Sunday Night Gaming has a family squabble


Last session knocked off with the rescue of Walt’s daughter Ever, a girl who had her life shortened via genetic engineering. This session opened with a cut scene, in which the players saw a group of Xenari soldiers (those are the aliens who tried to commit genocide against the human race) found the body of the Xenari scientist our team interrogated and then… ahem… executed in cold blood.

In our defense, he was a big jerk.

Sadly, the alien soldiers didn’t seem all that pleased to find his corpse and the scanning devices they used promised to be quite advanced.

Action came up for the PCs with the party split. Evan (our resident mad scientist/anti-alien war hero or terrorist depending on your POV/Xenari executioner) was out of the party due to player illness. Finlay had returned and was sorting through her newly-acquired alien tech, trying to figure out what she could get for them. Walt retired to his home (which, seriously? Rich guys take out a contract on your life and you take your kid to your house?) with his daughter. Travis, for his part, had requested a meeting with his industrialist father and now found himself on a shuttle heading for an orbiting space station.

Ever began to get sick, running a high fever and experiencing quite a lot of pain. Walt shortly began to show similar symptoms, but with added nosebleeds. He called Finlay and she rushed over to help. As the two of them began to show increasingly severe symptoms, an X-Agg hit squad showed up and began shooting at them through the walls.

Finlay immediately used her sorcery leet hacker skillz to take over their mech, lock out the pilot, and start opening fire. (“im in ur mech killing ur doodz.”) As an aside, if I ever get a mech of my own, I’m pulling the modem first thing. Fuck those firmware updates.

At the same time, the NPC who serves as Ever’s babysitter and one of Finlay’s errand runners panics and bolts out the back door, heedless of the warning that here are more troops out back. In the meantime, gunmen breach the front door with a small grenade.

Walt, feeling as though his head is going to explode, charges out into the street and promptly blows up like a blockbuster bomb.

At the same time, Travis is being looked after by a high-orbit cyborg hottie working the severe librarian/corporate raider thing. Also bodyguards. Who are not there to protect him.

The rules of the shuttle and the station quickly become clear. Flute of fancy champagne? No problem. Have two. Sidearm taken from him at launch? Not happening.

Travis’s father–also the head of Roman Industries–has a fancy glass-wall office in the space station that overlooks the Earth. Also: two bad-ass bodyguards. Travis wants his dad to speak to Travis’s older brother about the contract on Walt’s life. He has also prepared an video documenting the murder of a scientist and his whole family by X-Agg troops, the revelation by the Xenari scientist that our “friendly” alien helpers actually intend to use us as hosts for their parasitic uber-villains, and something else, too, probably. Annoyingly, dear old dad has images of the teammates that Travis so carefully edited out of his video, and it’s clear the images came from Travis’s memory downloads. Annoying!

Unfortunately, things get worse. Dear Old Dad is way more hostile than might be expected of a (presumably) favored child with flexible ethics who turned into a democracy activist, and Travis outright asks him if he has a parasite inside him.

Oh, +3 Empathy! How useful you turned out to be. A decent roll and high skill lets Travis catch a moment of surprise and panic when the Shinkara parasite betrays himself.

Dear Old Body-Snatcher Dad signals to his bodyguards, who draw their weapons. Travis immediately says: “If they shoot me, the bomb will go off.”

Have I mentioned that Travis has the aspect “The truth is whatever serves the greater good”? And that he has a stunt that let’s him do Provoke attacks (essentially mental/Will attacks) if he tells a lie? The rest of the team knows not to trust a thing he says in a crisis situation, but when he looks the alien in the eye and says “Did you think I’d come up here unarmed?” (which he totally did) “I knew you wouldn’t let me bring my sidearm. Have you already forgotten the people I’ve been hanging around with?”

The Shinkara quickly decide that he’s not bluffing and that’s the end of the family reunion. A +4 roll combined with a +4 Rapport lets Travis convince them he’s not actually a threat, not to his own family and he’s allowed to leave.

FATE! It’s the only game I’ve ever played where I could talk my way out of a shooting I so richly deserved.

Back on Earth, he catches news reports of an explosion that leveled three city blocks in (one of the many) poor parts of the city. He also gets a call from the NPC babysitter to meet at a safe house. Once there, he discovers that Walt has had what would have been called a “radiation accident” in Champions: someone on a forum somewhere suggested that his duplication superpower was, as my son would say, Oh Pee, and so he’s reconfigured himself as a guy who shoots energy blasts.

Ever, the five-yo Gen-En experiment, has aged two years overnight. Physically, that is, not mentally.

Finlay lays some extra encryption on Travis’s downloadable memory and some general first aid is passed around. Then Finlay does some hacking and uncovers the truth about the Genesis Project, which is rumored to be the only thing that could save Walt and Ever’s life. It turns out to be a Shai’lun technology that will restore a person to perfect health, presumably for the benefit of the Shinkara parasite.

It’s also decided that we need to get our hands on one of those parasites. The most feasible solution to the alien plot is some sort of biological weapon–a vaccine or virus–that would make humans unsuitable hosts for the Shinkara parasites. With luck, we would free the Shai’lun as well. The team becomes pretty excited about this as a solution in which no one has to be killed.

Those are the two main objectives: Genesis Project healing for the little girl (and Walt if he’s ready to give up his powers) and a parasite.

Since no one is enthusiastic about Travis’s plan to drop a neutron bomb on an X-Agg facility and search it for intel on Genesis, we quickly decide that the latter is more feasible as a short-term goal. There is one Shai’lun/Shinkara NPC in the game so far, Gerlik, a low-level worker who is friends with Finlay. We’d originally approached him to ask about the alien hard drive/mcguffin, which he told us was incredibly dangerous but couldn’t identify. Finlay contacted him again, and Travis lied explained that they still hadn’t figured out what the device was, but people kept trying to kill us and take it. Would Gerlik be willing to buy it from us for ten grand?

Why yes he would! We made a show of being paranoid and arranged to meet him at a remote gas station. Walt went way out in the terrain with a sniper rifle, Finlay stays in reserve inside the station, and Travis approaches Gerlik with a suitcase bomb. He shows it, but before he can say “No one needs to get hurt here,” Gerlik does a bit of hurting, zapping him with some form of psychic blast and then karate kicking Travis in the throat.

Aliens. They work out.

Walt and Finlay decide that shooting would be a bad idea, because this is a decision you make after your whole plan was to establish an opportunity to shoot the bad guys. Finlay saves Travis further ass-whooping and Walt uses his energy blast to knock Gerlik out.

Success! Travis recovers enough to ask where we’re going to do the autopsy, but the others give him the stink eye. Oh yeah. Win without killing.

Next week, Evan the mad-scientist and Finlay the alien-tech specialist will need to do an examination of the prisoner. We’ll see where it goes after that.

If you’re a FATE gamer who’s new to the blog, you should know there’s a reward level in my Kickstarter for a FATE Core writeup of the setting of my new trilogy. It’ll contain a magic write up, notes on culture, and at least one adventure. Check out the link below or try the sample chapters.