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Nothing's Free in Oceanworld
That was the title of last night's special Mutant Crawl Classics adventure I ran for charity. Earlier in June, I set out to run an online role-playing game session through the Lawful Good Gaming organization that would benefit Ocean Conservancy. So put out a call for players interested in an MCCRPG 0-level funnel with an aquatic theme, the price of admission being proof of donation.
I pitched the adventure as follows:
"Imagine if Waterworld and SeaQuest DSV had a baby, and then took that baby on an a vacation to Disney World... that's the direction I'm going for in this Mutant Crawl Classics 0-level funnel that I'll be running on behalf of Lawful Good Gaming. To celebrate Season Two: Guardians of Nature, I'm going for an "ecological post-apocalypse", with players desperate to make names for themselves on an endless sea."
A few months ago I wrote a series of "sunken theme-park" encounters for Mutant Crawl Classics titled: A Great Big Nuclear Tomorrow. I ran the adventure for my mom and kids while on our Disney World vacation, but only managed to get through a few of the encounters.
If you go and read the encounters, you'll see that there's a lot of room to insert your own plot hooks and reasons for PC's to be exploring a shallow sea above a sunken theme park. The entire premise was pretty basic: a hex-crawl on the high seas. For Nothing's Free in Oceanworld I decided to actually throw together two, legendary, classic sci-fi universes from the 1990's: Waterworld and SeaQuest DSV.
At the core of this adventure was a brand new Archaic Alignment that I thought I'd post right here on Living 4 Crits...
Many seafaring vessels survived the Great Disaster, the most notable being the gargantuan SeaQuest DSV. Known in a prior age for being a great exploratory vehicle that would come to the aid of those needing it most, what is lost to history is that the SeaQuest and it's crew did their best to try and halt the Great Disaster. They failed. Battered and nearly broken, the SeaQuest sailed into open waters for what was thought to be one last time, with only two surviving crew members: Lucas Wolenczak (played by the late Jonathan Brandis), and Darwin the talking dolphin.
In those early days after the Great Disaster, the intense radiation did strange things to many of the Earth's inhabitants. For Darwin, who had just happened to swim through a pool of intense radiation during his last mission attempting to save the world, it turned him into a super-genius. Darwin believed in the mission of the SeaQuest, and believed that it was up to him (and Lucas) of course, to change the world... but he'd need to repair the SeaQuest.
Unfortunately, it's pretty hard for a dolphin to do much heavy lifting because... well... flippers. So Darwin needed more crew. But each time he took the SeaQuest to port, he only found death. After a few years, Darwin realized that there was only one way to get the crew he needed.
He'd have to clone Lucas Wolenczak.
Darwin's intense psionic ability allowed him to gain control of his former friend, and force him to create the first "Lucas Wolenczak Birthing Bay" on board the SeaQuest. Eventually, Darwin had enough Lucas Wolenczak crewmen to make the SeaQuest seaworthy, with huge masts of steel and plastic, and sails of fish skin. It should be noted that by "eventually," we mean several hundred years. During this time hundreds of Lucas Walenczak clones were birthed, lived, toiled, and died.
The process repeated itself, century over century, with Darwin and the SeaQuest traveling around Terra AD looking for technology to return his beloved submarine to its former glory. But it was never enough. He still couldn't find the right materials to make the most necessary repairs. The Lucas Walenczak's were helpful, but they weren't the right stock to do battle with the horrors of Terra AD.
If Darwin... or Darwinius, as he was now calling himself, was going to go on his grand crusade to rid the world of the ecological nightmares, he would need to gather other breeds of humanity. He would need to collect them, raise them, and train them to be great seekers of the technology necessary to fix the SeaQuest and to better serve the Dolphinquisition!
Qualifications: Membership in the Dolphinquisition is open to any pure strain human, mutant, manimal, or plantient who swears allegiance to Lord Darwinius the Dolphinquisitor, and promises to seek out the technologies necessary to better turn the SeaQuest DSV into what it once was.
There are three ways to gain this membership:
- The easiest way to join the Dolphinquisition is through Dolphadoption. This is when one of the Dolphinquisitor's DLW's (Dolphin-Lucas Walenczak hybrids... think Jonathan Brandis fused to an actual dolphin) finds a worthy candidate between the ages of 3 and 13. The Dolphadopted then grows up on the sailing SeaQuest, raised by male and female Lucas Walenczak clones and DLW's, and is taught how to hunt, fish, sail, and farm on one of the dozen "s--t tugs" towed behind the once great submersible.
- The Dolphinquisitor is always looking for amazing discoveries from beneath the waves. Membership can be earned should a candidate gift a piece of technology to Lord Darwinius, in particular anything that can help transform the SeaQuest so that it can get back to reversing the Great Disaster.
- Finally, it is well known that the modern, evolved Lucas Walenczak clone no longer needs to be born within a birthing bay. Now all Lucas Walenczaks gestate within a host, and eventually push their way out of the host's abdominal cavity through the area just below the right rib. The process is surprisingly painless, but can be difficult to manage (because imagine giving birth to a full sized Jonathan Brandis through your side.) Initiates to the Dolphinquisition who have no gift of technology, can instead choose to host a new Lucas Walenczak.
Benefits: All members of the Dolphinquisition are implanted with a special chip that allows them to speak and understand dolphin language. They also have access to the SeaQuest, it's resources, and all the food they can grow in the s--t tugs.
Secret Sign: A series of dolphin squeaks and whistles that can be translated as "beneath the surface lies the future."