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Grimmshade
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Re: Thank You Free League! This game is awesome!

Fri 18 Jun 2021, 03:42

I like the structure. I'm going to be doing something very similar. Alien works really well for this style of play I think. I'm excited to build up a series of connected stories that don't necessarily use the same characters and take place in a variety of environments.
 
Frontinus
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Re: Thank You Free League! This game is awesome!

Wed 01 Sep 2021, 02:49

Happy to report we have completed the Chariot of the Gods adventure. We went through it with one GM and four other players over the course of three sessions, each about 4 hours in length. Started with the GM running Captain Miller and the rest of the players as the crew of the Montero. I expect the readers of these forums are familiar with the module so I'll highlight a few stand out moments that happened with our group.

I tweaked the Montero's route so that they were going to be delivering the helium fuel to Ariarcus colony as a set up for the future when we play Destroyer of Worlds, but otherwise essentially used the scenario as written. Rye was the secret android. The crew wakes up from cryo, familiarizes themselves with their cargo and avoids getting sideswiped by the Cronus. They come along side and extend the umbilicus, and there is a lot of debate about if using a torch on the stuck airlock is "damaging company property" or not, but in the end they get inside an start exploring the ship. They catch some hard to follow movements on the motion tracker and first assess the bridge before going to the reactor room to try to energize the ship. Davis thinks they see the body the reactor room twitch and immediately locks the door without going inside. The PCs see some grisly sights in the destroyed labs, and then rush to the cryo-pods as the ship's AI beings to wake the Cronus' crew. The crew are immediately taken to the med bay. I knew I had my players really immersed in the fiction when after the bloodbuster birth the first player in initiative's reaction was to try to kick the thing through the door rather than have it in the same room as everyone else. The punting attempt was unsuccessful and Wilson had his neck nearly torn out for his trouble (suit breached!), only saved by heroic medical intervention from Rye. Davis winged the bloodburster with a pistol before it fled into the vents, bringing Act One to an end.

Act Two begin with Davis then turning their pistol on the Cronus crew and demanding answers, bringing the characters up to speed on the innoculation, etc. Clayton convinced Reid and Wilson to come with her to "retrieve data and samples critical to safely resolving this ongoing incident"--which really meant making a break for the armory, storage lockers, and executive suite--while the rest of the characters split themselves between the bridge and the scrubber shaft to begin getting systems back online. Clayton's team was not quiet enough when leaving the armory and drew the neomorph's attention, it promptly killed Reid, and maimed Clayton before leading Rye, Cham, and Davis on a merry chase across the level, where they finally cornered it and torched the neomorph with the flamethrower. The now injured Clayton and the still shaky from his injury Wilson were shuffled off to the Bridge with MIller to oversee repairs. It was at this point that the Montero self-destruct was activated, prompting a race to recover some of the cargo but in the hubub Johns and Flynn got left behind in the bowels of the Cronus as exhaustion and high CO2 was slowing them down. The PCs successfully detached the umbilicus, which unfortunately vented junction A-1 as they had blow torched the corresponding airlock to get it open. Davis heroically piloted the Daisy into the hangar of the Cronus just as the Montero exploded, but the Daisy won't be flying again without lot of work. Flynn's body was discovered bashed to a pulp and Johns was no where to be found. Repairs to the scrubber were completed in record time, and since no one was enthusiastic about going back to the reactor, it was decided to do the space walk first. During the spacewalk Davis, Rye, and Cham were ambushed by the outside abomination, with Davis having their arm torn off and then heroically sacrificing themselves by tackling the abomination, causing both of them to spin off helplessly into the void - first PC death. We ended Act Two with the antenna repaired and a meditation on Davis' sacrifice.

Act Three started with the survivors having congregated on the bridge to discuss how they planned to approach the reactor. The debate was interrupted by a desperate banging on the bridge door with Ava 6 (new PC taken over by Davis' player) begging to be let in before "they" get here! They of course being the Johns abomination and the abomination from the reactor core, who was freed by Johns. The characters debate too long and Ava is followed through the door by the Johns abomination, which rips Ava and Clayton to shreds (Second PC death, sorry Davis' player!). Davis' player then takes over Captain MIller. At this point, the Sotillo docks, and the bridge group uses the distraction of Pin being attacked by the final abomination to finally kill it before reaching a standoff with the Sotillo crew. They reveal to the Sotillo crew that they may have been exposed to the airborn pathogen but negotations for the innoculant break down and the Sotillo crew flee injured and empty handed. The Sotillo is observed to ominously cease to make maneuvers shortly after detatchment, but their fate is left unclear. With the last of the monsters killed, the crew finally restarts the reactor and the AI takes over, locking on the course for Earth. At this point, Rye/Lucas finally plays their hand, allowing the crew to enter the Cronus' cryo pods before causing the reactor to overload. We cut to black after playing the same 10 minutes to reactor overload message the players had heard in Act Two for the Montero.

A successful end with a bang, some loose threads to follow up on (what happened to the Sotillo's crew? Did Lucas go to the executive suite escape pod after sabotaging the reactor?) and a great time had by all. Speaking of loose threads, next time we will return to the unexplored caverns below Ypsilon-14.
 
Frontinus
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Re: Thank You Free League! This game is awesome!

Thu 02 Jun 2022, 05:02

Campaign has wound down due to external factors. We fit in one session that I haven't previously reported, adapted from Hot Zone by Paul Elliot, originally written for the Cepheus game engine. The scenario is inspired by the movie Ice Station Zebra, which I watched in preparation in addition to reading the module. Didn't expect this to be the last session, so it was more of an episodic adventure than any kind of grand finale, but sometimes that is how things go with RPG campaigns. *shrug*

The session was focused on recovering a probe that was scouting the asteroid belt and had crashed due to a solar flare. The characters came into conflict with a UPP Accipiter that dropped off some UPP SOF soldiers also trying to recover the data under the pretense of responding to a distress call from the surveying team also on the asteroid. The two groups were ambushed by local xenomorphs unrelated to XX121 and end up working together to recover the probe and rescue the sole survivor of the survey team. One of the player characters accepted a pamphlet from one of the UPP soldiers that espoused the glories of socialism, which provided some enjoyable levity just after rescuing the survey team survivor and discovering the crablike xenomorph threat. Once the data was recovered from the tunnels where the xenomorphs had dragged the probe, the SOF soldiers turned on the player characters, trying to take the survey data for themselves. The players were able to pull a fast one and copy the data before handing it over to the UPP.

This sets up future conflicts with the UPP and the possibility of rival freelancers or military personnel from the UPP racing against the players' recovery team in future scenarios.

This session didn't quite have the tension I was hoping for as there was no specific ticking clock other than that if the player characters stopped I made it clear the UPP would continue on and probably get to the probe ahead of them. But the players kind of figured that just meant the UPP SOF soldiers would get eaten by the xenomorphs first, which didn't bother them much, so if I ran this again I would have to do some more thinking about how to create the sense of rising stakes and urgency that has worked so well in a lot of the previous scenarios. My first thought is to change it next time from SOF soldiers to a UPP science team, providing more opportunity for common ground and similar levels of armament to the players.

Nonetheless, I'm definitely keeping The Black Pyramid on hand as a great one-shot/opening scenario for possible re-use. And the star system where these adventures happened is still ripe for future exploration and adventure. The caves below Ypsilon-14 remain unexplored. The rumoured pirate stash is not investigated. The secret of the artist colony of Empty Graves remains undiscovered. The labour unrest at Hard Light station continues to brew. And now there is a general race between the 3WE and the UPP to find alien artifacts. Many future adventures to be had and the shadow the frontier war ahead.

In the immediate future, will shortly be running a one-shot of Fallout from the back of the Aliens Colony War book. Was not impressed with the novel, but am looking forward to this new one act cinematic, as it looks like it will be a fun slog through an overrun colony with some great tension between the UPP, USCMC, and the newly independent New Albion.
Last edited by Frontinus on Sun 12 Jun 2022, 21:58, edited 1 time in total.
 
User avatar
Grimmshade
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Re: Thank You Free League! This game is awesome!

Mon 06 Jun 2022, 23:42

Fallout does seem like a cool adventure. It's unfortunate that the novel (Colony War) itself kind of sucks. I've never read an Alien novel with so little menace from the Xenomorphs.
 
Frontinus
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Joined: Wed 27 May 2020, 18:25

Re: Thank You Free League! This game is awesome!

Sun 12 Jun 2022, 20:15

Had a great time GMing the Fallout scenario. Spoilers for Colony War novel and Fallout scenario: We did a punchy 2.5 hour run through with four players and the four pre-gens plus a Working Joe named Gibson, because I love me some semi-obscure lore references. ;)

There is a lot in that scenario and in a very focused 2.5 hour session we probably only hit on about a third of the possible events and locations. Looking forward to running this again another time for another group or transplanting some of the events to other sessions.

Characters were debating whether to try to sneak in or try to negotiate with the ships in orbit and once I felt that consensus was not forthcoming I had them detect the Victory making a break from the surface which immediately shifted them to agreeing to sneak in while the Victory provided a distraction. They made the rolls to land undetected and chose to land in the debris field, which they searched, turning up the weapons crate and flight recorder. I was a bit surprised by this decision given the scenario text explicitly warns them that they should expect the colony to be nuked soon, but they seemed to doubt nukes would fall given the tense geopolitical situation in orbit. The players had a great time doing a loading up with guns and grenades scene, and Tajima's reaction to the flight recorder was "Oh, awesome, a retirement plan!" To start providing some urgency I had them see a Cheyenne dropship land, as I really didn't want them searching the debris field all day and figured they already had the most interesting stuff given the ship did not need salvaged parts for repair.

They then made a beeline for the medlab with thunder portending a storm soon and the first encounter I rolled on the hallways table was the hibernating Scout Xenomorph. The characters started a whispered argument of go the long way around versus attack it by suprise. I described the Xeno's limbs shifting a bit as if it was trying to get a more comfortable position, which one of the players took as a threat, so they promptly tossed a grenade, triggering our first combat and letting the UPP know exactly where they were. The scout Broke Prof Cleas's ribs and started dragging him away before the androids were able to bash it back, but then Dagny opened up with a shotgun blast that broke the Xeno and sprayed acid everywhere, damaging Gibson and killing Cleas. The survivors rushed to the medlab where they found all the records deleted, but did get a facehugger preserved in formaldehyde (I described the room as similar to the medbay at Hadley's Hope, so I figured a sample in a jar was both good foreshadowing and a reasonable find) so they decided to race to the Command Deck to check for off-network backups ahead of the UPP troops and any other monsters that would undoubtedly be coming to investigate the explosions and gunfire of their recent Xeno encouter.

When they reached the Command Deck, they discovered several Ovomorphs in the room. Myra volunteered to sneak in to access a computer while the rest of the party stayed at the door, weapons ready. Myra was able to get the records copied onto physical media for extraction but an Ovomorph flower-petalled open as they tried to leave the room. Dagny and Gibson heroically charged in, managing to grenade and cutting torch to destroy two Ovomorphs but the other two released Facehuggers. One facehugger attacked Tajima, but she was able to block and then shoot it while the other attacked Dagny but Gibson was able to impose themselves inbetween and beat it to a pulp with a maintenance jack.

The crew then made a dash back to the ship under the cover of the now full swing storm and got out of system before anyone could stop them.

A great session and we all had fun. Looking forward to next time.

The UPP team served as a great way to keep pressure on the the team to stay focused and keep moving. This aligns with previous experience of time pressure working well in the Black Pyramid scenario and the lack of time pressure being a bit of a downside in the Hot Zone scenario.

If I do this again, I think I need to be ready to provide a bit more guidance to Dagny's character because once they realized the Cronulla was destroyed they didn't really know how to adapt the character's goals. I was really surprised during the facehugger fight, that Dagny first attacked the facehugger near Tajima instead of the one near them and Gibson. So two or three ideas, a note saying "Dagny might try a, b, or c now that they know the Cronulla has been destroyed" might help to have in your back pocket.

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