Saturday, August 29, 2020

RPGaDay Challenge 2020 - RIDE


Here is another example of a prompt that should have appeared much, much earlier. I had an idea for it right away but my overall excitement for this year's challenge is way down at this point. I think my entry is pretty fun, yet I wonder how much better it would have been if I were really jazzed the whole month long. 

One of the often overlooked and unappreciated elements of PC equipment is the vehicle. I am excluding starships from this, although they would certainly qualify as 'rides'. I have written about such interstellar craft separately on a number of occasions, so I would prefer to open this up to other forms of travel. Here I am addressing more terrestrial, if sometimes unconventional, means of character conveyance.

Planes, trains, automobiles, and the like that are special both to the PCs and to their campaigns do not seem to be brought up as often as they once were. Have we lost our love affair with the super-car? I certainly hope not. I have fond memories as both a player and a Gamemaster of some very cool forms of PC transportation that have appeared in our games over the years.

The Crescent Moon (aka The Moon Flyer), from Champions: The Age of Chaos 

The personal vehicle of Night Force, the field leader of the New York City chapter of UNTIL's Project: UNITY, the Crescent Moon is one of the most advanced aerospace craft on Earth. Designed by Night Force himself using cutting edge technology both native and extraterrestrial, the 'Moon Flyer' (as it has been nicknamed) soars swiftly and absolutely silently on contra-gravity thrusters and specialty turbines. 

Painted with a unique material that enables the craft to absorb and manipulate light. The Moon Flyer can, for example, turn invisible or reflect light in a bright white, nearly blinding flash. From the ground below, the vehicle's underside can easily be mistaken for the actual moon in the night sky. 

The ship is largely automated and only requires a single pilot. It has room for perhaps one or two other people as the interior space of the craft is very limited. There is a small cargo area in the rear and a hatch on the bottom from which Night Force can descend [by ladder or leap]. 

The Crescent Moon has a number of weapons, defenses, and other gadgets, most of which are modular, enabling Night Force to switch them out for mission specific gear. 

Ecto-Plus (aka Ecto-1+), from Ghostbusters: The Home Office

With the original Ecto-1 used more for public appearances and PR, our team used a modern ambulance that had been heavily customized by the PCs. It included a Proton Particle Throwing Cannon mounted on a roof turret and operated from a gunner's seat in the back section of the vehicle.

Ghostbuster employee David Nelson kept advocating for an Ecto-Tank but Dr. Alex Thornton kept insisting the budget couldn't afford it. Apart from Dr. Ray Stantz's enthusiasm for the idea ("Just to see it happen!", he was quoted as saying), the team never got a clear Yea or Nay from Ghostbusters Central. 

Additional vehicles used by the team included a motorcycle with a detachable side car (Ecto-1c) and a converted Ice Cream truck (Ecto-1d) that had a miniature Containment Unit in place of it's refrigerator. These were only used on special occasions when the main vehicle was 'in the shop'. Additionally, the Ecto-1d was kind of experimental. 

The Metroliner, from Deeds Not Words: The Gods Wear Long Underwear 

One of my all time favorite RPG vehicles, the Metroliner was an independantly powered and operated subway train car owned by the street level superhero known as The Metropolitan. The Metroliner is highly modified and customized, capable of traveling through the New York City subway system at speeds far exceeding standard trains. It had a small control cabin, but as the rest of the car was of standard size, there was easily enough room for the rest of The Metropolitan's team and extra gear. 

Thanks to a specially designed navigation and override system, The Metropolitan can manipulate subway traffic to clear tracks and tunnels for a smoother, faster trip. He also has several secret stations and lengths of track that allow The Metroliner to disappear to make quick repairs. 

The engine of the Metroliner is extremely powerful and with the help of advanced magnetic cables, the vehicle can tow other forms of underground transportation up to and including a fully loaded subway train of a dozen cars or so. Other devices that the Metroliner is equipped with include fire extinguishers, mobile medical equipment, arc-welder/blowtorch, and a smoke screen ejector. A subway station headquarters/garage serves as the vehicle's housing and The Metropolitan's main base of operations. 

Blood, from The Legend of Boot Hill

While I have mentioned my Legend of Boot Hill game in the past, I can't seem to find a single post that references it in a way that would give this entry context. As such, if you're really interested in off beat Westerns, please feel free to search the blog using the Boot Hill or Wild West tags. That said...

There is a tall tale told by rancher, wrangler, and gunslinger alike, usually by a nighttime campfire and backed by the howling of unseen critters of the otherwise deserted regions of Texas, New Mexico, and Nevada, of an entity called The Red Rider and his horse, known simply as Blood.

It's body the color of cinnamon, covered from hoof to hind-quarters in brick-hued dust, with a mane and tail tinted a deep, dark rust, Blood is a horse like no other. Accounts of his size, speed, and strength vary and are probably exaggerated more with each telling.

All agree there is something unnatural about the beast and every description shares a nearly identical mention of the animal's eyes; large, glassy, black as pitch but surrounded by a red ring that almost seems to glow in the dark. Steam spews forth from its nose and mouth regardless of the temperature. Its hooves beat like thunder as it gallops but despite its size and weight, it can just as easily trot out of the shadows without even the slightest sound. 

The most disturbing thing about this creature is that, like its rider, it doesn't seem to die. Ever. For any reason. Witnesses have seen it shot by rifles, buried in a rockslide, and even gallop off a cliff as the Red Rider tried to get control of a runaway stage coach. Each time, the Red Rider and Blood reappear at some later place and time, appearing a bit worse for wear but alive and well...or whatever unholy state they're in that passes for such. 

In the decades that followed, as the locomotive, car, and other modern conveyances replaced the horse as our standard means of getting from one place to another, there were still stories told of a scarlet cowboy and his crimson steed that could be seen keeping pace with the great ironhorses of the Western rails.

Blood will always run.

Barking Alien

No comments:

Post a Comment