvl 5. HP 15. Def 12. Armour 0. Attack +8 vs Mind - d8 terror and screaming for one round

The nice thing about the Intelligence is alternating onto different stat damage. So it hit hard but not on something everything else was pummelling.

The example monsters in the book seemed weirder but I think these were a good start. I did not hand out any loot and I don’t have any ideas yet of how to come up with things like the pre-gens had (e.g. the water-summoning shell)

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