Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Merchanters And Stationers - Spyrates Playtest

I ran my first Merchanters And Stationers game Saturday. The players had made two characters each - a Spy and a Pirate - while the ship crew was all NPCs.

The ship's Captain was called in by his father, the exiled Tamberlin king, to a meeting on Central Station. Central Station is owned jointly by the six species - the methane breathing Vool'k, and the oxygen breathing Malamo, Sashtusad, Trissein, Rassa, and Tamberlin - and operated by the Tamberlin. The New Regime cannot force out the king in exile.

The king told his son that the Vool'k were vastly disturbed about something, and looking for something or someone, and that he - the son being an expert on the Vool'k - ought to look into it. In the meantime, the king had a mission for the son. A report had come out of Malamo Space that the Malamo had not renewed their treaty of protection with the Mashtusad, and were negotiating with the Trissein for said protection - the Malamo being constitutionally unable t protect themselves.

This was bizarre, because the Trissein and the Malamo had a dispute over two star systems with stations - the Trissein had taken them over during a dispute and refused to give them back. The Malamo should never have given the Trissein an invitation to basically take over Malamo Space! He told the son to go to the station their agent was on and talk to him, and maybe stop this potential disaster.

Meanwhile, on the docks, the crew had found blood between the stacks of big cargo cans they had ordered for supplies - food and drink - for the voyage. there were strange prints in the blood which could not be matched with any known species. It was assumed a large animal may be loose on the docks!

Viewing security videos, they saw something naked and brown run from the Rassa ship in the dock beside them and slip between the tall stacks of cans. then a group of Rassa came out of the ship, and split up as if looking for something. After that, the thing had left the cans and run up the access tube into their own ship as a couple of crew were exiting, slipping through the doors as they turned away!

The spies and pirates began to search the ship, and found the creature, hiding under the dirty laundry, naked and bleeding profusely on the floor. It was somewhat taller than they, long limbed, hairless except on the top of the head, and covered only in its brown skin otherwise. Judging by Tamberlin standards, it was female. As they held it under their gaze, it stooped and wrote in its own blood on the floor with its fingers, slashes for one, two, three, and four.

They figured that whatever it was, and they were not at all sure, it was intelligent. they placed it into the autodoc and wiated for the captain.

Later on, several Rassa came by and questioned one of the pirates who was on the docs, helping load the supply cans. They claimed to have lost a food animal, and threatened and cajoled the Tamberlin to tell them if they had seen anything. The pirate lied - incurring stress - and the Rassa left, having called the Tamberlin "monkeys" to their face, a nasty insult!

Rassa are huge predators - two meters or more high, and massing about 150kg or more. Huge heads filled with sharp teeth hint at their powerful bite. They eat their prey live, preferring it totally fresh.

When the captain returned, they told him of the 'Rassa food beast' they had in the autodoc. he came and observed it while it was medicated into deep sleep. He tasked his cousin Raisa, one of his spies, with coming up with some decent clothing to fit the thing. She worked on it after they left the docs, on their way to the jump point.

When the creature woke, the captain, a master linguist, tried to question it, but it knew only a few tortured words of Rassa, the captain's worst language. The creature had been savagely tortured, judging from the healing bite marks all over its skin. As they came close to jump, the creature - it called itself a hyoomin, with a personal name of Peeny - disclosed that she needed to be tranked for jump, like a Mashtusad. This they gave her as they readied for jump.

End session!

Things worked well so far. The lying to the Rassa incurred stress, as will the jump itself, but they should be able to work that out. The stress track itself alarmed them, though! They are accustomed to being armed, and wearing arms itself is a source of stress. This is going to be a big thing in this campaign!


  1. Good start to the game. Have the players read the Chanur novels? Might give your plot away ;)

  2. Hi David!

    No, none of them have read it. Besides, I don't have a plot - plot is what happened when you look at the game after it's done! I started it out like Pride of Chanur, but where it goes from here will be sure to bevery different! The Mad Prince is not a merchanter, it's a hunter ship, and the crew are Tamberlins, not Hani! Tamberlins are curious, playful tricksters, and they would be closer to Manhendosat than Hani. :D