Fellow role-players, here are notes from Session 7.4 of “Vortex: Diaspora," which Byron V.O. hosted in Stow, Mass., on Monday, 22 January 2023:
In one future, humanity had engineered new sentients and begun colonizing the Sol system, but it still struggled with conflict and sustainability. First Contact with aliens posed new challenges. The Zarkonian Invasion forced refugee fleets to wander the galaxy. Now, the survivors have begun settling new systems, guided by brave explorers….
Player Character Team 7 for “ Vortex: Diaspora,” Gene D.’s space opera campaign, using Fantastic Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment (FATE) Core, Condensed, and Space Toolkit, as of early 2024 or “7 T.G.E.:”
- “Malik Johnson” [Dexter V.H.]: male North American Terran human Mystic: Technomancer; student of the enigmatic Zalarians with a shapeshifting mechanical companion; Altruist (NGl)
- “B’zrk B’ltr/ Dr. Bob” [James D.]: male Nethian (insectoid) Explorer: Medic who views organisms (and Terrans specifically) as fascinatingly complex systems; Justice (LGn)
- “Rubeus Alistair Trelawney/RAT” [Byron V.O.]: male British Terran human Tech: Thief; former Royal Aerospace Force officer, stowaway, and survivor; Anarchist (CNg)
- “John Song” [Brian W.]: male Terran human Envoy: Diplomat; disciplined former military attache to the Ru’ulok who served under Capt. Wu Hanbei of the U.E.V. Babieca in the Ilokar battle group; Order (LNg)
- “Tela” [Sara F.C.]: female Tharian (gargoyle-like extraterrestrial) Tech: Engineer; escapee from the slug-like Encegulans and a former Lt.Cmdr. in the crew of scout ship Morifaiwet/Blackbird (Party 5a); Freedom (CGn)
- “Sgt. Matthew/Matt Brennan” [Bruce K.]: male North American Terran human Warrior: Space Marine; pilot and veteran struggling with past traumas; Anarchst (CNg)
- “Zyren Sokora” [Drew S.]: male Trinoid (trilateral amphibious) Mystic: Ecomancer interested in terraforming and protecting life; fellow prankster with Tressa; Altruism (NGc)
- “Tressa Kael/TK” [Divya S.]: female Olvar (mammal-like) Explorer: Scout whose devotion to preserving life is only tempered by her mischievous nature; Freedom (CGn)
“Circa 27 November 7 Terran Galactic Era (2201 A.D./C.E.):” The freighter Serene Grove brought agricultural aid to the colony of Haven’s Reach. On the way, a team of military veterans, mystics, and extraterrestrials repelled pirates, found a traitor, and met the wary locals.
Into the red circle
Suspicious of the colonists, the landing party ventured into mountains, where it found prospector Jeremiah Jones, whom it persuaded to show them the standing stones being chiseled and traded in secret.
Malik and Zyren perceive strange energies around the red rocks. When the human Technomancer touches one, he has a vision of an upside-down mountain hovering over the planet.
Zyren communes with nature and senses a connection to deep within the planet. However, the Trinoid Ecomancer is unable to communicate further because something is damaged or wounded.
Dr. Bob scans the area and is surprised to find a dearth of flora or fauna. The Nethian medic stays close to Malik, sensing his services may be needed soon.
Tela notices that the stones in the outer ring are broken, as well as a few in the outer ring. Matt also touches a menhir and feels ridges. He takes rubbings and recordings at RAT/Aidan’s request.
Envoy John chats up Jones, who leads him away from the broken stones.
Aidan climbs to higher ground to survey the area. The RAF veteran spots a ground car in the distant desert. He radios Capt. Asha Vyas and Gustrall Talondar to keep watch from the Serene Grove in orbit.
TK climbs the inner ring of stones. As multiple people touch the strange ruins, three giant figures emerge!
Against the giants
Nimble TK runs and jumps onto one of the vaguely humanoid figures, while Zyren cautiously backs away and tries to sense their intent. Amored Matt covers Zyren and communicates with the others.
Dr. Bob tries to detect signals between the constructs and standing stones, with Tela covering him. Aidan turns on his stealth suit and maneuvers to help TK.
Malik manages to understand one of the boulder beings, which tells the visitors to back away. He learns that they have been on guard for thousands of (Terran) years. The creatures don’t know how the stones were damaged, but John thinks that Jones knows.
Despite John’s warning, Jones fires his shotgun at one of the giants, which scorches the ground with an energy beam in return.
Tela notices an energy dip in the area, as two giants step forward and threaten Zyren, who analyzes their organic composition. Dr. Bob notices the guardians stepping in unison and wonders about Malik’s telepathic abilities.
TK jumps down and observes that the constructs’ biomechanics mean they can be tripped. The Olvar scout moves to higher ground with Aidan. Matt helps keep Zyren from getting trampled. John guides Jones away from the stone rings.
The constructs finally return to their alcoves, but Aidan spots the groundcar approaching.
Reckoning with the relic raiders
Madison Daniels, mayor of Haven’s Reach, and Sheriff Ulla berate Jeremiah Jones for brining the outworlders to the secret site. Matt explains that his team had detected something in the area, and John notes that the colonists weren’t honest with them.
Malik is reluctant to leave ancient mysteries unattended. Dr. Bob is curious about human factions.
TK and Aiden sneak around behind the ground car in case of hostilities. They send aerial drones to map the area.
With Tela taking subsonic scans, Zyren reaches out through the stones and learns that they’re again gathering strength, but they’re not capable of coherent responses because the control unit has been damaged. He sends the last giant back into hibernation.
John and Dr. Bob tell Daniels that the Ru’ulok pirates will eventually become impatient and decide to “cut out the middleman,” imperiling the entire colony.
In return for the visitors not bringing the Union of Solar Nations navy, Daniels says she’ll stop smuggling pieces of the standing stones. Aiden eavesdrops in case of a double-cross as Daniels, Ulla, and Jones watch his group leave.
Back in the settlement, Malik and Tela leave some manuals for young mechanic Anika “Sparks” Sharma. Aidan studies local materials.
Dr. Bob tells Silas “Doc” Morgan about the looting of the stones by the town leaders. John packs up and tells Capt. Vyas to ready the Serene Grove for departure.
Zyren and TK let Luna “Whisperwind” Grey about their findings around the red rocks, which they say needs to be protected along with local lifeforms and studied. Zyren says he hope Whisperwind will continue practicing Ecomancy.
Rendezvous with the Hephaestus
As the Serene Grove leaves orbit, the team finds a case of stone in the now mostly empty cargo hold. Zyren wants to explore using the shards to repair the stones at Haven’s Reach.
TK notices parallels in the landing approaches of the drop ships, the pirates, and the massive structure that Malik saw in a vision. She and Dr. Bob theorize that the site could have once been used as an energy conduit for Precursor vessels.
Matt gives Capt. Vyas a brief report and learns that the freighter is meeting with the Hephaestus, a Martian destroyer, rather than going back to the Ilokar battlegroup. John makes sure that roughneck and traitor Hao Enrong is kept in solitary confinement.
The Serene Grove finds the Hephaestus with the Raavea Duin (“Roaring Rapids”), a graceful Olvar science ship that TK once served aboard.
Lt.Cmdr. Gregor Andreivich greets Sgt. Brennan, Cpl. Song, and Dr. Bob on the cramped but efficient Hephaestus. Capt. Emil Santoro is interested in reports on pirate activity and says they are free to join his ship as far as the Laguro spaceport.
Meanwhile, TK, Tela, Zyren, Malik, and Aidan wait for permission to go to the Olvar vessel….
Note that guidelines on advancement are coming separately. Divya has offered a one-shot on Feb. 5 — contact her for details. Our next space opera session will be on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024.