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Hack For More

WEEK 21: 08/10/04

by Edward McEneely
Aug 17,2004


Hack For More

WEEK 21: 08/10/04

Hey, nice to be back. Good to see ya. You're looking well. Things are looking up for me: my hedgehog is back, a little bigger, but safe and sound. So I've got that going for me.

Session two of Fading Suns: The Road To Leagueheim (as I've tentatively titled the side-game in my head) began a little slowly, as Laura finished up her character using the not-terribly-great-but-quick lifepath generation system to build her Ur-Ukar spacepilot-slash-SPACE MAORI and everyone got reacquainted with each other onboard the luxury liner Resurgent House, on its way to Rampart.

I'd originally intended to run a spooky, haunted-luxury liner in space type session, with the vast ship occupied only by the players and a few unseen crewmembers, with everything else entirely automated and the ghosts of thousands upon thousands of former passengers (antimonists, second republicans, diasporan nobles, soldiers) wandering the halls for a truly erie effect. Malignant spirits would have tried to destroy the ship as it jumped, and it would have been all spooky-cool.

Unfortunately, there's no way I could run a session like that well; not only did Erich and I watch Ghost Ship together (worst movie EVER), but it's hard to maintain the atmosphere after a long day at work or if, like me, you're a total spazz.

So, instead, I had a group of militant Ur-Obun hijack the ship with the aid of a mysterious, only half-glimpsed enemy, probably human, who the players only saw (or thought they saw...) for a brief moment.

I also made the cardinal mistake of splitting the group up, which meant that I had to keep switching back and forth between Erich's character and Seth and Laura's characters, who I had unwisely kept seperate in an attempt to induce tension. Instead, it just slowed the game down and caused bouts of dueling boredom. I nearly lost Erich at one point, he just had this glazed look on his face and his eyelids were drooping, but I made a quick recovery and we kept moving.

The players fought their way to the liner's shuttle bay, and with the help of Laura, hotwired a shuttle and escaped, just as a Li Halan dreadnought blasted the liner out of the sky rather than negotiate with sinful heretics. The PCs ship was zapped up a bit by another craft that escaped the beleagured liner and transited the jumpgate, but the players themselves lacked a jumpkey and made a forced landing on Rampart, where they enjoyed Li Halan hospitality in the form of a customs inspection and then an Ecumenical inspection.

An aside here: most of the Fading Suns material out there seems to be pretty anti-church, or at least anti-orthodoxy, the obviously-based-on-Catholicism game religion (But not. That would be intolerant, of course.) that forms part of the troika of powerholders in the Fading Suns milieu. Now, part of this, I'm sure, is based on the viewpoints of the game designers, former White Wolf gurus all. I like to pretend I'm a pretty tolerant guy. But whenever I come across some smug, smarmy little bit about how horrid the church is, blah blah blah, it makes me grit my teeth. Just once, just once, I'd like to see a science-fiction game where monotheists are good guys.

I blame my upbringing. I don't much like to discuss it, but I was raised in a fairly conservative household. Now, I know many (some?) gamers (including Erich), have had some very bad fundy-type encounters re: gaming, but I never encountered any trouble, and my parents are actually pretty cool and smart people, who never had any problems with me gaming. (Well, my mom wouldn't let me buy Rifts when I was a lad, but frankly, more gamers need moms like that.) So, obviously, part of my belief system growing up included the concept of a strong benevolent monotheism, even though just about any sci-fi game has those types as bad, bad people, especially if they, you know, organize. It should come as no surprise to Fading Suns players that I root for the Avestites, the straw-man bad guys wayyy more than any other faction. It must be the nice red uniforms.

Blah blah blah. Don't mind me. I suppose I can't complain; it's not like gypsies came off any better in their White Wolf supplement, is it?

Moving on, I managed to introduce a sort of modeled-on-a-mid-Regency-era-gentleman Li Halan Bishop that as NPCs go, I'm fairly pleased with. I've been trying to work harder on realizing my NPCs through body language and intonation (that "A" in Method Acting is finally coming home to roost, baby), and I think (hope) that the PCs are liking it too.

I managed to leave the session up in the air, with a couple of possible adventures for the players to head off on next; this is what I love about less-rigid systems like Fading Suns, it's much easier to whip up an adventure depending upon everybody's mood, so I can have a couple of plans on the burner at any one time.

We'll see what happens next week. Maybe it'll be another stupid theological rant! Everyone loves those!

Hey They Should Do A Muppets-Only Version Of Dune:

Ed (on text-based adventure games): Oh, you'd be surprised at how many prostitutes are impressed by a fully-functional zorkmid.

Ed (discussing armor options): If you're going outside, at least wear some polymer knit.
Erich: Ahh, mom, all the other nobles will see!

Seth (on the sin of spaciousness): The Pancreator certainly never intended for man to have such headroom.

Erich: I've had a conversion experience.
Seth: Did you see the light?
Erich: No, I just like violence.

Erich: We just stepped into a completely different---
Ed: No, Sliders, no!

Ed (hates ambiguity in a sourcebook): "Void Krakens may or may not be real..." NO! TELL ME! I'm the gamemaster! I paid $12.95 to KNOW!

Erich: You dig a hole and I'll put an alien in it...baby...

Laura (has a blaster): There's a lot of negative energy in this weapon.

Seth: I'm sorry. I don't speak your non-human gibberish. Guess that's the problem with being the dominant culture.

Laura (artificial gravity failing): Hmmm...it's raining men.
Erich (in character): Hallelujah!

Ed (citing references): So, there is a precedent for fatal ice sculpture.

Ed (on stealh): It's just pants! Not an ambush party.

Ed (to Seth, who is making weird noises): Yes. Exactly. THANK YOU, Foley Editor.

Erich: Oh yes! Club him with the turkey.

Erich (first things first): Justice now. Spanking later.

Seth (on the right kind of club): Wham-o-brand, man. Wham-o-brand.

Ed: While my midget gently weeps.

Erich: I'm afraid in these kinds of situations, there's very little I can do...that's helpful, anyway.

Seth (kissing up to a Bishop): Indeed, your holiness. It seems I have deluded myself.

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What do you think?

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