Saturday, August 25, 2012

Return To Mars

Last night's game was a return to Savage Worlds: Space 1889.  The characters included  Logan (adventurer/wanderer), Scroupe (playboy/swordsman), Upthegrove (linguist), Boothe (assassin), and Stein (pronounced "steen" not "stine", and he was a scientist/technician). 

To recap: the group works for the Explorers Society in London investigating antiquities by obtaining and studying the ancient artifacts of past civilizations on Earth & Mars.  We were initially gathered to obtain an item found in Libya.  However, on arriving at the Foreign Legion outpost where the item and discoverer was last known to be, we found the place overrun with zombie Legionnaires and under attack from a Bedouin group.  We managed to defeat both the Bedouins and the zombies, only to discover that the item had been taken by a husband & wife team.  The clues pointed us back to London, so we gathered as much information as possible and returned home.  Once there, we kept just missing the husband & wife team at almost every turn.  However, we did learn that they were part of a group with the initials HC and were unscrupulous about gathering whatever they felt they needed.  We ended with knowledge that they were on their way to Mars in a large liner.  We used our connections to hire a faster, smaller ethership to get there ahead of them.

Last night's game:   So, in our investigations, we managed to get the luggage of the couple as well as learn about a connection between HC (which stood for Honorus something in Latin....whatever, Logan's illiterate) and a group called The Brotherhood.  The Brotherhood is a Martian organization working to rid the planet of the invading Earthlings.  Thus, with this little bit of information and no real clear directive, we hopped on the etherflyer and set off for Syrtis Major with all our companions (including three characters of players who were unable to play because of familial or work conflicts).  Also, Boothe observed the captain receiving a courier's pouch to take to Mars just before departed as well as lots of little "hidey holes" in various locations on the ship.  We were also strongly encouraged to take two NPC's, Miss Winters (an American government agent) and Miss Bottoms (the daughter of our supervisory professor and boss).  Because of the tight quarters, everyone had to pair up into the small staterooms and one had to go sleep with the crew.

The trip to Mars takes at least 30 days for a fast ship and longer for a slower ship (like the liner).  This was an arbitrary GM decision since Stan couldn't find the travel times in a quick scan through the Space 1889 book.  He figured Marshall (Upthegrove's player) would correct him if he was wrong, but Marshall said "whatever you say, works for me".  He also decided that the ether between the worlds was breathable which made the ships similar to Spelljammer ships in that there was a deck on top (like a real ship) where people could gather to feel less claustrophobic underdecks.  We did have a short discussion about the differences between "the aether" and "ether".  I pointed out that the proper term for the material allegedly filling in space is "aether" and somewhere I have an Electricity and Magnetism book from 1896 which had a short description of how the aether affected or was affected by electricity, magnetism, and light. 

So,we (as players) all figured some of our characters would not be able to stay out of trouble for 30 days in the close confines of the small ship.  So, rather than fast forwarding to Mars, we played out some of our silliness in space.  First instance, about halfway through the trip to Mars, Scroupe is up late on deck.  Miss Winters comes up on deck angry.  A short discussion with the application of a "nightcap", Scroupe hoped to have a romantic interlude with Miss Winters.  However, he learns that both Miss Winters and Miss Bottoms are attracted to the wild nature of Logan.  Knowing Logan cannot keep anything secret (he has Big Mouth as a Hindrance), he informs Logan the next day about the women's interest the next morning over breakfast before the women arrive.  Thus, after breakfast, Bottoms walks by Logan and drops her handkerchief.  He picks it up and follows her to the railing.  "You dropped this and we both know what that means", he leers at her.  A little bit of small talk led him to say, "let's find a bottle of champagne and a dark corner to get to know each other better.  Maybe even Biblically..."  She responded with "If you can find champagne and the dark corner, we can determine the rest."  Bottoms goes downstairs and Logan beelines to the captain to find some champagne. 

During the discussion, the captain becomes quite upset and refuses to help.  Logan however determines where the champagne is and won't take no for an answer.  Scroupe steps in and challenges the captain to a duel.  While they argued, Logan goes downstairs, finds Bottoms, takes her to the captain's quarters, locks & bars the door.  When the captain comes down to get his dueling saber, he finds the door locked and barred.  "Go away!  You can get back in in 20 minutes!" Logan hollers back through the door.  The captain is livid, returns upstairs, duels with Scroupe to first blood.  Captain wins.  (Here's the flaw with SW.  Combat is counter-intuitive in some ways if you're used to the simple streamlined system of D&D.  The rules make it sound like it should be cinematic, but I find it difficult to follow with target numbers, raises, exploding dice, parries, and conditions mixed with damage.)  Logan leaves with Bottoms after the duel is over.  Winters threatens to shoot Logan because of jealous anger.  Logan spends the next two weeks attempting to push Winters into Scroupe's embrace. 

Second Encounter: as we enter orbit around Mars, we are attacked by "pirates" looking to steal the courier's pouch.  In the first week of the trip, Boothe had snuck into the captain's quarters, taken the pouch, rifled through it, and stole a few government documents.  Scroupe tells the pirate captain that the items he's looking for are not there.  The captain is again surprised by our lack of regard for laws and boundaries and the pirate captain is initially confused by the items' disappearance.  At this point, Logan shoots the pirate captain and kills him.  The group opens fire on the pirates in the hallway, and kill a couple more.  As we move upstairs, the pirates open fire on us and end up severely wounding Scroupe.  Winters, Boothe, and Stein lay a barrage of fire into the pirate vessel and incapacitate or frighten many of the pirates away.  Upthegrove attempts to patch up Scroupe.  The captain grabs the helm and does a maneuver to pull away from the pirates.  Boothe and Stein throw overboard several small kegs of black powder which had been placed about the aether engine.

We ended at that critical point, wondering if we could land without crashing or if we could survive a crash which may be coming.
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