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Hack For More

Special Double Bonus Issue

by Edward McEneely
Aug 31,2004


Hack For More

Special Double Bonus Issue

WEEK 22: 08/17/04

Well, I ended the session with a fever, so it's all a bit hazy now. But basically, here's how things went.

The players decided to look around Rampart for a jumpkey to use in their stolen lander, but also rather irritatingly decided to do everything that Harold Li Halan (the local Bishop) had told them to do, and if the PCs suddenly and totally unexpectedly decide to obey all of the rules, it can be hard to really give them anything to do. (This is why the basic merchant campaign was never as popular as playing a smuggler in the old Star Wars RPG, and why the tramp freighter sourcebook was mostly information on breaking the law, unlike, say, Merchant Prince, which caused me to lapse into a coma.)

Soooo...the players sat on board the ship and bickered, which although admittedly fun for me to watch, didn't really make the game go anywhere in particular. A little unsubtle prodding had them off to the Agora, where I quickly and ham-handedly got things moving again.

A Charioteer dashed up to them, offering them a jumpkey in exchange for passage off of the planet, but he was struck down by a crossbow bolt as he handed Laura's character the jumpgate. Within seconds, the players found themselves in the middle of a trio of convergent groups: Muster slavers, Avestite pilgrims, and Li Halan soldiers. Wisely, they beat feet back to the starship, where things really got interesting: Harold Li Halan blocked their access to their ship, ordering them to remain where they were.

Here's when it got a little crazy. Seth decided to throw the juggling dwarf from Erich's entourage at the seal the Bishop was applying to the ship's airlock. I misunderstood, and decided that Seth was throwing the dwarf at the Bishop. Either way, you must agree, it was a pretty weird course of action. Seth decided to not correct me, and instead rolled and critically succeeded at flinging the hapless midget at the equally unlucky Ecumenical.

The now-enraged Bishop clouted Erich with his scepter (? I have no idea what the proper ecclesiastical term for it is), twice. The second time resulted in an act with far-reaching implications: Erich's character drew his Mitchau Quarry Gun and shot the Bishop, rolling a critical success and fourteen points of damage, lowered by the Bishop's shield to a still respectable four points of damage and causing him to pass out.

Sometimes thinking quickly is your only salvation. This was not one of those times, and the players decided to bundle up the Bishop and take him with them as they escaped, thus adding kidnapping to their rap sheets.

They made it to the jump gate, pursued by the Li Halan battlecruiser Circumspect Genocide and emerged in the Grail system, held as a fief by the nominally Decados-aligned House Masseri. It was decided that the Bishop was too obvious-looking dressed as he was, so the players had him restrained in a gimp outfit a la Pulp Fiction. His Holiness rolled a critical success on a faith roll about this time, and he escaped shortly after the players docked with the Decados armored cruiser Mantis Rampant, temporarily shorting out all of the ship's systems. A side note here: Seth was really into character and seemed (at least to me) to be really into the game and into the game universe, and that's the first time in a while where I've felt like that was the case for anyone in anything I've run, so I felt darn pleased with myself.

The session ended with the Decados cruiser hailing the PCs to announce that they had somehow accquired a Li Halan Bishop, and would the PCs mind joining them for dinner?

A Cliffhanger Ending Is Very Excellent If You Are A Better GM Than Me:

Erich: I like popcorn chicken. It's chicken in its natural state, if it were struck by lightning. In a popcorn factory.

Seth (unimpressed by the set design): My, it sure is...Terran-looking here.

Ed (combines two of his favorite things): It's like a Cylon Muppet.

Erich: Do the safety dance, Dwarf.

Erich: I was being useful!
Seth: Walking in a circle, smoking a cigarette?
Erich: It's harder than it looks.

Ed: This is the Li Halan Battlecruiser Circumspect Genocide. Stand down.
Omnes: SHIT!

Ed: Nice recovery, Seth. But it doesn't make you look not insane.

WEEK 23: 08/26/04

The game got off to a late start as Laura had lost her character sheet and had to remake it from memory. I don't recall her having so many skills or such high attributes previously, but live and learn...

The players traveled aboard the Mantis Rampant (I love making up ship names) for dinner, a traditional Decados meal that involved aspic (truly, the most vile of all foods, viler than anything I care to describe) and a much changed Bishop Li Halan, who now seemed mysteriously eager to forgive and forget, with a radically altered world view regarding the position of the House Li Halan serfs. It was pretty obvious that serious bad voodoo had been happening betwixt the cleric's eardrums, and that the PCs were becoming involved in one of those world-destabilizing plots that turn up now and then.

After an edgy dinner, Erich was buttonholed by the Jakovian agency (the Chekists of House Decados) and informed he'd be helping the Bishop return to Rampart, few if any questions asked, and that the others were not to be let in on the secret. They were a trifle consterned, however, when the ship's hold was filled with crates containing the Very Omega Gospels, which bore a more than passing resemblance to assault rifles.

What I'm hoping for in the next session is some way of---without totally ruining the game and screwing everyone---embroiling the characters in the complex machinations of the Masseri Bishopric in a fun and interesting way. Do they arm the serfs and help start a bloody revolution? Do they sabotage the Decados plot? What became of the message the dead Charioteer had asked them to deliver? Will I think of answers to these questions by next Tuesday?

Who knows man, who knows?

Seriously I Make It Up As I Go Along:

Erich: [My girlfriend] is worried about my die-at-age-65 plan.
Ed: Well, yeah. She's like three or four years younger. She'll be 61, too old to remarry and too young to talk to your ghost.
Seth: There's like, twelve to fifteen years of uncomfortable sanity left.

Laura (merging the 1980s and the 1680s seamlessly): The bagpipe-tar!

Seth (a little TOO in character, to Erich): Don't fucking diss [the disciple] Hombor, you maggot.

Seth (as Sean Connery in Highlander, wistfully): If only I'd died in my strapping Darby O'Gill days.

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What do you think?

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