Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Saturday Night Space Opera Part 2: Rad Astra Play Report!

If you've had a chance to digest my previous post on Saturday Night Space Opera's inaugural event, then you're now ready for this (as short and sweet as I can recall) summary of the actual RAD ASTRA game play:
  • Four players chose three standard X-plorers classes: Technician (the team's pilot), Scientist, and Scout. One chose my custom class of Astrosassin (heck yeah!). 
  • Plot involved them being hired on a centuries-old (and it shows) space station called Sanctuary Six in a backwater part of the galaxy referred to as "The Shallows". They were hired by one Captain Harford Fenn, an old smuggler specializing in do-or-die cargo runs, pushing retirement. The team met for the first time in a rundown saloon. 
(Fig. 1) Space station: Sanctuary Six
  • Their mission was to take aid supplies through pirate-infested territory to a colony on the planet Cerellis VI.
  • Colony communiques have been confusing for weeks, with garbled messages from the administrator giving panicked updates on how their original 100 settlers had dwindled to less than 15. No further details were given.
(Fig. 2) Cargo ship: The Radium Tear 
(Fig. 3) Captain Harford Fenn
  • Fenn's ship, The Radium Tear, is a mid-sized freighter that's fast in hyperspace and well armored, but slow at sublight speeds. As such, he travels with an entourage of small, pointy single-pilot fighters called the Minutemen. 
  • The Tear's crew are the four "mission specialist" PCs, plus two other regular members they've not yet met.
  • Because the planet they're traveling to is located in unclaimed (and therefore fair-game for pirates) territory the freighter will drop them into orbit via a trim little shuttle craft with a three 1x1x1 meter cargo pods filled with humanitarian aid supplies.
  • They boarded a station tram to make way to the ship dock and ended up catching a shifty character looking their way. Though the Astrosassin was brave enough to try and confront him, said miscreant gave them the slip.
(Fig. 4) He just doesn't look very trustworthy....
  • At spacedock, Captain Fenn filled them in on the ship's compliment and other mission details. They boarded and the "aid supplies" were loaded aboard.
  • Once the ship was in hyperspace the PCs took to grabbing a meal in the galley, but overheard yelling in the corridor.
  • The astrosassin spied the captain being threatened by the ne'er do well from the tram! He was one of the Tear's crew members.
  • The other PCs arrive just in time to scare off the dude, who bolts for the shuttle bay. A confrontation in the bay escalates into shots fired and tranquilizer needles readied (Scientist Till had no firearm on him at the time).
  • The team brought down the renegade crew member (injuring him, but not killing him) just as Fenn huffs and puffs his way into the shuttle bay. During the fracas, the assailant was injured--or damaged, really, as he turns out to be an android!
  • During their interrogation, the android refuses direct answers---only spewing hateful barbs at the crew, as well as some sort of greenish-black liquid. He says he's working for a space pirate named Argal, Basically, they're walking into a trap. The team agrees to take up battlestations aboard the Radium Tear to fight off any incursions.
  • The captain informs them that they've actually only got minutes before they're out of hyperspace---giving them little time to prepare for an ambush. The captain tells them to make their delivery and he'll hold off any space hostiles as long as he can. To prove he's serious, he transmits their payment transfers---in full---back to Sanctuary Six. All they have to do is make it back to the station in one piece to get paid.
  • At this point, several of the players have a protracted debate about what to do:
    • Three players want to board the shuttle and make a dash for the planet and complete the mission
    • One player wants to man a gunnery station on The Radium Tear---hoping to defeat the pirates and make off with the cargo (which he hopes to open, sell, and/or make it back to the station to collect payment regardless of making the delivery. SO MANY MORAL DILEMMAS, that guy.
  • The other PCs convince him to shut up and get on the shuttle. They scoot the dingy out of the bay an into a full-on starfighter dogfight!
(Fig. 5) Quick and durable Minutemen fighters escort the Radium Tear

(Fig. 6) But faster, more numerous pirate starfighters overwhelm their enemies!
  • Minutemen fighters are doing their best to hold off the pirate ships which outnumber them 4:1. The pirate craft are numerous and very fast, but light on firepower (they rely on swarming their enemies). 
  • Another debate ensues over whether to gun the engines or try and fool the Argal into thinking his android is still steering the ship. The latter strategy is employed and fails. So it's a race to make cloud cover on the planet below. 
  • The Minutemen buy time as the shuttle escapes the fracas. The Radium Tear explodes, taking with it their employer.
  • A massive pirate spaceship emerges, it's Argal chasing down his prize.
  • The Minutemen break off and make for the planet as well (in pairs, but in differing trajectories and not along the same path as the shuttle).
  • Our game time had run out, but not before the crew had a chance to break atmo and see just how horrific the planet is gonna be next time:
(Fig. 7) Planet of thistle, bramble, and thorn!
  • Final twist of the knife: as a parting gift, the PCs learned their shuttle was very badly damaged (only 1 hull point left!) and so they'd need to find alternate means off the hellscape planet! 
  • The crew is on the lookout for Jem Quimble, security chief for the settlement on Cerellis. She's the only one who can open the cargo and ensure they get paid. But they have to FIND her first! 
(Fig. 8) Security Chief: Jem Quimble
Other stuff:
  • Hilariously, the Source made an announcement over their P.A. system about me GMing the game! The flood of people rushing the table nearly put me in the hospital. Actually, I almost died of embarrassment, but John and I had a good laugh.
  • Anyone wishing to run their own space opera game at the Source for SNSO should let me know and I'll custom make you a sign for your table. We're working to turn this into a regular Saturday event with multiple games going.
  • The next game is set for February 7 at 6:00 p.m., RSVP if you want to join in or GM your own space opera campaign.
  • My play report for next month won't be so lengthy, but I wanted to capture the fun of that first night (thank you for reading, if you've made it this far!). I'm sure John will chime in if I've missed anything good. ;-)

Image credits:
Fig. 1 Space station by John Harris
Fig. 2 Nostromo concept art by Gavin Rothery 
Fig. 3 Sergeant by Penko Gelev
Fig. 4 Cropped from UFO movie poster
Fig. 5 Arrowhead LEGO spaceship by Damien Labrousse
Fig. 6 IRD-A fighter from Star Wars: Han Solo and the Corporate Sector Sourcebook
Fig. 7 Still Frame from Fantastic Planet
Fig. 8 Space Girl by Travis Charest

1 comment:

  1. Sounds totally awesome - and great job with all the props and visuals! Really enjoyed the write-up and look forward to the next installment!