Sunday, September 26, 2010

AP - Space 1889: The Burning Desert

On Sunday, September 19th, I ran another Savage Worlds/Maptool introductory game using the Space 1889 setting from Pinnacle Entertainment Group.  We had three participants who played Adventurer Tex Chapman (ChiTownRoy), Naval Petty Officer Aku (Aku), and Inventor Alexander Setsu (rstehwien). Unfortunately ChiTownRoy had technical problems and left before the final battle.

The characters started in London at the Explorer's Society. One of the characters received a letter from a friend on Mercury describing a plot that could harm the economy of England. The letter included a Times article about the falling price of tin due to flooding of the tin markets from a small Pacific island. The letter ended with a plea for the character to come to Mercury to help root out the conspiracy.

Mercury is a unique world in the solar system. One side perpetually faces the sun and is a boiling desert. The other is forever dark with temperatures cold enough to freeze the air itself. Between the freezing cold side and the broiling hot side is a twilight paradise housed in a great canyon with a huge river running the circumference of the planet's surface.

The World River is home to various sorts of primitive life, both animal and plant. Facing the direction of the river's flow you see glaciers crashing down on the right and the beginnings of the desert to the left.

Upon arrival at Princess Christina Station (the only outpost on the planet), the characters find their friend dead, killed by a coworker named Claud Brumpford. The colonial clerk fled the station the night of the murder.

The characters investigated their friend's quarters. They found a folder containing many documents concerning a giant tin harvester designed by a Polish professor named Ignatius Wisniewski. The professor's original vehicle failed killing the previous governor of Mercury. Wisniewski's been sought ever since to stand trial for the failure.

The pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place. Professor Wisniewski had something to do with their friend's death so the character gave chase to Brumpford in hopes of capturing the murderer.

The players didn't know at the time whether Sir Choat, the stations governor, was trustworthy or not and so discussed how best to pursue the murderer. They requested a flier to do 'scientific research.' Sir Choat saw through their ruse but gave them a flier anyway along with a few marines from the station.

The heroes flew down the world river with Petty Officer Aku manning the controls of the steam launch Mosquito. Part way round the world they found a large meadow of sufficient size to land the large ether flier. Leading from the meadow and into the desert was a road large enough for the large vehicle described in their friend's documents. The heroes gave chase hoping to find the vehicle and the man who murdered their friend.

Near the line where the surface temperature was close to boiling water, the heroes saw the Juggernaut. The characters gave chase hoping to catch the vehicle and find a way inside. Unfortunately they neglected to notice the Juggernaut's two cannon turrets.

Soon the Mosquito crash-landed on the surface. With temperatures near the boiling point, the characters weren't going to last long. Luckily the Juggernaut was nearby. The door to the large vehicle opened. The character's were invited inside.

The heat of the desert took its toll even on the short dash to the Juggernaut. By the time the characters arrived, they already had two levels of fatigue. The Petty Officer was already unconscious. A voice from inside stated the heroes must drop all their equipment and weapons. The Inventor refused. Before a single shot was fired, all the characters had passed out from the heat.

They awoke in individual rooms with burly, grease-stained guards standing watch. The heroes were reunited in the presence of Professor Wisniewski and Claud Brumpford, their friend's killer. The professor gave them a tour of the vehicle he named The Tin Juggernaut.

His fantastic invention would traverse the Tin Zone of Mercury powered by a solar boiler to find a pool of liquid tin. The thirty foot wide, donut-shaped basket would be lowered into the pool to be filled with tin. Once full, the Juggernaut traveled back to cooler climes where the tin would solidify and then dumped out into a huge tin wheel. The Juggernaut would make five such journeys to the pool at which point the tin wheels would be placed together to form a huge tin cylinder which would roll behind the Juggernaut.

Once into the twilight zone of Mercury, around the World River, the Juggernaut would run on battery power to drop off the tin at an ether flier then go to the glacier to retrieve more ice used to cool the Juggernaut during its trip into the desert.

With the pleasantries aside, Professor Wisniewski put the characters to work to replace a portion of his crew that rebelled on his last journey into the tin zone. Life was hard over the next twenty days. During that time Alexander the Inventor successfully recreated most of his inventions from the spare parts of the Juggernaut.

Their plan was to open the water tight doors on the bottom level of the Juggernaut while the vehicle crosses a low water crossing in the World River. The water would short out the Juggernaut's electrical system stranding the vehicle. The heroes hoped to incite a riot among the crew as well allowing them to take the vessel.

Unfortunately things didn't work out quite as planned. They did flood the floor of the Juggernaut which stopped the vehicle in its tracks killing power to all the Juggernaut's systems. However, the rest of the crew did not join in their revolt. After many rounds of battle with Brumpford, the First Officer, Professor Wisniewski, and their loyal thugs the characters were almost out for the count.

The heroes decided to make a run for it. Luckily, Sir Choat arrived at that moment with his two remaining ether fliers. The Juggernaut and its crew were quickly subdued.

Claud Brumpford was sent back to Earth to face trial for murder. Professor Wisniewski, Bruno and the Beaters were arrested as well. The other mooks were sent back to Earth to serve a short sentence for aiding the professor.

After the arrest, a connection was found to the Brotherhood of Luxor. The Brotherhood sabotaged the original Juggernaut killing Lord Dundower then helped finance Wisienski's second machine in order to throw Earth's metal markets into turmoil. Further investigation is needed to determine how deep the conspiracy goes.

It was a fun session although less than half the players logged in on game day. The players had a good mix of skills but lacked any persuasion or thieving skills that would have been handy during the game. Space 1889 games tend to have a lot of investigative and discovery elements. Savage Worlds handles this fine but I think some introductory combat would have been nice to get the players used to the SW and Maptool.

This was one of the few times I've used scenario written by someone other than myself. It had a goodly number of handouts I placed on a single Maptool map. In hindsight I wonder if there was a better approach.

Once I get the Setting Token complete I'll add this to my Savage Worlds modules page so other can enjoy The Burning Desert!

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