And here's the report on the second session of the Coriolis - The Third Horizon
game that I ran at CanGames 2017 on the Sunday, May 21st.
By this time, I was even iller with my asthma and my voice was down to almost nothing, sad to say. The good news was that the convention folks moved the game down to the basement, the area called "The Dungeon", so I was in a room that was relatively quiet. Helped immensely.
By the time I finished eating lunch, it was close to 1:30 pm, so I headed downstairs to start the set-up for the afternoon game of Coriolis - The Third Horizon
in "The Dungeon", and then came up to check and see if the sign-up sheet for the game had filled. I was still missing one player, but a friend of mine, Gary, agreed to recruit someone if possible for the game for me, since I couldn't talk and make myself heard over the people at the sign-up table. I went back downstairs and finished the set-up for the game, and around 10 to 1, Gary came down to tell me that he'd been successful. The game had a full complement of players.
I finished setting up, and then went upstairs to grab the sign-up sheet. A couple of youngsters were sitting at the gaming table on the main floor where I would have been running the game, and it turned out they were playing in the game. So I re-directed them downstairs to the gaming room, and then headed for the room again myself. I was feeling "throaty" and figured that some liquid refreshment would do the trick. I'll come back to this. The game in the adjoining room (S2) was somewhat louder than Saturday's games there had been, and I was a bit concerned.
The Coriolis - The Third Horizon
adventure I ran on Sunday afternoon is called "Dark Flowers", and concerns the player characters, while travelling on a routine trade mission in the Dabaran system, being asked to investigate the disappearance of a Foundation Professor Dahiljaba. Needless to say, there's a *lot* more going on than just that, and the scenario has a very dark vibe to it. This is the game adventure from the Coriolis Quickstart
document, so it was eminently playable, but would require some GM finesse to run. The five pre-generated player characters for the adventure are a team of Explorers, and include: Dr. Armita Wana, an expelled archaeologist, and the Captain; Zebarimas "Zebu" Hutul, a deeply devout technician, and the ship's Engineer; Samioh Amin, an adventurous courtesan, the ship's Sensor Operator; Rouya Ghallab, a disillusioned ex-legionnaire, and the ship's Gunner; and Nima Dol-Sufi, a fighter pilot haunted by her past, and the ship's Pilot. I'm not going into detail about the plot here (because others might run the adventure down the line, and I'd like to run the scenario again sometime!), but I will say that the game went relatively well, though it looked like it was going to be a bit of a disaster at first (see below), although I did alter some elements of the plot as one of the players had the file in PDF, and I wasn't sure whether he'd read it or not.
My voice was pretty ragged to begin with, and down to a loud whisper, and when I started in on the basics of the game with the players after taking roll call, I tried to raise my voice to be heard better over the group in the next room. This made me start to choke, and I had to leave and dash upstairs to get some breath back in the (relative) cool of the main floor and so I could grab some hot water to make tea. The player I mentioned earlier, whose name was Paul Andre, had the game on his tablet, and volunteered to take over in terms of the game rules and background while I was gone, and I agreed. He did a decent job of it for the most part, but I had to leave twice in the first twenty minutes of the session because of the choking and snot coming out of my nose all over my moustache. (Yeah, TMI I know, but what the heck.) The good news is that the tea helped, and I kept drinking cups of it over the course of the game session, though there were a couple of times where I wished I were-- umm, never mind. When I returned to the table and finished the basic briefing about the game, I also corrected a couple of things that Paul Andre had misinterpreted, and then started the scenario.
Overall, I thought the players had a really enjoyable afternoon with "Dark Flowers", and got to see an interesting and darker side of the game universe and the Arabian Nights inspirations. The players told me they found the game rules very easy to grasp, and the two youngsters at the table (who were both no more than 9 or 10, and were playing with their dad) were really good at the rules, though not necessarily at doing the math required when it came to Skills and the like, though I helped them with that. The father, Greg, told me later that it was his daughter's second ever roleplaying session, and I was really pleased that she seemed to like the game, though was a bit hesitant at times. That explained it. The players didn't like the Darkness Points rules at first, but warmed up to them as they saw them in action. It didn't help that there was some bad dice rolling during the initial section of the adventure (where the players were dealing with what they thought were sensor glitches), and Greg was surprised by this a couple of times, though he did get to see how one turns the failures into a storytelling opportunity.
Just some character observations... Greg, the father of the two youngsters, played Dr. Wana as a forceful character, constantly giving orders (especially to his two youngsters), but more importantly he focused on weapons and felt like the archaeologist who makes discoveries by blowing up archaeological digs to "find" pieces of artefacts and the like in the debris. Paul Andre played Zebo quite well, dealing with tech problems very nicely, though he played the drug addict a bit over the top at times for my taste. Still, interesting to watch his character in play, and he interacted with the two youngsters most often. The youngster playing Samioh treated him a lot like Sigourney Weaver's Gwen Demarco in Galaxy Quest
, serving as a repeater of orders and communications, though he got better at the sensor operator role as the game progressed. He also interacted with the other youngster as often as possible, including her in all manner of situations (which she seemed to like). The other youngster did a great job with Rouya Ghallab, the ship's Gunner, after she'd gotten used to things and started acting more on her own initiative. She was pretty hesitant about shooting her dad's character, Dr. Wana, at one point when he needed to be rescued from his own folly. She had to slice off his arm at the shoulder to prevent "infection", to put it bluntly (and got a good roll in on the attack). The fellow who played Nima was a bit of a disappointment. To start off with, he sat a bit apart from the other players, and was only communicative when dealing with his piloting or other related activities, or being involved with the group and their decisions. It was obvious that he didn't like the way the fellow playing Dr. Wana was commanding the other characters around, but he warmed up somewhat as the game entered the critical endgame.
Some of the highlights included: The bit with the seeming sensor glitches turned into a bit of a Keystone Cops sequence with the captain directing the players on operations to either confirm it was a glitch or check for sabotage, resulting in player characters in contradictory positions all over the insides and outsides of the ship. Arriving at the missing scientist's last location, the characters were surprised to find... dark flowers. Just simply surreal, what happened after that. On the station itself, the betrayal by Samioh (see below) shocked the others, notably Zebo, who considered him his younger brother. The revelations about the truth of the matter then surprised the players even more, something that I was pleased about. The players' realization that they were stranded on the station after you-know-who absconded with their ship. Knowing what had to be done to fix matters, and the last minute escape before everything went to hell in a handbasket.
Other than the rough start at the beginning, I had a pretty good time running "Dark Flowers", though I found the scenario difficult to run in a couple of places. Something that happened was that at the mid-game break, the youngster playing Samioh told me that he was getting bored with the constant in-fighting of the characters and the captain's "recklessness". He wanted to turn traitor on them all! I went along with it, since I wanted to see where the young man would take it, and it worked out really well... especially the surprise and betrayal factor that the others felt. I did try to make sure that both youngsters, especially the little girl, got involved and had some opportunities to shine, and she certainly did, most notably at the very end. The players accomplished the scenario's main goal, but there was some confusion among the characters at the end about multiple identities and a few other elements that could easily spill over into a sequel adventure of some sort.
After the game was over, my voice down to a creaky whisper, I answered a couple of questions from Paul Andre about the game. He told me that my voice had been a bit problematic, especially when the gamers next door were loud, but that he really enjoyed playing the game and looked forward to running Coriolis - The Third Horizon
after he finished reading the book. And also added that he desperately wanted a physical copy of it, now that he'd seen mine!
Overall, a really fun game session of the Coriolis - The Third Horizon
RPG, but definitely not a scenario that I'd run using starting characters. Challenging to run for the GM with some of the adventure elements, not to mention the fact that the Quickstart adventure needs a bit more editing in places.
So that's it for the second adventure of Coriolis - The Third Horizon
that I ran at CanGames, 2017. I'll be glad to answer any questions that folks might have about the adventure and game running, and comments are always welcome, of course.