Gateway 2015: Saturday

Saturday 9am-1:45pm: Happy Jacks Presents: Journey of the Savage Six

GM: Bill Roper
System: Legend of the Five Rings
Players included me, Howie, Bruce, Kris, Kurt, Michael H...

First off, some pretty mean presentation. The table was organized with mat, nice character sheets, the Code of the Bushido, a Japanese-style coin necklace and fan (both symbolic, and necessary in our horribly inconsistently air conditioned con).


Never played L5R, so really wanted to check it out. And besides which I've only played with Bill once, and it was ridiculously amusing. L5R is a setting that emulates a psuedo Japan culture, but with magic and "taint" (i.e. evil stuff). Bill described the setting as like a Japan with a Wall of Westeros in the south, beyond which is horribly bad Japan-demon stuff.

We were the Savage Six, an eclectic mix of bad asses that work for our daimyo. Oh ya, and Bill's setting had all of us be Orcs. Japanese fantasy Orcs. 

All said, it was a fun game, with a great mix of interesting personalities, and I got to see how the mechanics flowed. Probably not a go-to system for me, but I liked certain elements. Still don't know too much about how honor works and such, but it was a teaser.

The game ran a little late, and so 45 minutes past the hour gave us enough time to order a pizza for mid-game scarfing in the next session...

Friday 2pm-6:30pm: The Stellar Eagle

GM: Scott Martin
Players: me, Howie, Sinh, James (and Scott) 

This is my second time playing a game designed by Ben Robbins (the other being Microscope). I was very much looking forward to it, and was not disappointed. Scott was a great GM. He would refer to the book here and there, but it was mostly to ensure we were hitting everything in the correct order, and didn't detract from the pace. Additionally I'd highly recommend the system; it's of the GM-less variety (such as Microscope, The Quiet Year, and those by postworldgames).

Kingdom is played as an exploration of a large group of people. In our case we would explore The Stellar Eagle, Earth's first colonizing vessel. The year is 2032, resources are getting scarce, and we have just enough Rhenium (fuel) to make 3 jumps. There is one world we've sent probes to (but never living organisms), and one that we haven't (but it looks promising), and then maybe a last jump to make it back home. That sounds like a good, desperate start.

We start by defining our characters, their roles, wishes, fears, and issues. And also whether they are Power (deciding what the kingdom does), Perspective (foresee consequences), or Touchstone (reflects how the people feel). We get:

  • James as Liam Thomas, the de facto spiritual leader [Touchstone]
  • Sinh as Pablo Reynholme, the Chief Agriculturalist [Power]
  • Howie as S.E.R.A., the only Genetically Modified Being (GMB) aboard. [Perspective]
  • Tomer (me) as Nova Arenas, the Chief Psychology Officer, one of the only who can supersede the captain. [Perspective]
  • Scott as Captain Bryce Miller, the captain of the ship. [Power]
Howie, Sinh, Scott, and James. Conflicts abound!

Howie, Sinh, Scott, and James. Conflicts abound!

We then define places on the ship where scenes will occur:

  • The Scout Bay (a crowded space with our only two scout ships)
  • S.A.N.E. (the psychology bay)
  • The Garden (higher level food production)
  • The Food Vats (fecal recycling)
  • The Spiritual Center (ad hoc space with an ad hoc minister)
  • The Crypt (friendly nickname for the small capsule like beds)

The next hours was a great session that consisted of two Crossroads (dilemmas):

  • There is an epidemic of what we refer to as Mindbreak, a series of psychological issues that appear to get even worse when quarantined. Should we quarantine the sick?
  • There are production problems induced by bugs in the ship's code that threaten the amounts of food and radioactive meds. Fixing the problem may correlate with higher incidents of Mindbreak. Should we fix the bugs?

All in all, an excellent little game, with lots of intrigue and politics. I just love how everyone had all sorts of directions to take it, and the end results is just a fracturing of anything resembling order and sanity, but definitely resembling society and pressure. We didn't even get to the outside of the solar system to take our first jump, but there was already great mayhem, as Mindbreak started showing some violent side effects. Or maybe it was just the Twankie bars. Our archaeologist died, but a vote was taken, and player majority ruled that the ship would survive the riots. Oh, did I forget to mention that our GMB started reproducing with the human crew? I did remove Directive 12, which allowed it to interact with the crew, so I guess it was only a matter of time.

Some other players echoed the sentiment that I also feel: this is a game you'd like to play over a number of sessions, as there is just so much meat in it.

There are a number of big differences from Microscope, for those that have played. In this one you actually play a specific character. Also, the story is pretty much told sequentially, so everyone is somewhat on the same page, as far as the story line.

I don't know that I'd play it in a con again (except to teach it as a GM, which I would enjoy!). I just think it would work better if there was 10 hours to play. Not that there is anything wrong with starting a story that just has to end.

Friday 8pm-11:30pm: Saving Throw Presents The Death of Sally Strike

GM: Wes Otis
System: Call of Cthulhu 7th Ed.

  • Denys Mordred as Dr. James Foxworth (my love interest)
  • Howie as Harold Dean (FBI Specialist; the "Mulder" character), or as kpop33 on the paranormal forums
  • me as Jordana Klein (FBI; the "Scully" character)
  • Dimitri as Dallas Gasnet (P.I. and porn enthusiast)
  • drop-in (forgot her name, but she was great) as Samantha See (Paranormal expert; or is that charlatan?)
  • (damn, name?) as Jonny Davidson (NYPD)

Wes always runs a fun game. Everyone had a blast running around, getting on each others nerves (player or character, sometimes it's hard to tell!), and mismanaging the situation in such a great manner. We probably annoyed the shit out of the neighboring table (sometimes you are on the receiving end, sometimes you dish it out). Drinks were had, and in the end, the Mi-gos won and took over the world in one long blast of grey, oozy pudding.

"Ashley Jackson has shit on me. Literally." - Dimitri as Dallas Garnett (P.I.)

"Ashley Jackson has shit on me. Literally." - Dimitri as Dallas Garnett (P.I.)

Saturday midnight - 3am: Dread: Mad Max Fury Road (the circus)

So, what's to do on Saturday night, when you know you won't make your Sunday morning game? PLAY MORE!

GM: me
System: Dread
Players: Man, there were so many! 8 players: Howie, Sinh, Dak, Sean, Mario, Dimitri, dude and girlfriend (crap, names!?)

  • Howie as ? and ?
  • Sinh as Pickel Bob and Bay Boy
  • Dak as Jumbo and ?
  • Sean as Tannish and Lango
  • Mario as ? and ?
  • Dimitri as I.R. (Irritated Rectum, aka Errr)
  • Dude as Jonny and Galla
  • Dudette as Gabriel and ?

8 is a lot of players. If you had asked me ahead of time if I'd imagine that, I'd have said there was no way. But it worked so well. I gave them each 2 characters, and we had a tribe of 16.

They decided to be nomads, who travel the wastes for spoils. But they do have hidden caches where they store gear. And oh shit, they have a huge circus carnival truck! I'm guessing it's something like this, but who knows what was in their heads:


They want a gun turret up on top, and some sort of mortar / grenade launcher. Well, pulls start happening all over the place... this stuff doesn't come cheap. And a few have their own little vehicles. A car here, a pair of bikes there. Well, the tower already falls early, and one of Dimitri's characters is on the chopping block. I don't take him just yet. What are the names of these lovely individuals? Something like Tomer's Travelling Circus. Thanks, you lovely bastards.

They have two unfriendly neighbors. One is the Skull Shiners, which are cannibals and to be avoided. The others wear masks and are called the Wheelers. 

And guess what? They just got back to one of their caches and someone ran off with their shit! They find a cracked mask, and also a cigarette butt (I guess there are still a few?) on the floor, and it's still smoking. And it was their old tribemate, Leroy, who betrayed them.

Looking out the cave they can see the culprits driving off in the distance. The tribe gets halfway down the hill, on the chase, when they hear an explosion behind them. Dimitri's character on the bike explodes. It was time to cash in that check.

They are consumed by the chase, take down some of the masked folk, but these are the stragglers on bikes. Far ahead they see the car with Leroy. They strap their one surviving prisoner to the top of the circus truck, and one of Howie's characters crawls up and starts torturing her for information. Turns out there is a trap ahead. A canyon with rocks up above to drop on pursuers.

They are starting to catch the car, but it's reached a huge peninsula that stretches for miles, and it's started climbing up the road that heads up the peninsula. That's mask territory. They book it, and start catching the car, but guns are blazing, and friends and foes fall. They can't catch it before they start into a canyon, and KABOOM, it's raining boulders. More fall, but it's all happy endings, as they catch Leroy and smash his car to bits.

What? 3am already? Damn.