Alien Day - 4/26


So, today is "Alien" day, chosen for the day because of the planet they are found on, LV-426.

Have you played the Alien Roleplaying Game? If so, share your stories here!

Our group did a one-shot some time back, using the adventure Chariot of the Gods. Much death and carnage ensued and my players greatly enjoyed it. They're ready for the next time we can play, and I intend to use Destroyer of Worlds for that next game, loosely linking it to our previous game.

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I'm 2 sessions in as a GM. It's quite early on, but, so far, the system is delivering. My group chose campaign play instead of cinematic, so the players are a little more cautious than usual, I suppose. Yet they come from a very move forward attitude and are not affraid of breaking bones (figurative or otherwise).

I generated a mission in the colonists table, designed a simple location for them to explore, based on the result, and seeded it with their personal agendas and two opposing, simple but hidden threats. Session #1 taught the players what their characters should know by heart: if the ship/station air system breaks, fix it ASAP. They first approached the problem as a regular dungeon exploration, but soon found out air from a VAC suit burns quicker than a torch. By the end of Session #2, they learned that managing stress is key to survive. If you panic, the odds stack against you real fast.

That's it for mechanics, so far. The players were already familiar with the basic task resolution and dice rolling of the system, 3/5 coming from a Tales from the Loop game. Free League did a great job here. The mechanics are similar, but the tone is totally different: Alien can be brutal (as it should) if you put your guard down.

The scenario works. Although everyone knows a little something about the movies, the book does a great job showing you the stories are more about low level workers trying to survive in deep space with inadequate gear, unbalanced odds and disposable lives (from the corporations pov).
Also, a xenomorph is a must in a cinematic one-shot, but not so much in campaign play. Anything you put against the characters is a threat, for a simple failed component in the ship/station can end up blowing the whole thing apart. A simple sabotage, a malfunctioning AI, a betrayal, a detour. I've found my players are expecting things to derail, and are more than willing to contribute to the mayhem with their personal agendas (gotta get that extra XP). Maybe I'm lucky. We finished a 14 sessions Call of Cthulhu game before starting Alien. By the end, they were smiling and laughing about their characters (mostly) miserable fates. I want to revisit CoC very soon, and establish a long-term campaign.

I guess the key to appreciate an horror game (or any genre, fwiw) is to be willing to play by the trope.
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I ran Chariot of the Gods and it was an interesting experience. As the GM, I made a few errors. My players were paranoid, and upon finding out they were boarding a science vessel decided they needed to keep their space suits on just in case the place was contaminated. First, I let them run around in their space suits for far longer than they should have been able to. I was hoping the air would run out naturally, but they kept rolling rather well on their dice, but I don't think they should have been able to go through multiple shifts in their space suits.

The most surprising moment came when the officer PC ordered one of the roughneck PCs to kill the corporate PC. The situation escalated very quickly and I certainly didn't expect it. Officers have an ability to make a Command roll forcing another PC or NPC to take an action they don't want to take. But there's also a rule about killing helpless people in cold blood which I felt applied to this situation. So I made the Officer roll her Empathy and she succeeded so I said she couldn't give the order. What I should have done, was allow her to give the order and then had the Roughneck make an empathy roll if it came to that.

I think it was a pretty good experience and I'm looking forward to running Destroyer of Worlds sometime soon. One of the problems with playing Chariot of the Gods is how some of the players interpreted their character's goals. The Officer PC, thought her character was kind of a jerk more concerned about money than the lives of her crew. But my interpretation is that the Officer was legitimately concerned over the entire crew losing all their earnings if they didn't follow company protocol by investigating the ship thoroughly.

aramis erak

Am currently running my 5th campaign (noting that, with players like I've got, the cinematic adventures are mini-campaigns).

I've run the playtest version of Chariot twice.
I've run 2 traders campaigns.
I started, but the pandemic cut short, the mercs game.
I'm currently running Destroyer. Just entering Act III.

Needless to say, I like it well enough.

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