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3 Posts

Lasers & Feelings» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Worms and Crystals, Zombies and a Banjo rss

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Jonas (he/him)
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so many plans...
N.K.Jemisin's "The Fifth Season" is awesome and fantastic.
Being a session report of Lasers and Feelings: The Doubleclicks Tribute RPG (v1.1), starting extremely long-winded and pedestrian, before getting round to actually reporting what happened.

It happens.
Our weekly RPG meet-up tries to find out in advance how many players will come, and if we need a second GM. But sometimes, the system just doesn‘t work out. So, as a back-up plan, I brought John Harper‘s Lasers & Feelings with me, a one-sheet published only a few weeks ago that looked very promising. Still, I was looking forward to playing in the scheduled game, a dice-less homebrew system by somebody’s friend.
But, as I said, it happens. More players than expected trickled in, and so we split the party and formed a second group – just me and two players. I wasn’t entirely comfortable, to be honest. Apart from being unprepared, I’m not very Sci-Fi-savvy or knowledgeable regarding Space Operas. And the rules include some descriptive terms which needed translating on the fly. So here goes... jumping into the void!

Character creation

went super fast. The framework given states that the characters are crew on the interstellar scout ship Raptor. Captain Darcy has been overcome by the strange psychic entity known as Something Else, leaving the crew to fend for themselves while he recovers in a medical pod.
Within minutes we had created our two characters and details about the ship:
Max Power, an android explorer with the goal of becoming captain, and the numeric value of 5.
John “Shooter” McStar, a hot-shot pilot who wants to meet sexy aliens, and with the numeric value of 2.
The numbers range from 2-5, a high number indicating you’re better at LASERS (technology, cold rationality, precision...), a low number saying you’re better at FEELINGS (intuition, passion, rapport).
The Raptor was said to be well-armed and equipped with a cloaking device, but had a grim reputation.

We were ready

for space adventures, so I used the sweet adventure generating table: Alien brain worms want to build void crystals which will... fix everything! I decided to keep that hidden, and instead have the Raptor encounter a gigantic void crystal that had already engulfed a complete (uninhabited) system and kept growing.
Accompanied by Tom and Tim, two redshirts, Max Power and John “Shooter” McStar beam onto the crystal surface. The crystal obviously has a very low density and can be broken with a phase pistol shot, but the part drifting off into space almost hits the Raptor (“evasion maneuver!”) and keeps growing. On the surface of the main crystal, small worms creep toward our intrepid heroes. Redshirt Tom collects a few into a jar and beams back on board to examine them. The others brush the worms of their shoes and legs. One worm bites through the glove of Max and wriggles in, so Max decides to shoot his own arm, phaser set to stun. The team beams back to the Raptor, where Tom greets them: “Peace to you, strangers!” A worm has eaten into his brain and directs Tom to explain in a friendly voice that the crystals are the habitat of the worms, and that they are expanding. He doesn’t really dwell on how others might feel about this, however. The worm intends to take Tom to the transporter room, beam down again and leave Tom. Max lets him lead the way through the corridor, and stuns him from behind. Together with Shooter, he deposits the unconscious Tom in the quarantine/ isolation chamber on the ward.

Back on the bridge,

they watch a crystal arm grow at worrying speed in the direction of the next star system, Beta Furunculi, home of a friendly trader civilization.
A technician from the transport room interrupts via the intercom, since the doctor and the scientist are asking for permission to be beamed down onto the crystal surface. Shooter sends in security to stun them, while Max decides to check back on Tom and find out more about the worms. Scanning his brain, there’s nothing unusual there, and Tom is his old self again, although rather shaky. They head over to the transporter room, where Shooter and security have stunned the doctor, the scientist and the transporter technician. Only the first two have brain worms inside them, so they are sent into the isolation chamber. Beta furunculi is calling for help on all frequencies, they have noticed the gargantuan void crystal closing in. The Raptor speeds towards them, while Max and Shooter talk to the doctor and scientist (or rather, the worms inside their heads). They negotiate and agree to let the worm leader (who had taken control of Tom earlier, but left him when Tom was lying in the isolation chamber) inside the head of Captain Darcy (!). Max collects the captain from his medical tank, and while his artificial coma wears of, he slides the hovering stretcher with the captain to the weapon chamber and plucks two photon bombs under the stretcher. Back in the isolation chamber, the worm leader wiggles into Captain Darcy’s nose. Max clearly has a plan (remember his goal?), but surprisingly, Captain Darcy intervenes. After the worm has had his say, Darcy claims the worm no longer controls him, and that he is feeling fine. He gets up from the stretcher and heads for the bridge, where Shooter sits in his place, and Max openly defies him. After a short fight, with Shooter half-stunned behind the captain’s seat, Max orders an emergency teleport, beaming first the captain (presumably including the worm) onto the crystal, and then the stretcher with the torpedoes after him, blasting them to pieces.
Shooter calls Beta Furunculi and advises them to add some sort of pesticide to their defense. It kills the worms and therefore stops the crystal growth. The Raptor remodels its weapon systems and sprays pesticide on the crystal, flying along its length all the while. The threat is defeated, and this corner of the universe sure has a new sight to see (and tale to tell).

Another Adventure
We had played about two hours at this point, and decided to play another adventure.
I rolled again, and the table yielded: Cyber Zombies want to destroy the alien artifact which will enslave a planet. This didn’t make sense at first, so I just went with the flow. Cutting the story short, the heroes were exploring the space station Schwippschwapp whose radio transmissions had been suspiciously dead for some time now. They encountered Cyber Zombies there (all other inhabitants dead), and found out that they were searching for the Ether Banjo, an ancient artifact from the planet Banjoran. It has been lost for generations, but the Cyber Zombies clearly had narrowed it down to eight possible locations. The space station was the seventh, and as they set course for the last destination, the Raptor crew follows. On the surface of a jungle planet, they manage to take the Ether Banjo from the Zombies, and return it to Banjoran – who, incidently, had sent the Cyber Zombies on the retrieval mission themselves.

Redshirt fun
We had lots of fun with the recurring motive of the redshirt: On the space station, Tom survived a Cyber Zombie attack, but Tim died instantly, sending Shooter into a fit of desparation: “Nooooooooo! We need a new poker player now!”
Tom was always very reluctant to go first into danger. Accidentally promoted to Ensign, he smugly ordered the new redshirt Jerry around. Shooter’s player narrated how, under the giant trees of the jungle planet, Tom was hit by a giant fruit, drenching him in sticky fruit mush and turning his new yellow shirt all red again. Man, we had fun with that sticky stuff and that naïve idiot, accidentally surviving everything. He even managed to stumble as he was handing over the precious Ether Banjo to the Banjorans, but luckily he fell on his back, leaving the banjo intact (determined by a dice roll). Ensign Tom even hooked up with some sexy aliens in the end (but Shooter also got sexy aliens, even with some poker playing abilities).

Anyway, fantastic game and lots of fun. Favorite moment? Shooter showing of his pilot skills, looping around the giant trees, but grazing a few branches. Once landed, Jerry takes a step out and sniffs. "Is that a fuel leak?" And Shooter rages about the technicians giving them a shabby shuttle...

Some afterthoughts

The players seemed to have difficulty coming up with "insight" questions when they rolled LASER FEELINGS (= a die matches their number). And I think we never had a roll with three dice, but it didn't seem to matter much.
The small group seemed a benefit - lots of spotlight for both players. The grim reputation of the raptor just added a nice touch, and we brought it up in one or two humorous moments, but it never actually was a drawback or problem. That's fine, I guess.
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Paul Kutscha
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Clifton Park
New York (NY)
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Great writeup! I couldn't stop laughing about the Banjorans and the Ether Banjo.
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Jonas (he/him)
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so many plans...
N.K.Jemisin's "The Fifth Season" is awesome and fantastic.
Yes, that was a hilarious session. I've played L&F (and the fantasy hack, Scrolls & Swords) several times since, and have never been disappointed.
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