Diaspora: The Precious Few, Session #3 is a game session report for Diaspora. We played around the table on .
When we last left the Precious, and her crew, they had just narrowly escaped from amongst other things an aggressive Hobbes Class Heavy Cruiser, slipping away with both a moderate (“hull breach”) and serious consequence (“torn a new one”). The Precious was on the prowl for a space station where they could dock and perform repairs; No small feat for a T3 ship on the run in a T1 system. The Precious crew opted to stop at a T1 station “The Watering Hole” and begin the repairs. I explained that repairs on a T3 ship in a T1 system would require 4 successes to fix the moderate consequence in a week and 8 successes to fix the serous consequence in a week. The rules are vague concerning repairs of serious consequences at a station two or more tech levels apart from the ship, so I extrapolated a bit.
Maintenance and Repair
The Precious docked at “The Watering Hole”, and Timothy made the ships maintenance test: +5 on the role (Trade 2, amplified by brokerage, and +2 for trafficking in illegal cargo) vs. a target of 4 (2 for the two consequences, a 2 for the T3 vs. T1 docking). The crew was paid, and the repairs were started. Fortunately, Mason had a 5 Engineering which meant that an 8 was within his grasp, but Fate would need to be invoked if things were going to be fixed in a timely fashion. The dice came up -2 for the Serious and -2 for the Moderate; So lots of Fate points were burned to keep the repair time to a minimum (Mason was down to 1 Fate point).
Father on board
The crew of Precious went to meet up with “Frying Pan” Pete, the ship’s cook and medic. Before they could get to the galley, Mason spotted his father, Randal Widmore, talking with “Starbase” Sid (the man that was going to pay them for delivering the weapons to the Vulcan rebels). With Mason’s aspect “Indebted to Dad”, he clearly had to shell over their hard earned money. Timothy, the ships broker and accountant, made sure all the transactions were properly recorded and verified.
Randal, owner of numerous exotic resorts and shady establishments, was looking for a steady supply of XX, and would absolve Mason of half of his debt if Mason could hook his “dear old” dad up; XX was the drug that had consumed Timothy’s love; The drug that Martin once trafficked in; The drug which Billy had busted up part of the supply chain. Mason, ever indebted to Dad agreed to set him up with a contact. Randal was also willing to pay Mason and his crew with the Sabre of Cortez, the cultural relic brought from old Earth 20,000 some years ago (They’d later learn that it was stolen from the museum).
Randal offered to bring the Vulcan refugees back to his establishment; Even though they had some mystery infection after eating a nasty batch of space shrimp. If you ask me, this offer was a bit generous for Randal (Aspects: Seedy, Power Hungry).
This was a good role-playing moment, as Timothy and Mason were at odds. Timothy is a good guy caught in a web of trouble. Mason could pay off his debt by diving deeper into the seedy side; William, ever the collector could hardly pass this up.
Death of a pilot
Their return to “The Watering Hole” also brought news of the death of Alfred, Precious’ previous pilot. Alfred had been suffering from a nasty bit of food poisoning likely caused by some bad space shrimp. Talking a bit with “Frying Pan” Pete (Aspects: Sharpened Cutlery, Mumbler) he said that Alfred had passed away 2 days after they first left “The Watering Hole”. Out of respect, Alfred was kept in the station’s galley’s freezer for when the Precious' crew came to claim him. William eagerly brought the body back to the ship to study; After all he’s a scientist and a collector.
With a bit of Science, Joe (Mason’s player) decided that the Space Shrimp contained an infectious pathogen that was transmitted via ingestion or bodily fluid exchange. And upon close inspection of the ship’s galley, there was another package of space shrimp which had been tampered with.
During this exchange, Mason was compelled to not let the innocent suffer; He was going to have to tell Alfred’s family on New Florida that Alfred was dead. I opted to compel something a bit more than just “in the moment,” figuring that this would give some future direction to the story.
Self inflicted complication
Matt (playing Timothy Heizerman, CSA 📖 ) had decided to proffer Mason with a Fate point to have a Dynamic Solutions agent on-board the Watering Hole (Mason’s Aspect: Favorite Enemy is Dynamic Solution); Matt wisely realized that Mason having one fate point could be very vulnerable to a hard-move against him. Needless to say, Mason accepted the Fate point and knew his life was going to get all the more complicated.
Through a bit of palm greasing, Mason found out that someone from Dynamic Solutions was on board. Martin, Precious' pilot and face man, said he’d find out more information about this guy. Martin met the guy in the gym, and they talked. The agent was interested in Precious, and even attempted to compel Martin’s unscrupulous aspect to bring the suitcase on board. Martin declined the compel, but accepted the suitcase. Martin also learned that there was a Dynamic Systems ship hiding in the asteroid.
With a little work from William, it was determined that the suitcase was an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) device, and could be armed remotely, and then detonate 12 hours later. It looked like Dynamic Solutions wanted their stolen ship back. There was some debate on what to do, but William opted to dismantle the device, not wanting to risk a remote trigger.
While Martin and the Dynamic Solutions agent were interacting, Timothy was walking around the station to get various scanners to detect those infected. Matt (Timothy’s player) narrated that Timothy passed by with a bag of sand, some balloons, then shamefully a stack of porno mags, followed by a set of cutlery, and finally the broadsword that Billy wanted. I don’t have the sequence correct, but Matt was highlighting the fact that Timothy knew how to up-trade, much like one paperclip. It was hilarious.
Here comes the sheriff
Randal was set to depart but informed Mason that a couple of Constables were coming in two days to negotiate working with Precious and crew. Precious had some time and redoubled their focus to get the ship space-worthy. As the time wound down, they were in communication with the Constable, but with 20 hours until the Constable would arrive, a distress signal was received: Randal Widmore’s spaceship was being overrun by the dead. Constable Pilo’s ship, the Rattlesnake, responded. There was a quick debate about responding to the distress signal I attempted to compel Mason’s indebted to dad, but he refused. Mason wasn’t about to leave the safety of the station with an unknown enemy in the asteroids and a ship still hobbled. I think I should have doubled down the fate point offering, asking Mason “Are you really really sure?" The rescue mission bought them some time to get the first set of repairs done but they learned two things: that the Vulcan Rebellion that they had supplied was trying to incite war with Exxon, believing that the Vulcan government was too soft on it’s monopolistic hold of slipdrive technology; And the Vulcan Delegation was enroute to negotiate the transfer of Precious to the Vulcan Government.
In the Name of Science
William was going to research a cure for this infectious disease; I set the time at a decade, allowing each shift to reduce the time. William made the roll, and opted to tag Martin’s unscrupulous aspect to reduce the time to a couple of months. Looks like Martin was going to be finding some infected people and helping with some experiments. This was a great tagging of an aspect; The narrative is wonderful, highlighting that Martin will do anything to survive and William is more concerned with getting it right, claiming repeatedly that you can’t rush genus. Joe (William’s player) could’ve tagged other aspects, but opted to let the infection spread a bit more. Plenty of laughs.
Further investigation revealed that “Frying Pan” Pete had likely exposed everyone on the station, as well as those that had visited in the last 18 days, to this virulent strain; After all he had stored the body of Alfred in one of the food freezers, and space being a premium…Well, needless to say, “Frying Pan” Pete wasn’t going to win any hygiene awards.
With Mason knowing that they’d need to head to New Florida, and wanting to stock up and resupply, he wanted the body spaced…
Shooting shrimp in a ship
The rescue mission was in full swing, and the Space Marines were dealing with what turned out to be the animated corpses of the rebels. As William pushed the airlock button, the message went out from the RNM 📖 Rattlesnake that exposure to vacuum was what animated the corpses…Alfred’s body drifted momentarily, then started moving back towards Precious. The crew of the Precious dropped into combat, with a hastily sketched out deck design. William had one hatch between him and hard vacuum; Everyone else was one room away in the bridge.
The battle went rather quickly, as Billy jumped in to join William in the elevator shaft while William resealed the airlock. Billy opened the airlock, to engage with the space shrimp zombie host whom screamed in Billy’s face; The Intimidate 4 vs. Resolve 4 resulted in no composure damage for Billy. Billy responded by opening fire with his handgun, and got a modified 8 slug throwing (tagging I love the sound of gunfire) versus the abysmal -1 alertness (-4 on 4DF 📖 is brutal). The battle was quick, but the characters were rattled. But these zombies would likely be everywhere!
Had William opted to maneuver to help Billy instead of delaying to see what Billy had done, the zombie would’ve been destroyed. Instead, William free-tagged the two consequences that Billy had generated and blew the creature apart…but not before I offered a compromise, saying that the zombie was rendered inert and the shrimp could be harvested and brought back to the lab. William took the concession, so Precious has some live space shrimp specimens.
I also opted to not give the space shrimp zombie host any Fate points; If I had, it would’ve rerolled the -4 alertness.
cracking the code
When Constable Pilo returned, having rescued only two of the refugee Vulcans, Martin and the Constable began discussing an option for Martin, Precious, and the crew to work with Real New Mexico; After all, the crew was very talented and had created the T3 Precious. Even with a compliment of Space Marines, Real New Mexico was hesitant to press Precious into service; They needed all the skills of the crew and forced conscription was not the way to do this. Mike (Mason’s player) tagged the systems aspect of Hate those Vulcans to seal a deal with the Constable; Precious would fly under Mason’s crew, and Mason would provide technical know-how on the Slipdrive. Constable Pilo said he would need to communicate with his superiors. And that is when William easily hacked their encrypted communication, and had plenty of successes to spare, so I handed the narrative to him, and lo the Constable had been ordered to detain the entire ship by force. So Joe (William’s player) had complicated the story, and William quickly yelled “It’s a trap!” Martin spooled up the engines and they took to flight.
Precious dropped into space combat with a T1 Rattler and a T2 Prototype (cribbed from the Hobbes Class Heavy Cruiser, but with a Cheeky A.I.). And as has become expected, the Cheeky A.I. was causing some grief (I have been pounding this aspect with compels, so much that William is considering rewriting the A.I; In hindsight I should’ve just compelled the serious consequence, after all that is the problem). The R.N.M. Rattler class did not engage in combat instead hoping the T2 Dynamic Solutions prototype would attempt to capture the ship, and the Rattler could then pick up the pieces.
Desperate Maneuvers and Repairs
With some clever piloting, a navigation maneuver of “Putting the asteroids between us and them”, and a heavy burn; The beleaguered Precious was able to escape the waiting Dynamic Solutions ship and the constable’s R.N.M. Rattlesnake (a T1 Rattler Class Comm Defense Platform). Now they were desperate! The ship still needed repairs, and I had them make a Culture test to find another somewhat friendly station; I set the difficulty to 7, with the idea being the less shifts they got the less safe or the worse the trap would be. Martin tagged the campaigns aspect “Always on the Run!” and Real New Mexico’s “Hive of Scum of Villainy” to make sure to got 7 successes.
So they came upon “Honest Abe’s Station”, a remote gas refinery that could service Precious…for a cost. But Timothy Heizerman, CSA, is always flush with cash (Assets 5), and easily paid the “keep it quiet” cost and chipped in a Fate point to ensure their safety, tagging his “Well Connected” aspect. The ship was fixed, but they need to:
- Tell Alfred’s family on New Florida about his demise
- Connect Randal Widmore to a XX dealer
- Finish the cure for the infectious disease
- Get clear of Dynamic Solutions
Begin OPEN GAME CONTENT
Space Shrimp Zombie Host
Intimidate 5, Natural Weapons 4, Alertness 3, MicroG 2, Agility 1
Health: OOO OO
Natural Weapons: Harm 1, Range 0-1, Explosive
Natural Armor: Defense 2
End OPEN GAME CONTENT