Arion 157: Cherchez La Femme


“It’s science fiction, there are nine million ways to bring Ripley back, or to do other stories.” – David Giler
New Hope City

Karagoz comes to the starport to meet Arion, and finds him offloading an injured razor in a cryosleep pod, with half a dozen Basics he rescued from Earth gawping around the landing pad.

“I’ll want these folks for debriefing,” Karagoz says. “Did you find out what the razors were up to on Earth?”

“No, but I brought one back for you to ask in person,” says Arion. “Be nice to the others, they’re friends. The razor tried to blast us, she had some kind of grudge against one of the Basics. Not one of these though.” Karagoz nods acceptance, and Arion continues. “Oh, and there are Stage Two Vampires and Lycaons on Earth now as well. Popular tourist destination, despite the zombies.” Karagoz gestures a couple of hard-faced men forward and points them at the cryosleep pod, which they take away to parts unknown.

“What’s next?” Arion asks. “Do I get any time off?” Karagoz treats that request with the contempt it deserves.

“I want you to find someone,” he says, drawing Arion aside where they can speak privately, on general principles. “And bring her back to me safely.”

“Okay, who is it?”

“Cori.” Arion frowns.

“She made it pretty clear she didn’t want to see me again.”

“Well, I’m your boss, and I’m telling you to find her.” Karagoz is enough of a spymaster to know when two of his agents are dating, and when they break up, so he explains further. “Look, you know the policy on rogue psions. I can’t cover for her any more, it’s too obvious that she’s gone renegade. Anyone else I send after her will shoot first and not bother asking questions, assuming she doesn’t fry their brains first. You, she might listen to, and even if she doesn’t, sending you buys me some time.” Arion sighs.

“Okay. I’ll see what I can do.”

“Where will you start?”

“Berengei’s, where else?”

GM Notes

Arion’s adventures call to me again, so I wondered: What is his objective this time, and what is the best game to support that? One of the fun bits of the Arioniad for me is exploring new game systems, and I have loads of them I haven’t tried out yet.

If I’m going to reboot the blog, which I probably will once the Dracula Dossier is finished, I want to get the band back together before I do that. So, Arion’s objectives for season 6 are to find Coriander, Dmitri, and Mr Osheen, and persuade them to join him again. (But wait, you say, isn’t Dmitri dead? I refer you to Mr Giler’s comments above.)

My first thought was to run this as a series of Find encounters under 5150, but Arion’s last two outings have used 5150 and All Things Zombie, and while those are both fine games – some of my favourites, in fact – I wanted to try something else. So next, I thought of Ironsworn: Starforged, where those objectives would make fine background vows. I statted up Arion, rolled up a sector, and started play. In fact I did that three separate times. Each time, I found myself staring at the book and the character sheet, paralysed, and I just couldn’t bring myself to get past the first episode on any of those occasions.

Starforged is a great game, with some really interesting mechanics, and the presentation is top-notch; but it’s just not for me, because I can’t get my head around this whole PbtA-adjacent Moves approach, especially when there are so many Moves. I’m also not enamoured of the world generation system, more than anything because the population levels are so low. Finally, Starforged is over 400 pages; it’s too big and too complicated for what I want to do. So I set it aside.

This leaves me with a choice between Zozer’s Retro Sci-Fi Rules, which should work just fine on their own, and SWADE, which will need some backup from One-Page Mythic. As there are three quests to complete, I’ll do the first one with SWADE (since it’s what I’m using for the Dracula Dossier), the second in RSF, and I’ll worry about the third later. On with the motley!

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