spross is currently running the Thousand Suns RPG of Imperial science fiction, and I was really looking forward to getting into the game. You can read the report on the events of the last session here by following the link.
SteveR and Tammy showed up at my place a bit early, but I was still eating lunch due to another couple of bouts of sitting on the toilet. So gaming was delayed a little bit, and we chatted about the week's happenings and stuff. When I finished eating, SteveR called us to order, and the gaming session started.
Marko Rojas (JohnK) - Xenoarchaeologist
Maja Ma (Tammy) - Scout
Day 5, Month 1, 500 NK
I've travelled to the world of Savuul in the Marches with my undergraduate student, Ariela Ti Yang (21 years old, in her 3rd year), for a meeting with Ifigenia Mkombe of the Encyclopaedia Galactica Foundation. They want me to go on an expedition to the ruins on one of the hinterworld planets called Ungaam. Like everyone else, I know that Savuul is the homeworld of the Chabuli race, a centauroid species; they are a proud species that had a disastrous encounter with humans, who are now second-class citizens in their own space, commonly called the Garden Cluster; and they are located strategically close to the squid-like Hen Jaa. As the shuttle we're on heads down to the spaceport, I can see columns of smoke and fires on the surface. Using my unicom, I learn there have been anti-Terran riots over the last while, in which many Chabuli and Terrans have died.
After the shuttle has landed, Ariela and I emerged from the vessel. The spaceport's security appears to have been augmented by Empire marines wearing (heavy) armour and heavy weapons. I'm somewhat concerned about this, and when Ariela asked about the presence of the military here, I explained to her about the anti-Terran riots. At planetary customs, we learned the planet is at a heightened security level, and that civilians are not permitted to carry weapons outside the spaceport. I handed over my weapons (the laser pistol and vibroblade) and got a receipt secured on my safisto.
As Ariela and I left the spaceport, I talked to her about how I wished to handle the meeting with the Encyclopaedia Galactica people, and that she wasn't to draw attention to herself or make any waves conversationally. I wanted the funding for the expedition, whatever it was to be, and didn't want my third year student messing this up. It was at that point that I heard a male scream from a nearby alley, and two gunshots rang out. Looking around, I saw that most of the people in the area had headed for cover or fled, and grabbing Ariela, dragged her to cover against the wall adjacent to the alley. I saw another person, a woman, at the other opening to the alley doing the same. Peeking down the alley, I saw a Chabuli with a smoking weapon bending down over what appeared to be a human, starting to rifle through his jacket and belongings. The other woman called out, asking what he was doing down there, and the Chabuli looked up when he saw her, and fled down into the depths of the alley.
The woman entered the alley, moving towards the body of the human, and after telling Ariela to stay where she was, I followed her slowly. She checked the body out from a distance, and then said, "He's dead". Moving closer, I looked at the body, but didn't recognise the man. The two gunshots to the chest were a clear indication that he was indeed dead. We could tell that it wasn't a mugging attack, as the Chabuli hadn't taken his carto or anything else that would clearly have been of value. Since he was Terran, I figured he had a safisto, and with great disdain, took the dead man's left hand in my own. He indeed had a safisto, and I learned that his name was Tancredo Penderson, that he was a local resident, and that he worked for the Encyclopaedia Galactica as well. His personal information was downloaded to my safisto.
The woman, who didn't offer her name, asked what I wanted to do, and I told her that we had to call the local authorities. At that, she decided to vacate the area, and left. The police arrived - two detectives and three Chabuli authorities - and they questioned me (and Ariela, separately). I told them what had happened and what I knew, except for the information I gathered from Penderson's safisto, and when they were through with myself and Ariela, headed for the appointment with Ifigenia Mkombe. I was obviously late.
Ariela and I arrived at the Encyclopaedia Galactica building, and made our way up for the appointment with Ifigenia Mkombe. After entering her office, I saw that she wasn't alone, and was introduced to the woman I'd met near the alley, Maja Ma. Maja had already been there for a while, and after I explained about the business in the alley and why Ariela and I were late, I was briefed on the mission that Ifigenia Mkombe was offering: They wanted me to travel to the remote, mostly unexplored Garden Cluster world, Unzaam, and conduct a 5-month study of some religiously significant ruins on a remote continent. The purpose was to discover whether there was evidence that the ancient Traveller race had influenced the development of the (primitive) Chabuli. Maja, who I assumed was a scout of some sort (based on what she and Ifigenia talked about) was to provide transport and protection, but was also to partially survey the world as well. I learned that Doctor Tancredo Penderson was supposed to accompany us as well, and Ifigenia was shocked when I told her that Penderson was dead. She said that Penderson had wanted to show her/us something, something to do with his research. Ifigenia told me this was a major blow to the expedition, as Penderson was also on friendly terms with the Chabuli. At Maja's inquiry, Ifigenia told us that our Terran contact on Unzaam would be one Administrator Barron, and that our Chabuli contact (and possibly guide?) would be one Yeeri Ohun. I asked her about the Chabuli religion on Unzaam, and she told me that the Otro Shavul Patejak religion advocates a return to the ancient practices in the hope of getting their freedom from the Empire. I asked her what she could tell me of the ruins, and she said that they had been discovered by an Amalgamated Medical Industries orbital probe survey by accident about a year ago. She also agreed to provide me with a map of the ruins, but it would be the copy of the orbital survey map. AMI's goal is to locate sites where they could do research into plant-based medicines and drugs.
The game session of Thousand Suns was certainly entertaining, although it moved in spurts as SteveR struggled to run the game at times. He didn't seem to be prepared for the session, struggling with how to get us involved (since it seems to be a bit more combat-oriented at the beginning of the adventure), though he did adapt as well as he could to the situation. It was also a bit obvious to me (don't know about Tammy) that he hadn't read the adventure in a bit, but for the most part it was a decent afternoon of gaming. There was no rolling of dice during the afternoon, except for one roll that I made and didn't succeed at, and that kind of threw me; too much of the information that Tammy's and my character learned was too easy to get, and there was a lot of infodumping going on (though it's not reflected in the above write-up (or perhaps it is)). It made me feel that Marko was all-knowing to some degree, and I didn't really have to work at anything, per sé. Dice rolling is an essential part of most roleplaying games, because there are always activities that one may not succeed at fully; the session didn't reflect that for me. The most difficult part for me (and I suspect for Tammy as well) was that we didn't get an opening scene of some sort to roleplay a bit and "establish" the characters we were playing. When the action started, I was kind of hesitant as I didn't really know how my character would react, and it showed in how I played it; not happy about that in terms of my play.
That said, SteveR has an interesting plot going here and I'm looking forward to seeing how it shapes up and comes together as we continue to play. I was fortunate in that my stomach and bowels calmed down for the afternoon, and I was able to sit and play at the table without having to spend any time in the loo. As for SteveR, there's stuff I think that he knows he needs to improve on. The real difficulty, I think, for him running Thousand Suns is that the game is somewhat of a sandbox. As such, the person running the game needs to create a lot of background stuff, either on the fly or in advance. 'Nuff said.
Overall, while there are some problems with the game, I'm looking forward to the next session of SteveR's Thousand Suns RPG campaign.