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< Denver Session 1 | Denver Playtest

Okay, so... "Let's just finish up Session One tomorrow" turned into "a month later", but THAT IS OH-KAY. No major rules things to work out, other than a few questions I had for rules clarifications, and after general ramp-up-to-play, do the kids have a video to watch, is Kaylee safe/entertained?... off we go.

Scene Zero: Finishing up Scene Six from last session.
We realized as we were getting things going and figuring out who had narration rights on the opening of the next scenes, that while we'd finished the conflict rolling for Amanda Tillotson's last scene, last session, we hadn't actually narrated what happened. Dave had had high dice so it was up to him. I ran up to take care of some stuff upstairs while the players (who'd all been involved in the scene) kibitzed and worked out what happened.


Scene Zero: Stopping the Terrorist Suicide Bomber The Tenebrae wove through traffic around the Beanstalk Mining Platform 13, but couldn't get a clear shot on the kamikaze ship itself. Instead, Captain Tillotson fired across the bow of an ore tug to encourage the thing to veer/stop. It does, unexpectedly, and the bomb/ship can't stop or avoid it in time. It crashes into the big fraggin' hunk of rock the tug is hauling and blows up. Other ships nearby scatter like crazy.

Scene One: (Boyd) Rowena, the Babysitter.
The crew of the Walkabout is introduced to their Navy-assigned 'guide' for the investigation into the plague; Rowena Gower, a native scout who contracts out to the Navy most of the time. Rowena is very much a 'jungle explorer' type: outdoor clothing (good boots for hiking in hot climes, many-pocketed cargo pants, layered tank-tops and a knotted leather necklace), brown, curly hair pulled back, and a no-nonsense demeanor. She refers to herself as 'the babysitter', pokes a little fun at the somewhat 'domestic' Walkabout (Boyd's aunt used to use it regularly before she gave it to him), and appreciates that Boyd's crewmembers work out.

On the flight to the southern hemisphere, Boyd chats with Rowena while they annoy Viktor on the bridge of the ship. Rowena is extremely unflattering in portraying the close-minded Caliban-factions and (at least on this planet) religious extremists who've come onto New Eden and, though extreme farming practices, played hell with the environment. Interestingly, I think her rant actually got one of the players (Randy) semi-riled in a general sense, simply because the bad practices I was talking about are actually cribbed from real-time current politics around the world, and groups he's none too fond of. Very interesting.

This scene went on for quite awhile with freeform roleplay, largely because (as I openly observed to the group) I wasn't sure about the conflict.

Finally, I had a fun sort of idea for presenting a 'secret' in an open kind of way. The Conflict was opened, with Rowena's intent stated as "Use Boyd as an unknowing tool in her ongoing effort to discredit the current Powers-that-Be, because she's one of the rebel/terrorists."

The group liked it, and Margie-Boyd's-player set to work, opening with Explorer (having had some experience with figuring out the social nuances of new planets).

I was rolling 3d6 and 2d8 without spending any Hazard for extra dice, and I think I pretty much left it at that. Margie was rolling her Explorer for 3d6, and I think something else, but I can't remember what. Oh, both Dave and Randy figured out ways to help out with their crew members, that was it.

I smoked her pretty hard on the first roll, and all three of her Archetype dice were eliminated. Luckily, both Randy and Dave's contributed dice stayed in the mix. Margie spent a Fortune point to pull in a new archetype: Tinker. She also brought in a couple Gear dice also. She explained that after their chat, Rowena had retired to their respective quarters. On a hunch, Boyd had monitored radio transmissions and picked up a tight-burst encoded transmission from the ship itself, outbound. He then set to decoding it, and was very successful.

Second roll, Margie was rolling seven dice, I had five, and when it was done, I had two, and she still had seven. I conceded the contest, taking my two Hazard.

I narrated getting off the ship and Rowena innocently asking if Boyd and company wanted the 'guided tour' or just to wander around and poke at things. Boyd said, also innocently, that the guided tour would be appreciated -- he knew she knew the area well enough to really help them out. As she walked away, explaining that she'd introduce them to a local medical scientist named Kira Birasiri, his expression changed, but only for a moment -- no reason to let Rowena know that he was onto her plan.

Margie took 3 or 4 Fortune for her eliminated dice and then rolled them to check impairments. THAT didn't go well -- her Explorer Archetype was completely impaired. We checked out the costs on getting those dice back 'online', but Margie opted to wait, noting that you can 'fix' your attribute whenever you want, and she'd save her Fortune until she got to a point where it was 'I need these dice RIGHT NOW', and then fix them. Works for me -- for now, she'll be relying almost entirely on her 4-die Tinker Archetype -- her other two Archetypes are both impaired badly -- her planet has the highest difficulty die at 2d8. She has a lot of Fortune right now from getting dice knocked out of contests, but a LOT of impairment as well.

This was a good scene, and it helped move things along, and it was fun, but it took a LONG time to get to the conflict. It's taking us about 30 minutes a scene, though that's getting faster, and this scene was at least twice that long.

Scene Two: Mob Rule
This scene was quite a bit more straightforward. The local naval patrol stopped by at reports of weapons fire, but Margie's mechanic managed to conceal the more damning weaponry on the ship (at the cost of a torn leg on her overalls as she scrambled through a panel to slid some covering plates into place), and they left well enough alone. Anse wanted to know why the Mob, which was NOT who his crewmember had been dealing with for the armaments he needed, was involved. Dave's crewmember opined that he'd outbid the Mob mooks on the weaponry the mob itself had wanted, and the mooks didn't want to play fair afterwards.

This didn't sound right -- the Mob was an uncontested power on the planet, criminally speaking; they didn't have a gang-war coming, and there weren't about to go head-to-head with the Navy, so why did they need the military-grade hardware? (Why does Anse, for that matter... but that's another issue. :)

Conflict -- finding out why the Mob so badly wanted the same armaments that Anse was looking for.

Randy started off with... I can't remember what archetype. He rolled in some Gear and one of the Ship attributes as well, but I beat him pretty soundly on the first round -- no one noticed anything but high concentrations of local-fauna "air whales" around several of the major mining operations on planet, contrary to their migratory patterns. He paid Fortune and switched to Warrior, focusing less on sensor surveys and such and going back to the weapons-mongering and the word on the street with arms dealers.

Second round, he cleaned my clock and I conceded.

Turns out that Pearl Shannon, the local Mob leader, seems to be making arrangements to go independent and claim all of Chatura as her turf -- since the Mob itself isn't going to like that, she's making preparations to defend her turf.

That's going to be bad for business... no matter WHAT your business is.

Scene Three: Debriefing on Platform 13
Commander Tillotson is being debriefed on Platform 13 by Jiri Kral, the Navy's mining operations Commander, and Lenka Fiala, Navy Captain and head of Station Security. The pair is alternately (1)thrilled that the platform is safe (2) angry that Tillotson took matters into her own hands (3) embarrassed they couldn't handle it themselves and (4) interested in other ways Captain Tillotson can help them. For her part, Amanda is faintly disproving of the way things are being handled with regards to the situation.

It seems the locals are up in arms about the mining platforms -- Jiri's "baby", the project was rammed through legislation and funding hassles and protest from locals who think (rightly) that the beanstalks will take away jobs from ore haulers and other workers. The situation has gotten extreme enough that a number of factions on-planet have joined together to put a stop to Navy Interference and break away from Caliban control of the mining operations entirely -- so far, the sabotage has been minor -- internal jobs from suborned workers -- stuff that costs time, not lives. The 'suicide' bomber is a new and darker turn to the situation.

Jiri wants to know if Captain Tillotson is interested in playing the disgruntled ex-Navy officer who wants to make deals away from Concordance operations, and see if she can make contact with the terrorists. He hopes she's willing -- there will be an extremely lucrative trading arrangement for the Tenebrae if she does, and he knows that, when her father served this post, he was willing to use unorthodox means, if necessary."

Amanda already knew her father had been stationed here shortly before his odd disappearance -- it's one of the reasons she came here -- but the mention of him still startles her. She asks for clarification, and Jiri confesses that he never met the man, but that Captain Fiala did.

Amanda turns to the Security Commander, who allows that it was a honor working with him, albeit briefly.

So... the conflict we settle on has nothing to do with Taking The Job -- Dave's fine with that -- he wants information about DAD.

Conflict -- Find out more about Dad.

The meeting ends, and Amanda follows Captain Fiala into the passageway. She stops her and asks if it would be possible, as a professional courtesy, for her to see her father's personal records.

Dave wins pretty handily with the first roll (Margie was helping him out, and he pulled in a few other die, I think, and he performed our first-ever "Check a Contact (Concordance Navy, in this case) to reroll a crap dice" to turn a 1 into a 6!), and I concede.

I was narrating, however, which let me throw a twist in this: Fiala is not going to allow Tillotson access to those files (there'd already been talk of having Orlando hack in to get them electronically) -- she's not Navy anymore, so not way, and if she WERE Navy, she's still FAMILY, and sharing files with family is a big no-no for presumed-dead officers.

How was this a win?

Fiala is exasperated. "Listen, it's pointless to pursue this -- he wasn't even stationed here that long; six months into his tour, he resigned his post, bought a ship, and disappeared."

Long pause.

"He resigned his post?!?"

Fiala stares at Tillotson, realizing her mistake, then turns to leave. Amanda stays where she's at, calling after her:

"He bought a ship and left? He RESIGNED HIS POST?!?"

Fiala disappears around a corner. Tillotson stares after her, then keys her comm.


"Yes, Capitan."

"Get me those personnel files."

"... yes, Capitan."

And that was the session.



  • Everyone is totally involved and, often, invested in every scene.
  • Everyone is getting the conflict mechanics very well now, and totally get rerolls and red shirts -- I can probably up the difficulty of the contest a bit now -- they feel a little easy, despite going into two turns in most cases.


  • Appeal points aren't flowing -- everyone gets their use in theory, but the crew members just haven't quite turned on enough to get them flowing. I was going to toss one someone's way at two different points, but then realized I would have been awarding a Captain, not a crewmember. :P There's 8 points sitting unused in the kitty right now.


  • I've got too much Hazard, and I don't want to use it -- I've got 38 stored up (and I just realized I didn't add in the Hazard I should get from when players spend Fortune, so I actually have 40), and nowhere to put it -- the challenges are, to my mind, MORE than enough with only a d6 or two added (everyone is having to spend Fortune to get into a second round of conflict, and getting Dice Impairment that will cost FAR more than they're making for winning the conflict), and I easily earn back anything I spend in every conflict with the "Dice left on the table" rule for G Ms. Also, spending Hazard doesn't benefit the players by flowing back to the captains, the way it does in PTA. In PTA, Budget -> Fan mail -> Budget. In Galactic, Fortune spent -> Hazard spent -> Appeal for the CREW. That's not working, and it concerns me a bit.
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Page last modified on September 19, 2006, at 02:17 PM by DoyceTesterman

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