Actual Play – B4-U A Zorgonite! (1/18/2015)

Lasters and FeelingsGM: Matt Klein
Players: Dale Horstman, Karen Twelves, and Sean Nittner
System: Lasers and Feelings

What is this craziness? Two roleplaying games in one night? I know, we’re off the hook.

After Until we Sink, Matt offered to run Lasers and Feelings and since it is a one page RPG, we were game. Here’s the prompt to start the game:

You are the crew of the interstellar scout ship Raptor. Your mission is to explore uncharted regions of space, deal with aliens both friendly and deadly, and defend the Consortium worlds against space dangers. Captain Darcy has been overcome by the strange psychic entity known as Something Else, leaving you to fend for yourselves while he recovers in a medical pod.

What happens next? Play to find out!

It’s Star Trek, it’s Lasers and Feelings by the Doubleclicks, and it’s pulp space adventure. It’s also a late night, single die mechanic game with a single dial each character sets determining if they are better at solving problems with lasers (science, reason) or feelings (rapport, passion).

Our beautiful cast

Mercury Fitzsimmons – Our savvy engineer powered by warp coils of pride. Mercury was already and awesome space adventurer, so all he needed was to keep being awesome. (4)

Maxwell Sharp – Our intrepid scientist always trying to find out the why. Curious about everything in space, Maxwell set out to solve weird space mysteries. (4)

B4-U – The android ship doctor overwhelmed by human emotion. B4-U sough to bring people together in the hopes that one day good fortune would smile on them and they too could meet sexy aliens. (2)

The Raptor – Our amazing ship with superior sensors, a state of art cloaking device, and a mad pension for sucking up energy crystals!

Captains Log

Stardate Something, something point nine. While I rest in sickbay, three of my intrepid crew has beamed down to an unchartZed class M planet in Sector 10. We’re low on energy crystals but our ship’s sensors picked ups a strong concentration of them on this planet. Perhaps too strong. No natural formation would be this dense. I’ve instructed my crew to use all precaution on the planet’s surface.

<Insert transporter sound here>

It seems the energy crystal concentration wasn’t natural at all. Just as I suspected! When my crew tracked the energy signature it led them to a hidden base, guarded by Zorgonite Drones! The robots programmed for violence gave my savvy engineer only a moments warning before they started firing. Using wits, cunning, and the kind of sharp shooting only a graduate from the academy is re capable of, he dispatched the first of the mechanized menaces. More were to follow however!

Always thinking of others first, the ship’s doctor Mr. B4-U found the entrance to the secret base and held it open long enough for Mercury and science officer Maxwell Sharp to get inside.

We do not know the purpose of these sentinels, nor of the havoc they wrought, but we do know they were not the original inhabitants of the secret base. Those were found brutally murdered in the halls. Why would they commit such heinous and inhumane acts. Why? WHY? WHY!!!

In the central computer core, Mr. Sharp was able to determine that Zorgon himself had attacked the station and interfaced with their computer. He took Something, but we could not sure what it was. Bravely B4-U interfaced their circuitry with the central computer to learn more. It was a trap! B4-U was instantly struck with a virus left behind, which threatened their entire positronic network!

Quick on his toes, officer Fitzsimmons tried to sever the connection but our android doctor was sure there was more to learn, if only they could just hold on one moment longer! With great perseverance our android officer was to lock the virus away in a virtual network of it’s own.

Captains Log continued

Energy crystals recovered and back on the Raptor, Officer Fitzsimmons has plotted a course for Alpha Sector, at maximum warp. They have the only facility capable of extracting the virus.

Yellow Alert!

It’s too late. The virus is taking over! Sharp and Fitzsimmons operated on B4-U using the ship’s onboard computer. Much to the android’s protest Fitzsimmons deactivated them. Using savvy engineering and intrepid science knowledge they attempted to override the virus and reset B4-U’s positronic network.

I have the utmost faith in my crew, each of them devoted and capable. Were I able to assist them myself, I’m sure we could have done no better.

The virus was too strong.

B4-U is now… A ZORGONITE!

Thoughts on this game

One, it’s pretty fun to write the AP report as Captain Darcy’s log.

Two, it was a short session. Two acts, three scenes, but even in it, we saw some pretty awesome space tropes. Laser battles, heroics, evil plots, identity crisis, and scientists acting under incredible pressure.

Not sure how we would continue this game. What would a Zorgonite do? Would B4-U be deactivated? Kept in custody to learn more of them? Destroyed? Or would they become an ambassador for Zorgon? A liaison who could broker a peace between the interstellar alliance and the misunderstood Zorgon? Or maybe a bargaining chip? Wold Zorgon use B4-U to negotiate for the alliance’s aid in their evil plans? Promising to return the android’s consciousness if, and only if, they aid him in his evil plans?

I did notice that whether something was solved with Lasers or Feelings was pretty subjective. I mean, a lot of the way you accomplish a task is framed by the adverbs you use to describe it. Example: Robots are shooting at you and they have you pinned down, what do you do? I wait for a pause and then bravely charge forward and blast them with my laser pistol. Sounds like Feelings right? It’s passionate and bold. But what about: I wait for a pause and then cunningly charge forward and blast them with my laser pistol. Oh, now we’re being crafty and doing it when they least expect it. That’s more like lasers, right? I’m not saying that is what happened in our game, but there were a few times when the call to make something a lasers or a feelings test could have gone either way. I see the same thing with approaches in Fate Accelerated. We can’t help but be biased by our abilities. Even if we’re trying to fail and so we’re intentionally picked the roll that would be bad for us, we’re still biased.

The size of a ship crew cast and the size of a player group for little games like only touch at the extremes. Like a very small ship crew would be five or six. Factoring in a GM, that’s about the size of a very large group. Taking the captain out closes the gap some, but it definitely felt small having only three crew members getting spotlight in the game.  Two more and I think we would have hit the sweet spot.