Like some of the posters above, i'm pretty dissatisfied with the ending of MOI-2. Everything leading up to it is great, and very useable, but the finale just doesn't stick the landing for me. Will definitely be going for a PDF purchase instead of buying MOI-3 in print and PDF.
a. It comes across as shock for shocks sake and is internally inconsistent with established cannon. Sure, every group can tweak things as they like, but that doesn't let you off the hook for failing to capture the tone and content of an established setting.
b. It eliminates player agency and railroads the group without providing any alternatives.
d. It claims that all factions have good and bad actors…then paints the Zenethians as evil with a very broad brush.
e. Invalidates a substantial part of the Coriolis main book, and drastically narrows the promise of the setting. We go from a complex, multilayered, Horizon with a diversity of factions rife for a wide range of play styles, to a much narrower world that denudes the setting of what differentiates it from completing products. If Coriolis were defined as a closed-ended game, that would be one thing, but it's not.
Critiques aside, I really like the majority of the material presented in MOI-1 and 2, and enjoy the game overall. My take is to approach the situation something like this.
1. Group discovers that Nazarrem's sacrifice is effectively taking over the Coriolis Council.
2. Through a series of events, the group forms an alliance with members of Ahlam's Temple (Black Lotuses), Draconites, and Order of the Pariah martyr warriors who either slip onto Coriolis, or are there during the takeover. Agents of the 2nd Horizon stir up the populace to keep the Coriolis Guard distracted while they assail the Council and defeat the agents of the 1st Horizon, freeing the original Council members (or at least defeating the corrupt ones). This will be an epic fight/confrontation and appear to be the final confrontation until the Hegemony intervenes.
3. Before the Council falls, an agent of the 1st Horizon signals the Monolith and the Captain triggers his contingency plan. He orders a full-scale assault on the station from without and triggers a sleeper agent in the Cellar who leads an uprising of Cellar denizens into the levels above. Space around the station burns with conflict and vicious corridor-to-corridor fighting his had all around. The stations defense grid can hold for a time, but the Legion fleet is slowly, but surely being pushed back.
4. The Emissaries intervene by triggering full scale rebellion/riots on Kua, tying up the forces of the Monolith, but Hegemony janissaries are inflicting dizzying casualties on them. The Emissaries tell the group that they must stop the Hegemony or the Monolith and the station will be destroyed for the greater good.
5. Using information acquired earlier in the adventure, the group enlists the aid of Hegemony members captive on the station to fly down to the Monolith (the Legion fleet is waved off and the Hegemony fleet won't kill fellow Hegemony members). This can also be a serious "leaf on the wind moment," allowing for some epic flying, desperate action, etc. Play it how you like.
6. The information acquired by the group is simple. The Captain of the Hegemony bent the knee to the 1st Horizon. This flies in the face of Hegemony belief in their individual supremacy and sense of manifest destiny. The group will have to persuade the Hegemony members they team up with along with the other houses in the Monolith that the captain is no longer fit for duty, causing the other houses to rebel against the captains house. The captain will be taken out by the group and their allies (this can be pure diplomacy, sneaking in to the captains private quarters, war in the hallways, take your pic to fit play style).
7. With the captain down, the chain of command is temporarily disrupted, causing the janissary lines to falter, opening a hole for the Emissaries mystics to strike. The group rapidly realizes they have been played and were aided by the Emissary for the sole purpose of getting the mystics into striking distance. My group picked up a Portal Builder mystic bomb along the way, but I leave it open to how the group wants to handle things (let the Monolith blow, stop the mystics, etc.).
8. In my game, the mystics get mind-bombed and the conflict in orbit grinds to a halt.
9. The result is similar to where we leave off in MOI-2. Zenethian and Legion fleets are decimated in the conflict, Coriolis is badly damaged, and the Council is shattered. It is widely revealed that the 1st Horizon is not only on the way, but is already here, seeding its agents throughout the Horizon. It is also revealed that the Emissaries are false representatives of the Icons, and that their agents are also present in the Horizon, manipulating the First Come just as readily as the 1st Horizon was manipulating the Zenethians.
- The Church of the Icons receives its flood of refugees and takes its place as stronger power as it comforts the populace in the face of the revelations above.
- The Hegemony survives, but is fighting a revolution on the surface of Kua in addition to massive intra-house intrigue as the houses jocky for the position of leadership.
- The Consortium agrees to the formation of a more equitably-balanced Council and transfers the Council seat as indicated in MOI-2. It is also locked in a shadow war between the Special Branch and Nazareem's Sacrifice as NS agents sabotage or take over Consortium facilities, further draining Consortium resources.
- Nomad fleets unite, with some taking over portal stations (but quickly find themselves in a Lawrence of Arabia situation where they lack the resources/technical acumen to hold and administer them properly. Diplomacy will return them to the Consortium, but the players may be part of this).
- Beyond that, things play out basically the same.
The main difference is that the players have much more agency and work with many more of the factions. They get to unite with Draconites, Ahlam's Temple, and Zalosian agents on Coriolis, giving those factions air time, employ the Hegemony's delectable treachery to defeat the Captain, and can work with the Consortium/First Come to help prepare the Horizon on the back end. Things get dark, potentially very dark, in certain corners of the Horizon as 1st and 2nd Horizon agents work to undermine the 3rd Horizon in it's bid to remain free of their games.
The above are just some hardpoints, but I think an approach similar to this can help preserve what makes the game unique, without sacrificing the greater arc of MOI-1 and 2.
Just my two cents. Love the game overall and look forward to playing more of it in the future. As mentioned above, I love the majority of the MOI-1 and 2 material, just think the final beat needs a little tweaking.