Friday, 23 September 2011

Starfall: Story Summaries - Votes 72-79

Moving back behind the law officer, you wait for him to fire. The Grak finishes its frenzied feeding, turning its slavering maw towards you. It springs into action, clacking its beak, its arachnid eyes glinting.

The officer fires, the shot impacting on the creature's torso, but the Grak is already leaping into the air, vicious blades slicing into the law-man. He falls to the ground, doggedly struggling against the infant monster. The gun falls from his hand – you could help, or you could make a run for it...

You grab the firearm and point it towards the Grak. The weapon is heavy in your hands – you've never fired a gun before. With a sudden rush of courage, you step in as close as you dare and pull the trigger. The gun flies up in the air, the recoil taking you by surprise, but your aim is good. The Grak falls to the floor, a puncture wound through its skull.

You're not out of the wood yet, as two more law officers round the corner. They draw their weapons, aiming at you. From their angle, it looks very much like you just gunned down their comrade. Deciding not to antagonise the men, you drop the gun, holding your hands aloft in the surrender.

The officers close in. They recoil as they catch sight of the Grak corpse, but quickly move into action, one man helping his wounded colleague, the other questioning you about the recent events. Before you can answer, the see movement from the rooftops. The remaining thugs have returned – and this time they're packing heat!

The law-men and the thugs both train their firearms on each other. Neither party opens fire but neither wants to back down. You motion to Ray to sneak up on the thugs – the little robot heads off cautiously. You stall for time, offering money to the men on the rooftops. They sneer at your offer, but are suitably distracted as Ray makes his move, charging into the leader of the group, knocking him off the rooftop.

The men open fire, the law officers shooting back at them. As the bullets whistle over your head, you take heroic action, grabbing the wounded man and pulling him to safety in a nearby alleyway. His fellow officers arrive, having dealt with the armed thugs. One of them grabs you roughly, sensing that you were involved with the earlier mayhem. The wounded officer tells him in a weak and rattling voice to let you go. You smile at him, grateful for his kindness.

Heading back out onto the street, you search for Ray. You find the robot behind a large container bin – he's sustained some critical damage from a gun blast. He'll need repairs, but you'll have to sacrifice all your remaining repair supplies.

A deep sense of loyalty welling within, you begin work to restore Ray back to full-functionality. You've almost finished the job, when you realise that the last section of Ray's instruction manual is missing. Placing the fate your little robotic companion in the hands of chance, you a pick a wire to use for the last connection. Ray seems fine, but when he tries to speak, unintelligible gobbledegook issues from his vocal transmitter. Oh well, you'll have to make do.

You head out of Dust City, glad to put the town behind you. As you near your AuGArma, you see a sight that fills you with overwhelming despair. Reylan has already arrived, his silver and blue Arma standing triumphantly next to yours. A voice calls out to you – it's Reylan. He's standing in front of the two machines, beckoning you to come and talk with him. It could be a trap...

Although you're not entirely certain of your opponent's motives, you approach him cautiously. Reylan states that he wants a fair fight – he's going to let you repair, if you're happy to meet him in the valley to the east for the last battle of the preliminary round. He turns away, heading back towards his Arma. You could attack him now, whilst his back is turned...

Honour wins over treachery, and you decide to make it a fair fight, as Reylan suggested. As your opponent heads off, you start the repair work on your Arma – once the new power coupling is in place, everything seems to be in working order. You set off towards the valley. Reylan has kept his word and awaits you within the narrow rocky passage. It's time to fight!

You burst into action, utilising the swiftness of your Arma. Reylan defends skilfully, taking minor damage.

The Ragnarok shudders as Reylan lands a heavy blow – his Arma is built to deal destruction.

Attacking with speed and precision, you inflict a couple of good punches, sending your opponent's Arma reeling.

Reylan responds with a well-timed kick, catching your Arma squarely in its metal chest.

You sweep the Ragnarok's leg into Reylan's Arma, sending the silver & blue machine crashing to the ground.

Firing your 'EMP Blast', you unleash a burst of lightning into your opponent's Arma, stunning Reylan briefly.

Taking advantage of Reylan's immobility, you attack. Your blows land, but aren't too effective.

Relyan manages to coax his Arma back to life. He lashes out at you with an uncoordinated strike.

Your Arma's metal fist strikes your opponent in a blur of motion – your speedy attacks find their mark.

A powerful attack from Reylan sends you sprawling. Warning lights flash across your HUD – you can't take much more.

Reylan brings his secondary weapon online. A long slender cannon extends on his Arma's shoulder – a Rail Gun.

You don't have time to dodge the magnetised projectile. It blasts through the chest of the Ragnarok.

You try to move, but it's no good. The Ragnarok slumps onto the dusty ground, unable to continue the fight.

You have been defeated...

You AuGArma has been destroyed...

But is this the end?

Read the exciting conclusion to Starfall to find out how this chapter ends. This story has finished, but the adventure has only just begun!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Starfall: Epilogue

'CATASTROPHIC FAILURE' warning signs flash across your HUD, bathing the inside of the CommandCore in a hot red glow. You attempt to reroute functionality for one last attack but it’s no use. The Ragnarok sags to the ground, sparks flying from its gears, smoke belching from the gaping hole where the Rail Gun fired through its chest.

Looking up, you see Reylan’s Arma towering over you.

“Good game,” he says over the comm. It doesn’t sound like he’s gloating. Maybe he genuinely enjoyed the challenge you provided.

The words 'SHUTDOWN IMMINENT' flash before you, then disappear as your Arma’s primary CPU ceases to function, plunging the confines of the CommandCore into darkness. You slump against the soft wall, the dull pang of defeat aching through your body. You’ve failed. This is the end.


You jerk around, search for the source of the eerie voice.

...You have not failed…

“Who’s there?” you inquire into the emptiness.

This is not the end…

The voice stabs deep into your mind, a burning presence piercing your thoughts. Immense pain erupts, causing you to scream uncontrollably.

You have only just begun…

Your hands clamp around your skull, trying to stop it from exploding from the pressure building within.

It is time for you to awaken…

Flashes of blinding light burst onto your screwed-up eyes, pain wrenching at your consciousness. You fall into the obsidian black.

Time for you to be reborn…

- x -

The camouflaged cam-bots circle above the two AuGArmas like vultures, scavenging tasty morsels of action and excitement, then regurgitating them onto millions of view-screens across the galaxy. A black cloud of smoke snakes upwards from the defeated machine. The other stands resolute, the proud victor.

“He's done it,” narrates the voice of Max Herald. “Reylan has won the round. Many thought he'd never – wait... wait, there's...”

Something isn't right...

The screen switches to an image nearer the ground – everything is shaking, rocks toppling down into the valley. The silver and blue Arma struggles to keep its balance as the ground vibrates.

A giant crack fissures along the centre of the valley, the brown dusty surface splitting jaggedly in two. The image zooms in on the defeated Arma – it's at the centre of the opening rift.

“Ladies and gentleman, something terrible has happened,” says Herald, managing to keep his cool, but only just. “We're dispatching a pick-up team to rescue the stranded pilot, but... what the-”

A huge dark mass bursts out of the ground, great chunks of sediment crashing against the sides of the valley. The silver and blue AuGArma turns and begins to run, engaging its boosters.

The image cuts down low again. The mass, a dark crystalline substance that seems to be somehow fluid, wraps itself around the broken Arma. Dust and pebbles fly up against the lens, obscuring the view. The substance is fusing with the Arma – the machine appears to be rising up, standing upright once again. The dented and cracked metal of its surface its almost completely covered by the dark mass, long protrusions sprouting from the back of the machine. The Arma, or what was the Arma, rears its head back. The mass covering its face opens like a mouth – it emits a screeching howl, the sound rising unbearably-

The screen goes black.

Families to turn each other, puzzled and afraid.

The image reappears, showing the white deck of the Hyparrion cruiser. Max Herald stands before the viewers, his composure well and truly broken.

“We're experiencing some, uh, technical difficulties,” he splutters sheepishly. “If you could bear with us...”

A warning alert begins to flash across the screens and consoles around the deck, a high-pitched whooping sound echoing around the ship. Herald forgets his role and runs to the nearest console, the cam-bot following.

An object has left the atmosphere of Gantian VII and is head straight for the HFCG cruiser. An ugly red dot blinks on the console screen, moving with extreme speed.

The camera cuts to a view outside the space vessel. The military frigate has manoeuvred into a defensive position, its gun batteries and energy turrets swivelling around to face the unidentified object. The cam-bot slides to the side, trying to catch a glimpse of the action.

A black dot appears in the distance, zooming inexorably towards the ships.

The ProTek frigate opens fire, raining down a hail of projectiles and laser beams upon the unidentified object, swallowing it up within a wave of destructive force.

A flash of light slashes across the centre of the military vessel, splitting its hull in two. Explosions ripple across its surface as the unidentified craft surges through the wreckage – the camera zooms, showing a dark humanoid shape flying through space, pure white energy sending it hurling onwards towards the Hyparrion cruiser.

The HFCG ship engages evasive manoeuvres, but it's too late. The black object slams into the ship. A giant blade of light erupts from its arm, lacerating the hull of the vessel. The humanoid 'thing' explodes into movement, flying off out into space...

- x -

Inside the cruiser, blasts shatter the pristine white walls and floors, tongues of fire spitting out into the corridors. Crew members rush frantically back and forth, screaming orders and information to each other. Max Herald picks himself up off the floor groggily, touching an oozing gash on his forehead. In midst the chaos, he stumbles over to a comm station, pushing the operator roughly aside. He taps in a code.

“Sir, it's Herald.”

He listens.

“Yes, but...”

Irate shouting issues from the comm.

“But, sir – I think we've found it.”


“We've finally found it.”

To be continued...

Thank you to all the Tweet RPG players for shaping this adventure!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Starfall: Story Summaries - Votes 60-71

Although your 'Scatter Missiles' have served you well, the 'EMP Blast' weapon has to be the superior option – you disconnect your current secondary weapon, attaching the new component in its place.

The chilling sound of laughter buzzes over the comm. Something isn't right.

Before you have time to react, the 'EMP Blast' weapon overloads with a crackling burst of electrical power – the shock ripples over your AuGArma, its systems crashing as the machine jerks and flails uncontrollably.

Caleen's vengeful trap leaves your Arma disabled. Ray informs you that all the systems and parts are fairly undamaged – apart from one core element, the main power coupling. You'll need to find a new one if you want any chance of finishing the contest. Packing your key items into a survival rucksack, you leave your Arma and head towards the outskirts of Dust City, Ray bobbing along beside you.

As you approach the settlement, you see a law enforcement patrol vehicle trundling along near the buildings. Deciding not to involve them at this point, you continue on your way. Walking along the main street into the town, you can feel the cold stares of the inhabitants looking you up and down – a change of clothes might help you appear less conspicuous.

You enter a nearby garment store, the interior dark and dank, with racks of musty military and outdoor gear hanging in narrow rows. You grab some clothes and take them to the store owner's desk. The squat little man asks what you have to trade in exchange for the clothes. Pondering what to offer, you decide to see if he'll do a straight-swap – your Battle Contest jumpsuit for the gear. The man agrees to the deal, stating he'll probably be able to make quite a profit on your uniform. As you leave, he offers you advice on which repair shop to visit, telling you to pick the smaller of the two garages. You thank him for the suggestion, heading out the door.

Walking along the street, you appear to be attracting less attention in your new gear. You come to a T-junction at the end of the road. On the left, you can see the local law enforcement office, and on the right, the repair garages. You opt to head straight for the garages. There is a larger garage on one side of the street, and a smaller one opposite. Heeding the advice of the garment store owner, you pick the smaller garage.

Inside, you find a fat grubby man, who becomes extremely excited when he finds out that you're a Battle Contest pilot. He pledges to give you any parts you need, but at a small cost – you must help him play a prank on the garage owner across the street. You agree to help him – you need the parts and don't have any cash.

You head over to the larger garage and find the owner, a massive beefy man who doesn't look like he has a sense of humour. Nevertheless, you continue with the prank, delivering a taunting message to him. Enraged by the taunt, the man heads over the road, with Ray and yourself trailing behind. As the man enters the garage, the fat mechanic smashes him over the head with a metal pole – things are getting out of hand...

The fat mechanic starts to drag his rival towards a staircase at the rear of the workshop. You've had enough – you state that you're not helping any further, and would like the parts you were promised. The chubby man looks hurt – he explains that he was only going to leave the unconscious man on the roof, leaving him to get sunburnt. He sullenly gives you the power coupling, and continues with his prank. You leave the shop.

As you step out onto the street, you see that more people are now walking along the pathways – they look at you with questioning stares, recognising you as an outsider. Risking the attention of the townspeople, you continue along the main street, back the way you came.

You see a young law-man standing on the side of the road – he calls to you, asking if he can have a word. You decide to hear him out, rather than running away. The officer reveals that he knows your identity, but he seems to be a nice guy. He asks for an autograph for his son, and offers to escort you out of the town. Sounds like a good offer...

Walking alongside the young officer, you head towards the outskirts of Dust City. A group of sinister men confront you – they instruct the law-man that they want to take you off his hands. The officer stands his ground, the men drawing knives.

In a flash of inspiration, you take the Grak egg from you bag and throw it at the men. It falls harmlessly onto the floor, the men laughing at your seemingly foolish action. The law-man draws his sidearm, his face contorted with fear – he must know that the egg is extremely dangerous. Suddenly, the egg hatches, the infant Grak surging out, savaging the leader of the group. The men run, but the small ravenous creature is too fast, ripping into the slowest man. The young law-man steadies his weapon: should you make a run for it, or trust the aim and power of his pistol?

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

A special shout-out

Through a couple of recent interviews with The RPG Guy and Gaming Tonic, you've been able to get a little insight into the story behind Tweet RPG. However, there's one facet of the tale that I've accidently overlooked so far, and wanted to make sure it is brought to light.

When asked about my inspirations, I easily recalled the gamebooks and video games that first introduced me to role-playing, but there is one other source of inspiration that has shaped a core aspect of Tweet RPG.

When I started university, my flat mate introduced me to the greatest web-comic on the internet – Ctrl+Alt+Del. I read through the entire back catalogue as quickly as I could, loving every second of geeky hilarity. In 2008, the Ctrl+Alt+Del creator Tim Buckley produced a 'create-your-own-adventure' story arc, casting one of his characters, Ethan MacManus, as a space archeologist whose destiny the reader could control and shape. The reader was given options throughout the comic strip – votes were cast via email, with the majority choice shaping the narrative. Notice anything familiar?

When I started to working on the concept of Tweet RPG, the idea of a voting mechanism, as used in Ctrl+Alt+Del, struck me as being the perfect way to conduct a role-playing project through Twitter. Although I envisaged the player getting into the skin of the protagonist and 'becoming' them as an individual, I wanted the players to become part of a community, playing together and being affected by each other's decisions.

Through 'quick votes' and 'open votes', Tweet RPG players do get the chance to control the actions of the protagonist on their own, but playing as a group through voting is an important element of the Tweet RPG project. And this idea wouldn't have come about without Ethan MacManus: Space Archeologist – thanks Ctrl+Alt+Del!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Starfall: Story Summaries - Votes 47-59

Rather than attempt to remove the barricade by yourself, you decide to fetch the CivSec Arma to give you a hand. You head back down the tracks towards the rear of the train, finding your fellow AuGArma under attack from a Claw-Tank – a old-fashioned military vehicle, equipped with a heavy turret, a giant ripping pincher, and bristling with gun-ports.

You create a distraction, using your superior speed and agility to outmanoeuvre the tank, whilst the CivSec Arma moves away to deal with the barrier. You take some damage, but manage to buy enough time for the track to be cleared, the train beginning to move away.

Inflicting a crippling blow to the Claw-Tank, you engage your boosters and speed towards the train. The tank prepares to fire one last shell, which could potentially blast the train of the rails. As you zoom alongside the train, you fire a volley of missiles directly at the Claw-Tank's turret. Your aim is good, the missiles knocking the tank onto its side. The enemy vehicle fires into the ground, blowing itself apart.

Grabbing hold of the train and climbing aboard, you find more enemies to deal with – four heavily armed bandits have climbed onto the carriages during the fight. You opt to deal with them through combat rather than sacrifice the end carriages with them on board. The fight is long and tough, the men's weapons inflicting pinpoint damage as they dodge your attacks. You finally manage to strike down the last bandit, securing the safety of the train.

As you ride along in your Arma, standing on top of the speeding train, the driver updates you on the progress of the Battle Contest – you are one of the only three remaining contestants, Reylan also still undefeated. The driver says they'll be heading into Dust City soon – you decide to disembark beforehand and avoid the attention you'll certainly find there.

The train slows, allowing you to jump off onto the ground. You survey your surroundings. Standing on top of a high ridge, you can see Dust City, a small settlement that is only a city in name, spread out on the lower plain. Further along the ridge stands a building – it looks like a communication tower. You decide to take a closer look.

As the bright orange sun begins to rise, you head towards the tower. Although the building is weathered and in disrepair, it still appears to be operational, lights flashing on the veins and spires near its peak. No-one greets you as you approach. Opting to stay within the safety of your CommandCore, you send Ray into the building to see what's inside.

Your small spherical robot enters the building, finding a rubbish-strewn lobby area with two doors: one opposite the entrance and one at the top of a spiral staircase. You tell Ray to check the upper door first – he meekly obeys, floating up towards the door.

Watching through Ray's cam-view, you see a cluttered control room, with a man asleep in front of the command console. Warning Ray not to wake him, you order the robot to check the screen on the console. The screen shows a radar read-out of the area – you spot another unidentified object other than yourself, moving through the plain below – another AuGArma?

You call Ray back, but tell him to check the lower door on his way. The robot finds a storage room, filled with tools and materials, as well as some useful supplies. However, whilst Ray is searching, the door creaks shut behind him. The handle has been torn off – Ray is trapped!

Wasting no time, you jump out of the Ragnarok and run towards the comm tower. Entering the building, you grab a nearby metal pole and begin to pound it against the locked door. After a few vicious strikes, you manage to break the door off its hinges, freeing Ray.

The noise of your smashing and crashing has woken the man in the control room – he stands at the top of the stairs, fingers poised over his pistol holster. You decide to play it cool and engage the man in conversation. He asks why Ray had got himself stuck in the storage room – you lie, telling him that Ray has a malfunction and you were trying to stop him damaging anything. The man buys your story, and grumpily tells you to be on your way.

Making a hasty getaway from the comm tower, you climb back into the CommandCore, turning your attention to the vehicle that the radar had picked up on the plain below. Looking down from the ridge, you see that the vehicle is an Arma – one of your opponents. The pilot hasn't detected you because the Ragnarok was powered down as they passed by.

You launch your 'Scatter Missiles', using the incoming air-strike to inflict a powerful pre-emptive attack. Closing in for combat, you find yourself up against Caleen. The young girl doesn't give in easily, using her 'EMP Blast' attack to stun your Arma, but you eventually smash her bright pink Arma into the ground. You consider your defeated opponent's secondary weapon: is it worth taking if you have to give up your 'Scatter Missiles'?

Friday, 9 September 2011

New Starfall logo by Andrew Joyce!

Here's the latest Tweet RPG illustrations from master craftsman, Andrew Joyce, AKA @doodlesandstuff! Andrew has created an awesome Starfall logo - check it out!

Let us know what you think - comment below or send us a tweet!

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Starfall: Story Summaries - Votes 35-46

Deciding to work as a team with the cyborgs, you help them tear a gap in the fence. You turn your weapons on the horde of Grak as they attempt to follow. The cyborg's beam cannons and your missiles wreak destruction upon the xenomorphs – those that aren't vapourised rushing away with fearful howls.

As soon as the threat is gone, the cyborgs turn on you, threatening to attack if you don't surrender. Knowing that their beam cannons need time to recharge, you engage them in combat, defeating them before their deadly energy weapons are ready.

You search the corpses of the double-crossing cyborgs, finding some supplies and two Grak eggs – extremely valuable items that can also be used as devastating weapons because of the acidic fluids inside. As you search, you also discover a self-destruct device, only a few seconds left on the clock. You opt to make a run for it, managing to outrun the ensuing blast.

No time to rest – a Triumph Challenge Battle Contestant approaches! An extremely fast AuGArma zooms towards you, piloted by the silent and mysterious Kursh. You hurl a Grak egg at the black Arma, but it is sadly wasted – Kursh dodges the projectile. The battle is surprisingly short, with your stats and weapons out-matching those of your opponent. You decide against taking Kursh's ProtoDrive secondary weapon, and as the alien sun sets, you head off along the wide highway.

Travelling into the night, you find yourself approaching a small train station. You opt to head off the road, avoiding the possibility of unwanted attention. Finding your way to the train tracks, you see that a giant mining train is heading towards you – time for some theatrics!

Leaping onto the speeding train, you settle down, hoping to hitch a lift in your search for your next opponent. Unfortunately, it isn't long before the train makes an unscheduled stop. You decide to wait it out, but are soon discovered by the onboard security team – two men with armour-piercing rifles, and a CivSec AuGArma, equipped with melee weaponry.

The men offer to let you stay on the train, in return for your protective services – they often come under attack from roving bandits, eager to steal their cargo. You agree to help and the train begins to move on. It isn't long before you come across an obstruction blocking the track. The revving of engines alerts you that enemies are approaching. Two Missile-Cycles speed towards the train – you take them on, enduring their ballistic attacks and smashing them into pieces.

Turning your attention towards the barrier blocking the rails, you consider your options. Should you attempt to remove the barricade by yourself, or fetch the CivSec Arma to lend you a hand?

Tweet RPG - join in with the adventure!