Sat down with Carrie, Janaki and Joshua this weekend, tossed our Vast & Starlit cards on the table and started asking each other questions. Joshua did some pre-play stuff, making sure we were all on the same page with tone and we agreed it should be Firefly-ish and not too goofy, going for laughs.
We set the game up on a rainy day in a cafe and finished it on the comfy couch after dinner.
played by Carrie
I’m not sure you’d want me to lead; I’m out of my depth, here, not strong or forceful.
I’m in for stealing but really, I’m in for political resistance.
I was viewed as an enemy of the state, a member of a deposed government.
The government was an inter-stellar parliament; we were taken over by a federation that was more population dense.
My escape is trouble for the standing parliament, shipping interests but I’m not sure if I have power…
I still have emotional ties to my two kids and large, extended family.
played by Janaki
I do belong here, I poached one of the beings of Aria, whose death-songs are valuable when recorded while they perish.
I can be redeemed but I’m not sure I can give up the money.
I killed them by picking off those on the outside, the bullets are recording devices that record the songs they make as they die.
The space cop who arrested me was Office Kanib.
You’d be better off if I led because I am pragmatic and not squeamish.
I fell in love with an imperial noble’s son. We were not of the same class and I got the song in hopes of winning his hand but when I got back with it, he was already married off by his family.
played by Joshua
I killed my master but I should not have been tried and convicted because as a clone, I am a thing, not a person.
I am almost four years old, nearing the end of my life.
I killed him to test the safeguards, as a kind of experiment.
I’m still working out if I am a person or a thing.
My emotional ties…my master was supposed to be my whole world but I was in love with his lover, though I never met her.
played by Judd
I’m in for grave-robbing the cosmotaph, the largest free-floating cemetary, 3AU’s across in any direction.
I would be an excellent leader. As a former asteroid miner and grave robber on the edge of the stellar frontier, I am used to leading small groups in sub-legal environments.
I was the patriarch of a family that made its living just outside of civilization’s laws; those ties still pull at me a bit.
I do have a treasure hidden away. An alien bio-tech symbiote inserted itself into my eye-socket. It has remained un-detected there ever since and I am not sure what it is capable of. It was made to enhance some galactic warrior-king buried on some forsaken asteroid.
Joshua drew our ship as we talked about it. It turned out to be a loading ship, not meant to be manned at all. It was a glorified freight elevator and we had to keep hitting a snooze button to keep our atmo intact. We only had 3 space suits and the controls for the ship were outside on an antenna.
We did some flashback scenes from before our incarceration, figured out things about our characters, filled in some holes the questions suggested.
Then we forgot to follow the rules, forgot to go around the table and take turns setting up a scene and things started to meander and crawl. I freely admit that I got antsy, knowing what I wanted to do, wanting to put on my GM’s hat and MAKE FUN.
I wanted to drive past this getting-to-know-ya stuff and show us five years later, when we were a hardened crew of space pirates and thieves, living not on the outskirts of society but in the cracks where they couldn’t find us. So, I asked if I could make a scene and folks were cool with that. So, I did.
That scene was a heist, stealing water off a loading ship just like ours used to be, before we spruced it up and made it our home, naming it the Wayward Wind.
After that it was all clone suicides, implanting memories, child endangerment in space, lasers, zero-g knife fights, open airlocks and a cop with nothing left to lose, tracking down a posse with nothing left to do but take the universe for everything we could take.
I liked it, dammit. It was fun and fast. It was just at the end that we were getting the hang of the rules, setting up our Dangerous, Difficult or Both Toils and Perils in a way that made sense. We were learning a new skill.
The nano-game is a thumb in the eye of white-dwarf dense role-playing tomes in the same way that haiku are a thumb in the eye of epic sagas. That is to say, it isn’t at all a thumb in anyone’s eye. Turns out V&S fits next to Burning Wheel Gold on my shelves and they get along just fine.
I am smitten and have written a hack where I change a few words in the first quarter of the game and the players are bounty hunters, chasing down escaped convicts.