This was a single session campaign (a one shot) run in Aliens: the Roleplaying Game, using the cinematic rules. This game was run by another member of our group and I wanted to share it here as it was such an exciting story that stayed true to the Alien aesthetic while also expanding on the world and its monsters in a unique way.
Six survivors lay aboard the lifeboat, a sealed vessel hardly large enough to house all six people. Their seats luckily doubled as their bathrooms (or perhaps unluckily) and after a week the smell was no longer noticeable to them. Running low on supplies, with plenty of water to drink but no food, the group was indeed slowly starving.
Their only salvation was an oil platform, likely one of the only other places humans could possibly be found on the endless world of ocean they found themselves on. The planet, lv-866, is covered in massive oceans, blanketing 98% of the planets surface, and the six passengers on the lifeboat were originally aboard an United Americas research vessel dubbed the Avalanche. They were part of a 26 person skeleton crew that remained planet side to study the xeno marine life, and specifically an algae analog that could be found in the endless seas. Their research of the algae was being funded by Weyland-Yutani with the hopes its mysterious properties held pharmacological secrets that could be used within the medical field. Weyland-Yutani was planning to begin operations to harvest the algae, however due to the UPP steadily encroaching on the star system, to conduct their own research, the costs of harvesting were deemed too high and funding a small research vessel was deemed sufficient. The ship met its end when an explosion rocked the engine room, killing 20 of the crew, leaving only the six survivors that made it to the lifeboat to survive.
The lifeboat itself automatically started going towards the Olenya Bay oil platform, owned and operated by the UPP. While the UPP would likely treat the survivors as hostile, their only alternatives were to slowly die of starvation, drown, freeze to death, or be devoured by the massive xeno aquatic fauna known as Scorpio noids. Thus the crew found themselves starting to succumb to the tell tale signs of starvation after a week aboard the lifeboat, and finally making site of the oil rig, while a massive oceanic storm swelled outside their sealed vessel.
- Doge Gonada, a space marine from Neo San Diego (which is located where Tehachapi once was, due to climate change), very large for his size. An avid surfer, Doge had a rough childhood and eventually opted for conscription to the military over serving hard time, when his past caught up with him.
- Dr Raya Sun, having gone to medical school with the intent to help people, found herself on the frontier, treating colonists, miners, and occasionally injured marines. Corporate greed eventually led to her disenfranchisement with working on the frontier and she took the position as a medic aboard the Avalanche with the intent to avoid people as much as possible.
- Percy Wimbleweedston II, a crewman aboard the avalanche and a pilot. His previous experiences have made him quite adept at sneaking and is competent in combat situations. He also sexually identifies as a train from a children’s television show from the late 20th century.
- Hirsh, a space marine gone awol, he was abaord the avalanche for doing ship maintenance. His size and toughness make him formidable in a fight.
- Oti Tatoris, a frontier born xeno marine biologist, on board the Avalanche specifically to research the algae and xeno biology of the planet, and hopefully make a name for himself. Wheelchair bound after an accident during his graduate studies, he is almost entirely fixated on the pursuit of knowledge about xeno biology.
- Sassy “Flo-man” Diaz, a rouchneck on board the Avalanche to do the dirty jobs, he took the job for the hazard pay.
Boarding the Olenya Bay
The lifeboat made a clanking sound as it collided with one of the oil platform’s pylons. The survivors had already opened the hatch on top of the sealed vessel, and as they clamored out atop the lifeboat under the pounding rain, some of the remaining crew spotted something stirring near the boat. However Dr. Sun and Percy were up the ladder on the closest pylon as soon as they had cleared the lifeboat hatch.
The xeno-biologist however pulled himself to the ledge of the lifeboat roof to get a closer look, just in time to see as several enormous tentacle like appendages emerged from the water. Flo-Man, seeing the scientist dangling over the edge grabbed him and pulled him over to the ladder. No more than a moment later the tentacles took hold of the lifeboat in an abyssal embrace.
Doge hoisted Oti Tatoris (tator for short) onto his back and grabbed for the ladder. The rusty rungs would not give way and after slipping twice, Tator lurched out awkwardly on Doge’s back with one arm, firmly grasping a higher rung while Doge got his grip.
Meanwhile behind them, and to the dismay of Flo-Man, tentacles had started to crush the boat, as the roof began to bow. Thinking fast, Flo-man shouldered his bolt gun and took a shot at the closest tentacle. This barely deterred their unseen foe, and soon he found himself dodging the tentacles as it was finally his turn to go up the ladder.
Carried on Doge’s back, facing outward, Tator watched as the massive silhouette below the water brought their once savior closer to it and the dark waves below, batting it around at times, as if it were a toy. Soon there was no more lifeboat, and only a smattering of bubbles gave any hint of what had once been.
The Spider Deck and A Friendly Foe
The Spider Deck lay at the top of the ladder, and as the doctor made it up first to see, was very dark, as it soon became clear there was no power.
One by each of the survivors of the Aalanche made their way up and onto the Spider deck, glad to be out of the rain. Flo-man had managed to grab the scientist’s wheel chair for his climb up, and soon Tator was sitting back in his chair.
Fanning out a bit, they discovered the entire deck was covered in Weyland-Yutani branded crates. Hirsh pried one open with his crow bar, and sealed inside the xeno-biologist was able to identify a state of the art centrifuge, unassembled and untouched, seemingly for some time.
As the realization that for some reason Weyland-Yutani had been doing some sort of scientific endeavor aboard a UPP owned and controlled oil rig slowly hit the survivors, motion was spotted further in the bay, and soon a monotone voice was calling out to them.
“Don’t be afraid. You must need help. You are survivors. There are other survivors too. I can help you.”
I can help you.
Out of the shadows, and into the light of the survivors flashlights (one of which was firmly affixed to the underbarrel of Doge’s rifle) emerged an android. Those in the party that were somewhat familiar with androids recognized it as a Working Joe– created by Seegson, as synthetics that are mass produced and meant to do a wide array of tasks. Not as elegant as Weyland androids, they are versatile nonetheless and quite strong, opting for a metal skeletal structure.
The party was dismayed to see the working Joe, given its messy jumpsuit covered in long dried stains, some of which may have been blood, and its answers to questions about where the crew were did not help. Aside from claiming there had been an accident, the Working Joe also seemed hesitant, for an Android this was especially suspicious, to give out information, alluding itself malfunctioning several times.
The Working Joe, named Asimov, explained that, according to it, there had been a terrible accident and there were only two survivors on the oil platform now, in the med bay, where Asimov seemed eager to take the survivors. He also had some kind of administrative lock and was refusing to give information such as his current working status, and claimed his databases to be corrupted. He reiterated there were two other survivors and he was expecting more and was here to help them.
As The doctor and Tator discussed with the increasingly suspect android, Hirsch cautiously got behind the bot and him and Flo-man attempted to wrap a wrench around his neck and hold him down.
Taken off guard, Asimov struggled for a moment to pry himself free from their grasps. While he did, Tator convinced Doge not to open fire, and give him a chance to try to talk with the bot. Rather than pleading with it, Tator told Asimov he had to two choices, submit for repairs or Doge and the others would make him unrepairable.
Ceasing his struggle, Asimov submitted, and allowed Tator to approach him and remove his access panel on the back of his head (as he bent over, all the while Hirsch and Flo-man grasping his outstretched arms). Commenting on the two men restraining the bot, Tator simply said it was pointless, as he would not be held if he did not allow it, implying the android was far stronger than the two men put together. And also implying that Tator knew quite a bit about androids, from his grad school days, he explained. Poking around in his head, Tator rebooted the bot, and Asimov seemed more compliant afterwards.
Deciding to go with Asimov, they had him sketch a simple map of the oil rig, and then decided to follow him up to the med bay. On the stairs up, Asimov discretely reached into his pocket and pulled something dark and small out. Seeing this, Tator reached into his own pocket, as he was being carried by Doge again, and pressed a button on his terminal. A moment later Asimov slumped over.
Explaining what he’d seen Asimov do, Tator explained he had added the ability to factory reset Asimov if he did anything strange. So when Asimov reached into his pocket he invoked that reset. For the next few minutes, Asimov silently deleted himself and then rebooted to a factory reset default state. Tator had to convince the rest of the party to not leave Asimov there.
While Asimov rebooted, they inspected the object he had pulled out of his pocket, which was some kind of radio transmitter. They noted the frequency it was hard coded to on their own radio, and then decided not to use that frequency for the time being, as they had no idea who it had wanted to talk to.
After its reboot was complete, Tator immediately added himself as an administrator verbally, with a 30 digit password, and told Asimov the rest of the party were friendlies and must be protected. Before everyone else had realized what had happened, Asimov bent over and picked up Tator ( following his instructions) and continued to carry him and and his wheelchair up the stairs, as the party followed.
Dreamless Sleepers and Bullets
Reaching the next deck, the party found themselves in complete blackness, as there were no longer any windows. Relying only on their flashlights, Tator asked the newly rebooted Asimov if he could see in the dark, and he could.
Then they gave Asimov the task of pointing at any motion he sensed and to let the party know if something was moving. As they continued down a corridor, they shined their flashlights through the windows that lead to the rooms on this floor, expecting administrative offices, they were taken aback to discover the rooms filled with hypersleep pods similar to the ones they had used to travel to LV-866. While they were discussing investigating the pods further, Asimov pointed down the corridor, as he had spotted motion.
Hirsch and Flo-man made their way down the corridor with Percy following suit, shining their flashlights down the hall they discovered another Working Joe, which turned to start fleeing down the hall and around a corner. Tator ordered Asimov to detain the other android, and Asimov quickly traversed the hall past the others and engaged the other bot.
Meanwhile, Hirsch, Percy, and Flo-man made their way down the corridor, arriving in time to see the two bots struggling with eachother. Realizing they could not identify which was the fleeing bot, Tator called down the dark hallway for Asimov to disengage and withdraw 10 paces.
As Asimov did so, the other Joe threw a nasty punch that sent Asimov flying. Hirsch took this a sign to engage and he went after the android with his wrench. The android dodged his wrench, then taking another swing, broke Hirsch’s jaw. Hirsch collapsed on the floor, as Flo-man and Percy joined the fray.
Meanwhile Doge and the doctor held back until Tator insisted they make their way down the dark corridor to where the melee was, as Hirsch was injured. As they did so, the doctor reiterated she was not armed several times. They were just in time to see as Tator yelled for Asimov to use Hirsch’s tool as a weapon. They made it close enough to see as Asimov made a solid swing at the android’s neck with the tool, as it was attacking Flo-man. Its head snapped sideways, bent almost 90 degrees, as it stumbled to ground, Asimov tore its head off, ending the fight.
While all of this was going on, Tator sat in the dark, and after disabling the android, Doge returned to check on him, he was unharmed and said they needed to keep going to the med bay to see about these survivors.
Med Bay and Deja Vu
Worried about lingering and drawing more attention, the survivors made their way to the med bay finally. Inside they found the room empty. The med bay operating table was covered in blood, some of which was dried and darkened, looking quite old, and some was fresh and still looked wet. Asimov was instructed to barricade the door and stop anyone or anything from entering, and the party then rummaged through the bay’s storage looking for supplies but coming up short handed. Meanwhile the doctor took a look at Hirsch’s jaw and did the best she could to patch him up. He was in a lot of pain, but could talk, in a fashion.
There is motion outside the door.
After a few minutes of searching, Asimov suddenly ran up to the cabinet he’d used to barricade the door and began pushing on it forcefully, while saying ‘there is motion outside the door’. Moments later the door began slowly opening and a Working Joe hand forced itself into the door.
Tator remembered the radio he had found on Asimov and turned it on to see if he could hear himself through the door. He heard himself speaking through not one radio but two.
Flo-man and Doge made their way to the door to help force it shut. Meanwhile Hirsch grabbed his welding torch and melted off the fingers of the bot. Then Tator told everyone to step back and prepare themselves, and then ordered Asimov to step back as well. The door flung open and two androids stumbled in.
Taking advantage of their loss of balance, Flo-man fired his bolt gun at the first one through the door, Percy fired off a few rounds of his pistol into it as well. Then Asimov grabbed the second one and began to wrestle with it. Through the open door and down the corridor a third android rounded the corner, further complicating the situation.
Doge unloaded his rifle on the second one, causing it to malfunction. Rather than reload his bolt gun, Flo-man tossed it aside and grabbed his crowbar to smash the second android in the face, as the third one was entering the room, knocking it back and causing both androids to stumble over. Thinking fast Hirsch jumped onto the final android and applied his blow torch directly to its eyes, blinding it.
Tator called for Hirsch to backoff and for no one to shoot the android, until they could try to restrain it and reset it, as they had Asimov. But before anyone could move, Asimov stomped on the still flailing android’s head, smashing it into pieces. Stating the room was now safe for people again, then stomping on the other two android heads, then standing in the doorway to keep guard.
After the shock of the attack wore off, the party started to discuss what to do next and after a lengthy discussion, Tator decided it best they continued to the mess hall to get food, as they were all getting very hungry, aside from Asimov.
Making their way to the mess hall there were no more androids to be seen. The mess hall itself lay unused, seemingly for a year, and entering the group decided it best to secure the area before looking for food.
After securing the area, they began to rummage for food in the kitchen of the mess hall. Finding some year old canned goods, the party finally had a chance to unwind. They joked with eachother and bantered more out of post adrenal fear than of comradery, but were in high spirits after fending off the androids, who’s datacores were all in a bag slung around Tator’s neck, waiting for the chance to be inspected and see what had happened here.
As the mess hall was so large, and no one had any type of blankets for warmth, everyone slept huddled together for warmth. Tator in his wheelchair, decided to put off sleeping for a bit to finish configuring Asimov.
New Day New Ways to Die
As everyone awoke several hours later, Asimov was standing guard at the door as per usual, but everyone could also see that without a flashlight. The lights were back on, as power had apparently been restored.
Asking Asimov what happened, it stated it had wanted to be helpful in protecing the humans and went to the generator and got it turned on again.
Suspect of Asimov again but with the lights back on, the party began to rummage for food again. This time Asimov did not help them to look for food until explicitly asked, further intensifying their suspicions.
After they had had what breakfast could be found, they set out to go up the connecting stairwell to the helipad on the main deck and then the comms tower atop the oil platform, to call for help.
The Abyss Looks Back
Arriving at the connecting stairwell they found it entirely blocked off with crates and boxes. Inspecting the barricade, Tator and Asimov found that it was being held together with some sort of strange organic glue that pulled apart like spider silk.
Asimov was ordered to remove the debris until they could get through. Meanwhile everyone discussed whether to try to find another way up, clear the debris and go up the stairs, or scale the outside of the platform to get to the helipad.
Checking on Asimov’s progress, Flo-man and Tator found Asimov had cleared enough of the barricade to look through. The scene through the barricade was not what anyone expected to see.
Inside of a metallic stairwell there were several large organic looking lumps, and the entire stairwell looked to have been transformed, coated in what Tator thought was a local fungal analogue, that had flourished in the dark and wet corner of the platform.
Flo-man peered into the room and said “lets get going” and ambled through the gap into the room, much to the dismay of the doctor and the others, aside from Tator, who had become fascinated with the situation and ordered Asimov to clear enough debris for him to get through.
After the floor was cleared enough, Tator followed Flo-man in and the two of them found that in addition to the lumps there were sacks that held the corpses of people, who’s chests had been torn open somehow.
Something violently burrowed its way out of their chests.
Tator decided the fungus must have been toxic and after engulfing them something like a mushroom burst from their chest to release spores into the air. However Doctor Sun disagreed after inspecting the corpses and said something appeared to have burrowed its way out of the chests, violently. Disregarding her Tator decided to get a sample of the substance coating the bodies.
As Hirsch, Percy, and Doge made their way into the stairwell, Asimov alerted the party that he was seeing motion. When asked where, it said the motion was coming from all around them and there appeared to be three sources of motion.
Tator ordered Asimov to pick him up and start going up the stairs, past the strange lumps on the ground, and up to the main deck. Panicking, Doctor Sun followed after the pair. Flo-man started to go as well, but something dripped onto his shoulder and looking up, he froze like a deer in headlights. Percy and Hirsch didn’t notice Flo-man standing still as they bolted past him up the stairs as well. Doge however pulled back to the entrance, shouldering his rifle and bracing himself for a fight.
In a flash too quick to be seen, Flo-man was gone from the floor, his body dangling from the ceiling, for only a moment, before he fell back to the ground hard. Then a silvery white shape shot down the wall, and was beside Flo-man a second later, as he was still pulling himself up.
Rivulets of blood painted the wall beside them
Rivulets of blood painted the wall beside them, as Flo-man fell in a heap, at the feet of the thing. Only Tator, looking back as he was carried by Asimov, and Doge in the doorway, saw what happened to Flo-man. As the back of his head had shot out, painting the wall. Before either could react, The beast was crawling along the wall faster than a man could run, towards the group going up the stairs.
It took Asimov from behind, smashing the android into the wall, throwing Tator to the ground. It forced Asimov up against the wall and appeared to stare at the robotic man for a moment before simply releasing him and turning to face the others, who had reached the top of the stairs, only to find that the exit was sealed off in a layer of the strange material that coated everything else.
Hirsch and the Doctor started to cut away the material but needed more time. Back down the stairs, Percy fired at the monster, but the bullets seemed to just deflect off of it’s thick carapace.
Taking Percy’s fire as a signal to open up himself, Doge fired a few well placed shots at the thing. One managed to pierce it and a caustic fluid spewed out, immediately burning the stairs and walls next to it. Percy glanced down at Flo-man’s body and seeing his bolt gun, ran past the beast down the stairs for it.
Undeterred by the gunfire, the beast went for the cripple next, as he was trying to crawl up the stairs away from it. The monster’s oblong head was like a semi transparent crystal and something like insects appeared to be hopping around inside, behind the sunken eyes of a human looking scull, all still encased in its carapace.
Grasping and flipping over Tator like he was a rag doll, the monster stared down at him as it grasped him, then dropped him as if it had lost interest, continuing up the stairs towards the remaining two, still trying to open the exit.
Doge stumbled backwards and fell over, dropping his rifle.
At the last moment a chunk of the monster’s shoulder blew off, as Doge fired a second volley, and this time he got the creatures attention. Turning, it cleared the entire stairwell, past the strange lumps on the ground, before Doge could even take aim again, and then it barreled into Doge at full force, its oblong head smashing into the brute’s head, making an ear shattering crunch. Doge stumbled backwards and fell over, dropping his rifle.
As the monster leaned over to inspect Doge’s body, a portion of its head exploded, as a rod passed through it, Percy standing in front of Doge’s body, had cleared the stairwell before the monster, and fallen back to take his shot.
As the monster collapsed, the ground around it began to sizzle and caustic fumes filled the air, making rejoining the group up the stairs impossible for Percy, who made his way to an access point and climbed outside to scale the structure and rejoin the group atop the oil platform on the main deck.
Betrayal and a Lazy Designer
Dr. Sun did not know the beast had been killed, as she ran through the door as soon as it was open, out onto the main deck, through the pounding rain, and made straight for the comms tower. Hirsch wasn’t far behind, and joined her shortly in the tower, where they found the comms array broken.
A few moments later, Asimov was seen coming up the stairs of the comms array, carrying Tator. It set him down near the door inside, and Tator, Dr. Sun, and Hirsch discussed what to do next, assuming the worst had happened to Doge, Flo-man, and Percy.
Hirsch assessed the damage and determined that he could probably find replacement parts on the main deck but would need help carrying the equipment up and took Asimov with him to do the repairs.
Meanwhile Dr. Sun opened a terminal and inserted a data disc and started looking through data. Tator pulled himself up into an office chair, and wheeled himself over to the doctor to see what she was up to.
She explained she had found some data about this place and had wanted to review it, but looking through it she only found broad strokes about experimentation and bio-technology, nothing about what that thing was, or why it was here. She was vague on the details but Tator did not seem overly concerned.
Over an hour later Hirsch returned, proudly announced he had gotten the comms array up and running again. Dr Sun and Tator looked at each other and then at Hirsch, and Tator verified that now they could broadcast and receive. Hirsch said he thought so, and they flipped on the comms array to listen for any broadcasts, but only static came through.
A moment later, Tator stood up from his chair, looked down at the doctor, and said “I am sorry about this” and swung at her. She jumped back just in time to miss the blow, but Tator had already turned away from her and towards the comm panel. Flipping on the broadcaster he loudly and clearly said:
PLANET ID: LV-866
REQUEST STRIKE TEAM
And before either Hirsch or Sun could do anything, punched the comms panel hard enough to put his fist through it.
Turing to face the two others, Tator said “My full name isn’t Oti Tator, its Otiosum Excogitatoris – Latin for the lazy designer. Asimov restrain Hirsch please.”
As he said this, Dr. Sun reached into her waistband and Hirsch stepped back. Hirsch narrowly escaped the iron grasp of Asimov, and reached for the crow bar he had been using.
Meanwhile the deafening sound of a gun shot filled the room ever so briefly, Dr. Sun was clutching a small pistol and it was still pointing at Tator, who now had a small circular hole below his eye. A viscous white fluid started to drip out, as
he it went for Dr. Sun.
Percy was aiming Doge’s rifle, readying another shot
Then suddenly one of the comm tower’s windows shattered, as Asimov’s back was lit up with gunfire. Across the main deck in the crane, Percy was aiming Doge’s rifle, readying another shot. Asimov stumbled as he was shot again, and then his head was smacked off by Hirsch, while Dr. Sun and Tator struggled.
Turning to look at the shattered window, Tator was hit by Hirsch’s crowbar, hooking into his shoulder and tearing down his synthetic chest, his synthetic innards spilling out onto the floor. He fell backwards onto the ground and Hirsch and the doctor, still clutching her little gun, caught their breath and assessed the damage to the comms array.
I am glad I will have another chance to study these fascinating creatures a bit more.
Percy spotted movement on the deck a moment later however and radioed the other two to get their attention. Looking out from the tower, they saw another one of those things walking around on deck. A deafeningly loud sound then started coming from Tator for a few seconds, as he lifted his shaking head slightly, and said he was hoping to study these fascinating things more.
The monster, drawn to the sound, made its way up the tower and burst through the window as Hirsch and Dr. Sun fled through the door and down the stairs. Seeing the creature burst through the door Tator smiled, just before the whole tower exploded into a cloud of debris and flew off the side of the oil platform and into the endless sea. The crane cable swinging back over the deck, as Percy still sat clutching the crane controls.
The remaining three survivors reunited on the main deck just in time to see as a shooting star appeared in the sky. The strike team. They decided they would wait for the team and surrender when they arrived, which beat the alternative…
- Doge: Keep everyone safe at all costs
- Hirsch: An undercover Marine, charged with calling in the UA Marine Cavalry if things went south, which they had.
- Dr. Sun: She had been responsible for the explosion tht sunk the Avalanche and killed 20. She was a secret UPP operative and charged with smuggling out the Weyland research data she had stolen from the Avalanche and its research.
- Flo-man: Things were too real and regardless of what happened, he was going to get off that planet. No matter what he had to do.
- Percy: Gt off planet no matter what as well, but also to try and make some money along the way for expensive surgery.
- Tator: Assess the bio research that was being undertaken on board of the Olenya Bay and get a sample of it if possible, and to get to the comms deck no matter what and broadcast the message that would bring the strike team.