players: Patrick, Stefano, Marzia, Ben
Thursday Aug 11, Gamma Ray
Our special guests Stefano & Marzia come all the way from Italy to rock the house with story games!
Our history: Escaping the tyranny of an evil empire, refugees depart on massive arc-like ships, sailing the seas of air that connect the multitude of planetoid worlds that littered the sky in search of a new home where they can rebuild and live in peace...
From a pretty loose fantasy setting it got pretty tight. The "sea of air" emerged pretty rapidly as the defining characteristic of the setting. Marzia takes home the award as the queen of atmospheric trouble. Early in the game she threw in the wrinkle that the inter-planetoid air-sea thickened in a way that made the previous ships (like the beloved arc fleet) useless. Then much later in the game, she kicked the status quo in the shins again and introduced the void-rips, tears of nothingness spreading across the very firmament of the air-sea. Steer your ship (or flying stone citadel) into one and you're toast. Every time the air-sea changed, it had huge repercussions on the civilizations of the planetoids.
A lot of great scenes:
- Patrick and me playing humble servants of the soon-to-be-tyrant King (Stefano). The question was "how does the flying citadel fly?" and right off the bat Patrick and I made it clear that we had no idea. Really, zero. We'd followed the king's instructions to the letter and built this huge castle, and we knew he expected it to fly, but we were afraid he was crazy and when it just sat there (the way castles do) he was going to behead us in a rage. Happily, we're wrong.
- The apocalyptic "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" duel between the ruthless elite warrior(ess) of the Emperor and the Mist-Speaker apprentices ("okay, as the scene opens she's just killed your venerable master and is stealing his spirit power for her own…"). All while the "indestructible" floating citadel teeters into a deadly void-rip in the sky.
- The doomed city of Tharsis as a not-so-subtle allegory for the US Congress. Instead of actually doing anything about the void that creeped steadily closer to their city (and would eventually wipe it out) the politicians just postured, debated and jockeyed for political gain...
- The unexpected return of the massive air-ship, bringing a sudden end to the civil war tearing apart the Golden Alliance. I really liked the image of the massive ship descending out of the heavens, deus ex machina-style, and the armies on both sides of the civil war halting in mid battle at sight of their returning king. Which was made even better by a later scene that revealed that the king's original departure "to find a new land for the people" had been a lie all along.
Thanks Patrick, Stefano and Marzia! Excellent gaming all around!