Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Marriage of Cruel Minds

Last weekend we started a Fading Suns campaign with a grand double-session opening (which explains the enormous length of this post). In the mornings we explored secret Templer tunnels under Acre and a Templer fortress in Yehiam and in the evenings we gamed like it’s 1099!

These are the PCs (may the Pancreator have mercy on their souls!):

What Yan scribbled on the back of his character sheet

Drake (Yan) is a perfectly introverted egoist whose narcissistic focus on the self gave him potent supernatural powers. He is of noble birth and godly education, but a terrible event in his past has forced him to flee his homeworld and find refuge in the Van Gelder court.

Baron Dovis Lax (Vadim) is a barrister and an intellectual in the service of Lord Primus Van Gelder. He is a man of coins of and words, not steel and laser. When Dovias words fail to convince, his warlike retainer Dov continues the negotiations to the bitter end.

Flint (Sasha) is warrior monk trained in theurgy. God is his shepherd, but just in case he also packs a mean laser pistol and consecrated sword. Proud and self-centered, he’s on a path to hubris and damnation, unless he attains salvation through godly and charitable deeds.

Op-Lya (Olja) is the scandalous bastard daughter of Lord Primus van Gelder. Denied a formal title, she became an infamous figure in the seedier locales of Kun Lun. She often gets disturbing visions of the past.

Sir Tron (Nik) is a child raised by aliens and adopted by Op-Lya (whose player is his mother in real life). Despite his tender age, Tron is a master of telekensis and a bold spaceman if ever there was one! Nik is the creative force behind this escapade.

All PCs are loyal retainers of Lord Primus Van Gelder, a minor nobleman with major ambitions. Presently, they’re tasked with escorting his teenager son Quintus to Leminkainen, where a dying, heirless King is holding a fancy banquet to find a suitable husband for his daughter and successor to his reign. The PCs are to insure Quintus leaves the affair with a ring... via any means necessary.

While the planet isn’t worth what a pig would spit, and the Kingdom in question is one of the poorer and less sympathetic on the planet, the nearby jumpgate is worth killing for. And killing there will be – a plenty!

Screaming in Space
Soon after entering Lemikainan space, the PCs find out the Kurgan Khanate and House Hazat are no longer vying for the princess' hand on account of no longer being. Their flotillas had crossed paths in space and managed to destroy each other within seconds. Nevertheless, the PCs' scanners reported some signs of life on the Kurgan vessel and the PCs chose to explore it. Inside they found madness and horror – the dead rise, a dark entity possesses Flint and the ship begins to deform, cutting Olja and Tron from the rest of the crew.
A spiritual and physical battle ensues and the PCs soon learn that the dark entity on-board lusts, but at the same time is repelled, by a holy book carried on board as a gift for the king. They encountered other survivors – a Kurgan soldier, three clueless inquisitors and an antinominist (space Satanist) who called for the evil entity to save him, only to be torn apart by the possessed Flint when no longer useful.
At the same time, the PCs who didn't board started cutting the damaged vessel with their lasers to release their friends trapped onboard. Op-Lya hacked the vessel’s computer and after a lengthy battle with the dark entity in cyberspace (hacking for the Prophet!), defeated it and gained control of the ship’s computer – enabling her allies to safely reclaim the holy book. Meanwhile, Tron, the only PC who speaks Kurgan, helped the PCs communicate with the Kurgan though radio communication. He was also the first to discover the dark entity’s weakness – it cannot control a possessed body that has a sheet from the holy book stuffed in its mouth (indeed, it was the original form in which they found a sheet from the book). However, in his enthusiasm to assist his friends, Tron had attempted to board the vessel before the sliced metal cooled, damaging his spacesuit and nearly dying in the process.
Despite sustaining numerous injuries and having their faith shaken by the Devil, the crew survived this test of their faith and mettle and safely made it to Lemikainan. The internal battle with the dark entity had placed a small seed of hubris in Flint’s heart. Only time will tell if he will shrug it off or succumb to blasphemy...

Very bad in space. This is how it looks like.

Meet the Royal Bastards
Victorious and possessed of a valuable relic, the PCs arrive on Lemikainan and head to Sardan - a fancy hotel where the banquet is to take place. The PCs freshen up, preparing for the evening’s festivities and intrigues. Meanwhile, Sir Tron, mortally injured by decompression, wakes up in the hospital with the Kurgan, Ali Alan Al-Uzbek, sitting by his bed.
Dinner starts and the King (Alexi Isadorvich, Tsar of Isador Island) announces the guests of honor:

  • Na-Lord Quintus Van Gelder, the PCs' charge
  • Lord Arthur of Hawkwood, a moralist widower
  • Na-Count Dmitri Decados, a self-mutilating degenerate
  • Na-Duke Shaquille Yamamoto of house Dexrite, a polite enigma
  • Professor Philips Kodak, an outstanding engineer
  • Warchief Thurium Ukrops m'Valdalla, a half-man, half-machine space viking
  • Bishop Ignatius of the Orthodox Sect, a humble (but very rich) servant of the lord
  • Lady Captain Rene Gooddale Hawkwood, a renegade rumored to be a pirate
  • Soradir Qur'a'tin Cha'bulgar Ya, an alien atheist thinker
As soon as the King finished introducing the noble guests, a scary looking knight from the Decados entourage, rises up and rudely challenges Quintus to a duel. Quintus, pale as a ghost, said that he has no idea who that man is... why, the young Van Gelder never saw this Decados in his life! It’s quite obvious the boy has no chance to defeat the older and bigger knight. But refusing a duel would ruin all chances to prove that he’s noble enough to marry the princess.

What to do, oh what to do...?

Art by Tom Berry