Emissary Lost: Adventures for the Coriolis RPG

Who is hunting the mystics of Coriolis and why? Investigate to find out in Emissary Lost, an adventure for the Coriolis the Third Horizon RPG. Combine Emissary Lost with other Coriolis adventures for a long-term space opera campaign.


Coriolis the Third Horizon RPG (review) features Arabian Nights style adventures in space. Enough adventures have been published, including the latest Emissary Lost, that a well-supported campaign can be developed. I have run the adventures in the core book and Dark Flowers as a mini-campaign. I found the rules and adventures excellent and a joy to run.
The events in Last Voyage of the Ghazali are a prologue to Emissary Lost. The adventure takes place in the Hamura system which is next to the Kua system where many of the other adventures take place. Hamurabi, another location and short adventure, is available as a separate PDF but has been included in Last Voyage as well.
Emissary Lost begins on Coriolis Station in the Wake of the Martyr chapter and moves to the planet Kua in the Kuan Connection chapter. Two additional adventures are planned to create the Mercy of the Icons campaign. Any of the following adventures could be run before or after playing Emissary Lost. In the Kua system the space station Coriolis orbits the green jungles of the planet Kua. The system is also home to the burning hot planet Lubau, the acidified Jina, an asteroid belt, the gas giant Xene, the ice planet Surha and an outer asteroid belt.

The adventure also contains additional options including a mission generator that help introduce the Emissaries into your game. The Emissaries are mysterious strangers who arrived at Coriolis Station and whose arrival heralded a small percentage of people developing mystic powers and many going mad. A new group of mystic talents are included called resonance powers. It also explores more of the mysteries introduced in the adventure. An epilogue adventure, A Song for Jaruoma wraps up Emissary Lost.

Last Voyage of the Ghazali can be followed up with Wahib’s Cantina, The Statuette of Zhar Bagra, and Terenganu Valley from the core rulebook. The first two take place on Coriolis Station and the last heads down to Kua, the planet below.
The Dying Ship takes place in the Kua system as do all of the other adventures to follow except Dark Flowers. These adventures in the Kua system could be run in any order. Aram’s Ravine is available as a PDF and will also be included in Arams Secret which just fulfilled for the recent kickstarter. Aram’s Secret adds another adventure. It takes place on the planet Jina. The Mahanji Oasis is out in PDF now and will also be in Scenario Compendium 1, which was also just finished. The oasis is found on the planet Lubau. The other adventures take place the Mira, Lua, and Uharu systems. Dark Flowers is several systems away in the Dabaran system. The adventure is free, has pre-generated PCs, and takes place several systems away from Kua. If you have Scenario Compendium 1 the adventure Eye of the Beast takes place one system away in Uharu.
The Atlas Compendium contains more detailed system and planet descriptions as well as tables to generate adventures.

Combining the rules in Coriolis the Third Horizon and the adventure Emissary Lost with any or all of the adventures and resources described will create a campaign lasting months or years. Adventures can be added in one by one as needed and additional missions generated by random rolls or PC decision making. A GM will have all the tools needed for a mystical and challenging Coriolis campaign.

This article was contributed by Charles Dunwoody as part of EN World's Columnist (ENWC) program. Please note that Charles is a participant in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to DriveThruRPG. We are always on the lookout for freelance columnists! If you have a pitch, please contact us!
 
Charles Dunwoody

Comments

I'm currently running this game and I'm just about to start The Last Voyage of the Ghazali. I think this product is excellent. One of the best Sci Fi RPGs out there.
 

Staffan

Adventurer
I and some friends played The Dying Ship this weekend in order to try the game out (since we'll be playing it at GothCon in mid-April).

Could be that the adventure is designed for five PCs and they were four, but the difficulty seemed a bit harsh in many places. In addition, many of the events I as the GM could "buy" for Darkness Points seemed undercosted, particularly one that's supposed to happen near the end. I never felt that the DPs constrained me, really.

One thing I'll say is that, much like Mutant Year Zero, the game can be utterly punishing if your dice run cold. Even if you have 6 dice for doing something (which is pretty good for a starting character), you have about a 2/3 chance of succeeding. If you fail, you can get another 2/3 chance by praying to the Icons (and giving the GM a Darkness Point) which in theory pushes the chance up to 8/9... except you've already failed on the first 2/3 roll, so it's really just another crap shoot. I'm not sure what I think of this mechanic compared to the similar one in Mutant Year Zero, where pushing means that 1s on the dice you get from your ability score and gear will have consequences. In MYZ you take a chance on things getting better but they might get worse instead, whereas in Coriolis you know you're giving the GM the opportunity to screw you over a bit later.

Still, for being our first attempt at playing a new system, things worked out pretty well. Well, not so much for the crew of Orun II, but...
 
I and some friends played The Dying Ship this weekend in order to try the game out (since we'll be playing it at GothCon in mid-April).

Could be that the adventure is designed for five PCs and they were four, but the difficulty seemed a bit harsh in many places. In addition, many of the events I as the GM could "buy" for Darkness Points seemed undercosted, particularly one that's supposed to happen near the end. I never felt that the DPs constrained me, really.

One thing I'll say is that, much like Mutant Year Zero, the game can be utterly punishing if your dice run cold. Even if you have 6 dice for doing something (which is pretty good for a starting character), you have about a 2/3 chance of succeeding. If you fail, you can get another 2/3 chance by praying to the Icons (and giving the GM a Darkness Point) which in theory pushes the chance up to 8/9... except you've already failed on the first 2/3 roll, so it's really just another crap shoot. I'm not sure what I think of this mechanic compared to the similar one in Mutant Year Zero, where pushing means that 1s on the dice you get from your ability score and gear will have consequences. In MYZ you take a chance on things getting better but they might get worse instead, whereas in Coriolis you know you're giving the GM the opportunity to screw you over a bit later.

Still, for being our first attempt at playing a new system, things worked out pretty well. Well, not so much for the crew of Orun II, but...
I agree that the dice can be a bit swingy. As GM I think just letting some attempts at things happen with no roll would smooth things out.

As for giving the GM Darkness Points for rerolls, some people hate it, some people love it. I've seen it create epic ebbs and flows of actions that really keep the game moving and surprise everyone. I found it a fascinating mechanic that constantly surprised me. But some players will hate it, no doubt.

I will say Darkness Points really drive home the dark between the stars.

I think another optional rule would be for GMs to get so many DP to start and hand out rerolls to players as they are spent. That might reverse the ebb and flow and change the game's dynamics.
 

Connorsrpg

Adventurer
I LOVE this game. I don't really have any of the adventures, as I doubt I will ever got to play them :(

I have used the system for our Star Wars games. I agree with the person above that did not like the reroll. I have changed that to 'trusting to the Force' (or course :p) and there are always problems with rolling 1's on these rerolls ;)

Thanks for the article.

If interested, my Star Wars and other conversions here (under Year Zero Engine in side nav bar): http://connorsscifi.wikidot.com/system:welcome
 
I LOVE this game. I don't really have any of the adventures, as I doubt I will ever got to play them :(

I have used the system for our Star Wars games. I agree with the person above that did not like the reroll. I have changed that to 'trusting to the Force' (or course :p) and there are always problems with rolling 1's on these rerolls ;)

Thanks for the article.

If interested, my Star Wars and other conversions here (under Year Zero Engine in side nav bar): http://connorsscifi.wikidot.com/system:welcome
Thanks for sharing!
 

Staffan

Adventurer
I agree that the dice can be a bit swingy. As GM I think just letting some attempts at things happen with no roll would smooth things out.

As for giving the GM Darkness Points for rerolls, some people hate it, some people love it. I've seen it create epic ebbs and flows of actions that really keep the game moving and surprise everyone. I found it a fascinating mechanic that constantly surprised me. But some players will hate it, no doubt.
It's certainly an interesting mechanic. I'm curious to find out more about how well it works in practice, particularly compared to its siblings in the other Free League games:

  • Mutant Year Zero (and, I think, Forbidden Lands) which lets you reroll at the risk of taking trauma and/or damaging your gear.
  • Tales from the Loop, which allows a small number of free rolls per session, and inflicting conditions for using more than that allotment.
  • Coriolis, where rerolls will give the GM the opportunity to screw you over.

I also think some of the DP events are undercosted. For example, I could trigger a fight with a really strong melee opponent for a single DP. During the fight, it was very likely that the PCs gave me at least one DP back, probably more. So the end result would be that I would be up a DP or two, and the PCs probably took some damage along the way. I don't have enough experience with the system to say whether that was a problem with the adventure itself, or with DPs in general.

The way DPs work in Coriolis remind me of one of my favorite Babylon 5 quotes: "You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe."

Well, in Coriolis, you do deserve all the terrible things that happen to you - that's what Darkness Points are for :)
 
It's certainly an interesting mechanic. I'm curious to find out more about how well it works in practice, particularly compared to its siblings in the other Free League games:

  • Mutant Year Zero (and, I think, Forbidden Lands) which lets you reroll at the risk of taking trauma and/or damaging your gear.
  • Tales from the Loop, which allows a small number of free rolls per session, and inflicting conditions for using more than that allotment.
  • Coriolis, where rerolls will give the GM the opportunity to screw you over.

I also think some of the DP events are undercosted. For example, I could trigger a fight with a really strong melee opponent for a single DP. During the fight, it was very likely that the PCs gave me at least one DP back, probably more. So the end result would be that I would be up a DP or two, and the PCs probably took some damage along the way. I don't have enough experience with the system to say whether that was a problem with the adventure itself, or with DPs in general.

The way DPs work in Coriolis remind me of one of my favorite Babylon 5 quotes: "You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe."

Well, in Coriolis, you do deserve all the terrible things that happen to you - that's what Darkness Points are for :)
I agree. Some gamers will just hate it. It does take a skilled GM to wield the Darkness well and in a terrifying way without going overboard. But really it is just another TTRPG tool which is this case is to create an ebb and flow of fated and cursed rippling across the blackness of space. The Dark between the Stars truly does have a life of its own.

Claiming the GM can screw the players over is like saying the players can cheat by using a reroll. From a certain view maybe either one could be considered true but you have to twist the spirit of the rules to do it. It takes a heartless gamer to misuse their fellow friends around the table so I don't think the descriptions of screwing over other players apply to normal tables and groups.
 

Staffan

Adventurer
Claiming the GM can screw the players over is like saying the players can cheat by using a reroll. From a certain view maybe either one could be considered true but you have to twist the spirit of the rules to do it. It takes a heartless gamer to misuse their fellow friends around the table so I don't think the descriptions of screwing over other players apply to normal tables and groups.
I didn't mean unfairly screwing the PCs with Darkness Points. By definition, using a Darkness Point to mess with them is "fair" - they brought it on themselves, after all. And in one sense, Darkness Points is just a way of codifying the way GMs have always interfered with things as well as random events/encounters. A D&D adventure about exploring a place might have a table you roll on every so often to see if something happens and if so what. In Coriolis, that's handled via spending DPs.

I mainly meant it as a comparison to the risk-taking in MYZ's push mechanic. In MYZ, pushing might hurt you, and if it does it will do so right now. In Coriolis, praying will screw you, but it will probably happen somewhere down the line..
 
I didn't mean unfairly screwing the PCs with Darkness Points. By definition, using a Darkness Point to mess with them is "fair" - they brought it on themselves, after all. And in one sense, Darkness Points is just a way of codifying the way GMs have always interfered with things as well as random events/encounters. A D&D adventure about exploring a place might have a table you roll on every so often to see if something happens and if so what. In Coriolis, that's handled via spending DPs.

I mainly meant it as a comparison to the risk-taking in MYZ's push mechanic. In MYZ, pushing might hurt you, and if it does it will do so right now. In Coriolis, praying will screw you, but it will probably happen somewhere down the line..
Got it. Thanks for the further explanation. Makes sense.
 

Advertisement

Advertisement

Top