Thursday, April 24, 2014

Actual Play: Lasers & Feelings

What you hope to avoid in FTL
Two coworkers and I gave Lasers & Feelings a shot, a one-page RPG for doing some light and fast sci-fi stuff. It's set up to be generically Trekkish, but we agreed to tweak our assumptions to be more like the space roguelike FTL.

I got thrown under the GM bus, and rolled the following for Space Adventure:
  • A Rogue Captain 
  • Wants to Build/Synthesize 
  • A Pirate Kingdom 
  • Which Will Reverse Time
While I boggled over how I could make something make enough sense out of those results to be playable, Joe and Chris went through the very simple 4-step character creation process.
Clarke Isaacs is totally not this guy
Joe made Clarke Isaacs, a Dangerous Engineer (4) whose goal was to Keep Being Awesome. Chris made Mono, the Raptor's Android Doctor (3) who loved solving Weird Space Mysteries.

Isaacs and Mono convinced the crew (rolling above their Feelings number) that they needed to find some riches to possibly purchase more medical pods because Captain Darcy, incapacitated during an encounter with an implacable and malevolent Pregame Metaplotholian Entity, was clinging to life in the ship's sole pod.

Also, with the captain incapacitated, they were no longer receiving pay.

Isaacs used the ship's sensors and found a distress call in a nebula, but it was a pirate trap (he failed the Lasers roll)! A 20-year-older eyepatched Captain Darcy flying a junky-looking but dangerous pirate ship attacked them (after some failed Feelings attempts). Both crews ran to their starfighters, including the PCs. During the battle, Mono managed to get his ship disabled and started drifting helplessly through the nebula. He used his android tech to hack an enemy fighter, but screwed it up so instead of ejecting its pilot, it ejected him right into Mono and they spun off into space sans ship.

Isaacs tried to tractor beam them both back, but he had to slow down and Evil Captain Darcy was able to shoot down his fighter too. Now the two PCs plus one alien pirate were floating in space, so Isaacs made a jetpack out of the poor alien's airtank and they boarded Darcy's ship, which was... from the future! Mono talked to the AI on the ship and learned that it was indeed their own captain who was attacking them. Had their timeline continued unchanged, the Raptor's crew's lust for riches would turn into full piracy and they would never try to heal their captain. Eventually, the poor medical pod figures out what was wrong, heals Darcy, he wakes up pissed, kills his crew, and finds an alien race grateful for his help in some past endeavor, and they send him back in time to make sure things progress differently.

Back in the present, Isaacs accidentally convinced the AI that it should be unto a god and it opened all the airlocks, happily solving the issue of the pirates attacking them. Yay! It then started plotting a course around a nearby star that would bathe the remaining lifeforms inside its hull with deadly radiation. Boo!

Working together, Mono and Isaacs rolled bunches of Lasers dice, wrecked the AI, stole the advanced medical pods from its sickbay, and healed Captain Darcy from their timeline.

We stopped there because... paradox. If the Captain's healed in their timeline, he never comes back with a future ship with the advanced tech needed to heal him ZOMG 5000XP let's go back to work now.
Great Scott!
Lasers & Feelings was a blast. We finished the whole thing in about 40 minutes. It does what it says and doesn't do much more, but that's fine. It works really well when you're thinking on your toes and can chain one disaster into the next. So... like... nearly every gaming session I've been in, then. Give it a try!