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ripley
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Chariot of the Gods: a play through in six sessions (spoilers)

Wed 03 Aug 2022, 11:07

Our RPG group recently played through Chariot of the Gods, taking about 12 hours all up. It was a big success, with lots of tension, some increasingly bitter internal politics driving the narrative and several highly cinematic escapes, both narrow and failed!

Overall it was a great experience; Destroyer of Worlds was an easy add to our list of future campaigns.

As the GM I spent quite a bit of time reading other play throughs before we kicked off and found them super helpful, so I thought I'd post our session recaps here too.
 
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ripley
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Re: Chariot of the Gods: a play through in six sessions (spoilers)

Wed 03 Aug 2022, 11:08

Session 1

The crew of the Montero wake from hypersleep feeling groggy and dehydrated. Miller pulls herself together while Davis and Rye slouch in the galley trying to ignore the booming presence of Wilson. Cham just wants to get on with the job and heads down to the cargo bay. Rye isn't feeling enthusiastic. Wilson goes for a shower, Davis wanders up to the bridge, MU/TH/UR summons the captain.

There's no sign of Sutter's World, because that's not where they are. They've somehow ended up in the back blocks of the Weyland Isles sector, and the only thing in sight is a derelict ship drifting off in the distance.

Miller orders a salvage operation. Cham and Rye balk at the extra work until Wilson clarifies the bonus situation. Davis overcooks the rendezvous and scrapes the comms array off the side of the other ship.

It's the Cronus, an exploration ship that disappeared decades ago. Everyone has heard the rumours. Cham shrugs on a battered Mk.50, descends to the Cronus via the Montero's umbilical and cuts open the dorsal airlock. It wasn't going to budge any other way because it's all buckled outwards like something inside went bang.

The crew suit up, tool up, and board the Cronus. It's freezing and stale and dark. Miller stays on A deck to talk to Cronus's MU/TH/UR, everyone else heads down to B deck to find the bridge. Hopes of getting the main power back on from there are dampened by the discovery of a burnt out sensor station, inert life support monitors and a pilot station with an axe embedded in it.

Miller has an update from A deck but can't get a word in over the comms because an argument has broken out in the bridge over the motion detector. Wilson loses patience and turns it on, holds the button too long and drains nearly half the battery. The motion detector pings movement in the crew quarters.
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Re: Chariot of the Gods: a play through in six sessions (spoilers)

Wed 03 Aug 2022, 11:09

Session 2

Wilson isn't sticking around. He pushes past Miller - who's come down to the bridge after being unable to access the Cronus's MU/TH/UR - and clambers up through A deck and the umbilical to the Montero. Davis and Rye bicker over possible causes of the ping, Miller drags them back on task. Hoping to get the main power back on from the reactor relay control, Rye, Cham and Davis head towards the junction at the aft end of B deck.

Miller checks the armory, is spooked by an EVA suit looming in a dark corner and calls Davis back to assist. The sight of dried synthetic blood sprayed all up one wall is unsettling, as is the absence of all the escape pods, but the headless corpse with unnaturally long arms is worse. Davis gingerly pulls a shotgun from its grasp.

Rye and Cham poke around in the crew quarters on their way through. There's no sign of anything that might have triggered the motion detector.

Back on the Montero, Wilson regains his composure. Access card in one hand, whiskey in the other, he visits the Montero's MU/TH/UR and satisfies himself that Miller hasn't withheld any information. He returns to the Cronus and goes straight to its MU/TH/UR, who obligingly restores the main power.

Rye and Cham are still in the aft end of B deck. With Wilson having done their job done for them they turn their attention to the science sector. One of the labs has been completely burnt out with a military-grade bio-chemical cleansing agent. There's another long-armed corpse in there too.

In the other lab Rye tiptoes around some fungal nodes growing in pools of thick black fluid to retrieve an access card from the floor. Cham chooses to ignore the pile of bones nearby, and the fact that Rye's using what looks like a femur to poke at the card. A cloud of tiny black spores erupts from one of the nodes, swarms towards Rye, dissipates across his visor and sinks to the floor.

Up on A deck Wilson is wrestling with the outdated interface on the Cronus's MU/TH/UR. He unearths the original destination of the Cronus - the 26 Draconis system - but can't find much else except indications of five possible survivors in the cryo chambers. Miller and Davis head up to investigate but can't get in because the door to cryo has been welded shut from the inside. Cham is summoned, cuts it open, then goes to sort out the air scrubbers which sound like they're all clogged up.

Alone on B deck Rye spots... something... floating in a jar in the medlab. It's small, white, bulbous and has four scrawny legs. There's some other odd stuff too, but Rye's rattled and backs out without looking further. He finds the corporate suite nearby, tries to bypass the lock on the door, fails, and heads back to the bridge.

MU/TH/UR announces that the cryo chambers are deactivating. Five members of the Cronus's crew emerge from hypersleep. They're haggard, weak and disoriented. Miller tries to get information from them but they have no idea where they are or what's happening. Davis is no use as she's feeling uncharitable and twitchy. Wilson volunteers himself to help out and heads for cryo.

On B deck the bridge is lighting up. The command station and life support monitors flicker on, the sensor station remains dark, an increasingly irritable Rye patches up the starboard pilot station.

Wilson crowds into cryo and approaches a particularly groggy survivor, Dr Cooper, who suddenly collapses into convulsions. A small, white, bulbous... thing... erupts from Cooper's face and wobbles to its feet on four scrawny legs. Wilson, Miller and Davis are too taken aback to notice the remaining Cronus survivors scrambling for the door. Someone screams "Kill it! Kill it!"
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Re: Chariot of the Gods: a play through in six sessions (spoilers)

Wed 03 Aug 2022, 11:10

Session 3

In the A deck corridor Cham removes his Mk.50 and squeezes through a vent into the air scrubber shaft. The filters are dirty, and some have fungal nodes growing on them, but it's not going to take too long to get them cleaned up. The shaft is noisy and Cham doesn't have comms, so he's oblivious to what's happening elsewhere on the ship.

In cryo the newborn neomorph turns its eyeless head towards Wilson and hisses. Wilson very, very carefully backs away. Miller fumbles for her pistol. Davis panics, lunges through the door and makes a run for the Montero. The neomorph leaps into an air vent and disappears into the depths of the ship.

The Cronus's security officer, Reid, demands Miller's firearm. Miller refuses. Enraged, Reid punches out the visor in Miller's helmet. Miller is stunned. She blinks away shards of perspex and sees Reid's arms are strangely long. Wilson slips into the corridor and locks the door shut from the outside. Reid lets out an inhuman roar, shoves her now over-sized hands into Miller's helmet and crushes her head to a paste. Miller's body crumples to the deck, her service pistol and the motion detector clunk down nearby.

The other Cronus survivors - Clayton, Flynn and Johns - have disappeared. Wilson yells for someone, anyone, to bring a weapon to cryo ASAP. Down in the bridge Rye tries to make sense of the commotion over the comms. Johns stumbles in, sees Rye has an incinerator unit and urges him to get up to cryo right away.

On the Montero, Davis has removed her Mk.50 and found a quick way to calm down. Realising she probably left Miller in danger, Davis grabs the shotgun and heads back down into the Cronus. She meets Rye and Johns coming up the junction from B deck and they all head for cryo. Rye sees Cham's suit on the floor and stops to poke his head into the vent to find out what's happening.

Davis and Johns find Wilson looking through the small window in the door of cryo chamber two. On the other side Reid is now monstrous, her head enlarged, arms elongated, eyes out of place on the sides of her head. She pounds and pounds on the door, but it holds. Davis yells at Wilson to unlock the door so she can blow Reid's head off and drag Miller out of there. Wilson refuses, Davis shoves him up against the bulkhead in frustration.

Rye and Cham show up. Johns hastily explains that the neomorphs grow in people who have inhaled the spores released by the fungal nodes. He also says that Dr Cooper developed an inoculation which prevents this. The surviving crew of the Montero react with scepticism and point out that Cooper himself has just birthed one.

Johns spots what looks like an unused inoculation among Cooper's personal effects. Johns can't understand why Cooper wouldn't have taken it. He has no explanation for Reid's mutation either, but recalls that other crew were affected similarly some time after surface exploration teams returned to the Cronus.

Johns stresses that the neomorph will grow much larger and is incredibly dangerous. He insists that the Montero crew be inoculated against the fungal spores. Rye and Wilson aren't totally convinced, but they all agree to follow Johns down to the medlab. They find Flynn recovering there. He inoculates Davis and Cham, Rye's next after some convincing, Wilson relents after Flynn takes one first to prove it's safe.

Rye and Cham mention that they saw fungal nodes growing in the science lab. Johns and Flynn are unanimous that the nodes be destroyed immediately. Wilson objects, explains the value of the flora and fauna on the Cronus and proposes capturing the neomorph alive. Rye is listening. Davis points out there are already samples in jars on the shelf, and that there's a live mutant locked in cryo above. Cham suggests Wilson could carry a neomorph in himself. Things get heated. Rye and Cham lose patience with the arguing and head to the science lab to deal with the fungal nodes.

Flynn and Johns break off into a tense discussion about what might have happened to Cooper. Wilson wonders aloud where his counterpart, Clayton, may have gone. As Davis has a weapon and he doesn't, Wilson asks her to accompany him to the corporate suite.

In the science lab Rye stands in the doorway with the incinerator unit. Cham opens the door, Rye unleashes a wash of flame. The now much larger neomorph screams from the far corner of the lab and launches itself towards Rye.
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Re: Chariot of the Gods: a play through in six sessions (spoilers)

Wed 03 Aug 2022, 11:11

Session 4

The neomorph lands heavily on Rye who falls backwards into the corridor. Rye panics and ineffectually tries to get his incinerator lined up at point blank range. The neomorph makes a lunging bite for Rye's neck. The metal clamps at the base of Rye's helmet offer just enough protection from the razor-sharp teeth. Frustrated, the neomorph screeches and hisses. Rye's visor fogs up. Cham steps forward and kicks the neomorph hard in the face, shoving it back into the science lab. Cham slams the button to close the door.

As the door descends the neomorph throws itself through, clambers to its feet and looms over Rye, who's still prone on the deck. Rye scrambles to get away as the neomorph whips its tail around, driving its vicious barb down towards Rye's sternum. The point glances off Rye's helmet clamps and deflects into the deck, digging a couple of inches into the steel grating. Cham reaches down and uses every bit of his strength to haul the neomorph off Rye, shoves it wriggling up against the bulkhead and fires a bolt through its neck. The neomorph crumples and hangs lifelessly from the wall.

Davis comes running, Wilson wanders along behind with another whiskey acquired during his brief look around the abandoned corporate suite. Rye is shouting and waving the incinerator around. Wilson hands him the whiskey, Rye calms down enough to tell the others that he got one pilot station up and running. Davis heads to the bridge to see if the engines will fire up. Wilson pays another visit to the Cronus's MU/TH/UR.

Rye and Cham stash the dead neomorph in the small science lab. Cham accidentally tears a hole in the leg of his Mk.50 in the process. Rye and Cham head back towards the medlab where they hear raised voices; Flynn comes scrambling out of the room shouting something about how he now understands why Cooper didn't take the inoculation. He runs towards the vestibules, Cham follows warily at a distance. Rye and Johns confer in the medlab.

Davis reports the engines seem fine but won't start. Wilson queries MU/TH/UR who confirms the fuses in the reactor relay control have tripped. MU/TH/UR also advises that a spacewalk will be required to reconnect the external power coupling on engine three.

Flynn discovers that all the escape pods are gone. Increasingly frantic, he pushes past Cham and makes a run for the forward junction. Cham follows him down onto C deck but loses him in the cargo area. Warning lights and a blaring klaxon indicate that the external vehicle bay door is opening. Cham exits the area, catching a glimpse of Flynn running from the back of the vehicle bay towards the now partially open door. The vehicle bay depressurises, the surrounding doors automatically seal shut.

In the medlab Johns and Rye make final plans to get the Cronus's engines on; they will go and flip the fuses in the reactor relay control while Cham spacewalks to recouple engine three. Cham comes up to retrieve an EVA suit from the vestibules then they all head for C deck. Johns reveals the existence of Ava, the Cronus's synthetic. She was left behind when the crew went into cryo, her fate remains unknown. Cham suits up and exits the Cronus via the still-open vehicle bay door. There's no sign of Flynn.

Up on A deck Wilson queries MU/TH/UR for Clayton's location; she's popped up in the corporate suite. Wilson heads back down and introduces himself. After some initial suspicion they come to an agreement; that the xenomorphic samples be returned to Weyland-Yutani as soon as possible; that no one is to remove any samples from the Cronus; and should any of the other crew present an obstruction then they can be considered... redundant. A drink is shared.

Down on C deck Rye and Johns enter the reactor relay control. It's dark, and a total mess, like something made a nest in here. There's a strange yellowish resin coating the fuses. Rye sees a flicker of movement in the darkness.
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Re: Chariot of the Gods: a play through in six sessions (spoilers)

Wed 03 Aug 2022, 11:11

Session 5

Davis announces over the comms that she's had enough, is leaving, and that anyone else who wants out needs to get on board the Montero ASAP. Cham tries to talk her out of it, but he's floating around outside the Cronus and can't do anything to stop her. Clayton can; she retrieves a magnum from the corporate suite safe, hands it to Wilson and sends him up to the Montero.

Down on C deck Rye and Johns discover Ava slumped in the reactor relay control. Rye patches her up, Johns begins to mutate. He suddenly attacks Rye, who's wedged awkwardly between Ava and the wall. Johns tries to yank him out but can't get a grip, Ava gets to her feet and throws a surprisingly powerful straight right that completely misses. Rye makes a break for the door.

Outside the Cronus, Cham carefully navigates to engine three. The power coupling is big and clunky and he injures his hand trying to get everything lined up. He spots another ship closing in on the Cronus and the Montero. It's too far away to make out any details; Cham hails it on the comms but there's no response. He lets the others know and heads back under the Cronus to the vehicle bay door.

Wilson finds Davis on the bridge of the Montero. She's teary, slurring her words and is halfway through the power-up cycle. Wilson encourages her to reconsider but Davis won't listen. She drowns Wilson out by blasting music over the bridge's intercom and brings the engines online. Wilson shoots her in the back of the head. Davis's body slumps over the console, air hisses out through the bullet hole in the forward bulkhead.

Back on the Cronus, Rye stumbles out of the reactor relay control into the corridor. Johns strides out close behind, reaches with unusually long arms, grabs Rye and squeezes. Rye's helmet crumples, and his head does too. His body drops to the deck, the incinerator unit pinned beneath.

On the Montero, MU/TH/UR seals off the bridge. Wilson activates the self-destruct and sets the auto-pilot on a collision course with the mysterious new ship. MU/TH/UR begins counting down the remaining minutes until self-destruction. Wilson overrides the lock on the bridge door, descends to the Cronus and clumsily tries to detach the umbilical. Encumbered by his Mk.50 he can't get the clamps undone; he seals the inner airlock door and heads towards the corporate suite.

Cham re-enters the vehicle bay. Johns ambushes him by throwing himself off the catwalk. There's a brief struggle before John succumbs to the vacuum of space. Cham clambers up to C deck where Ava has just finished resetting the fuses in the reactor relay control. She introduces herself to Cham and informs him that Rye has been killed by Johns.

Wilson enters the corporate suite to discover Clayton stashing urns of xenomorphic material in the EEV. The Cronus lurches sideways as the Montero's umbilical is torn away from the airlock. Clayton disputes Wilson's claim that she was planning to renege on their deal. A clang reverberates around the Cronus as the mystery ship docks.
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Re: Chariot of the Gods: a play through in six sessions (spoilers)

Wed 03 Aug 2022, 11:12

Session 6

The Montero self-destructs. The Cronus rocks as debris from the Montero is flung against the hull.

Ava tells Cham about Cooper's inoculations causing some of the crew to mutate. Cham asks to see Cooper's records, Ava leads him to the medlab. They see Wilson exit the corporate suite. He pushes past them and heads for the aft junction. Cham and Ava enter the medlab.

Clayton steps out of the corporate suite to discover two strangers, heavily armed and hostile. After a short, tense exchange Clayton retreats back into the corporate suite and seals the door. Ava exits the medlab and helpfully answers questions from the newcomers about the state of the Cronus's engines. Cham remains out of sight.

Ava reenters the medlab, Cham ambushes her with the cutting torch. Ava tries to fight him off but suffers a system shutdown after Cham detaches her head. Cham methodically gathers Cooper's research notes and sets them on fire.

In the corporate suite Clayton interrogates MU/TH/UR, who reports that the crew of the newly-docked ship, the Sotillo, are spreading out through the Cronus. There are four of them; one on A deck in the forward junction, one on C deck in the storage area and two in the bridge. The one on C deck suddenly disappears; one of the crew from the bridge starts heading in that direction. MU/TH/UR reports there are no longer any indications of life in the storage area.

Up on A deck Wilson opens the door to cryo chamber two. The mutant Reid, seemingly asleep, flops onto the deck. Wilson carefully backs towards the forward junction. One of the Sotillo crew comes up the ladder, clearly drunk, and loudly suggests Wilson show him to the bar. Reid rises and launches herself towards Wilson, crashing off the low ceiling in the corridor and landing heavily at his feet.

Before Wilson can react Reid is upright again. She grabs him and throws him violently against the wall, breaking several of his toes. Wilson crawls back towards cryo, the drunk retreats into the junction, Reid throws herself in after him.

Clayton warily exits the corporate suite and creeps towards the bridge. Cham spots her and follows quietly at a distance. Clayton rounds the corner by the forward junction and sees the door to the bridge is open. One of the Sotillo crew is in the starboard pilot station. Clayton draws her service pistol and shoots him inaccurately in the back. There's an exchange of gunfire which leaves him dead and Clayton prone in the doorway.

Wilson limps towards the forward junction on A deck. As the sound of gunfire erupts from below a crippling headache sets in. He clambers down to B deck, his head and arms beginning to swell.

Cham ambushes Clayton with a vicious haymaker. Lunging awkwardly he misses her head completely, instead shattering her kneecap against the sharp edge of the metal doorway. Wilson's long arms grapple him from behind, buying Clayton enough time to drag herself into the bridge and shut the door. She reaches for a pulse rifle dropped on the deck by the late occupant of the pilot station.

On the other side of the door Wilson tries to crush Cham's head. A savage brawl breaks out. Cham knocks Wilson to the ground, Clayton opens the door and unloads a full clip from the pulse rifle. Cham reels back in a spray of white synthetic blood. Paralysed, he slumps to the deck. Wilson rises, enters the bridge, and beats Clayton to death. Cham watches helplessly as Wilson, now monstrous, stomps off into the depths of the Cronus.

Epilogue

Down in the C deck storage area the surviving crew of the Sotillo find their crewmate's body. There's blood everywhere; it looks like something burst out of his head.
Last edited by ripley on Sat 13 Aug 2022, 12:25, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: Chariot of the Gods: a play through in six sessions (spoilers)

Thu 11 Aug 2022, 16:19

thanks for the play report man.

You did have a great game.
 
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ripley
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Re: Chariot of the Gods: a play through in six sessions (spoilers)

Sat 13 Aug 2022, 12:42

thanks for the play report man

No problem, like I said, other people's reports gave me a lot of ideas which I adapted and worked in to our game! For example, Davis blasting loud music in the bridge was lifted straight from the Tale Weavers play through.

One thing I tried that I hadn't seen elsewhere was a gradual loss of agency for the player playing Wilson when the mutation set in. I handed him the 'infected' agenda cards and left him to it until he attacked someone. For the initial attack I allowed him to do whatever he wanted, for the second round I showed him the Abomination attack table and let him choose an action from it. From round three onwards I had him roll a D6 and go with whatever was on the attack table.

I think it worked well; it meant the player got to ride with Wilson to the very end as he spiralled out of control!

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