Saturday, June 14, 2014

Traveller Session - Reverses

Friday night's game started rather unusually. Normally we pick up the narrative, right where we leave off, but inspired by a review of "Microscope" I decided to open the session in a different way. When the last session ended they were pushing the ship through a worm-hole-like-thingy to make a jump back to their home sub-sector. Instead of having them pick up the story in the usual way at the other end of the jump, I read them the following boxed text...

"You’re crawling rapidly through a concrete lined tube, too small to allow you to kneel, let alone stand. It’s dark, not a single photon moves in this environment. Your hands and knees are sloshing through sewage. Your moves are awkward as your hands are bound with metal hand cuffs.

"Between you is your long lost friend, Marin, whom you dispatched to Affran with the ship you salvaged when on a mission for the Killown family. He’s battered and bruised, you all are.

"The darkness is oppressive, the only sounds are those made by yourselves splashing along the tube, oh.. and the growling from behind, issuing from the beast that’s hunting you."

I described the above as the end point, and then encouraged the players to fill in the gap in-between,  to describe the events that lead from them entering the anomaly to crawling through a concrete sewage pipe in handcuffs.

The story they evolved was pretty cool. They had two jumps to make to get back to the Affran system and during the jumps three crew disappeared. This turned out to be the work of an Aslan who was hiding on board. Apparently this was the same Aslan they had spaced from his x-boat. But rather than doing the decent thing and dying, he'd survived and somehow made it across to their ship just as they abandoned it to the space-bugs. Since that time he'd continued to survive and hide on board until his supplies ran out and he started hunting the returned crew for food instead. The P.C.s don't know about this stowaway. As well as eating crew, this nasty chap also decided to spoil the human food supplies leading to a lot of sickness in transit.

When they reached the Affran system things had changed significantly. There was a much stronger Naval presence, ships from neighboring systems had been arriving to bolster the system against the oncoming Aslan invasion. The planet of Affran was in chaos. The Navy had been attempting to impose Imperial conscription on the populous as a further measure to fend off the upcoming Aslan attack, but the people of Affran and especially the ruling families didn't much like the idea. Therefore the planet was racked with conflict and insurrection. They handed the ship over to the Navy (who wanted the ship to use as a Trojan Horse, as it's Aslan in origin).

It was at this point that the P.C.s were kidnapped while transiting to the local station. The Killown family had got word of their return and were rather upset at the P.C.'s behavior, so decided to capture them and dispense Killown justice.

Cut-to: handcuffed and chained to the floor in a sewage works just outside of the Killown estate. The P.C.'s were being beaten by Killown goons, watched and directed by Karin Killown herself. In the room with them were some old friends. Ex-Admiral Marin (also an ex-P.C.) who had been dispatched to the Killown's with a salvaged space ship months before, and the "hostage" that the P.C.'s had left with the Killown family when they first took up with them, Ace Shichi. Everyone was getting a beating.

I asked what had happened to Marin that lead him to this situation. Apparently when he arrived in the system he discovered that the crate he'd been delivering to the Killowns was missing (see previous sessions for the story of the man-in-a-crate) and he decided it was best not to arrive empty handed. He sat in the ship on the outskirts of the system incognito, until supplies started running low. Then he had no choice but to head in-system by shuttle to get supplies. The Killowns then captured him and tried to wring the story out of him, but he didn't break, therefore that ship is still out-there.

The Navy stuck their oar in, and mounted a rescue raid to save our heroes, but the Killowns didn't like the idea of a happy ending! The party was thrown into a treatment tank and the inlets turned on, flooding the tank and "drowning" the P.C.'s in sh**. Only, in their rush to flush the evidence the Killowns cocked up, and forgot to close the outlet from the tank and the team were flushed down into the sewage system and hence into the concrete pipe where we opened the session. They wandered in the complete dark, totally lost until "something" started chasing them, something nasty sounding.

Then the session-proper started.

The P.C.'s found a way up and climbed up out of the sewage pipe to emerge on a suburban road. Staggering to the walkway they had to come up with a plan of action. A hardware store was across the street, and they went in looking for a hacksaw.

The proprietor was not happy that these sh** covered individuals were trailing crap across his floor and he came around the counter to shoo them out, only then spotting the handcuffs. Realising they were obviously escaped criminals he ran behind the counter looking for a weapon.

Ex-army hero and P.C. Raban Hake swung a boot at the shop-keep, only he slipped on the dripping sewage and landed on his butt. A subsequent attempt to lash out at the retiring tradesman only succeeded in causing a display of small D.I.Y. Tools to crash down upon himself.

Former-merchant hero and P.C. Kepler Jenkins made to dive across the counter at the shop-keep, only he slipped too and instead crashed head first into the glass fronted counter shattering the glass. Under the counter he saw the shotgun the proprietor was after, and an easy to reach pair of bolt cutters. Using the bolt cutters he smacked the man in the face and knocked the fight out of him. The butt of the shotgun was used to administer a sleeping draft.

A bag of tools and the shotgun were grabbed before the P.C.'s rushed out the back of the shop into an alley. Rushing  along the alley they were confronted by a civilian to whom they explained that they were sewage workers who had been hard at work.

They found a lonely strip of garages and broke into one after shooting out the lock. In the garage they found boxes of clothes, books, blankets and towels. They made as good a job as they could of cleaning themselves up with Swarfega. When they came to change into the clothes they'd found there was the small issue of the clothes all being women's, and they, the P.C.'s all being bearded gentlemen. None the less they braved on and donned between them a little red number, a pinaore, and a loverly white dress with large yellow flowers. However the best was left for last. Marin, sporting a long grey beard (stained orange with Swarfega) donned a long grey dress and additionally found a large brimmed and pointed hat to match, and being an older gentleman he also managed to find a walking stick...or rather a staff (from here on the Gandalf references were manifest).

They decided to carry some books with them and pretend to be a ladies reading circle to any that asked questions. Things were getting very Monty Python.

Their objective was to get off planet, but without money or resources they needed help. It was decided to contact their friends in the Navy and found a Navy recruitment center. Unfortunately it was surrounded by angry citizens protesting the conscription. They joined the back of the crowd and played a magnificent game. By passing themselves off as draft-dodgers disguised as women they were propelled through the crowd as heroes, and even made a speech about sticking-it-to-the-man and going in-there to give the Navy a piece of their mind! It worked, they got through the door and put through a call to get help. Not content with merely surviving, they also dispersed the crowd as it was turning rowdy.

The journey to the space port revealed evidence of fires and chaos across the city. The port itself was surrounded by burning vehicles and screaming citizenry. Navy and Marine personnel were even firing into the air to keep the crowds back.

Once back in the comfort of  the station they got cleaned up and we ended the session.

As GM I really enjoyed the session. The players imagination in the first half was outstanding, building upon the previous story elements and weaving in some new threads that can reappear later. I lost it a couple of times as the Monty Python elements were introduced, even finding it hard to breath at times :)

Well done chaps.

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