Sunday, September 8, 2013

Lowell Was Right! - First Playtest Report

I finished my first run playtest of Lowell Was Right last night (Saturday). It started where the last session stopped, where the pilot of the jet airship they were flying in suddenly started screaming that he was going to crash. One of the PCs announced he could pilot it,, so they dragged of the screaming pilot and the PC attempted to fly the craft.

He was starting to get the craft under control when he felt a psychic attack, which he managed to fight off. He felt something hard in the seat cushion, so he took it apart. Reaching into a slit in the cushion, he was again attacked, and again fought it off. Using another member of the crew as a guinea pig, they established that the item was haunted by a ghost - the ghost of a pilot who had died in a crash

it was a t this point that they realized that the first crash - of their ship on Mars - was not an accident. Someone was trying to murder them without leaving a trace. This was the second time this ghost had been used.

When they landed in Syrtis, they tried to think who could be the target - The professional huntress? The Spaceliner steward who seemed too good at pilfering things? The Ex- Boxer turned bodyguard? The only one who was famous was the ex-football star turned action movie star - he was beloved on Mars. But that couldn't be it! No one had the kind of rich, powerful enemies that could do something like this. Finally one of them suggested "What if the first attempt succeeded?"

Then suspicion immediately fell on the ex-bodyguard, whose charge had died in the crash. His employer was Father Mackenroy, who was going to Mars to give something to someone, and feared for his life - that he was the victim of a vast political conspiracy. They still had Father Mackenroy's luggage.

When searched, the teiving steward found a false bottom. There, inside a wooden box, was a gold cross, with martian characters on it. When they asked their interpreter what it said, she replied that it wasn't Martian at all, but martian script used to write "Carolus Magnus Imperator Romanus". This was latin for Charlemagne, Emperor of the Romans.

This was most likely a relic from the time of Charlemagne, but they had no idea why it was so dangerous that someone would kill to stop it. They decided to take it to the Translator's professor at the University of Mars and Earth there in Syrtis.

He examined it minutely, and proclaimed it genuine. The Movie star, suggested there might be more to it, and the steward took a look, noticing a hairline seam along the cross. They opened it up after finding the hidden latch. Inside was a crystal.

Upon touching it, the Huntress began to speak in a voice not her own - using Mediumship, she made contact with the intelligence within - a Martian Ghost AI. The Ai told how Charles had murdered his brother and forged a relationship with the martians, sending thousands of slaves them. In return they eliminated opposition, and his rule widened. The pope made him emperor of the Romans because of his good works and his enlightened rule as well as his power.

They reasoned that it was some powerful faction in the Vatican that was trying to stop the publishing of this news - which could be used to argue against the infallibility of the Pope. When they decided to deliver it to the original intended recipient, the Translator revealed herself to be an agent of this person. She would take the cross to her master. She showed them papers written in what looked like Father Mackenroy's hand. The steward put the cross into the box and handed it to her. She left.

The Steward had palmed the crystal, and they brought it to a newsreel agency, where they were well paid for it. The truth went out.

Throughout this game, I had no idea who the boxer had been guarding. Since I didn't know who *he* was, I had no idea of what he carried. All I knew was he had something someone else wanted, badly.! I called it the MacGuffin, of course. it wasn't until the boxer rolled on random NPC tables to decide who his dead employer had been that  I could even *think* of what the MacGuffin was.

I made up the Charlemagne thing on the spot, while I was telling it to them through the ghost AI in the crystal. I had made up the ghost AI a second before. It worked - it held together well enough for the game, and no one knew I had done it that way. Sometimes life is good! :D

At the end of the session, they made up their next Association, and their next world. They would be playing the "Secret Service" of the League of Nations, and they would be playing on a totally different Earth!

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