Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Actual Play Recap - Numenera Fiasco Playset - Playtest #2

Hi folks, instead of a story seed today I have an actual play recap for you. I hope you enjoy.
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Last week I had +Craig Stokes  and +Scott Robinson join me in a Google Hangout to playtest my in-works Numenera Fiasco playset. The following is a brief recap of this second playtest session; to read the first go here.

Dramatis Personae:
  • Gartho - an assassin down on his luck, he uses an artifact to access the datasphere and gets a job hunting down a robot with green eyes from a data-being known as Medda
  • Philan - a rival of Gartho's with a blue head, his "brother" is a robot with green eyes, Philan once killed a target of Gartho's, he is motivated to destroy numenera that might harm his brother
  • Logan - an AI in a robot body with glowing green eyes who was "raised" with Philan, at the start of the story he is hiding out in ruins outside of Nihliesh in a chamber full of malfunctioning robots, when the facility becomes unsafe he flees and becomes target for Gartho

Act 1

Scene 1:
Gartho, down on his luck and looking for work, delves into the datasphere using an artifact. His attempts cause him to contact a data-being (god?) calling itself Medda by accident. Medda hires him for a job to retrieve a packet of data from a robot with glowing green eyes.
Scene 2:
Philan finds Logan in a chamber full of malfunctioning robots in some ruins outside of Nihliesh, and attempts to convince his “brother” he is in danger. Logan admits to gleaning many facts from the data sphere but does not know why people would be looking for him aside from knowledge of a mutagen. Unconvinced Logan refuses to leave.
Scene 3:
Later, Philan and Logan are repairing some of the robots when explosions rock the ruins. They attempt to flee and end up in the wilderness. The ruins are in shambles and the army of robots damaged or destroyed. They head to Nihliesh as their only alternative.
Scene 4:
Gartho hunts for a stun cypher in Nihliesh to help him capture the robot with glowing green eyes. While talking with a contact he spies Philan in the same market area. The broker agrees to get the device for Gartho for two purses full of shins.
Scene 5:
Philan attempts to smuggle Logan into Nihliesh, which is not friendly to AI of any kind. Unfortunately while trying to produce documentation the wrappings hiding Logan’s nature fall away and the guards try to halt them. In the confusion Logan and Philan are able to get onto the lift to the city, though not unnoticed.
Scene 6:
Immediately after Logan and Philan reach the top of the lift they flee the guards. Logan uses a cypher to knock out two guards but a third pursues them doggedly.  They duck into a safehouse where they hide successfully from his search

TILT - Mayhem - magnificent self destruction


Act 2

Scene 1:
In the safe house Logan begins to malfunction, claiming to be intruded by something in the data sphere. His eyes suddenly go red and some kind of weapon begins to power up. Philan tries to help but the hacked AI fired a beam of red energy that kills a bystander, as Philan flees.
Scene 2:
Shortly after Philan runs into Gartho in the street. The two argue about the prior contract and Philan asks Gartho if he took a contract on his brother. Gartho says no, unaware that the robot he seeks is in fact Philan's brother. Philan's attempts to call him off his job but instead makes Gartho aware that his target is in the city. Gartho pushes Philan out into the market and goes to confront the robot.
Scene 3:
Gartho connects to the data sphere seeking information about Logan's location.  He is connected to Medda who assures him that target is close and he will be handsomely rewarded.
Scene 4:
Logan corners Philan in the bowels of Nihliesh at the same time as a group of guards. The guards try to intervene but Logan, still apparently malfunctioning, kills one and attempts to kill another. Philan nobly interposes himself between Logan and the guard. Regaining some measure of control Logan begs Philan to flee, knowing that he is losing himself, and his only recourse it to self destruct. Philan refuses knowing that Logan can control himself, but as they argue it becomes clear that Logan is dead set to destroy himself. Philan is forced to leave Logan to his fate. The robot explodes, apparently destroyed.
Scene 5:
Flashback - Philan and Logan in their childhood. Philan and Logan argue about who gets to explore a ruin first. As they get angry Logan's eyes begin to flash red. Philan runs telling his brother that since only he knows where the ruins are he will be first, but logan intercepts him with a force field knocking his brother out. The red eyed Logan regains control before killing his brother with an energy weapon, and awakens his brother.
Scene 6:
Gartho finds Philan shortly after his brother's explosive demise, and demands to know where Logan is. The two argue and Gartho learns that Logan destroyed himself.  His job ruined, Gartho tries to attack Philan but finds his rival is a only a hologram, who taunts him, "I'm always two steps ahead!"

Aftermath

The aftermath is a series of very short scenes that show what happens to each character afterwards.
Gartho becomes obsessed with killing Philan and descends into madness as he seeks revenge.
Philan, now a broken man, wanders back to the ruins where he found Logan in the days prior to his death. 
Logan's consciousness awakens in the data sphere as a program meant to drive users insane. 
Gartho tormented by the data-being Logan has become, tries and fails repeatedly to locate and kill Philan.  
An older Philan sitting in the same ruins where he found Logan years before is tinkering with a robot.
Logan accesses a remote memory of his brother which drives him mad. The madness makes him target family relations, destroying them. 
Many years later Gartho, living in bowels of Nihliesh, has becoming horribly mutated by the chemicals found there. He still wishes he had killed Philan, but can only now live in pain and torment.
Surrounded by a small army or repaired robots, Philan activates a console in the ruins producing a familiar green glow for a moment. The glow turns to red as the robots all focus on Philan with red glowing eyes. 
Logan’s data ghost regains his memories and sanity only to be punished by the data-god Medda by having to watching his brother die repeatedly for all eternity.
Philan turns to the camera his eyes glowing red, and he begins to laugh with the voice of the data-god Medda. 
Fade To Black
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I think this session went really well. The new GM Intrusion mechanic worked well enough, but I think I need to tinker with it a little more. During after-play discussion Craig suggested that I remove cyphers from the Objects table and instead simply give each character one cypher for use during play. I think this is a great suggestion and will be making a simplified cypher table (based on d6s with 36 total options) for use with this playset.

Thanks again to +Craig Stokes and +Scott Robinson  for joining me and providing good ideas and feedback both during play and after. And thanks to +Spazmo Rogue for joining us partway through and playing some NPCs.