Sunday, June 20, 2010

StarCluster 3 - Second playtest!

The second playtest game, finishing up the situation established in the first game, concluded on a very high note! The players were detectives of the Valiant Detective Agency, on call to a number of worlds in the Lemur Loop for difficult cases. We had two "new" players, both long time group members who had missed the initial session. Their characters were Weller-Sai, a SaHu from an enlightened police state, and Kholi, an uplifted Snow Leopard from a cold, mountainous world.

Their case was a puzzler, a small city mayor on the world of Texas was found nailed to his office wall by iron spikes. The initial suspects were the wife, the deputy mayor, and the no-good son. Another suspect cropped up as they delved deeper into the situation - the wife's other husband who was also the next door neighbor. So far things looked boringly normal - then things went off the rails! The husband and wife had no history in any database before settling in the town 21 years before, the son had disappeared after appearing to go straight, there were millions of credits worth of stocks and bonds in the Mayor's hidden office safe, and dozens of identities began appearing as they searched out hidden caches in the couples' house - then the wife, on her way home from her mother's home in another city died in an airbus accident.

Before the end of the evening, though, they had pulled together a working theory, fingered the killers, and knew what was going on enough to stop another murder at the wife's mother's home in a climactic shootout. It was fucking brilliant. It worked exactly like a good detective story - they hit the databases, they modeled solution, they used a crime board and timeline. After it was over, the players and I were just immensely pumped! I had never run anything like this before - and it all worked so beautifully!

The players loved the new chargen, especially the new education rules. None of them were masters in firearms, and none felt the lack of it. They extensively used the company's collective resources, particularly the forensic lab, the medical examiner, and the various databases they had purchased. In spite of what initially seemed to be a low tech murder on a backwoods world, the game involved bio-engineered organisms, cloning, datamining, facial recognition, black ops, and deadly secrets. Pure, pure awesome!


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