Throwback Thursday, Supplemental: Newspapers from the Space Cowboys game

by mshrm

Since we’re between seasons in the Space Cowboys game, I figured I would mention the newspapers.

In-game, the idea was that every port would offer news service to incoming ships. The specific news services varied, according to what the ships’ crews were interested in. In the case of the Cabra, since the ship was registered out of the Jupiter Corporate Sector, they got the Jupiter Free Press (motto: “All the news, by Jove!”), and since Osolo liked his tabloids, they also received The Daily Humm (“Everything THEY Don’t Want You To Know!”).

In a meta-game sense, they allowed me to spread background detail without giving any infodump monologues. I could foreshadow events that would impact the crew’s lives. Finally, I could slip in cheap in-jokes, which is always a personal favorite.

I used OpenOffice to make the newspapers. I found a couple of free templates for newspaper-style documents and modified them for my own needs. When the time came to generate a new edition, I would fill in the stories and “borrow” images from around the ‘net (which is why I don’t just post the papers themselves and be done with it), then print off a couple of copies to hand around at the appropriate time. More often than not, the ship would arrive at the beginning of a session, so the players could pass around the sheets while everybody got themselves organized and spent their experience.

Some example articles…

Session #1, The Daily Humm:


Sources on the Antarctic Natural Reserve report that they have solid evidence of a conspiracy to cover up the existence of nanotech-powered cyborg penguin armies being built as pawns by an unholy alliance of corporate interests and the Evil Robotic Overlords Of Earth!

As shocking as it may seem, in the not-quite 70 years since terraforming was completed on the Trans-Neptunian Object now known as the Antarctic Natural Reserve, the penguins have mutated and evolved intelligence, under the influence of radiation levels they were never meant to encounter. Our sources say the so-called “caretaker population” sent to colonize the world was replaced by military trainers and cybernetics experts within the past 3 years.

The purpose of an army of superintelligent penguins remains murky. Given the long-standing tendency of megacorporations to ally themselves with the forces which destroyed Earth-That-Was, however, our experts here at the Daily Humm point towards rumors that humanity never entirely left our homeworld.

“There are documented reports of radio contact with people living in Antarctica as late as  2150,” said Dr.Mathias Zune, professor of Earth
history. “It’s not too much to speculate that perhaps some element of humanity is still hanging on there to this day. Perhaps they believe an army of penguins can accomplish what hordes of robots can’t?”

* * *

Episode #1, Jupiter Free Press:


21 May 2517 – New Vatican Space Station – Pope James Brown IX called for a crackdown on piracy around Miranda, in addition to his usual call for a New Crusade to reclaim Earth for humanity.

The Pope spoke at a press conference held in New Vatican Space Station, in geosynchronous orbit over the site of the lost city of Rome. He spoke of the crew and passengers of the Wheel Of Fire, a ship carrying Catholic missionaries to the moon of Uranus which was recently attacked and scuttled by pirates.

He also renewed his call to fund a “grand crusade” to take back the Holy Land, claiming to have new sources of monetary support for the effort.

* * *

Episode #2, Daily Humm:


Ceres  Zombies have been positively identified by the crew of a space tug working salvage in orbit around Ceres, and our experts say they are using interplanetary tramp freighter traffic to spread their unholy grasp!

The crew of the Rhodan, all men of good reputation and sober habits*, have gone on record regarding their narrow escape. They say zombies in
vacc suits attempted to break in through the airlocks while the tug was on a salvage mission.

Only the quick thinking of the captain saved the crew from certain brain-eating. Our zombie experts say that this may point to a spread of the zombie plague from Earth-That-Was to the rest of the system.

They say that zombies with experience in ziggy could hitch rides on the outside of passing ships, like the barnacles of more ancient times.

Some went on to observe that the lax security precautions of tramp freighters would make them the likely vector for such an exodus of undead. The recent traffic due to the favorable conjunction of Ceres and the Ag’, for instance, could have been a superhighway for zombies spreading from Earth.

* * *

Episode #2, Jupiter Free Press.  The justice system of the Ag’ was on the rough side. One of their rules was that a sentence of exile gave the judges “the option” of a quick exile, out the nearest airlock.


ABA Extends Indenture Limits
The Asteroid Belt Alliance amended its charter today, to allow indentures of up to 7 years period, with up to two renewals, an expansion of its previous 5 year, one extension policy. Pg 5

JCS Q2 Earnings Report Due Soon
Markets expect Q2 reports for the Jupiter Corporate Sector within a few days, leading some to hedge their bets. Pg 2

GCC Posts Crimes Statistics: All-Time Low!
The Greek Camp Coalition published its compiled crime statistics for 2515, showing an all-time low in corruption and material crimes. Pg 17

The Isolationist leaders recently captured on the Ag’ were treated to swift justice earlier this week.

The Supreme Court of Agamemnon delivered a guilty verdict after only three hours of deliberation. The rebel leaders had been charged with treason against the citizens of Agamemnon.

The mandatory sentence for treason is exile, but the Court Justices exercised the option.**

* * *

Episode #3, Jupiter Free Press. “Kwee Deek” is a corruption of “Quidditch”. It’s a form of water polo, but played without water, in zero gravity, using muscle-powered wings to move about.

Kwee Deek

  • Botony Bay Griffins … 3
  • New Perth Comets … 1


  • Dampier S’ Stars … 2
  • Fremantle Supers … 0

Ziggy Wrestling

  • Haystacks Calhoun defeats Crusher Creel
  • Mascarita Sagrada defeats Don Hornswaggle
  • Baron von Kampf defeats Tito Satayana

Network Outage Kills 3

A twenty minute network outage caused the death of three Fremantle citizens this week. Con’t pg 7

* When the story was read aloud, Bubba injected, “Meaning, drunks.”