Thursday, September 13, 2012
Mecha - Episode 1 Welcome to Triton
So the first Episode in the game is Welcome to Triton. The players learn that they are all newly minted Flight Officers fresh out of the Coalition Space Force training Academy which is in L5 orbit around the earth. They have been posted to Jeanne D'Arc which is one of the two CSF carriers patrolling the outer solar system. They are here to back fill for pilots who have been reassigned to more challenging posts and are very much the rookies here. They are 8 pilots in all, the 5 PCs and three NPCs from their graduating class, Mia Suzara, Honzo Hitari and Chett Whetherspoon. For the past 2 months they have been cooped up together on the cargo hauler Dostoevsky bound for Neptune and they have just disembarked at the National Coalition's space colony on Neptune's moon Triton.
They are 4.5 lh (light hours) or 4.5 Billion km or 45 days average travel time away from the Earth
They are 4.3 lh from Mars.
They are 3.1 lh from the Saturn ring colonies.
The players are told they have 3 days R&R and then must report to the the space port to meet with Paul Chan, wing second of Gamma Squadron for shuttle transport back to the Jeanne D'Arc.
The players chose to pursue Social Scenes except for one player who chose a Field Ops Scene and narrated a way they were hacking their flight control software to get an edge. This made sense since there was no need for Repair or Recovery at this time.
So not having any background in the game or expectations of play except for my outlining of the rules this was probably the hardest Episode to get started, however I think that it went well. Player scenes went from a very specific first person narrative about getting laid through to more abstract and goal directed narratives about hacking flight control software and making an impression with Paul Chan. What I didn't expect was that the players would almost entirely ignore all the NPCs from the trip and each other. I thought that by introducing the long voyage, the location and specific NPCs that the players would try to incorporate that into their narrative and create some relationships and backstory, but perhaps by setting the Episode as they disembarked instead of when they were on the ship I encouraged this 'scattering' behaviour. The players grasped the concept of choosing their Scenes to acquire Overdrive and Tactical Points pretty well however. It was also at this point that Traits and Goals were understood and we realized that some of the ones chosen were too broad or too specific and might need revision. I would probably either use pre-generated goals or try to better guide player selection of traits and goals next time.
The players then reported to the Jeanne D'Arc and are assigned quarters and assignments. The PCs are told that they have been assigned to Delta Squadron and the three NPC recruits they travelled with have been assigned to Gamma Squadron. This makes no sense realistically, but it makes sense as narrative since they are now certainly the underdogs and have been given something to prove. Right away are asked to suit up and get in their ships for a flight training exercise with Beta Squadron and it's resident Ace, Lon Granger.
Lon Granger was the previous Wing Second of Gamma Squad, now promoted to a Flight Lieutenant and put in charge of Beta Squadron. He's the resident hot shot and speaks that way, never letting the PCs forget they are the newbies. Of course Lon and his Squadron are meant to be the immediate opposition and the foils to the true Aces on the ship Alpha Squadron. The intent here is for Gamma to be the Ally, Beta to play the role of Stick and Alpha the role of Carrot.
Combat is a straight forward affair with each side starting off in opposing Quadrants and the tactical way-point in the centre. This is battle simulation and the goal is for the players to show how they can hold a tactical advantage position on a simulated CTA warship. Because it's a simulation damage taken will not be carried over in to the next Episode.
The players fought very well and managed to win the scenario. I believe it worked as a good introduction to the combat system.