Bless Your Lucky Star

April 12, 2019

Sci-Fi, Raypunk, Noire
Big heroes, big legends, and big adventures are all part of what make the pulpy genre of Raypunk fun. But every tale has got to have a place to let the plot roll forward, and with noire being a close cousin, the underworld of smoky dice tables, an illicit bar, and scheming card sharks make this space bound casino a welcome stop in the players’ story.
The Rambling Star
Place, Casino
Neon everything, bright fuzzy carpets, the smell of too much cheap perfume and too many cheaper cigars, and the constant flow of whatever hooch and chemical altering substances that can be shipped in defines the Rambling Star. It’s parked somewhere just beyond the normal legal space lanes this month, and it’ll be towed somewhere else next month once this week’s protection money doesn’t show up. The place is dangerous, filthy, and loaded with cash as they drain ever spacer’s wallet that dares to step beyond the faux gold-plated doors.
The casino is built on an asteroid that used to house a mining colony’s dormitory. The rock’s been outfitted with a huge movement thruster and countless maneuvering rockets to let the vessel turn around to stop its momentum. The dorms have been converted to far more expensive than they’re worth hotel rooms with a little space left over to house the organic staff. Parking space is always available as the rock has ports to handle over 90% of most ship to ship connectors. Everyone else can maglock and just float on in.
No one knows who owns The Rambling Star. It changes hands often enough; sometimes because it makes too much money, but mostly because it burns too much of it. The staff rarely change as the bulk of them are either programmed to stay or just don’t have enough money left over from their worthless pay checks. The few that do usually escape to become crew on passing ships, or just stowaways.
Fitting The Rambling Star In
The Rambler is a good place to start a raypunk campaign or a place to pick up a late joining PC crew member. The table games are watched carefully, and big winners are quickly comped, suggested to spend their winnings, or quickly thrown out of an airlock if they won’t. Machine games are heavily rigged in the house’s favor. Players shouldn’t look to get rich here from playing at the casino aspect of the Rambling Star, and stack games of chance against them including having the house cheat and cheat hard. Lure the players here with promises of information or meetings, and play up the atmosphere enough that they’re discouraged from wanting to join in the danger and underlying darkness of the place. The bright lights hold nothing but lies.
Ace of Thirty Kings
Person, Robot
Robots are built for a purpose, and if you ask Ace, he’d tell you he was built to be an annoying jackass. Loud, bold, and in need of maintenance on his joints and personality, Ace of Thirty Kings is a recent arrival at the local watering hole. His frame was once painted a brilliant deep sapphire that seemed to absorb the light of the room, but now the paint is worn and only a few patches still show off the glittered specks in between the deep blue void of his design. The robot now wears a large black jacket with silver and gold lining in a checkerboard pattern. Fake jewels stretch along the stitching of the jacket, although these are dull and damaged from his countless quick departures from casinos and bars. Turns out there’s some bouncers strong and angry enough to pick up his heavy frame and show him the concrete outside.
Ace of Thirty Kings is a swindler and a card counter. He’s got enough software in him to get any dice he picks up to always roll whatever he wants, when his arm isn’t acting up. He memorizes the smallest details of cards of other players, and know exactly what he’s playing against every time. That’s not to say he wins every time. Too suspicious that way. He’ll mostly lose, but in the end, he’ll come out on top.
He’s bored, mostly. Mastering the gambling arts, he hasn’t quite found something worth betting his own life on yet. For now, he goes from casino to casino, table to table, pulling in just enough extra credits to get by, waiting for that big score he’s been dreaming of all these years.
Fitting Ace of Thirty Kings In
Ace should be a nuisance to the party, the npcs, even the GM should find him annoying after a while. He’s a robot who doesn’t quite know when to shut up, but always knows when it’s time to fold a hand. There’s no better gambling machine than him as his software is loaded with every conceivable cheating mechanism. This also means almost nothing escapes his notice, and he’ll be perceptive on what the party is up to often long before they even realize it themselves. While he’s annoying, he should be played smart, and like any good card shark he’ll know when to get up and walk away from a bad situation. His need for the party should scale by how well he’s doing financially. While he wins a lot, if he’s caught cheating those winnings seem to always magically turn into debts, and favors are the most valuable of currencies.
The Luck Virus
Thing, Macguffin
The infection starts small; little things like finding a few credits on the ground, catching a dropped glass that should have been out of reach, or finding a door unlocked they expected to have to break down. Things then start to get odd; every traffic light seeming to go their way, an extra magazine of ammo in their kit, the dealer’s shuffle seeming to give them the card they need a dozen hands in a row. Then the barely missed speeding car, the well-timed door opening that knocked out the guard chasing them, or the tripping hazard that made the hit-man’s bullet miss. Somehow it just feels like the universe loves them.
The infection is ancient tech; nanites from a civilization long dead. The tiny machines were made to help those infected survive in the hyper-science culture that had existed long ago. The strain was meant to die when the host infected passed on, but somehow they took on a life of their own. Now they pass from host to host, sharing their ability to manipulate physics and odds in the favor of the being they love.
But luck can come and go, and those who become too wise to the infection’s gift tend to earn the luck virus’s ire. An infected can find danger lurking around every corner as the universe seems to try to correct the bubble of blessings that surrounded them.
Fitting The Luck Virus In
In games where luck is an attribute or stat, the luck virus should act as a bonus or an extra die. For games where luck is an economy item of player agency, toss them random plot points, edges, or other tokens to suggest that things are just going their way for some reason. But log these gifts, because just as luck gives, it takes. The virus is semi-sentient, and knowns when it’s being abused. The virus’s goal is to help it’s host survive, not to help them lie, cheat, and abuse. Those that do will find themselves drained of luck and good fortune, and find their worlds crashing down on them.
Using Bless Your Lucky Star
The Whole Block
The Bless Your Lucky Star scenario can be a good entry point into a campaign, or serve as a point of interest in a Raypunk or other sci-fi setting. The casino’s ownership is always in question, and wealthy heroes or villains make for good customers. Ace of Thirty Kings should set the tone of how loud and boisterous the rest of the npcs should be. Everything should be loud, bright, and always have the undercurrent of a threat. The Luck Virus itself offers a way of throwing chaos into the casino. So many patrons would be attempting to use their newfound luck to scam the Rambling Star, and the virus would find itself jump from host to host to find someone worth protecting in the den of thieves. If the npcs of the Rambling Star know about or realize what the legendary Luck Virus is, they may want to hunt down any PCs that take it from the Casino. Ace can make a good antagonist for such escapades or serve as the means to informing the PCs of just what they have.

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