Okay, I didn’t realize some of my players still actually read this page – and last session they’ve been asking what happened to the Session one Report. For this reason, I’ll have to make this a double-post. One adventure log for session one, another for session two. Here’s a quick recap on what happened during session One.
XCONS S01E01: “Pilot”
“History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower
This episode is how it all began, the pilot episode, the origin story in all its glory. This is a story how a crew of 6 of the most dangerous mutant criminals were forcibly recruited by the Federation, and tasked to investigate the “Blackout” in the Verge, and what has caused the deaths of Seven Federation Starcruisers and countless innocent lives.
This was one good episode, albeit a long and stretched one. Each of the guys did very well RP-wise in launching the pilot episode into cinematic flair as possible in a pen and paper rpg. Its one of those few eps that actually felt like it had pace and direction. Equal amount of laughs, and equal amounts of action, equal amounts of story. Also, Mawf comented that it was nice that each player had a chance to shine… and now that I think about it, ya they did. This eps got a lot of shining player moments that its kind of hard to enumerate them all.
There was Nychuus and his epic ‘desperate’ scene – where he faced against an army of slavers, and he was forced to self destruct his ship. There was Mawf and his HANNIBAL moment. There was Wowz and his dogfighting skills of piloting his fighter ship straight to a stardestroyer’s hangar. And quite a lot more… as I said, there’s quite a lot.
Overall, I’d say this launched the campaign pretty bloody well, much better than I expected. Plus, the guys and I had fun, can’t ask more than that.
Act I: The Hundred Year Old Man
Enter Crichton, trapped in his memories of grandeur when he was a great captain, and the great betrayal that he suffered from Rattlesnake, his first mate. Ever since being cryogenically frozen for the past hundred years, the Federation had thawed him – and accused him of abandoning his crew at the mercies of pirates and slavers. He was found guilty and sentenced into ‘house arrest’ in an isolated part of Alpha Centauri, in a retirement home of old war veterans. All of this happening in the backdrop of a green peace, no drums of war or rattle of guns, only the sound of a lawnmower cutting the grass everyday. While some may have been gladdened by the peace, Crichton was not. It was sickening to hear the old stories of old men of what they used to be, and playing nothing but games of battleships and chess.
Crichton, however, was not meant to die as one of these old geezers. He was approached by Admiral Tsukiyama, and he gave him an offer he cant refuse: His old position as captain, a new crew, a new ship, a new mission. He was offered freedom and a second chance, all he had to do… was ONE LAST MISSION. However, he didn’t really specify how much of a LAST mission it was. Crichton, sick of the old battleship games and the retirement home, decided to risk it no matter how dangerous – and agreed.
“Better to die out there than to live in here.” Crichton said.
- This was a rather cool scene, especially the beginning, where we fashioned a flashback scene of Crichton reliving his past in his star destroyer (triggered by his loss in a game of Battleship)... he was betrayed by his first mate, and surrounded by enemies. The words “Self Destruct Sequence.” and “Prepare for ramming speed” and kicking his nemesis into the deep dark space beyond, was just some of the EPIC this scene had.
Act II. Visiting a Madman
The Prometheus Detention Facility has Six different levels. Level One consists of the prisoners of the lowest degree, humans and low levelled mutants. The higher the level in the Prison Facility, the greater the threat they represent to the general public.
The Elevator Crichton was in stopped at Level 6. The highest security level. But it was still not their stop. There was an urban legend in the Prometheus, that there was one more level… Level 7, that held only one mutant. One whose power was unparalleled and whose threat against the Federation was so high that they dedicated an entire floor to keeping him imprisoned. This was the Legend of Prisoner X. And they were going to have a talk with him.
Prisoner X was held beyond an energy field, one enough to vaporize a small tank if it passed through. He had taken down an entire military force of the Federation, and was deemed the most dangerous mutant in the galaxy. Unfortunately and ironically, he was also the galaxy’s only hope, being the only remaining ‘guide’ to the Verge area. Everyone else was dead. He was then offered… His freedom for his guidance.
And yet, Prisoner X did not seem the least affected by their play. X played a cat and mouse game with the Admiral, bending the offer towards his own means. And he ended up forcing the admiral to submit to all his demands. One of those demands being to accompany Captain Crichton in his mission.
- Kudos to Mawf on this one, he was RPing a veritable HANNIBAL LECTER in this scene. Creepy guy behind the bars, and you could still feel the power in his tone. It set the tone pretty well for Prisoner X. Of course all that was to be changed in the next act…
Act III. Dolly Jane
Dolly Jane has been in Prometheus detention facility all her life. In fact, she sees it as her home. She knows nothing of the world, and acts like a child. So, when the doctor of the facility (who was enamored with Dolly) decided to convince her to escape the prison facility, things went haywire. The doctor convinced Dolly that it was all a game, and the hangar was the ‘base’ which marks the end of the game. Of course, the doctor only wished to smuggle the pretty young Dolly out of the facility and into his own house… but things would not go according to his plan. While the doctor was caught sneaking about, Dolly, who at first sight appears like your standard valley-girl, proved a shadow.
As easy as playing in a dollhouse, Dolly Jane infiltrated the facility with an ease seldom seen in a human. This was because Dolly Jane was not exactly an average teenager… in fact she was quite one of the most different people in the entire place. Smuggled when she was young into the prison facility, it acted not as her prison, but as her guardian in protecting her from whatever was outside that sought her. Because Dolly Jane is one of the rare D.O.L.L. Android models, and one that was highly sought after. She was sent in Prometheus, as protection. Now unwittingly, the doctor has placed her in more danger outside the walls than she would have if she stayed within.
Dolly traversed the Air Vents, and climbed down the elevators to finally reach the Harbor… where a starship waited. Thoroughly excited, she decided to stow away in that small ship in a piece of cargo box. Thinking it was just one huge game… “Hide and Seek! Teehee!”
- This was insane. But quite fitting to Panm’s character. Dolly started as one of the quirkiest characters in the team, and remains to be one of the quirkiest to this day. My personal favorite was Dolly’s crazy scene with the garbage can… but we’ll get there later.
Act IV. The Lucky Streak
Captain Crichton was introduced to the ship, the F.S.S. Acarina, unfortunately, it was one of the worst ships in the galaxy – and required an extremely skillful pilot to be able to even have a chance of reaching the Verge. This lies to Federation pilot Lt. Aedon Talver – the so-called ‘Lucky Streak’ of the military. Its true, however, that Talver had just killed (some say assassinated) the powerful CEO of StarMech Labs Adam Spiner, and crossed one of the most pwoerful groups in Federation history. Because of this, he was imprisoned without trial, and placed in Prometheus, to reside among the most dangerous mutant prisoners. Obviosuly they expected a normal human like Talver to die a quick death in his prison cell.
Unfortunately for them, Talver was anything but normal. He was actually a precog, and seeing Adam Spiner’s future as a tyrant and genocidal dictator, Talver decided to roll his dice and kill him on the spot. That act has landed him in the prison, where everyone, not knowing what he’s done for them, was repaid by incarceration.
That was before the project. He was approached by Tsukiyama and Crichton, and offered another chance to fly the skies. Admiral Tsukiyama, who knew Talver personally, had insisted that he take the job. “This is a ship that only you can ride, Talver. I know it.” He said, saying the Acarina was ‘special’ even in Federation standards. Of course, he meant that the ship was ‘special’ in the same way that it is ‘disabled’ and ‘almost incapable of flying’ but he thought better than going into unnecessary details.
Talver knew this, for he already saw it beforehand, but he still said yes.
- The Ex-military test pilot was well done in this sequence, though it would be nothing compared to the scene later on – when Talver takes control of a situation while inside the ship… making echoes of Gendo Ikari-ness. A distinct point that the ‘Away team’ does not get all the action, after all.
Act V. Falsely Convicted
Nathaniel Vimes has a harsh reputation of being a cruel, sadistic, and ruthless Bounty Hunter. Of course, that wasn’t true. He was a Psion Warrior, trained, disciplined and honorable. The reason for the difference was his mission… he was undercover. He was attempting to put to justice a lawless guild named the House of Zamora, when the Federation soldiers raided them. He was captured alongside team, and due to his reputation, was imprisoned deep in Prometheus. His cover was so deep, it had even fooled those inside his order.
All except one. Vimes had a daughter, and while she was still an apprentice in the Psion Order, she alone believed his innocence. So, working outside, she dedicated herself to clearing her father’s name. And now, she found a chance.
Being imprisoned inside the Prometheus would do nothing to prove her father’s innocence, so after hearing of Project XCONs, a one-time offer of the Federation for prisoners to be free in exchange for ONE LAST MISSION, she jumped at the opportunity. Unfortunately, she han’t read the report well enough. The LAST MISSION they detailed was quite… suicidal.
She hacked their systems and inputted Vimes’ name in the database. It was his one last chance to clear his name, but she just hoped he would survive the encounter. At least enough for her to see her father again, as a free man.
- Father and daughter moment here. I regret not putting enough time on emotion and RP here, but we were a bit hasty with time. But still, Wowz managed to do this scene quite well, complete with the flashback of his ship ramming full speed into a Star Destroyer. One of those ‘epic’ moments.
Act VI. The Launch
This was the big reveal, where they walked toward the hangar and beheld the beauty of the F.S.S. Acarina – the “special” ship that they’ll ride. Of course, the moment was interrupted when its wings fell off, and half the ship’s metal plates fell with it. The engineer claims not to worry, because it does that all the time…
Not a comforting thought at all.
Finally, after being given the Mission objectives an the details, with Aedon Talver in the pilot seat, and the captain shouting the launch off, the moment was once again interrupted when they discovered the energy levels of the Acarina incredibly low. Upon reaching the energy cells near the StarDrive, they discovered a stowaway there (Dolly Jane), leeching energy from their very machines. She plugged herself into the energy cells and was recharging herself, with a face that appeared like she was enjoying a sauna. Since she was there, and heard everything else, and the fact that they did need a decent ‘infiltrator’ – they were forced to take the stowaway along.
Act VII. Unscheduled Stop
Now this session would have been disappointing if they weren’t able to test out their builds in combat. But thankfully, they did manage to test their swords in the next scenario.
The crew decides to make an unscheduled stop, for repairs (because they still had the notion that the F.S.S. Acarina ‘can’ be repaired) they went to the so-called Floating Market, a starcruiser fucntioning as a mobile black market, and one of the contacts of Nathaniel Vimes during his times as a Bounty Hunter and gunrunner.
Gathering materials, his contact, a fat guilder named Mackinrae, urged them to enjoy their stay while his people outfit his (in not so many words) “junkyard heap of a ship”. Aedon decided to stay with the ship, overprotective of the Acarina, in case the black marketeers decide to double cross them. The captain and Vimes, however, were invited to the loft, and offered wine and women.
Prisoner X and Dolly Jane (a rather comic combination, as resulted in this mismatched pair – imagine Hannibal Lecter meeting Hannah Montana
_) decided to re-outfit themselves, not wanting to feel unprepared from the dangers ahead.
Of course, the Acarina had unbelieveable eergy readings for anyone who tried to do so, and was quite a prize (sicne it contained within it… a fabled Stardrive.) And it was only because of Talver’s timely precogition that they were able to see their grim future. Talver saw in his future that the captain and Vimes was dead – riddled with bullets, and the guilder Mackinrae was enjoying his new ‘aquisition.’
Act VIII. Double Cross a Double cross
Aedon warned the captain and the Psion Warrior, and they immediately rose to protect themselves. The next few moments were a blur. The Psion Warrior reveals himself as an incredibly agile warrior, going inside a firefight with his energy blades and cutting enemy guards down like wheat, deflecting their gunfire, and doing tricks Anakin Skywalker would be proud of.
The Captain used his charms to convince a harem girl to help them out, and he succeeded so well (critical success!) that she instantly fell for the captain’s dashing figure. Besotted with the captain, she even took up her arms to protect him. This Harem Girl would soon prove to be another valuable crew member of the Acarina – albeit somewhat selfish and possessive of the Captain’s affections (Hooray for NPC recruitment, eh?)
Prisoner X then fought a fully armed bounty hunter, with a jet-pack, high-tech guns, and full-fledged armor. X gave him a wager that he can kill him with a small knife and a small knife alone. In an instant, the poor mook was beheaded. X took his helmet as a trophy, and went back home to the ship.
While he was doing this, X reveals that he has control over a powerful beast, and was in fact the one that held his true power. He released the beast to kill the guilder Mackinrae, and it was unleashed, leaving in its wake a trail of blood and guts, and the dangling dead body of the guilder.
Now, it was time for their escape.
Unfortunately, the ship was surrounded by Guild guards, and none would allow Talver and the rest of the crew to escape with their lives. But then, Lannar Halis (an NPC XCON and an explosives expert) had planted bombs near the Hangar, and cleared a way for the XCONs to reach the safety fo their ship, and into the space beyond.
- And that’s how the first session ended. Overall, the guys handled their crew real well. I still have to see some great Jean Luc Picard Captaining from Nychuus but its to early for that yet… which is why I’m preparing a ship vs ship combat to highlight that Patrick Stewart in our dear captain. Fast thinking from Kalindrel was vital to the survival of the crew, so kudos there – as well as Panm’s crazy wacky roleplaying that just gave Dolly Jane that ‘crazy girl’ feel. Mawf had a good handle with his character, RPing a mass murdering maniac to the hilt, complete with an underlying current of regret. I can’t wait to reach the more emotional and character driven sequences here. And finally, Wowz got a chance to shine in his Mandalorian Jedi glory. But that’s not saying anything yet because in session two… he was about to do something quite different… I honestly never knew the Force played Billiards… (!?)
- The test run on combat went well, and I may have made a mistake of not explaining the HERO rules thoroughly enough for everyone to understand, so there was a bit of confusion during the phase by phase combat rules. The guys had fun though, so the confusion wasn’t big enough to mess up the entire game. After the combat test run, I also had to nerf a few characters (which I rarely do) just to maintain game balance and saneness. I just realized how easy it is to break the HERO system and to abuse triggers and transform powers.
- Finally, Mawf asked for the Verge maps (since X was supposed to be the ‘guide’ he needed it to plot his own course) so I’ll be uploading those here as well. Overall even though neither I nor the guys have played HERO before, nor played a Space Opera before, this went quite bloody well.
- Update: Yah, as per Mawf, I did forget to detail kalindrel’s pure win decision to “Flash Freeze” the guards that was about to board the ship. Activating the ship’s shield – he blasted them with liquid hydrogen stored in the cooling system of the ship. Its going to be a hot ride from here to ithaca… but they did manage to escape the doublecross unscathed.