Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Backgrounds of the Crew of the Ace of Spades part 4

Danica - Venetian Scout aged 53.
Danica was born on Delton 6i, a moon of the gas giant, Delton 6, in the Venetian starsector. Like all Venetian humanoids, Danica is slim and hairless with long pointed ears. She was an only child and she had a normal upbringing. Her education was so good that she was able to leave school at 11 years old. She had a deep yearning to travel and to learn about other races and cultures. So she found employment on a free trader starship, The Misha Opus, as a space jockey. For the next three years, she learned a variety of skills useful for working on a starship. All Venetians are naturally psionic and it was about this time that she wanted to develop her psi talents much further. So, she worked as a freelance Psychic on a strictly commercial basis, travelling from planet to planet with the money she earned. Fifteen years later, she returned to Venetia, the capital planet of the Venetian starsector and enlisted in the Venetian Navy as a Battle Psyche. Here, she was trained for wartime psychic combat, specialising in brute force mental offence. Her major psionic talent was telepathy and she learned how to use Psi-Blast to devastating effect. After a twenty year tour of duty, she was once again struck by wanderlust. She gained a posting on board the Magellan's Folly, a Class VI 80,000 ton Survey Scouts starship. She shared a cabin with a young female human scout called Katja Sondquist. They quickly became close friends and then lovers, a fact that they somehow kept secret from their colleagues. Katja was a natural outdoors-woman and taught Danica a lot about survival techniques. Danica thrived at being a scout and soon realised that this was the career she wanted to pursue. Danica and Katja made a vow to stick together as long as possible. So, when their three year tour of duty was over, they looked around for jobs as scouts on board an independent scout ship with laxer rules and regulations about them being lovers.
They soon found one docked in their starport. It was called The Ace of Spades and its captain, Kimberley Wells, was hiring new crew. After running a background check on them, Kimberley was impressed enough to hire them both. Danica was welcomed on board by the rest of the crew, who were very curious about her. She was one of only two non-humans amongst the small crew of 13 (Celeste the android was the other) and she was the only psyker on board. She promised not to read any of their minds. She quickly settled in and was readily accepted as one of the girls. Rather unusually, the crew was made up entirely of females. Danica is not at all like a typical Venetian. Whereas most Venetians are noted for being aloof and ascetic, Danica is more impious and she has a cheeky sense of humour. Because Kimberley runs her ship in such a casual and carefree manner, Danica's relationship with Katja is openly accepted and supported.
Typical Quotes
"Perimeter is secure. I'm moving in now."
"Tell me everything you know about this place... and don't even think about lying to me."

Katja Sondquist - Human Scout aged 27.
Katja was the youngest of four children born to Bjorn and Gunilla Sondquist, who both worked in the only starport on the desolate world of Halliwell (Prokshow 4) in the Byte starsector. They ran a tour company. Katja had two sisters - Anna-Marie and Sveta, and the eldest child was her brother, Lukas. They are one, two and four years older than Katja respectively. Katja was by far the most adventurous of the siblings and she longed to explore the stars. She was also the most athletic and was a gifted all-round sportswoman at high school. Unlike the rest of her family, Katja preferred life outdoors and couldn't imagine being stuck indoors everyday. Upon leaving school, Katja got a job as an intelligence officer for the Transwide Enterprises Corporation. This involved a lot of travel to various planets, which Katja loved. However, she resented all the paperwork she had to file, so she quit after three years and joined the Department of Interstellar Survey as a scout onboard the Spartius, a 50,000 ton Islander Class scout ship. This was much more to her liking, as she had found her true calling. Four years later, she enrolled with the Survey Scouts aboard the Magellan's Folly, an 80,000 ton Magellan Class scout ship. Due to the cramped conditions onboard, she shared a cabin with a young Venetian scout called Danica. Danica was two years younger than Katja and this was her first tour of duty as a scout. They soon bonded and became firm friends, which blossomed into true love. They agreed that when this tour of duty they would stick together. Both of them wanted to leave the Survey Scouts and find employment with a crew of independent explorers.
As luck would have it, they found just such a ship docked at their starport, The Ace of Spades, who were advertising for new crew members. They offered their services to the ship's captain, Kimberley Wells, and were hired almost immediately. Katja and Danica make a good team and often go out on scouting missions together. They are both highly skilled combatants and survival experts. Katja and Danica have very different personalities. Katja is the more extroverted and outgoing of the two. She is cool under pressure, very loyal to her friends and incredibly energetic. When The Ace of Spades is travelling through space, you will most likely find Katja in the ship's gymnasium, working out. She keeps a diary, which she updates whenever she can. Working for Kimberley, she has found an awful lot to write about!
Typical Quotes
"Hmm, I'll just make a note of that in my diary."
"Last one to the top of the hill is a dreg head!"

Rebecca Faye Ellington - Human Burglar aged 23.
Rebecca Faye Ellington is a native of the planet Redugun (Torsk 1) in the Byte starsector. Redugun is heavily forested with giant trees and is prone to extreme seasonal weather conditions. The planet is divided into duchies, counties and baronies, each with its feudal lord. Local wars are perfectly legal and acceptable under Redugun law, as long as they don't constitute a rebellion against the King or one of his Grand Dukes. Rebecca's parents, Baron Cornelius Ellington and Baroness Faye were killed in a local war with a neighbouring county when Rebecca was 4 years old. She was placed in an orphanage and although well looked after, she hated it. At age 10, she was adopted by a middle class couple, whom she despised. A week later, she ran away from them and never looked back. She spent the next two years living on the fringes of society as a street thug in a small gang. It wasn't a life, it was an existence. Still, it toughened her up and helped her to stay hidden from the authorities. She eventually made her way to Castle Stark, the capital city of Redugun, where one of the planet's three starports were located. She managed to find a job on a small starliner, The Moody Pearl, as a space jockey, doing menial tasks. For the next three years, she kept a low profile and did whatever was asked of her by her commanding officers. What they didn't know was that whenever the ship docked at a starport, Rebecca would go off on her own on thieving missions, picking a pocket here or stealing an unattended suitcase there. She found this a very lucrative sideline. After her three year tour of duty was over, she quit and decided to make a full-time career of being a burglar. It sure beat working for someone else... and she was very good at it. She never stayed long on any one planet and she travelled far and wide, living off the profits of her thievery.
Her luck almost ran out two years ago when she was caught red-handed breaking into a hotel room she thought was unoccupied. It wasn't. Staying there was Kimberley Wells, captain of an independent scout ship called The Ace of Spades. Kimberley persuaded Rebecca to sit down with her and tell her life story. Rather than turn her in to the authorities, Kimberley offered Rebecca a post on her ship. Officially, her role is as a scout - she is especially good in urban environments, but she is still a thief and Kimberley happily turns a blind eye to Rebecca's illegal activities, just as long as she doesn't steal from her crew or get caught. At long last, Rebecca feels like she has a home and she is eternally grateful to Kimberley for giving her a chance to do some good. Rebecca has a devil-may-care attitude to life and is quite boisterous and isn't afraid to speak her mind. She tries to avoid combat whenever possible but will have no hesitation in defending herself when necessary.
Typical Quotes
"Hmm, that's a nice necklace she's wearing. I'm sure it would look a lot nicer around my neck."
"Wassamatter? You never seen a woman without a bra on before?"

Friday, 25 August 2017

Backgrounds of the Crew of The Ace of Spades part 3

Judith Kramer - Human Doctor aged 31.
Judith was the eldest of two children of Wolfgang and Diane Kramer. She was born on Terra (Sol 3). Her brother, Jeffrey, was two years younger than her. Her father worked as a solicitor and her mother as a personal assistant in the corporate sector. Judith was a very studious child and achieved top grades at school. She decided to continue her academic career and remained at university for a further 12 years, achieving a doctorate in medicine. With such impressive qualifications she could have walked into any job in the medical profession. With a deep yearning to explore the stars, she signed on as a doctor on board a Survey Scouts Endeavour class IX Cruiser called the DSX Livingstone. The ship had a crew of 376, and Judith was appointed as deputy chief medical officer in a sickbay with a capacity for 20 patients at a time. She learned a lot and gained excellent practical experience. She got on well with her staff and other crew members, but when her tour of duty was up after four years, she decided to move on. She was hoping to find a job that placed her in charge, instead of being a second-in-command. As it happened, a young nurse called Gwendoline Papillion had been informed by one of Judith's former crew-mates that she was looking for a new post. Gwendoline invited Judith to speak to her captain, Kimberley Wells, who was actively looking to recruit new crew members for her independent scout ship, The Ace of Spades. Judith was immediately won over by Kimberley and Gwendoline's personalities, and so happily accepted the post of chief medical officer. Gwendoline was particularly delighted to be serving under such a distinguished surgeon as Judith.
Judith found the first two years of her time on board The Ace of Spades a very different experience to her time on the DSX Livingstone. For a start, Kimberley ran her ship in a very relaxed manner and gave her crew a lot of leeway to do what they thought best. Discipline was not a high priority on The Ace of Spades. Secondly, Kimberley seemed to have an unerring knack of finding trouble. Life was never dull. One year ago, whilst on a scouting mission, Judith rescued a baby daggertooth cat who had lost his owners. She had always had a love for animals and so she adopted the cat and called him, "Fizz". Fizz quickly became known as the ship's mascot and is loved by all except Celeste, who views him with indifference. Judith is the most pacifistic person on board the ship. She strongly disapproves of violence and has, thus far, resisted all attempts to learn any combat skills. In her mind, she saves lives, she does not take them.
Typical Quotes
"Has anyone seen where Fizz went? He was here a moment ago."
"No, don't kill it! We need to collect a specimen."

Lynda Pelligrosso - Human Research Scientist aged 26.
Lynda Pelligrosso was born on Augusta (Augustus 2), the capital planet of the Mercantile League in the Antares starsector. She was the only child of Lucius and Ludmilla Pelligrosso, who both worked in the corporate sector. Upon graduating from university with an Honours degree in Engineering, Lynda accepted a job from a prestigious megacorp research division known as the Trident Corporation. Her first assignment was to develop new techniques for manipulating graviton waves from a distance. At the time, this was a "hot" problem and the League Navy was funnelling huge sums of money into the megacorp to fund the ongoing research. After only two years, Lynda made a major breakthrough. Excited, she reported her findings to her superiors... who told her to keep her mouth shut and bury her results deep in the data-files. It took her a while to understand what was going on, but when she finally realised, she was horrified. Solving the graviton wave problem would put an end to the ongoing military funding, and that funding far exceeded any possible profit the Trident Corporation could realise from Lynda's discovery. Economic reality dictated that her breakthrough should be shelved - at least until the megacorp had siphoned a few more billion out of the Navy. Lynda quit and tried going out on her own. Her academic credentials should have entitled her to government funding, but her erstwhile employer had effectively "blacklisted" her with all funding agencies. If she wanted to do pure research she realised, she'd have to go begging to the Trident Corporation she'd just quit. That simply wasn't an option!
Lynda went into business for herself as a researcher for hire. This was initially only going to be a temporary solution but what she had not predicted was that she'd enjoy the variety and ever-changing challenges of her new lifestyle so much. Now she'll work for anyone - except megacorps, whom she hates. Two years ago, she was hired by captain Kimberley Wells as a crew member of The Ace of Spades scout ship. She serves multiple roles, as the ship only has a small crew. Her primary role is still that of research scientist, but she also takes on the ships comms role and also helps out with the ship's engineering. Lynda exudes confidence and she's become a hard-nosed businesswoman. She will work on any project she doesn't consider harmful to human life. Whilst she is a pacifist at heart, she has learned a few self-defence skills.
Typical Quotes
"And I say, keep the know-nothing politicians and corporate dickheads out of my way!"
"Of course I'm familiar with Simpson's revision of Tien's superstring theory. Who isn't?"

Sharuna Randall - Human Computer Hacker aged 21.
Sharuna Randall was born on Tyche (82 Eridani 3), a planet populated by 10 million human colonials and 150 million Tychan canines. The two races get on well with each other. Indeed, Tychan society is virtually identical to that of Terra. The planet has been extensively terraformed to resemble Sol 3. Her unmarried mother, Loleatta Randall, made sure that Sharuna had a good education and a respectable upbringing. From a very early age, Sharuna was fascinated with computers. Her school grades were impressive and she enrolled at university aged only 8. She majored in cryptology and stayed on another four years to attain a Masters degree. Her mother was so proud of her when she graduated aged 16. However, Sharuna had no clear goal of what she wanted to do with her life. Obviously, she wanted to utilise her computer skills, but she just couldn't find the right job that she really wanted to do. This lead her to the realisation that she ought to spread her wings and leave Tyche. So she took employment on a small star liner, The Merry Duchess, as a general dogsbody. It wasn't an ideal job, but it gained her valuable experience on board a starship. She stayed a year before setting out on her own as a freelance computer hacker. Work was slow but profitable.
A year later, she was waiting at a starport on Arcturus 6, when she overheard three women who were sitting at a table next to her, discussing vacancies for their new scout ship called The Ace of Spades. The more she listened, the more she realised she wanted to join them. So she introduced herself to them. They were captain Kimberley Wells, engineer Kyran Calaveri and nurse Gwendoline Papillion. Luckily, Kimberley could see the potential of having a skilled hacker on board and she immediately hired Sharuna. In the past two years, Sharuna has found the job she was born to do with a crew who treat her as one of the family. At age 21, she is the youngest member of the crew. She is very quiet and taciturn, apart from when she goes online and her whole personality changes to a sassy and confident woman. She values the advice given to her by the other crew members and she loves the freedom that Kimberley gives her. Like a few other women on board, she is very much a pacifist. She has, however, agreed to learn martial arts from Julia Frostorm, purely to defend herself should the need arise, but she finds guns frightening and she won't touch them. Given a choice, she prefers to stay on board ship to venturing outdoors. She feels much safer on board.
Typical Quotes
"Be careful what you store on a computer: it might get ideas... LOL!"
"Uh, uh! I'd much rather stay onboard."

Monday, 21 August 2017

Backgrounds of the Crew of The Ace of Spades part 2

Celeste - Android Assassin aged 29, 50 or perhaps many centuries?
The origin of the android currently named Celeste is shrouded in mystery. The official version is that she was created by the Counter Selective Assassination Force (COSAFE), a top secret black ops organisation of the United Federation of Planets (UFP) military intelligence arm, the Bureau of Intelligence (BRINT). There are, however, rumours that Celeste is in fact a Forerunner android, who had her memory erased and reprogrammed by COSAFE. If true, this would make her an extremely rare, almost unique, individual. The Forerunners were wiped out many centuries ago. Whatever the truth is, COSAFE programmed her from the outset as an assassin. Her first ten years were spent in a laboratory undergoing meticulous programming until she was ready to go out in the field. She underwent a two year basic military training course, before being assigned as an intelligence officer with BRINT. During this time, she was constantly monitored and assessed. Few in BRINT knew of her true purpose. After spending six years with BRINT, learning all about intelligence gathering and undercover operations, COSAFE let her out in the field as a fully licensed bounty hunter. This four year tour of duty went extremely well and Celeste racked up an impressive array of kills. COSAFE felt it was time to put her to work as a fully fledged assassin. For the next five years she achieved a 100% success rate on every assassination mission that her masters assigned to her. However, things went badly wrong on what was to be her final mission working for COSAFE.
Her target was a top-ranking Organisation leader, believed to be one of the Council of Seven, the absolute rulers of the empire spanning criminal organisation. His name was Moryn Kaldo, a K'Ta'Viir humanoid and an immensely powerful psyker. It is unknown what happened to Celeste but the assassination never took place and Celeste went offline and missing for 21 years. What happened to her or where she went is a mystery. Celeste doesn't seem to know and ever since her return, she has never spoken of her past. It is as if she was reborn. But if so, for what purpose and by whom?
What is known is that two years ago she was spotted at a starport on Arcturus 6, where she persuaded an independent scout captain called Kimberley Wells to hire her as a personal bodyguard. COSAFE immediately assigned an undercover BRINT agent called Jeanette Grey, to infiltrate the ship's crew and find out just what happened to Celeste. From the Intel gathered so far, it seems that Celeste regards Kimberley as her master and owner and that it is her duty to protect Kimberley from any harm. None of this makes any sense at all and so COSAFE are content to play a long term waiting game until they know a lot more about Celeste's disappearance and new mission. Celeste is polite and well spoken but is very taciturn and atheistic. She is very friendly towards Kimberley and Julia but is neutral towards the rest of The Ace of Spades crew. She is a natural born killer.
Typical Quotes
"Get behind me. I'll cover you."
"Target acquired. Centre of the head. Double tap."

Julia Frostorm - Human Bounty Hunter aged 28.
Born on the ice planet of Altair 5 in the Terran starsector, Julia Frostorm did not have a happy childhood. Her unmarried mother abandoned her soon after her birth, placing her in an orphanage. Julia never did discover who her father was and couldn't care less. About two thirds of the children in the orphanage were adopted but it never happened for Julia. She was very much a loner and she was not popular with the other girls or her tutors. She quickly learned to stand up for herself and she wouldn't be bullied by anyone. The other children soon got the message not to mess with her and so left her alone. A friendly counsellor was able to secure Julia employment with the local police force, after the teenager had expressed an interest in a career with law enforcement. After three years of cadet training, in which she excelled, Julia was fast-tracked to detective status. She was very good at her job but she soon became frustrated at the number of criminals who were set free on minor technicalities, or worse still, because of corrupt cops in her department. She stuck it out for three years before resigning. She wanted vengeance, and so she declared war on the underworld scum of Altair 5 as well as those cops she knew to be corrupt. Thus, she became an assassin and soon developed the nickname of "The Ice Lady". She was a cold-hearted killer who showed her victims no mercy. She was very smart and she constantly remained one step ahead of the police and The Organisation, who were both after her blood. What she didn't know and what she never found out was that certain high ranking officials in the police department wanted her to succeed. Not all of them were corrupt and whilst they couldn't officially sanction her actions, unofficially, they often turned a blind eye. After one year, her work on Altair 5 was done and she left planet to spend two more years hunting down and killing criminals on other planets. She could have continued in this role of an assassin but instead she obtained a bounty hunter's license so that she could go about her job legitimately. She still hunted down criminals but she didn't always kill them, unless they had a termination warrant placed on them. Those were her favourite warrants! For three more years she worked on her own and her reputation and bank balance grew.
Two years ago her life took a new twist. A young woman called Kimberley Wells offered her a long term contract to help her track down the killers of her fiancĂ©, Buck Hanson. Julia was intrigued by both Kimberley's offer and the woman. She agreed to her terms and so enlisted  with the crew of The Ace of Spades, technically as security chief, but unofficially, still as a bounty hunter. Kimberley gives her  a lot of freedom to continue pursuing bounties, which works well for both of them. Julia is rather introverted, taciturn and slow to make friends, although she gets on well with the rest of the crew. She spends a lot of time cleaning and looking after her weapons and the crew have learned it is wise not to touch any of Julia's stuff. She gets very angry if anyone else touches them. Julia is a combat veteran and is highly skilled in the art of killing.
Typical Quotes
"Dead or alive, you're coming with me. I don't care which you choose, but I'd prefer dead."
"I know I cleaned the goddamn rifle already... but that was two hours ago!"

Jeanette Grey - Human Gunner aged 28.
Jeanette was born on Terra (Sol 3), the only child of Christopher and Eliza Grey. Both parents worked for the United Federation of Planets Starfleet, but in different departments. He was a technician and she was a scientist. Both were ground based at Starfleet HQ and never left planet. Jeanette had a normal upbringing, did well at school, and enrolled at university to study engineering. Upon graduation, she enlisted with the UFP Starfleet. She sailed through basic training and spent a year as a navy cadet, getting to know her way around starships. From there, the natural career choices would have been to proceed to a Navy Tour or Navy Command School. Instead, she transferred to the Bureau of Intelligence (BRINT), which was the navy intelligence gathering department of the UFP. here, she learned about spy-craft and undercover investigations. Having proved herself as an exceptional field agent, Jeanette was given a new assignment for her second tour of duty. 
She was ordered to go undercover and gain employment on an independent scout ship called The Ace of Spades. The captain of this ship, Kimberley Jane Wells, was a person of interest to BRINT. Somehow, Kimberley had enlisted a top secret UFP assassin android, known only as Celeste, as part of her crew. BRINT knew that Celeste had gone rogue and they were keen to know why and to keep close tabs on her. With a false background established, Jeanette was accepted by Kimberley as a new recruit. She took on the role of ship's gunnery officer, a job she was eminently capable of. She sometimes helps out with engineering and piloting duties. No-one on board suspects she is secretly working for BRINT and is still employed by them. However, if The Ace of Spades gets into serious difficulties with the UFP, Jeanette can potentially act as a "get out of jail free" card. This is not something she would do lightly, and only in extreme circumstances. Jeanette has access to full background checks on all of the crew of The Ace of Spades provided to her by BRINT. She is a naturally inquisitive person, so the crew put up with any questions she may ask them. She tends not to draw attention to herself but always acts friendly and easy-going. So far, her orders are to keep the crew under observation, especially Celeste.
Typical Quotes
"If the two idiots trying to follow me are yours, pull them off; I don't work under supervision. If they're not yours, you won't care if they just... disappear."
"Who me? I don't know anything about it."

Storm Galloway - Human Pilot aged 27.
Storm was born on Mars (Sol 4), the only child of James and Agnetha Galloway. Both parents had jobs in the UFP Starfleet, so it was inevitable that she would follow in their footsteps. She coasted through military academy and enlisted with the UFP Starfleet as a navy ensign. Here, she trained as a fighter pilot flying Phantoms, Spectres and Banshees. She passed her training with top marks and went on to serve two tours of duty with the UFP Navy and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander, She served with distinction and piloted Starfire scout ships and Hyperion class corvettes. It looked like she would enjoy a long and illustrious career with the Navy. However, events led her in a different direction. Whilst on leave after her second tour of duty was over, she visited the famous Casino Galactica resort on Arcturus 6 in the Terran starsector. Whilst relaxing in a bar, she was rudely accosted by a balding fat man who mistook her for a prostitute. A scuffle ensued and she over-reacted by breaking both of his arms. No charges were brought against her as she acted in self-defence. She thought no more of the incident until a few days later when she was summoned to a rear admiral's office at Starfleet HQ in the Arcturan starport. There, to her horror and surprise, she found the rear admiral sitting behind his desk with both of his arms in slings. He was the man she had attacked at Casino Galactica. She hoped he wouldn't be the sort of man to hold a grudge... but he was! When he ordered Storm to be transferred to an AL:7 Vesta corvette crewed by the worst the UFP had to offer, she resigned on the spot.
A person of her considerable talents would not remain unemployed for long and Storm just happened to be in the right place at the right time when Kimberley Wells was hiring crew for her scout ship, The Ace of Spades. The Starfleet's loss was Kimberley's gain. Storm fitted in so well on board, and her piloting skills and knowledge of starship tactics have come in very useful on many an occasion. She is well versed in many combat techniques. She has an extroverted and friendly personality and is remarkably cool under pressure with fast reflexes. She usually takes on the role of the ship's main pilot, with Kimberley acting as her co-pilot. She has a passion for expensive perfumes, which she likes to wear, and her crew members can often smell her long before they see her coming.
Typical Quotes
"Bandits at ten o'clock. Strap yourselves in folks. This is about to get bumpy!"
"See, I told you I could dodge their missiles!"

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Backgrounds of the Crew of The Ace of Spades part 1

All of the crew of The Ace of Spades  have been given detailed backgrounds by me to help further bring their characters to life. Although the WOIN character record sheets give a good overall view of a character and their life history, it takes a lot more work to fully round them out. Also, by creating these biographies I am able to show just who the person is and why she acts the way she does and what makes her tick. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed creating them.

Kimberley Jane Wells - Human Starship Captain aged 25.
Kimberley was the youngest of two children born to James and Marcia Wells. James ran a very successful ranch on Arcturus 6 in the Terran starsector, selling Moohk cattle products. Kimberley did not have a happy childhood. Her mother died in a riding accident when Kimberley was 5 years old. She did not get on well with her brother, Jonathan Kenneth, who was ten years older than her and clearly their father's favourite. Nannies and relatives brought up Kimberley but she soon developed a rebellious streak and at the age of 15, she ran away from home. She hung out around the starport and due to being very lucky, she earned enough from gambling to get by. It was whilst she was in a casino that she met a very handsome pilot called Buck Hanson. Buck was captain of a small scout ship called The Ace of Spades. They flirted and quickly fell in love. Kimberley joined Buck's crew as a lowly space jockey, but after just one year was promoted to co-pilot. She was very willing to learn and Buck was a good teacher. She got on well with the other crew members, especially the three female members, Gwendoline Papillion, Kyran Calaveri and Shelagh Harrison. They worked hard and played hard. Being independent explorers, they visited many planets, and Kimberley developed many useful skills, including numerous combat skills. Due to both Buck and Kimberley being very proficient gamblers, they often attracted the attention of various underworld scum who resented their good luck.
Kimberley was 23 when Buck proposed to her and they planned to marry as soon as their current tour of duty was over. But tragedy soon struck whilst they were on a routine supply run. They were attacked and boarded by space pirates. The six male members of The Ace of Spades were brutally slaughtered and the four women were cast adrift in lifeboats, before their ship was blown up. Physically, they were not harmed but emotionally, they were devastated. They were soon rescued and each woman was returned to their home planet. With a huge inheritance from Buck, Kimberley was able to have her own starship designed and built. She had no hesitation in naming it The Ace of Spades, in memory of Buck. Gwendoline and Kyran were her first recruits. Shelagh, who was much older than them, had settled down to enjoy a life of motherhood with her new partner. Kimberley gathered together an all-female crew, who number thirteen in total. They swiftly gelled together and for the past two years they have shared many an adventure. Kimberley runs her ship in a very carefree and relaxed manner and is not averse to bending the law when it suits her. It would be a foolish person who underestimates her. She is one hell of a woman and she is destined for greatness.
Typical Quotes
"I bet we can outrun those patrol ships."
"Oh no! Why does this always happen to me?"

Gwendoline Papillion - Human Nurse aged 25.
Gwendoline was the only child of Francois and Anne-Marie Papillion. She grew up on the jungle planet of Prometheus 5 in the Antares starsector. This was a classic frontier world, with warm hospitality extended to strangers and an immediate response to the needs of neighbours. The Promethean colonists are rugged individuals, self-sufficient and courageous, with a streak of adventurism unequalled in the galaxy. These qualities perfectly describe Gwendoline. She was a child genius and was fast-tracked through her academic career. Seeing as both of her parents were scientists, Gwendoline's first job was on board a 100,000 ton Survey scout ship, The Star Skater as a science officer, even though she had a degree in medicine. her three year tour of duty did not go well for her. Whilst part of a survey team on an unexplored jungle planet, Gwendoline disappeared to go off chasing butterflies, which was a passionate hobby of hers. She got hopelessly lost and a large rescue mission was mounted to find her. She was severely reprimanded by the captain and ostracised by many of the crew for putting everyone's lives in danger. Suffice to say, she was not kept on board when her tour of duty was over.
However, whilst moping around in the starport, Gwendoline was offered a posting on board a small independent scout ship called The Ace of Spades by its captain, Buck Hanson. Gwendoline immediately felt at home here as the close-knit, intimate atmosphere on board suited her perfectly. She got on well with all of the crew, but especially the two young females who were recruited a few years later. Kyran Calaveri enlisted as ship's engineer, and a year later, Kimberley Wells was introduced as the ship's co-pilot and girlfriend of Buck Hanson. The three women bonded like sisters and become lifelong friends. They shared many adventures together but their lives were irrevocably changed two years ago when The Ace of Spades was attacked by a much larger pirate ship. The six male crew were all killed and the women set adrift in lifeboats. Fortunately, they were soon rescued and deported to their home planets. However, within two months, Gwendoline was contacted by Kimberley, who had a new ship, and was recruiting. Inevitably, her first two recruits were Kyran and Gwendoline. Gwendy has a bubbly, extroverted personality and an insatiable curiosity about everything. this can be both endearing or annoying depending on who she asks. Her role on the ship is as a nurse, working under Doctor Judith Kramer. She dislikes combat but she will defend herself and her friends when called upon to do so.
Typical Quotes
"Hmm, I wonder where this leads to?"
"That's really fascinating. So, tell me more about what happened."

Kyran Katherine Calaveri - Human Engineer aged 26.
Kyran (pronounced KEER-ahn) was the only child of Fernando and Carmen Calaveri. She was born and brought up on the high tech world of Altair 5 in the Terran starsector. Her father was a mechanic and her mother ran their small moisture farm. Her parents instilled in her a love of technology and so when she enrolled at university, she majored in engineering. With her parents' blessing, she left home at the age of 16 to seek employment on a starship. She did not have long to wait before she was hired by a charismatic independent explorer pilot called Buck Hanson, who was captain of a small scout ship, The Ace of Spades. At the time, she was the youngest member of the crew of ten. She spent two years as a space jockey, learning about the inner workings of the ship, by which time she was proficient enough to be promoted to ship's engineer. This was the job she had dreamed about all of her life. Whenever The Ace of Spades was in a starport for a long period, Kyran would do freelance work on other docked starships, thus further enhancing her knowledge of engineering and other technical skills. At the same time as Kyran was promoted to engineer, The Ace of Spades acquired another young female recruit. She went by the name of Kimberley Wells and it was clear she was deeply in love with  Buck. Kimberley became very close friends with Kyran and the ship's medic, Gwendoline Papillion. The three were more like sisters than colleagues and they forged an unbreakable friendship.
Two years ago, tragedy struck when The Ace of Spades was attacked by space pirates. All six male crew members, including Buck who had just recently proposed to Kimberley, were callously murdered. The ship's four female were set adrift in lifeboats and The Ace of Spades was blown up. As luck would have it, they were swiftly rescued and returned to their home planets. Within two months, Kyran received a call from Kimberley, informing her that she was recruiting a new crew and that she and Gwendoline were her number one choices. Kyran had no hesitation in signing on and was soon reunited with her two best friends. Kyran is still a very happy-go-lucky person and a likeable tomboy with a stubborn streak. She disapproves of violence but will do all in her power to protect her loved ones. When off duty, she likes to party and go night-clubbing, but most of all, she likes tinkering with cars and driving them as fast as she can get away with.
Typical Quotes
"Was that a red light I went through? Oops, I never saw it! "
"Wow, a Pittban 1350XB stardrive. I thought they were obsolete."
 

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The Crew of the Ace of Spades

In WOIN, at the top of each character sheet is a descriptor. This is a short introductory character summary. Each player should read their full descriptor to the rest of the group before beginning play. The descriptor is made up of the following elements, some of which are not always used.
a[n] [age] [trait] [species] [career] who [hook].
Age. The age entry is only used if the character is younger than adult or older than middle-aged. You may choose any synonyms for young and old (adolescent, youthful, aged, mature, etc.); age can give you a free exploit.
Trait. The trait is the name of a special ability or quality defined by a character’s lowest or highest attribute.
Species. There are many races and species in my campaign, so this indicates which species the character belongs to.
Career. The career entry can be one of two choices. It can be the character’s current career, or it can be the character’s longest-serving career. If the longest-serving career is not the current career, it should be prefixed with “ex-” (for example, an ex-cop or an ex-marine).
Hook. The hook is a broad background/skill/interest chosen by the player. It can be anything, but it’s designed to round out the character with personality, interests, or hobbies. For example, a player might choose “...who enjoys hard liquor” or “... has a taste for romance” or even “...who collects insects as a hobby”. The hook is chosen early in the character creation process. It complements career and skill choices as a lifelong background aspect to the character, unconnected to specific vocations and training.
This preamble is just to let you know how and why I shall be describing my player characters and non-player characters in my The Ace of Spades Campaign. Let's meet the crew of the scout ship, The Ace of Spades.
These three characters are the BFFs - Best Friends Forever. They have known each other longer than any of the other crew members and have a very close bond. At the left is Gwendoline Papillion - a brilliant human nurse who has an insatiable curiosity about everything. I love Gwendy so much! She sees the good in everyone and is so full of life. She has a bubbly, extroverted personality and is extremely friendly - some would say, too friendly. Because of her natural desire to know everything not everyone can appreciate her inquisitive nature. She is, by and large, a pacifist, but she will defend herself or friends if need be. Although she carries a Phaser Rifle, it is almost always set to stun. Her figure is from the Denizen sci-fi range - SF25 Female Adventurer with Laser Carbine. 
In the centre is Kimberley Jane Wells, an inspiring human smuggler captain who loves to gamble. Kimberley is the player character I have played the most in my life. She is not at all like me in any respect but I love playing her. She is the captain of The Ace of Spades and the star of this campaign. Everything revolves around her. She has an uncanny knack of getting into trouble, but more importantly, of getting out of trouble. She is very easy going, cool under pressure and has a laid back, carefree attitude to life and is very charismatic as she inspires confidence and loyalty in those who get to know her. She is also incredibly lucky and it is this good fortune this that has seen her survive many a scrape in her short life so far. She is skilled in combat but she prefers to avoid confrontation whenever she can. Her figure was part of the Ral Partha Shadowrun range (see below). Note to the left is the controversial second front cover of  FGU's Space Opera RPG. It was controversial because of the busty red-haired female  showing far too much cleavage and flesh. In the third front cover, she is covered up from the neck down and she is blonde haired. I hated the third cover but I absolutely loved the second cover shown here, simply because of the redhead. As soon as I saw her I knew I wanted to play her as a player character and I thought up her name, Kimberley Wells, and her background in an instant. It was amazing how quickly and easily I connected with her. I even made a 28mm scale figure of her in that exact same pose. It is fair to say that it was love at first sight for me and she is without doubt, my favourite player character of all time.
At the right is Kyran Katherine Calaveri, a brilliant human engineer who loves driving and fixing cars. Kyran is always friendly and amenable. She is definitely a tomboy - she like to get dirty when fixing stuff and she does enjoy wild parties and letting her hair down, but if the occasion calls for it, she scrubs up well and can be very glamorous and sophisticated. Her attitude to combat is the same as Gwendoline's - it is to be avoided wherever possible but she will fight (quite dirty!) if necessary. Her figure is unique, as she was sculpted by me, and I'm really proud of this figure.
Next up are ship's deadliest pair of killers. To the left is Celeste, a deadeye android assassin who wants to protect Kimberley Wells at all costs. Celeste is a mystery. No one knows what her true past is or where she came from or why she is so fixated on protecting Kimberley. She just turned up unexpectedly two years ago and told Kimberley she was her guardian angel and would do all in her power to protect her. She is far more powerful than she lets on and she is a natural born killer without conscience. She is polite and well spoken but she rarely has much to say and the crew have learnt to leave her alone... apart from Kimberley, who trusts her implicitly, and Julia, who sees her as a kindred spirit. Her figure is a former Grenadier Robot and she is now sold by EM4 Miniatures as 0087 Female Cyborg in their Future Skirmish range.
To the right is Julia Frostorm, an alert human bounty hunter who gets angry at anyone who touches her weapons. Julia earned the nickname of "The Ice Lady" due partly to her upbringing on an arctic planet, but mainly because she is a cold-hearted killer who shows her victims no mercy. She is introverted and slow to make friends but once her respect is won, she will prove to be a valuable and trusted ally. She was an assassin before becoming a bounty hunter, whereas Celeste was a bounty hunter before becoming an assassin, so they have much in common and they get on well together. Julia has taught most of the crew various fighting skills. Julia's figure is a conversion of an old Citadel fantasy fighter.
The three humans shown here are the most pacifistic of the crew. At the far right is Fizz, a young daggertooth cat, who was rescued by Judith one year ago, and who is now regarded as the ship's mascot. Daggertooth cats are the result of a genetic experiment to recreate the DNA structure of a sabre-tooth tiger. It was a great success. Daggertooth cats are a more intelligent, miniature version of the sabre-tooth tiger. They are popular pets of the very rich and are often used as security beasts. As pets they are affectionate and well-behaved, but a daggertooth trained to attack is a killer. Fizz, however, is a softy! I sculpted this cute little figure.
Next to Fizz is his owner, Judith Kramer, a brilliant human doctor who loves animals. At 31 years old, Judith is the eldest member of the crew, although no one knows exactly how old Celeste is. As such, she is regarded by the others as the mother figure of the ship. She is very studious and is highly skilled at her job as the ship's chief medical officer. She is loyal, trusting and trustworthy and she gets on well with all of the crew. She is far and away the most pacifistic member of the crew and has thus far, resisted all attempts to learn any combat skills, including self-defence classes. She is another Denizen Miniatures sci-fi figure - SF27 Female Crew Member.
Second from the right is Lynda Pelligrosso, an erudite human research scientist who will claim familiarity with any technical subject. Lynda is highly intelligent but after a bad experience working for a mega-corporation, Lynda now works freelance, and she serves a few roles on The Ace of Spades. In addition to being a research scientist, she often takes on the role of ship's communications officer as well as helping out in the engineering bay. She is charming and well bred, but can often come across as a know-it-all. She learnt martial arts and pistol shooting purely for self-defence purposes as she abhors violence. Like the figure of Kimberley, she is from the Ral Partha Shadowrun range.
At the far right is Sharuna Randall, a young, brilliant human computer hacker who rebels against authority. Sharuna grew up with computers and there is little she doesn't know about them. With her rebellious nature, it was little wonder that Kimberley hired her to control the ship's electronic defence systems and counter measures. At 21, she is by far the youngest member of the crew. Sharuna is shy and introverted, but her personality changes once she goes online. Then she becomes more confident and sassy. She much prefers staying on board the ship than venturing outside, even when in the relative safety of a starport. She only reluctantly learnt martial arts self-defence techniques from Julia but she won't touch guns as she finds them too frightening. Her figure is yet another from the Ral Partha Shadowrun range.
The next two crew members both worked for the UFP Starfleet before joining The Ace of Spades. To the left is Jeanette Grey, a persuasive human gunner who strongly respects authority. Unsurprisingly, she does not get on well with Sharuna and she finds Kimberley's carefree attitude to command worrisome, but because Kimberley is the captain, she keeps her views to herself. Jeanette is a spy working for BRINT and has infiltrated the ship to keep tabs on Celeste. She acts friendly and easy going and so far, no one suspects her true motives for being on board. She is the ship's chief gunnery officer and is highly skilled in many forms of combat. Her figure is an old Citadel Rogue Trader figure, now long out of production.
To the right is Storm Galloway, an ambidextrous human pilot who collects expensive perfumes. Storm is the pilot of The Ace of Spades, with Kimberley being her co-pilot. She is every bit as easy-going and extroverted as Kimberley is. The two share a love of piloting and adventure. Storm left the Star Navy under a cloud after she assaulted a senior officer (he was in civilian clothing and very drunk at the time) and resigned rather than face demotion. Kimberley had no hesitation in hiring her and the two have become very close friends. With her military background, Storm is quite well skilled in combat. The figure of Storm comes from Bombshell Miniatures, where she is called Wanda Whitestar and is still available at the time of this post.
Finally, are the three scouts of the ship; after all, The Ace of Spades is classed as a scout ship. At the left is Danica, a juvenile, tough as nails Venetian scout who likes to read erotic fiction. Although she is 53 years old, that is classed as being very young by Venetian standards, who can live for over five centuries. Danica is not like most Venetians, who are often viewed as being aloof and ascetic. Danica is more impious and has a cheeky sense of humour. She is the best friend of Katja and for the past five years they have been lovers. They have much in common, particularly a love of exploring the great outdoors. Danica is a highly skilled combatant and the ship's only psyker. Her figure is a converted old Citadel Rogue Trader adventurer. I sculpted on her pointed ears.
In the centre of this trio is Katja Sondquist, an ambidextrous human scout who keeps a diary she updates whenever she can. Katja is much more extroverted that her best friend, Danica. She is cool under pressure, very loyal to her friends and incredibly energetic. She is also a keep fit fanatic. She got to know Danica when they served together as scouts prior to joining The Ace of Spades. Due to the shortage of space on their previous ship, they had to share a room and soon they were sharing the same bed. Katja has a lot of combat experience and can be relied on in a fight. Her figure is a converted old Citadel fantasy fighter with her sword and shield being replaced by a rifle and laser sword respectively.
Finally, is Rebecca Faye Ellington, a young, ambidextrous human burglar who likes to make jewellery. Rebecca is a criminal whose life was turned around when she was caught by Kimberley as she broke into her hotel room, thinking Kimberley was away. After hearing Becky's life story, Kimberley took a chance and hired the young orphan as a scout. Whilst she is not technically a scout, she is superb at scouting urban environments and breaking and entering buildings. Becky's personality is friendly, boisterous and mischievous and she has a devil-may-care attitude to life. Being a smuggler herself, Kimberley has a great deal of affection for Becky, as she has also bent the law many times. The figure of Becky is the fourth one from the Ral Partha Shadowrun range.
Before I close, here is a group shot of all 14 members of The Ace of Spades, out on the town, ready for action.

Incredibly, I found this photo to the right, on the Internet that shows the four Ral Partha 28mm scale female Shadowrun figures, in their unpainted forms, that I'm using for Rebecca, Kimberley, Sharuna and Lynda. They were perfect for what I was looking for and required no conversion work at all. I have to admit, Ral Partha made some gorgeous looking females!

Friday, 11 August 2017

The Setting of The Ace of Spades Campaign part 2

In this post I'll give a brief outline of the major races and cultures who will be appearing in my The Ace of Spades Campaign. Some of these originate from the setting for FGU's old Space Opera RPG, whilst others are the main races from the N.E.W. rulebook. Many other races exist but the ones featured here are the main ones who'll appear in my campaign. I'll start with looking at the two minor human star nations.

The Mercantile League
Centred around the planet Augustus 2 in the Antares star system, the Mercantile League was founded in 2140 by colonists from Sol 3 (Terra). They flourished and grew into the large star nation they have now become. Much of the League's success is down to the fact that it believes it is cheaper to get someone else to fight its battles for it. Although a very wealthy star nation it is militarily very weak and without strong allies would surely lose any major war against it. It shares a cordial relationship with the UFP and is neutral to the expansionist policies of the Azuriach Imperium and the GPR. The Mercantile League is committed to commerce and trade. Perhaps one of the truly unusual features of the League is its pre-occupation with the ancient Roman Empire of Terra. League government is modelled along the lines of the Roman Republic. Dress is Roman on most formal occasions and/or when appropriate. Latin is the formal language of the League, but the standard tongue commonly spoken is Basic Anglic - the universal human tongue in the League, the Azuriach Imperium, the GPR and the UFP.

The Galactic Peoples' Republic
The Galactic Peoples' Republic (GPR) is a human populated  communist state comprising many worlds clustered in and around the NCG 1039 star system. It was formed by colonists from the Soviet Bloc and communist China during the Exodus period of human colonisation of the galaxy (circa 2065 -2190). The GPR was officially founded in the year 2159. It suffered heavy loses in the First Interstellar War (2198-2215) with the Terran Union. However, after a brief period of calm, in 2229, the Second Interstellar War broke out between the newly formed Azuriach Imperium and the GPR. The Terran Union and Mercantile League stayed out of this war, which eventually ended in 2234 with a nominal Azuriach victory. Since then, the GPR has expanded and grown in military might, although it is still weaker than the hated Azuriach Imperium. The GPR is akin to the USSR during the Cold War period of the late 20th Century on Terra. It remains faithful to the true meaning of communism - it is willing to share all that you have. As of 2551, the GPR controls 1,324 planets in 41 star sectors.

THE NON HUMAN RACES

Androids
Androids aren’t technically a species, and can vary greatly in appearance. Frequently, however, they look like humans. While many philosophers will debate whether or not Androids have true consciousness, they have passed every test imaginable and are legally considered to be alive, with all the rights and responsibilities that entails. Stronger and tougher than humans, with processors which can outpace the human mind, Androids aren’t always the most popular in the room. Androids make excellent medics, engineers, and scientists.

Blarad Ursoids 
The Blarads are large bear-like creatures noted for their great strength and hardiness. They have a constitutional monarchy for a government and are fairly peaceful by human standards. They are mildly resistant to radiation. They are bipedal and have thick body hair ranging in colour from black, brown, and buff to white. Blarads are action-oriented beings and tend to prefer the military life. Their great strength allows them to carry heavy loads with ease. Blarad armour is so heavy that some humans say they use powered armour without the power assist! In close combat, few species can equal Ursoids for sheer destructive capacity. Despite their warlike natures, Blarads are largely vegetarian, consuming meat on occasion but not as a habit. Life expectancy is about 100 years.


Borian Humanoids
Borians are welcome in most places. Standing at about 4’ in height, with bright red or blue skin (depending on clan) and spiky heads, they have a reputation for good cheer and friendliness. This, coupled with their naturally robust constitution, also makes them renowned drinkers, and it has been said that Borians make the most common bartender race in the universe. Borians are good with their hands, and enjoy tinkering and building. They make excellent engineers and craftsmen. Life expectancy is 210-250 years.

Felan Felines
Felans, unimaginatively named by the first human explorers to encounter them, are a catlike species. Like their four-legged namesake, Felans are often beautiful to the eye, and move with a graceful, acrobatic purpose. Easily able to jump and climb, Felans like to make use of their environment, and tend to sleep in precarious locations high above the ground. Felans have a deserved reputation for being easily distracted, and often flit from career to career, unable to settle. Felans mature at 11 but they are short lived and their life expectancy is 40-50 years.

Hissss'ist Saurians
The Hissss'ist Saurians are descended from warm-blooded hunting dinosaurs and are notable for their considerable strength and size, which rivals that of the Ursoids. Their social structure is very state oriented; the young are hatched from eggs and never know their parents, being brought up by the government. The government is an oligarchy, with advancement to the top based on merit. By human standards they are  a"cold-blooded" race empathically speaking. Loyalty is given to the race and its leaders, who have proven their strength and wisdom, not to "loved ones". Life expectancy is about 100-125 years.



MekPurr Felines
MekPurrs are descended from large cat hunting stock, but they have evolved into a bipedal form. They are fastidious and have a seemingly nervous temperament, that is really a continual readiness to act decisively in an emergency. MekPurrs are the acknowledged masters of cybernetics and robotics in the known galaxy. Due to their low birthrate, androids and robots make up the bulk of their military forces. They are highly individualistic creatures, and respond sullenly to unjust and dictatorial treatment. They rarely forgive and never forget an injury and a resultant tendency to seek personal vengeance, characterises most MekPurrs. Whilst MekPurrs look very similar to the Felans, they are much more advanced and intelligent. MekPurrs have a life expectancy of 100-125 years. (Note that the MekPurrs are my favourite race from any role-playing game!)


Ogron Humanoids
Ogrons stand 7’ tall. Towering masses of muscle, accompanied by green skin and bestial tusks, they so much resemble the ogres of fairytale and lore than humankind named them after the mythical creatures. Ogrons have a reputation for stupidity. While it’s certainly true that most of humankind outstrips the Ogron species in terms of intelligence and education, Ogrons aren’t quite as stupid as many expect – they, as a species, do manage to operate and build starships, after all. Ogron adventurers tend to be mercenaries and soldiers. They have a short lifespan with a life expectancy of 40-50 years.

Rauwoof Canines
Uplifted dogs, Rauwoofs are loyal and friendly. With keen senses of smell and hearing, it’s hard to surprise a Rauwoof. Rauwoofs vary in size from 5’ to nearly 7’. They tend to be leaner and sturdier than humans, and are covered with thick fur which ranges in colour. Rauwoofs have a weakness for alcohol. Even a small amount will intoxicate them, and large amounts can be very dangerous to their health. Even so, they easily become addicted to the substance. Rauwoofs make excellent scouts, trackers and bounty hunters. They are adept at reading the emotions and body language of others, possibly due to their pack-based past. They have a life expectancy of 80-100 years.
 
Spartan Humanoids
Spartans were named after the mythological Human legends because of their warrior-based culture. Aggressive, violent, quick to anger and easy to offend, a group of Spartans can empty a bar in minutes. Add in their love of heavy drinking and the sheer joy they get from combat, it’s easy to see why Spartans are not the most popular of species. However, they do get frequently misunderstood – they are rarely bullies (indeed, they’d see it as cowardly to attack someone weaker). Spartans excel as soldiers and other warriors. They abhor indirect conflict, and will tend to avoid careers which involve subterfuge or deception. Spartans reach maturity at 30 and have a life expectancy of 70-90 years.

Venetian Humanoids
Venetians are a slim, hairless species, standing at roughly the same height as humans. They tend towards the ascetic, and, indeed, have a society which highly favours the monastic orders to which so many belong. The Venetian style of self-discipline and avoidance of indulgence gives the species a somewhat aloof demeanour which can be off-putting. Many of the Venetian monastic orders, of which there are thousands, focus on the martial arts and self-discipline. For this reason, Venetians – while being pacifistic in nature – are often very skilled combatants. Venetians are very long lived. They do not reach adulthood until they are 190 years old, and have a life expectancy of over 550 years.