Today’s post is an Actual Play report from Mappy, who ran Eclipse Phase for us last week. Let’s see what he’s got to say about being behind the screen this time around:
The great thing about first time GM play reports is that, if you are a first time GM, you learn a lot.
Last weekend I ran Glory for the group, which is an Eclipse Phase starter scenario. Generally it is meant for newer players to the Eclipse Phase scene since it follows the Briefing-Investigation-Resolution pattern and it showcases some of the quirks of the setting like egocasting, resleeving, and actual physical travel. Also that it allows the GM to gauge his players and react accordingly.
If you’re planning to run, or play Eclipse Phase in the future with this scenario, I will mark out where the spoilers are.
For the characters, I made some of my own characters and just let the group pick which they wanted to play. Mainly because character generation in Eclipse Phase isn’t exactly easy without computer help.
(side note: I’m not too creative with names so most of these will appear somewhere on a simple internet search)
Romanov (played by Pointyman2000):
Infolife criminal inhabiting a Swarmanoid morph, hacker/infiltrator.
Infolifes aren’t exactly birthed, they’re artificial intelligences that have reached sentience (but not too much as to be a seed AI, meaning he can’t edit himself). A thrill-hacker out for fame and glory, inherited his criminal status from his creator, the original Romanov.
Alejandra Alquezar (played by shiemaruen):
Scumborn inhabiting a Fury morph, the group’s muscle.
When Earth was evacuated and all the refugees dropped off on other colonies (Luna, Mars, Venus), the ones that preferred to stay on the freighters became the Scum.
Alejandra’s concept is simple: party hard, or break faces, or both.
Danny Greer (played by Hikkikomori):
Original space colonist(OSC) criminal inhabiting a Sylph morph, con artist.
OSCs were already up in space before the Fall. It doesn’t mean that they were safe from the TITANs though.
Danny Greer is such a great con man, he can sell water to fish and convince himself into situations that aren’t generally in his best interest (like getting into Firewall)
Eli Grodd (played by Paulo):
Uplift Anarchist inhabiting a Neo-Hominid, another hacker.
Uplifts are a catch all term for the other intelligent life on Earth that wasn’t quite up to sentience, hence we “uplift”ed them to sentience.
Grodd is an old-school hacker with a habit of going into robotic sculpturing and an strange interest in old-earth graphic novels. Yes, that isn’t his birth name.
THE PLAY: (WARNING: SPOILERS ABOUND! Its also long.)
The sentinels were contacted by Firewall Router Magnus Quiao-Sen Ming of the Titan Autonomist University’s Chair of Computational Archeology. Since none of them were on Titan, but in the same neighborhood as Locus station, they egocasted to the simulspace meeting with Ming.
Ming explained that an agent, Firewall Crow Tara Yu, has missed her last scheduled check-in and has been missing for over a month now. He also explains what she was searching for, the fragments of military computer hardware which just so happen to be a TITAN (Total Information Tactical Awareness Networks) known as Myrmidon. Last known location of Yu was Locus station (handy coincidence?). The team was to find Tara Yu, recover her cortical stack if dead, and if necessary continue or assist her search for the missing hardware.
Doing a bit of snooping and asking around on the Locus social networks the group comes up with a couple of names, places and events:
- She got big favors from both Mason Wang and Morteza Bey
- She egocast several forks to Vishnukam station in Earth orbit looking for the Myrmidon fragments then egocast back to Locus after a month
- Yu also egocast to a station called Casa Arturo and borrowed a small spacecraft called the Kesyrah which is now several weeks overdue
- Yu used her connections to track down and talk to someone named Nia Zheng and was investigating the White Khanhs activities in the outer system. Yu took particular interest in their Song Cai Flower craft.
On research of the White Khanhs gang, a prominent strong-arm gang turned strange cult-wackos, Romanov was contacted by Patrona Vasquez, freelance magistrate of Nomic, asking if he needed anymore information on the Khanhs as she had a personal vendetta with them. Romanov eventually convinces her to give up her information on the Khanhs, the names of two of their members: Dexter Vo and Sammi Li as well as the name of their craft, the Song Cai Flower.
As for the information Patrona wants, Romanov wasn’t being too specific. Not being picky, Patrona accepts and has Romanov sign a standard information trade contract through Nomic (a contract law AI based on Extropia).
Meanwhile the other part of the group went off and tracked down Nia Zheng to an already on going party somewhere on Locus. Negotiations and small talk fail on Danny Greer as Nia Zheng is actually Sammy Li, hardened thug for the White Khanhs, who just also happens to be on the paranoid side when the Khanhs are mentioned. Greer does shadow her and two others to more private quarters while directing Grodd and Alquezar as to where they were heading. Before the group can do anything Zheng asks the two if they want to turn this party into a five-way. While Zheng was unconscious, Romanov does a little forknapping of Zheng and proceeds to interrogate her fork in a private simulspace. Zheng yields the location and schematics of the Flower, why she’s on the run (the Khanhs turned into a crazy cult!), how many Khanhs are on the Flower and which ones are dangerous.
The group then takes a rocket to Casa Arturo, then hopping rockets, on to the location of the Song Cai Flower. A routine scan by Grodd reveals an energy signature which later turns out to be the Kesyrah, cleverly camouflaged into the asteroid. On entering the Kesyrah they find the airlock open, and the place trashed. A busted Flexbot, and all sorts of debris floating about the cramped space of the ship, other than that, the Kesyrah’s systems aren’t damaged at all.
The group then did a little spacewalk to the Flower to see if they could get in. On physical contact with the ship, Grodd and Romanov discovered that the mesh signals reached just up to there. They both hacked in, to encounter that the system was being monitored by a security AI with serious glitches. Flirting with them instead of regarding them as threats. Grodd and Romanov proceeded to crash the AI and keep her offline, just to have a little privacy to do a little snooping. More or less their approach was unnoticed by the occupants of the ship, but then they weren’t anywhere near normal to Romanov’s detriment as things-that-should-not-be. Also uncovered through a search using an image recognition program footage of the last moments of Tara Yu. As pointed out by Alejandra, the one that was in Yu’s body wasn’t acting like the regular Yu, instead the man being lowered into a meat grinder would most likely be Tara Yu.
A plan came together, override the safety features on 3 separate airlocks and open them, infiltrate to the life support and plant a bomb, and shutdown the reactor.
Two drones get to the main airlock quickly in hopes to close it, Alejandra cuts them down quite easily in her surprise entrance. She then makes her way from the airlock in the docking spar, through the utility bay to the life support pod and plants a small demolitions charge to open up some windows. Seeing that the rest of the Khanhs (thanks to Romanov feeding her tactical data since he’s in the Song Cai Flower’s security) have fortified positions in an adjacent bay tosses a couple of grenades which are caught by a pair of drones (who get splattered). The Khanhs provide covering fire while one of the exurgents rushes her. Deflecting the charge of the exurgent, Alejandra then unloads a full burst at point blank with her SMG to the prone exurgent, killing it, a pot shot from Dexter Vo with a plasma rifle rips a new hole in her side. Thankfully maintaining consciousness, she tosses a few grenades at the Khanhs and seals the door while her implanted medichines work on the fresh wound and her vacsuit reseals.
While the Khanhs did have enough sense to don vacsuits, but 12 hours later they all suffocated. With their reactor down, they weren’t going anywhere as well. The team recovered the fragments and called for a clean up crew as the evidence of an exurgent virus was still around. Back at the Titan Autonomous University, the team got their commendations for a job well done from both Professor Ming and a revived Tara Yu.
While the gang didn’t investigate all the leads, in the end I did appreciate it since at the end of the session I was all tired out.
The forknapping incident was nowhere in the script, from experiences in play I learned that when this happens, just roll with it.
I’m glad I did spend extra effort on the preparation, it really does pay off when it minimizes the “GM loading screen” time. Index cards for the win.
If you have endurance problems, like I do when it comes to talking for a whole day, make sure to have whatever you need to help you through that. Coffee is worth its weight in gold.
I know I was a little rough for the session, I know I could have been better. But I felt like the times that I made it rough, I was smoothing over the gritty details of the setting.
I guess any other thoughts I’ll put in the comments. Thanks for reading and here’s to Eclipse Phase.