Session 6: New Vistas in the Thel Sector is a game session report for Stars without Number: Revised Edition. We played via Zoom on .
In the previous session they travelled to the outskirts of The Resplendent Citadel. This session, they returned to the midcity.
The characters return from the orchard and head to the Frollicking Giant to meet with Melania Gavras and Vassilios Andreas.
Sigh Redfeather heads back to the hideout; He’s been drawing a bit too much attention. With one player sidelined, I let Sigh’s player know that he can absolutely interject with ideas or questions that the others should ask. I’m not interesting in blocking out a player who makes a good decision.
Adolar Desch scouts out the Frollicking Giant; Are there people observing the place as they get there. Are the library monitors there? No. Also, Melania is not there.
Adolar Desch, Nestor Johnson, and Vern Shultz approach the Frollicking Giant and join Vassilios at a table.
Sparing no time, Vassilios says, “I did some investigation, checked out the Crow’s Nest. Your friend Christodoulos Argyros from Corinth told us about your arrival. And that you sold the guns. And you’ve been working with the Attorney. We’re getting ready to run a story, but think there may be something bigger going on. Melania’s going to deliver the story for printing at watch end tonight…unless you have something more to tell me.”
This sparks a meta-conversation as the players work through their standard operating procedures. Will they tell Vassilios that they did sell guns, but the guns used a few days ago were not theirs. They discuss their cover.
Adolar discreetly turns on his radio to let Sigh listen in. Adolar then responds, “We didn’t have much of a choice but had to sell that gear.”
“And why are you here?”
At this point, we’ve got a good exchange going, but I want to check the dice to see where things are heading. I call for a DC 10 Talk test; The consequence is they won’t know if Vassilios will run the story or not. If they make it, he’ll not run the story.
“We’re here to perform an archaeological survey,” says Vern.
“You brought those things (e.g. guns) to sell. Why so secret?” asked Vassilios.
“There are other people active in the area.”
“Melania did some digging in the library, and found the baronal map for the Nikolaidis family. The Orchard is in that baronal territory. The Nikolaidis family is getting support from the off-worlders. You may have supplied those [weapons] to the family.”
Adolar recommends that Vassilios pokes into land rights and ownership laws.
They negotiate a dead drop location.
“If anything comes up about the weapons, let us know urgently,” says Adolar.
Vassilios replies, “At best it’ll be once a day. Unless you have some tech.
The players talk a bit about this tactic. They can track Vassilios and maybe use him as a decoy. They all agree that Vassilios’s tactic is that he always tries to twist your arm, so they can keep counting on that.
“We can get one to you, but you’ll be trackable.”
They agree to give Vassilios a radio for communication.
They then ask Vassilios to run a story to help discredit the wanted posters from the Citadel Attorney. Vassilios presses for payment.
They talk about giving trade goods or spare parts. The players see the spare parts as useful for the more connected people. Trade goods are generally benign.
With some discussion, they give Vassilios some trade goods.
Mechanically, I want to tie a reduction of Heat to a player character dice roll. We discuss possible skills, and I settle on Admin. This is a task of delegation, and administration skills make sense.
Wrapping up the conversation, I restate the goals that I heard from the conversation. They are:
- The players want to passively monitor the dead drop
- The players want to passively track Vassilios via the new radio
- Vassilios’s going to check the land rights and ownership laws
- Vassilios’s is going to repudiate the “Wanted poster”
- Vassilios won’t run the story that Melania is holding.
We then broke character and talked about what to do for the next session. Everyone’s ready to go back to the orchard with pick, shovel, and scanners. We all acknwoledged that this may not be the laboratory they’re looking for.
To assauge that, they’re going to do some research and hack together some technology.
For next week, I’m going to write a little skill challenge. The results will determine how much time it would take to get useful information. I also let them know that Ioannis Nikolaidis will be reporting back to Aunt Niki at a random point in the future.
With one week of in-game action, we moved them to character advancement. In part, I wanted them to refine their characters for the apparent challenges ahead. Also, we’d played six sessions, and it felt right.
I had an early afternoon obligation, so I ended our session early.
All told, we’re having fun. The characters are curious where things are going.