Steel Ships & Space Marines

Adventure 1: Replacement Miners (2000)


What it is, where it came from, and what I was smoking at the time :)

This space setting has been near-and-dear to me since the beginning of my GMing career. So, despite the disastrous results of the last attempt, it was inevitable that it would be revisited at some point. In addition, Aliens being my favorite movie of all time, it was also inevitable that the creatures would make an appearance in my Space game (a previous attempt, using a similar creature in a TempSol adventure, left me somewhat unsatisfied); this was my primary inspiration for the adventure.

This was intended from the start to be a single adventure that could possibly be extended afterward, depending on the ultimate results. I planned for two Sessions, about the length I thought a normal movie plot would take, though not specifically intended to be ”cinematic.” As was my way at the time, I combined the plots of two movies, Aliens and The Abyss, into one—I wanted that ”survival-horror movie” feel, and to instill a definite sense of mortality in the Players. I also had a rather large (that is, ”on screen” at once) ensemble of NPCs, as I intended this to be a more character-driven story.

Dramatis Personæ

Who played who, who they met there, and who tried to kill them

Player Characters

Trevor St. James (Phil)
Psi-Guild operative on the run; represented by Jason Carter (Ref:B5). The Player successfully managed to hide his abilities through the whole adventure.
Story: You've been running for a long time now, staying one step ahead of your pursuers. Right now, they may only want to forcibly take you back. If you spill any secrets about your Black Omega experience, they'll want you dead.or worse. Your last escape had brought you here, to Gateway Station. But, last night, you had another premonition, and quickly grabbed what you could and left, just before a bunch of MIBs stormed your apartment. Looking for a quick way off the station, you found a classified ad for a no-questions-asked mining job in the Colonies. You confirmed the job, and got on the next rail to the docks. Some time later, you arrived at your destination and stepped out of the railcar.
Stephen ”Steg” Richards (Esque)
Space-Marine escaped prisoner on the run; represented by ”Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Wielded a specially-made revolver chambered to fire the 10mm explosive-tipped caseless rifle round (standard light-armor piercing round; GURPS=Storm Rifle, UT2); could only hold 5 in the cylinder.
Story: What Sarge did to that girl was.just wrong! The Court Martial said that was no excuse for murdering a fellow soldier, and sentenced you to life at Fort Wincott, Texas. So close to home, yet so far away. While being transferred to a local transport at your would-be new home, you broke free from your guards and slipped away into the starport. You had to get away before they knew you were missing, so, after swinging by your emergency equipment stash, you stowed away on the first ship you saw that was leaving. Three jumps and 20 days later, you found yourself on Gateway Station, hungry and penniless. You think the authorities will have a hard time tracing you here, but you need money fast. You found the nearest terminal and punched up the classifieds. The best choice you found was a mining job leaving tomorrow, no questions asked. You confirmed the job, and took the next rail to the docks. Some time later, you arrived at your destination and stepped out of the railcar.
Steve Tulk (McNurlen)
White-collar thief, on the run; represented by Jerry Doyle (Ref:B5). Wielded a Plasma Blaster (that did splash damage; may have been illegal), and possessed a hand-portable multiscanner sensor unit.
Story: You and your partner, Spyder, brought the substantial sum you both embezzled from IBM to Gateway Station on a courier run. You put the money in an escrow account, to which you both have the only access numbers, while you waited for the next run back to HQ. You left the hotel to hang out at a local bar, and when you returned, you noticed that your partner had visitors. You snuck up to the door to eavesdrop, and discovered that Spyder had accidentally left some tell-tale DNA behind, and, from the sound of the shots being fired, that the IBM exec who's money you stole wasn't waiting for the justice system to take it's course. The assassins passed you on the way out, despite your best efforts to hide, but didn't seem to notice you, leading you to believe that you hadn't been connected to the theft.yet. You decided that you had better leave quickly, before the situation changes. You go to a terminal and look up the classifieds, settling on a no-questions-asked mining job in the Colonies. You confirmed the job, and got on the next rail to the docks. Some time later, you arrived at your destination and stepped out of the railcar.
”Scorpy” (Mark)
Space-pirate, on get the idea; represented by Mel Gibson (Ref:Probably LethalWeapon). Mildly(?) insane; DX:17, IIRC, and a crack shot with all manner of firearms. Note: Orignally, Robert Coleman was playing a Character named Daremo, but he failed to show for part 2 of the Adventure, and so was replaced by Mark's new Character when he returned from TDY mid-game.
Story: It is nearly a year after the breakup of the pirate group you were running with. Your brother Spyder insisted you split up with him for safety reasons, and you reluctantly did so. You haven't seen your brother since. You ended up working as a pilot for a small no-name mining operation in the Colonies. Although your memories are a bit fuzzy on the matter, you remember a space-bug infestation the likes of which you had never heard in the worst stories. Those things were fucking mean. Ended up wiping out nearly the entire mining crew. You remember being jumped by one of the bugs, and nothing after that. You wake up in an unfamiliar MedBay with a considerable pain in your gut. You have no idea how long you've been here, or what the ultimate fate of the mining colony was.

Major NPCs

The Outsiders:
  • Warrell (Michael Biehn w/ CG); Kyahnt captain of the Supernova Sunset.
  • Pierce Bullard (Joe Pantoliano, Ref: Matrix); replacement miner.
  • Ewan Evans (Sean Bean, Ref: Ronin); replacement miner.
  • Ulysses Monroe (Ref: ”Apoc”-Matrix); replacement miner.
  • Jet Rieger (Michael Jai White (Ref: Spawn)); replacement miner.
  • Tucker Lowman (Jason Lee, Ref: Dogma); replacement miner.
  • Mr. Jordan (James Morrison); corporate rep in charge of replacement miners, secretly an android.
  • Nazhakaare (CG, voiced by Alice cooper); Kazha engineer sent by company.
Station Crew & Mine Survivors:
  • Verona Hartley (Naomi Watts, Ref: Tank Girl); mine survivor, mechanic, found hiding in a locker in the mining complex.
  • Marty Szymansky (Morgan Freeman, Ref: Shawshank); refinery foreman.
  • Serenne Clevely (Ref: ”Doc”-Earth2); refinery Chief Engineer, de-facto medic.
  • Marcelle”Marcy”Petrik (Stellan Skarsgård, Ref: Ronin); refinery engineer.
  • Clifton Lee (Ref: ”Eddie”-BTiLC); refinery engineer.
  • Emmerson”Gadget”Halim (Ref:”Benny”-TheMummy); refinery electrical engineer.
  • Howard Hartley (Kris Kristoffersen, Ref: Blade); refinery Chief Maintenance Officer, Verona's father.
  • Luther Sullivan (Ref: ”Dozer”-Matrix); refinery maintenance tech, ex-boxer.
  • Elliot Strong (Leonard Roberts); refinery maintenance tech.
  • Parker Cannon (Steve Buscemi, Ref: Armageddon); refinery maintenance tech.
  • John Van Borderwijk (John Travolta, Ref: PulpFic); refinery maintenance tech, secret spike-junkie buying drugs from Benton.
  • Taylor Crogan (Ref: ”Corp”-Earth2); mine survivor, pilot.
  • Benton Cole (Brad Pitt, Ref: 12Monkeys); mine survivor, worker/backup pilot, suffering from AND-related dementia due to a secret spike habit.
  • Grant Russo (Brion James); mine survivor, ex-marine desk-jockey, acid-burned.


What I planned to do, and how I planned to do it

Once again, I opened the Character creation process with a classified ad:
As this was to be a primarily Character-driven story, I put a great deal of emphasis on the Characters' (PCs and NPCs) backgrounds and personalities. I allowed the Players to use their previous Characters if they so desired (although the previous events never happened), provided they re-think them to some extent; officially, only McNurlen kept his former Character, while Mark (who joined the game mid-Adventure) played his former Character's twin brother—the same, but not. I gave them 150CP to build the characters, once again allowing unlimited Disadvantages (with the admonition to not intentionally break the game ;)); in addition, I instructed them to build-in a need for large amounts of money and a desire to get away from their starting point, Gateway Station, ASAP. Once the Characters were nailed down, I wrote and handed out their ”kickoff stories” that tied them into the plot. In order to instill a sense of mortality among the Players, I announced at the beginning that I fully intended to kill at least one of them before the end of the Adventure; at a certain point in the Adventure, I announced that ”safeties are off,” letting them know that there would be no quarter given after that point.

This game pioneered the use of the Long Turns concept, and along with that, full pre-scripting of NPC activity during those Long Turns (though not necessarily combat), assuming no PC intervention. A number of NPC interactions were also scripted, fully or in part, to make the best of their personality development. This game also featured a precursor to what would become my organized Event structure. Both of these would be further developed in later campaigns. This was also the first time I ”leak-tested” a game before I ran it; I got a person who was not going to be playing the game to dry-run through the game events and tell me what he would do in these situations—I don't recall specifics, but I did catch a few plot holes this way, and plugged them before the real game started.

The first part of the Adventure, the ship's voyage and activities along the way, were designed to introduce the NPCs and give the PCs a chance to work together against a common enemy and develop a group bond/mechanic, since they had no prior connection to each other. During the first half, I went to great pains to give the Players no reason to suspect Mr. Jordan's true nature, and every reason to point the finger at Nazhakaare, when the time came, as the one who would inevitably betray them.

I did quite a lot of research for this Adventure. I got hold of the special-edition DVDs of both Aliens and The Abyss and not only watched them both multiple times, to get the feel of the action and plots, but I also pored over the additional material, getting a feel for the layout and makeup of their respective sets. The refinery in this adventure is almost an exact copy of the oil rig in The Abyss, and the mine facility shares a lot of similarity to the Hadley's Hope colony complex from Aliens. I designed both facilities, and recreated the floor plans of the Supernova Sunset, in Adobe Illustrator.


Where the Players went, who they saw, and what they conquered

Unfortunately, although I'm certain I wrote up a synopsis for this game, I can't find a single copy of it. There was a point where I was going to run this adventure again (when some new Players joined the group, and I was thinking about starting a secondary game-group), and I updated the adventure to my newer format and made some plot improvements—which means my notes don't match up to what happened. So, I'll summarize to the best of my memory:
  • Part 1: The Trip

    They started on Gateway Station, a busy neutral starport in Kyahnt space (the largest orbital facility in existence), near a bar across from the ship's dockhouse, where they encountered some of their coworkers-to-be. Some Joe named Robert Harding approached one of the PCs and mentioned that his company would be interested in purchasing any Ozrahdi technology that could recovered from the mine (the mine was orignally built by the Ozrahd, but later abandoned). They ended up getting hotels or sleeping in the dockhouse waiting area until the next morning, when the ship, the Supernova Sunset was to depart.
  • As the boarding call goes out, PCs meet the rest of their coworkers, Nazhakaare (AKA Nazha) and Mr. Jordan (who carries a number of cash-boxes in with him, and secures them—obviously the pay chest). (Kyahnt) Customs officials arrive and inspect PCs luggage and such.I believe some sweating was done, and some bribes were offered and accepted.
  • (Map of the Supernova Sunset) Trip is to take 12 days. Under way, all passengers are taken to the conference room and the rules are explained. Afterward, Mr. Jordan introduces himself and Nazha, and explains the mission; they are all being brought in under-the-radar by the Company to replace some striking union Elerium miners. They do some battle drills, and their part in defending the ship is spelled out for them. Administered by Nazha, they go through daily training sessions, VR simulations and testing, to prepare them for their upcoming jobs (IIRC, their testing check results determined the number of free CPs I gave them to spend on job-related skills). Along the trip, coworkers personalities are revealed through various interactions.
  • Mid-trip, as the ship stops at a particular system for a recharge-layover, the ship receives an assistance call from a nearby ship (their engines are dead, and they need a tow); captains are bound by law to assist. Cpt. Warrell calls for a boarding party, and admits he smells a trap; replacement miners are told by Mr. Jordan that the Company doesn't wish to risk its investment, but PCs go on the boarding party anyway. The Sunset docks with the stranded ship, and the party crosses over. As expected, a bunch of Tohre-Chi pirates leap out of ambush and attack, as seconds later, a Chi frigate appears on the Sunset's sensors, launching breaching pods. Being prepared for this eventuality, the party fights off the ambushers and retreats back to the Sunset, and they take off before the breaching pods can make contact. It is later mentioned that the Chi appear to be stepping up pirate activity in the Core; Mr. Jordan gives PCs an ”official” scolding, and unofficially congratulates them on their success.
  • Part 2: Arrival

    (Map of the Mine Complex) Workers arrive at their destination, the mining facility, and find it completely abandoned. There's a shuttle wreck to the east. The workers are dropped off, as Mr. Jordan continues on to the orbital refinery to intiate negotiations with the striking miners, remaining in radio contact, suggesting that the miners have probably relocated there. The workers set about their first task, a cursory inspection of the above-ground premises; Nazha directs the workers from the op-center, as the group splits up and explores, keeping radio/video contact. The physical evidence suggests a fight had occurred (including some melted patches here and there, theorized to have come from Bollann escaped-slaves (who often turn pirate, and have acidic blood) or flame-units. The general state of things suggests they left in a hurry and took all the weapons. Power plant is repaired, and power is restored, life-support and artificial gravity come online, and workers move their gear into the miners' quarters.
  • Once settled in, the team sets about gearing up for the job ahead, and cleaning up some of the mess left behind. Nazha checks runs diagnostics at operations and damage to the processor machinery at the mine entrance is indicated, and the primary drill is jammed further down the mine. The mine itself is about a half-mile down. While a group spends time repairing damage to the processor, another (including Steg, Trevor, Ulysses and Ewan) inspects the drill, to see if it can be freed; the group is unarmed, and maintains radio/video contact through Nazha, in operations. They proceed by buggy a mile or so down the mine tunnels, and see evidence of Ozrahdi tech along the way, as expected (though nothing that can be carried away). Upon reaching the drill, they find it has broken through a ”secret chamber” of some kind, and has jammed in. As they all squeeze past the jammed drill, they find themselves in the middle of an egg-farm straight out of the Alien movie(s). FacehuggersT attack; the NPCs get nabbed, Trevor discreetly TKs one into a wall, destroying it, while Steg struggles with another. In the process, they manage to drag the incapacitated NPCs back to the buggy, FacehuggersT in hot pursuit, and escape to the processor room. Trevor succeeds at his Spacer Lore check, and knows what they're in for.
  • Everyone is assembled in MedBay, and Nazha tells what he knows about these creatures from Ozrahdi lore, and calls to inform Mr. Jordan; he tells them to hold tight while he comes down from the refinery, having heard, but not believed until now, the story from the surviving miners. When Mr. Jordan arrives, the victims are to be placed in freezers, as they don't know whether or not they can be saved (nevermind that the Players know otherwise). Mr. Jordan gives the evacuation order, telling the workers to bring everything that can be salvaged. As the victims are being placed in cryo-stasis, Trevor, in an act of mercy and/or self-preservation, telekinetically closes off the carotid artery of one of the victims (he couldn't see the other at the time) and kills him.
  • As they're packing up, they discover a catatonic girl, Verona, jammed into a locker (or medical freezer?); Trevor is the first to interact with her, and afterward she seems more confortable with him. Trevor discreetly scans her with his telepathic abilities, and sees visions of horror, dark creatures and violence; he keeps this to himself.
  • Mid-operation, the power cuts off; lights and artificial gravity sputter out, plunging the facility to its natural .5G and total darkness. A frantic fighting-retreat begins, as the AliensT assault the facility. PCs and NPCs fight for their lives. Tulk's portable sensor pack chirps incessantly, indicating incoming threats. Red low-power lights eventually kick in. NPCs die horribly. Nazha panics, and bolts for the ships and locks the door behind him, just as everyone else reaches it; PCs cut through, while some NPCs try to go around. The group enters the hangar area and finds that Nazha hasn't succumbed totally to cowardice and fear, and is waiting in the remaining carry-all, having already fired it up. They take off, and head for the refinery. Only a few survive; the PCs, Verona (who has regained her senses, for the most part), Nazha and Tucker (IIRC).
  • Part 3: In Orbit

    (Map of the Orbital Refinery) On approach to the refinery, the foreman, Marty, takes the comm and argues against anyone from the mine being allowed entry into the station. Mr. Jordan convinces him otherwise, and the carry-all docks. The mine survivors approach the replacements and inquire as to why they are here; they are understandably upset at the ”miscommunication” that resulted in the Company sending scabs and a negotiator rather than a rescue party and exterminators; they believe the victims should be put out of their misery. Once settled in, Marty calls everyone present into the mess area for a meeting. Sometime around this point, Scorpy wakes up in the medbay, and joins the crew. After the cursory introductions, he presents the unpleasant business of releasing the victims to space, against Mr. Jordan's legal objections; a secret vote is called for (GM: the Players participated by indicating their votes on a piece of paper), and is nearly (save for Mr. Jordan) unanimous in favor of spacing the victims. The freeze-tubes are moved to an airlock, and Marty gives a moving eulogy as a zero-G work rig, piloted by Marcy, slings them toward the planet. Tensions on board are obviously high, as interactions with the NPCs reveal their personalities; some workers nearly come to blows, as they all realize the hopelessness of the situation, and Benton's insanity is demonstrated. Benton makes an ineffectual pass at Verona, who confides to Trevor that he has been attempting to bed her since she got here.
  • A vibration alarm goes off in the control room, believed to be a part of the refinery come loose again (apparently a normal part of life on the aging station, not that the Players believed it). Gadget pilots an ROV to the affected area and spots multiple creatures banging on the equipment, apparently in an attempt to find a way in (they have climbed from the ground to the orbital refinery station via the umbilical communications sky-cable that connects it to the mine complex). Marty authorizes the unlocking of the arms lockers, and everyone gears for a fight (except Benton, who is not allowed). Knowing the Supernova Sunset is in the system, they decide that it must be contacted ASAP, and the station must be abandoned. They discover to their dismay that their communication gear is not working; nothing is wrong with the electronics, but Gadget finds, via the ROV, that the connection has been ”melted.” Nazha, being the best engineer and better suited to zero-G, is ”volunteered” to go fix the problem. Other volunteers are called for to go along; the PCs answer the call along with Parker, Luther, and Marcy and John piloting the zero-G work-rigs.
  • They ride hanging onto the outside of the two work-rigs to the affected site. Nazha's physiology allows him to go without a vacc-suit; he gets a keypad to communicate with. They arrive at the site and Nazha gets to work. Marcy pilots his rig around to recon a bit, and returns with a new friend (AlienT); as a result of the badly-botched attempt to remove the creature, both rig-pilots are dead, one rig destroyed and the other heavily damaged; PCs dodge rigs, parts and acid-blood (Trevor uses telekinesis to nudge a rig out of the way). Nazha decides the damage to the comm connection is irreparable, and according to his professional opinion, looks to have been deliberately cut. Nazha is convinced by the others to continue ”on foot” to the communications tower to patch in manually, and the operation continues. The call is made, and answered; ETA 10 hours. A number of bugs are killed along the way there and back. Parker is nearly lunched by one as they enter the airlock on their return, but Trevor TKs it away (still without being spotted doing so).
  • The finger of blame is pointed directly at Benton, accusing him of being affected by AND. He denies it. Mr. Jordan takes him aside and ”negotiates.” They return, and Benton is less sure he didn't do it. Benton is kept under guard.
  • Part 4: Rescue

    Everyone tries to get some sleep. Tulk, being paranoid, decides to remain awake. At some point during the ”night,” Nazha convinces the guard (John at the time) to let him talk to Benton, claiming to not trust Mr. Jordan. Bugs start banging on the airlock, having apparently figured out where the people were hiding, but are unsuccessful in breaking through. Tulk is awake when the oxygen is mysteriously turned down, and he passes out.
  • Everyone comes to to find a carry-all leaving the station, and Benton and Verona are missing. Mr. Jordan, who also succumbed to oxygen deprivation, recalls that Benton had mentioned a ”sacrifice.” PCs make for the remaining carry-all, and Howards insists on going along; Crogan is ”convinced” to join them and fly it. They keep up with Benton, though he has a significant head-start, and arrive at the mine complex, once again.
  • Benton is spotted on one of the buggies at the other end of the complex, heading for the elevators, and everyone gives chase (Crogan remains on the carry-all). Scorpy attempts to shoot Benton off the buggy, but is prevented by Howard, who is unconvinced of his shooting ability and is unwilling to risk his daughter (the other PCs prevent Scorpy from shooting Howard for interfering). They must take the personnel elevator to the mine, as Benton has taken the cargo elevator, and arrive at the processor area at nearly the same time. Benton backs out with a gun to Verona's head. As they follow cautiously, they see that the processor has been made into a new nest; some of their former coworkers are present, webbed in and wearing FacehuggersT. Benton attempts to ”negoatiate” with an inquisitive-looking AlienT, and throws Verona down in front of it. Standoff. Verona is catatonic again, and now has a white streak in her hair. Howard sacrifices himself to save Verona, the shooting starts, Benton gets lunched, and the PCs make a fighting retreat out of the area (GM: At this point, I announced that ”safeties are off.”). After much running and firing and screaming (and Steg taking splash damage from an inconveniently-placed plasma blaster charge ;)), they make it back to the hangar. Crogan takes a second or two to open up, claiming he saw one of the creatures mucking about the ship.
  • Part 5: Back In Orbit

    In orbit, the RCS system fails (a quirk of this carry-all model), and they are unable to maneuver as they head straight for the refinery. PCs and Crogan manage to vent the carry-all's atmosphere enough to stop it short, and they must all EVA to the station; not enough vacc-suits are present, and one is passed back to the carry-all for the last person to cross (with a little telekinetic help)—Steg nearly cold-shirts it across, before the idea to pass the suit back to the ship is worked out.
  • Immediately, it becomes known that Serenne and Elliot are locked in MedBay with a couple of FacehuggersT, and already grappling with them. PCs hack through the door and rescue them in short order. Mr. Jordan shows up and notices an oily film on the door that points at Nazha being responsible. Nazha claims that Mr. Jordan is an android—a ”cleaner”—and is under Company orders to return a specimen. To defend himself, Mr. Jordan cuts his hand, revealing red human blood. At the same time as Tulk scans Mr. Jordan with his sensor pack and determines the truth himself, Nazha attacks Mr. Jordan and cuts him, revealing white android blood (the other being a subdermal blood pack). Mr. Jordan produces a folding laser submachine gun and performs a fighting retreat that results in the death and/or injury of a number of NPCs. PCs give chase. Scorpy recklessly attempts to shoot Mr. Jordan as he flees, but his weapon overheats (and burns him a bit as it vents). Tulk misses Mr. Jordan but splashes Luther, setting him afire and killing him. As the smoke clears, Mr. Jordan is gone, but there is a blood trail.
  • Mr. Jordan has managed to lock himself in the control room. Gadget, in hiding in the control room, informs everyone by comm that Mr. Jordan is screwing with the controls, and gets himself killed in an attempt at heroism. Too late, as Mr. Jordan slags the controls with his laser and escapes through the upper-level access hatch, and secures it. PCs go around, and find him hidden in a computer-core access hatch; [PC] wins a quick showdown with him, taking some fire in the process, and the android is destroyed. Everyone is satisfied that he was the saboteur all along.
  • Part 6: Hell Breaks Loose

    Mr. Jordan has set the refinery's tanks to vent, and the stationrocks and rolls its way into a rapidly decaying orbit; NPCs are killed as it accelerates, and the station starts to come apart. The solar panels are damaged by the acceleration, and power begins to fluctuate. The venting stops, but too late to save the station—it's going down; they only have an hour or so, and the Supernova Sunset is already 30 minutes late. The crew trys to get the backup generators working, so they can stabilize the station. A nasty wind kicks up as alarms sound—a hull breach. The station's compartmentalization system cuts off the breach. The crew tries to disconnect from the umbilical, but damage prevents it. At some point, Tulk manages to secure Mr. Jordan's cash boxes. Through the chaos, escaping atmosphere, fire, smoke, flying debris, falling structures and AlienT intruders, the Sunset makes an appearance, and rather than allowing it to attempt to dock with the station, everyone (still alive) EVAs out to it. Safely aboard, a Chi destroyer is spotted moving to intercept the Sunset; Cpt Warrell successfully bluffs them into going after the mineral-rich mine complex, and then departs.


What went right, what went wrong, and lessons learned

Ultimately, this Adventure was a success, though not without its difficulties.

The Characters worked out; they were still a bit too ”evil” for my tastes—Steg was the only truly ”good” person in the party—but it didn't achieve the level of unmanageability that the previous Adventure did. Scorpy was the stand-out exception, unnecessarily risking (and taking, at times) the lives of the NPCs—no doubt, the Player was role-playing his Character concept, but I wasn't quite prepared for it. Trevor was a little quicker to take a life than I was comfortable with, but once again, the Player was role-playing his Character concept, and I can't really fault that. There were also a number of heated arguments between myself and some of the Players (*coughmark*) that should have been managed better. I believe my attempt to instill a sense of mortality in the Players (by announcing my intent to kill one of them) did what I intended, but I failed to deliver on that threat (maybe I could've tried harder)—to date, for good or ill, I have yet to either kill or seriously injure a PC.

My attempt to leak-test the game proved to be a good idea, as I ran into far fewer plot problems during the course of the Adventure than I tended to otherwise (including later Adventures/Campaigns where I was unable to leak-test).

Some specific issues:
  • This early event structure worked well enough that I continued to refine the process, although I felt (though I can't confirm how the Players felt about it) that I was railroading the Players a bit too much.
  • My use of event scripting seemed to work well enough, and accomplished the purpose I intended of displaying the personalities of the Characters involved. I continued to try this technique in later games, but although it tended to work well, it also tended to be far too much work.
  • Using Long Turns in a combat situation seemed to work pretty well as executed, and I continue to use that system to date, even in GURPS 4e. Whether the Players agree or not, I never felt I had achieved the combat ”feel” I was shooting for, so I was a little disappointed with the results.
  • In Part 6, the station crashing down and people running around trying to fix it was a great dramatic device, but as was also evidenced in later games, doesn't work well in gaming, as Players tend to find themselves with nothing to do—I did what I could to get them involved in the recovery process, but these situations tend to reduce GMing to merely reading off what happens. In my second attempt at running this Adventure years later (when the group changed enough to allow it), I changed this scenario to have the Chi destroyer show up earlier and the Chi pirates board the station, giving the PCs a little more to shoot at while dodging the debris.
This was only my second (sort of) use of the AliensT franchise. Although the game worked out, and fun was had, the Players have since forbidden me from ever using them again—that doesn't mean I wont, though. ;)

GMs Only

Downloads forthcoming.

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