Star Plunder INC Tutorial

Star Plunder INC is a sci-fi shoot ’em up future dungeoneering game I’m working on. It started off as a 13th Age hack, which inspired the factions in the game (such as Star Plunder INC rival corporations), but is currently using a modified version of Beyond Dread Portals. Paul Mitchener’s D20 Fantasy game of Multi-dimensional world hopping, which I’m kickstarting April 2nd. Mainly because Paul’s snazzy but straightforward D20 system does all the narrative things that 13th Age does without the pain of an intricate feat system (which as a writer I never get on with).

Writing is flowing like water, and it’s currently in my fun writing project (what I do in my evenings/spare time). Since my excitement for it is growing, I’ve decided to give it a whirl at the upcoming Virtual Grogmeet, which is being run online courtesy of the Grognard Files podcast.

So here’s a first peek via the pitch I sent for the con.


New employees of Star Plunder INC, congratulations on your recent successful employment! Now please move away from the Recruitment Station and board the battle bus. You will now travel from the relative safety of your hometown of Snits Creek (72% chance of living to natural terms) to the thrilling settlement of Tutorial (23% chance of living a full and fun life). That’s a full 42% drop in life expectancy statistics. Can you not already understand how much fun this will be?

Once you reach Tutorial, you will undergo the Employee Orientation Programme (EOP) in this carefully curated settlement and its surrounding Badlands. EOP is full of live ammunition, spontaneous explosions, psychotic muties and robots with annoying (and often) malfunctioning personality chips! Worry not, fearless, valued employee. Should you get shot, you’ve already signed a waiver absolving us of any responsibility. Also, you will be issued company credit to buy weapons and live ammunition to deal with all these threats. EVEN THE ROBOTS! Then find the carefully hidden loot boxes, and bingo! Mission Success!

Successful candidates will then be promoted from Level 0 Indentured Staffer to full Level 1 Freelancer status and be shipped off the world to experience full employment opportunities. Unsuccessful candidates, if not vapourised, will experience a fully paid basic funeral as guaranteed by the employment contract you have just signed.

Have a nice adventure!

Star Plunder INC is a D20 sci-fi dungeoneering roleplaying game I’m developing, set in a debris-filled post-apocalyptic far future. It’s based on the Borderlands series of computer games (with a dash of Fallout and Doom). If that seems confusing, this introductory adventure will gently ease you into the setting and the system. Just turn up with a sense of humour and the ability to roll dice when instructed.

Reboot the Future @Grogmeet 2021

This weekend I escaped the house to attend Grogmeet, a gaming convention held by the Grognard Files podcast in my FLGS Fanboy3. It was the first time I’ve face to face game in almost two years! Overall the event was full of happy and enthusiastic gamers, and I didn’t get to talk to everyone I knew because I was always busy chatting with folk. It was an uplifting experience.

On Saturday afternoon, I got to run Brain Dead at the Shopping Mall. This game was my first playtest of this adventure – which is an Early Bird Backer reward. Also, I had an eye on how the extra bits I’ve bolted on the Liminal engine performed. I’ve run Reboot the Future before, but that was a good year ago, and there’s been some tweaking since then.

During a comfort break, the table with character sheets strewn everywhere.

What was immensely pleasurable straight away was that all the players were backers of the game. It was also slightly intimidating. Would they be impressed by my game which is still a bit rough around the edges? Big sigh of relief that they all took to it . and once I had explained the setup and how the characters worked, they quickly owned their characters and drove the action relentlessly 🙂

The setup came in three pieces.

The Setting: New Oldham is a colony world. Originally a desert world, that was terraformed quickly twenty years ago into an industrial workhouse. Then ten years ago, the cooperation that had an iron grip on it, Imperial Sterling INC, quickly withdrew all their staff and operations in response to the Galactic War and the resulting economic downturn. Many parts of the colony have been reclaimed by the desert, including Paradise Heights, a low-level corporate executive housing estate on the edge of New Oldham City. Imperial Sterling and its black-clad security guards have returned in the last couple of years and are busy reopening their operations. Still, Paradise Heights remains closed for the time being.

The Gang. This unit is the character’s organisation and has a background, goals, assets and premade adventure hooks. It’s almost a character in its own right. If you are familiar with Liminal’s crew, it’s the same setup but modified for the cyberpunk genre. Our Gang was the Stainless Steel Providers MC; an outlaw motorcycle gang made up of cyborg-veteran’s of Imperial Sterlings 5th Mechanised Recon Regiment. There’s a stretch goal on the Kickstarter that every backer will get a copy of this Gang if we reach it.

The Job. The hook for the players, the situation as presented by their contacts, the opportunity to make their money, boost their reputation, get them valuable information or all three at once. This job was a tip-off from an anonymous poster on the local cyberpunk bulletin board about a highly valued hoover bike that the poster had tracked down to a stylish vehicle dealership within Paradise Height’s onsite shopping mall, The Palace of Dreams.

The way the job was presented, it was very much a self-starter. It was up to the cyberpunk to investigate and recon before tackling the adventure itself, or as I call it in Reboot the Future, the Conspiracy. And the players sprang immediately into action. Not only was the gang’s cyberhacker, Lady Killer as played by pookie, straight on the case, and bringing in the deep-intel about Paradise Heights, the rest of the gang very quickly moved on that intel, did recon (which involved cleaver use of their gang’s assets), and quickly plan was formulated and acted. Of course, there were complications, this is cyberpunk, after all, but the players worked as a unit, as befitted their ex-military backgrounds and the set up of their Motorcycle Club, and brought the game to a more than satisfying conclusion.

Everybody said how much they enjoyed themselves and had a great time myself, came away with lots of ideas to polish the final game and a better idea of what the adventure write-up should contain.

Big thanks to the players, Robin, Andrew, Jim and pookie.