Friday, September 14, 2012

Mecha - Episode 2 Welcome to the Jeanne D'Arc

Episode 2 follows pretty close from Episode 1, there were no real consequences from the battle that would impact things.  That's not the best but it's good for an introduction.  The real push for Episode 2 is introducing the ecosystem.  Hopefully this will create a toolbox for the PCs to play with.

The crew roster is a good mix of quality folks from the Coalition member states.  North American culture is still widely represented since both geographic California and New York are Coalition members, however I thought it pretty important to stress Japanese, UK, Russian and German as being predominant players in the coalition and to carry that flavour into the crew.  

The short crew roster is as follows:

Captain: Masaharu Homma (Japan)
Commander: John J. Adams (West American)
Doctor: Zachary Smith (??) and his assistant Penny (West American)
Flight Inspector: Wilheim Tarken (German)
Air Officer; Silvie Izenak (Basque)
Primary Flight Control: Jack Udachi (Russian)
Cook: Ruby L'Orange (French)
Fire Control Crew:  Al Franken and Tom Davis et al.
Ordinance Officer: Don West (West American)
Flight Mechanic: Claude Gagnon (French)

Since there are 63 crew on board, this leaves a lot of room for players to create NPCs.

The players receive notice on their terminals that the Jeanne D'Arc is now under-way.  The mission details state that they are moving to rendezvous with the CSF Carrier Gunnar Thorson and that this will take some 2 weeks travel.

-Player Scenes-

Players again worked on social scenes involving their goals and earned a couple AP by invoking their traits as a penalty.  They didn't latch onto any of the crew as story foils and I don't think that they caught any of the pop culture references.  I was a bit sad about this but it did make my job easier not having to try impersonating characters I half remembered from Lost In Space or trying to do a credible Russian or Japanese Accent.  I also noticed how quickly the player scenes had became functional instead of narrative.  Players would work at getting overdrive/TA points and achieving their goals to get AP points as efficiently as possible and not worry about developing the overall story or interacting with the NPCs except in the generic.  Partly I think that comes as baggage from GM run games where the story is the GM's responsibility. I hoped that players would play with 'the toys' more than they did. That's a logical player reaction I think and I don't know how you would offset this, perhaps some mechanic that allowed the other players opportunity to interact in or direct the scenes ala Fiasco would introduce more dynamics into the system.


The players are told to report to Major West and find themselves together in the ships gymnasium which has been cleared of equipment and readied for some low G combat exercises.  They are told to don flack vests and pistols. It's basically Laser tag in space so all damage is virtual again and not saved after the Episode.  Players are put into teams and must play king of the mountain - holding the flag point for the specified period of time.  The teams start on opposing quadrants and the tactical objective is in the centre.

The combat for this episode was personal combat to introduce that part of the game.  Because this was another introduction and there was no story consequence of the combat  I thought it would be a lot easier for me and a lot more fun to have the players wail on each other.  It turned out that this was very fun and they really threw themselves into the fight - chewing through most of their overdrive points in a meaningless but very fun battle.  They also remarked that this was not good strategy but that they were doing it anyway.  It was probably the most satisfying combat of the evening for them.

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