Blue Giant:Scenario Brain Food
One of the corporations has bred a new, smarter type of Longhorn cow so that the cattle can better defend themselves against predation by the indigenous life forms of the planet. Unfortunately they made them sentient by accident, and nobody in the corporation is aware of just how smart the cows are. The cows learn their purpose in life, and go into hiding. The corporation blames the settlers they lease the cattle ranches from of rustling. The settlers blame the local predators called Agrosaurs. The PCs have to resolve the situation.
The story is set on Cesity Too, a planet orbiting a star called Cesity on the edges of the Damocles cluster. Cesity Too is the only planet in the star system. Our planet? it's called Cesity too. Cesity Too has a rich variety of terrains but no seas greater than four hundred kilometres across. It was settled one hundred and five years ago by a group of independent settlers, who, frankly haven't made much of it. When the Otherworld Ranching Corporation wanted to leased whole continents from them twenty years ago, the settlers accepted a reasonable offer and let the ranchers in.
The scenario takes place on a vast plain in the southern continent bordered on the north and south by two small seas, on the east by an arid super-canyon and the west by mountains. The settlers live to the east on a peninsula surrounded by canyon, the corporate headquarters sit in the lea of the western mountains. The plains in the middle are perfect cattle country.
The planet has a number of native life forms most of which can consume organic chemicals in one form or another.
The settlers have had some genetic enhancement in the past and all of them have a natural affinity for new languages.
Jaamal Riddle is the spokesman for the settlers who are backsliding Camby. He wants a quiet easy life which is being spoiled by the corporation. He is a lazy, indolent complainer who doesn't take well to accusations.
Alexander P. Dutton is the corporate troubleshooter sent from head office to solve the problem of disappearing profits, err, cattle. His first duty is to the bank balance. His future career depends on it.
Frankie McGill is the general manager of the ranching facility. She has a strong work ethic and she doesn't like the settlers, but she will, eventually listen to reason. Although Dutton is from head office, McGill calls the shots.
Benjam Panzani is a nine year old settler kid who knows the cattle are sentient and can talk to them.
The Longhorns are genetically enhanced Longhorn cattle the size of Indian elephants. They are tough and intelligent, they know when to fight, when to run and when to play stupid. They are more intelligent than the corporation suspects but have only recently developed their own language.
Agrosaurs : An Agrosaur is an one hundred and eighty foot long crocodile with a bucket scoop mouth, eyes under its jaw and armour of almost impenetrable four foot thick elastomers studded with chunks of bauxite. It eats cattle, vehicles, PCs, anything it wants to really.
The theme of this scenario is responsibility. The PCs must sort out this mess before anger and recrimination turns to violence, even though they may want to simply walk away.
Stampede; Soon after the PCs arrive at the corporate base, the base will receive a distress call from a downed flyer. The cattle are stampeding and the flyer is in the way. This is to give the PCs a first sight of the size of the cattle. If they rescue the cowboys or investigate the stampede, they will discover that there was no obvious reason for it to occur. There are no Agrosaur tracks and no sign of settlers. The reason for the stampede is that the cattle didn't want to be rounded up for slaughter.
Agrosaur attack; During the investigations, either near a sea or in the canyons, an Agrosaur will attack the PCs. The PCs can solve this in the usual manner or run, hide or outwit it.
Cowboys V Settlers; The settlers make a tidy profit selling liquor to the cowboys. (The company has a strict no alcohol policy.) The cowboys get mean and drunk and decide to have a go at the rustlers. ie any settler in town and in their blurry field of vision.
Sabotage; If the PCs are going out onto the plains, the company will obviously provide appropriate vehicles, which for reasons of poor maintenance or sabotage will break down at least half a days hike from the nearest 'barn' with a transmitter.
Agrosaur V Cows V PCs V Cowboys V Terrain; The cattle are hiding out in caves in the canyons near the settlement. When the PCs discover their location, three Agrosaurs will be closing in for a meal, the cowboys will be coming to get the herd back and the cattle are going to make a run for it. All at the same time.
The Settlers viewpoint; Jaamal Riddle speaks for the town, his brother is the sheriff and his cousin is the barman. As far as he is concerned, the settlers do not steal cattle any more, while there were a couple of incidents in the past, he put a stop to it. He blames missing cattle on either drunken cowboys, canyons, Agrosaurs, mismanagement or off world pirates. He has no proof of any of these things, and indeed he doesn't think he needs any. He will switch from one excuse to the next whenever the PCs disprove his current theory. Jaamal doesn't want the cattlemen to leave, it would set the settlement back, but things are getting iffy and it is his signature on the lease.
The Offworld Ranching Corporation Managers Viewpoint; Frankie McGill insists that cattle cannot just up and dissapear, something or someone must be taking them. Agrosaurs are the only indigenous wildlife big enough to do this and the cattle have been enhanced to be smart enough to avoid them. There are 'barns' - Agrosaur proof domes scattered across the ranch and the cattle make for them at the first sign of trouble. All the Agrosaurs in the area were tagged and the cattle herds receive transmitted warnings whenever one comes near.
If the PCs don't think of it then a minor company official or ranch hand will suggest that an untagged Agrosaur could have strayed into the territory, but the management will not consider this until the PCs go out and find such a beast.
The Offworld Ranching Corporation Troubleshooter Viewpoint; 'This facility has a substantial investment behind it, manpower, time, research, genetic research. My analysis shows that if this company were to leave this planet the local economy would collapse...' yada, yada, yada, money stuff. Dutton will argue from law and insist the PCs investigate and catch/exterminate the thieves. He may even offer the PCs a bribe if he thinks he can get away with it.
A big boy did it; Benjam Panzani has been hanging around the cattle herds nearest the settlers home, just doing kid stuff. He noticed that the cows seemed to be talking to each other, and with his genetic aptitude for languages soon began to understand them, then talk to them. It was he who let slip what happens to the cows when they go to the corporate slaughter yards. Benjam doesn't want the cows to be eaten and will lie, dissuade and obfuscate the facts as well as any 'nearly ten' year old can. Favourite lies include; 'I saw two cowboys there'. 'Ol' Snaptooth - the big grey agrosaur was here', and the perennial 'A big boy did it and ran away.'
The cattle are what???; Once it is discovered that the cattle are sentient, what do the PCs do with them?
Forensics; There is no forensic evidence to prove any of the conflicting theories whatsoever. A search of the town shows nothing, a search of the corporate base, including computer records shows nothing. All the agrosaurs in the region are accounted for. Sensor scans show nothing because the corporate sensors are rubbish, and the cattle hid themselves under a mile of rocky caves made from a rare sensor blocking ore called Braggaium.
Benjam has been taking foodstuff to the cattle, they can't graze in a cave. He's been using one of the colonial self-loading ground vehicles, a caterpillar tractor (So simple a kid could use it.) at night, which will have some grass and grain debris in the back. Staking out the vehicle is easy.
Tracking is impossible because the grass the beasts feed on grows rapidly, obscuring tracks after an hour or two.
Understudies; If the PCs kill off a main character in a fit of pique, don't worry too much. Managers have assistant managers and colonists have political rivals. Simply introduce a very cautious or very grateful replacement and get on with the story, but dock the CP reward at the end of the story, no-one needs killing in this scenario.
Dumbass Players; If the players don't pick up on a point, forget about it. Send them on a wild goose chase, involving a brawl or protesters outside the facility. When the PCs return dusting their hands the next person they want to talk to will have left to check out the plot hook, leaving the PCs to follow. If they still don't get it, have a lonely longhorn (it got left behind) come up to them and keep mooing at them until they get it.
Be prepared to change the scenario to suit the investigation. It could be settlers after all. It could be stealth agrosaurs, or it could be another corporation messing about.
Focus on the false leads to start with, avoid drawing attention to the cleverness of the cattle. Don't even mention that the cattle are enhanced until the PCs see one up close and then concentrate on telling the PCs how the enhancements don't spoil the flavour.
Have the manager feed them all steaks the first time they visit.
Build up the players hopes for each false lead before letting them disprove it.
The PCs are the law. They will have to decide on the fate of the cattle. It's not just a case of setting them loose, the Agrosaurs will simple eat them all without human help.
1 CP for preventing the settlers and corporates from killing each other.
1 CP for figuring out the cows are smart.
1 CP for securing a future for the cattle.
-1 CP for killing anyone.
- All introductory events. A Call for Help
- All start events. Each side presenting its case, a rescue or two.
- All second group events. The investigations, forensics and dead ends.
- All finale events. Locating the cattle. Saving them in the canyon fight. Negotiating their future.
- All wrap-up then all epilogue events. Laying down the law for each side.
Agrosaurs can be found on the coastal plains of Cesity Too.
An Agrosaur is an one hundred and eighty foot long crocodile with a bucket scoop mouth, eyes under its jaw and has armour of almost impenetrable four foot thick elastomers studded with chunks of bauxite. It eats cattle, vehicles, PCs, anything it wants to really. It moves fast because of its huge stride and will generally attack the largest thing it sees first. Chemical attacks don't have much effect on its physiology.
It wanders slowly around the plains looking for food. Its feeding tactic is to rush headlong at its victim hoping to cause something to die in a stampede. It will generally try to bite as its first attack, or chew anything it can feel moving in its mouth. Its second attack will either be a slam with a foreclaw or a tail bash.
Body 7, Mind 2, Soul 4
Combat Mastery - 2, Damn Healthy! - 6, Extra Arms - 1 (Tail), Extra Attacks - 1, Ground Speed - 2 (80kph), Heavy Armor - 4, Life Support - 1, Natural Weapons - 3 (Bucket Mouth Bite, Claws, Massive Tail), Super-Strength - 4,
Not So Fast (1 BP), No Arms (2 BP), Unskilled (2 BP), Awkward Size (4 BP), Cannot Talk (2 BP)
Health Points: 115, Energy Points: 30, ACV: 7, DCV: 5, Initiative: 6
Bite 49 dam + grapple, Claw 52 dam, Tail ACV: 6, 47 dam
Total CPs : 55
I'll add the cattle statistics soon as well as stats for drunk cowboys. I don't think we'll really need any more than that.
You are invited to record how the scenario went for you. Let's hear your variation of it.