I’ll say it up front: I was a bit disappointed with last night’s session.
With only two sessions until the end of the term (and thus the end of the game until September) I developed a fairly simple plot that I thought would be interesting. I also felt that if it wasn’t possible to resolve in two weeks then it was likely to give a good opportunity for a cliffhanger ending.
I delayed the start of the game a little in the hope that my absent player would arrive. Sadly, he didn’t.
Despite that the beginning of the session went quite well as the group was sleeved in Infomorphs to meet with Mr Poe and discuss the mission. Thanks to the various resleeving rolls a couple of the group suffered fairly crippling levels of stress that they needed to deal with. This was exacerbated by Lack because the copies that had been instantiated were the most recent backups that they had sent at Firewall’s request.
One of my players was badly afflicted with hay fever and was very quiet as a result but we otherwise got a good amount of roleplaying in here as the players acted their characters’ Traumas and Lack.
Next Poe outlined their mission. They were to assist Carmen Santorini in the investigation of a potential Iktomi relic on an exoplanet named Sumac. From communication with the surviving Iktomi egos that the group rescued from an ark ship in a previous mission, Firewall came to understand that the Iktomi fell much the same way we did: as the result of a hard takeoff singularity.
So they were faced with the potential for a completely alien intelligence rivalling or equalling a TITAN in scope, making this a priority mission.
We spent another half an hour or so going through morph choices and making the final preparations for the mission. Harry met Santorini and almost immediately formed a rivalry with her; this was highly entertaining.
They finally passed through the Gate with a limited amount of supplies. They were inserted in the vanguard of a scheduled cargo drop and the time allowed combined with the amount of cargo already being delivered meant that they no room for anything they couldn’t carry themselves.
This was when things started to slow down and people seemed to tune the game out a bit. We got a fun sequence as Harry (in an Arachnoid) tried to emote with the Iktomi ego travelling with them (also in a modified Arachnoid), leading to an unintentional threat display against the shift leader at the gate complex.
The scenes after arriving on the planet only heavily involved two of the four players, with the other two a bit off in their own world. We developed a map of the area, they made some preparations for the next stage of their plan and I ended up wrapping the game perhaps 20 minutes early.
So where did things go wrong? I think I would have benefited from throwing the group immediately into an action sequence on the planet to increase their energy levels instead of giving them a chance to plan. If the Iktomi artilect had already awakened then the situation on the planet would have been very different indeed and drama would have unfolded much more quickly. Alternatively I could have injected some kind of unrelated disaster on arrival such as a splinter group of colonists trying to gain unauthorised gate access to return from Sumac.
Either way I feel the need to come out with a much stronger session next week in order for interest to be sustained over the long summer vacation and to the beginning of the next term.