Gates of Despair: Session 3 recap

We played a relatively short session this time, mostly roleplaying and investigation, plus some meta discussion about what to do with the next arc or two.


The crew decides to use a locker key they’d found, so they head down to the cargo hold and I roll on a “Weapons & Supply Cache” table from “Dead Planet”. This yields a result I did not expect: two energy whips atop an octagonal altar bedecked in ornate bells. (Mechanically, they allow the user to use Intellect instead of Combat). This led to copious amounts of laughter! It also sort of illustrates my point about random tables in RPGs and how they can help surprise even the GM.

Dr. Cane examines the hard drives from the science lab and finds mostly engineering data about the metallic hydrogen cargo, etc., but importantly she recovered the manifest of the cryostorage pods:

“Genetic Manifest” showing pod numbers, sequence IDs, and taxonomic names of farm animals

As one might expect, this leads to an extensive discussion about the purpose of this genetic material. These are all well-understood genomes; why carry this around? The crew hypothesizes that the Society of the Outer Realms either wants to modify humans with these genes (a lá “Isle of Doctor Moreau”) or perhaps use them as stock for a colony. Where would such a colony even exist, though? ((I had a “corrupted” version of this manifest with extremely limited information if she’d failed but not critically.))

Next, Jones and Boris recover information from the navigation computer ((in fact, Jones gets a critical success!)) They learn that the Alexis’ previous run sent them from Enceladus to Saturn before they attempted to head back to Herschel Station around Titan. Enceladus is famous for having a liquid ocean under an ice crust and (back here in 2020) is widely considered one of the most likely places for life to exist in the solar system outside of Earth. Does that mean the Society has a base there?

While they tow the Alexis back up to Titan, Boris sends a video message home to his parents in Mother Russia: I’m okay, shit went down but I have a new gun. (I like these little character touches). Similarly, Dr. Cane sends an email to her advisor telling them she found DNA for Earth animals out here in space. She suggests that maybe someone is gene-testing them to work on Enceladus and perhaps the advisor could help them get into such a project.

Back on Herschel Station, they advise traffic control not to let anyone on the Alexis until after they debrief. The crew meets the administrator, Roge Richy, a tall man with straight cyan hair and narrow white eyes wearing a utility jumpsuit and carrying a toolkit ((generated at Donjon)). The meeting does not go well at all. Jones is mad, asserting that the corporation put the crew at risk and they deserve more information. Roge seems unconcerned and unwilling to give them more information. Boris gets angry and up in the administrator’s face, wringing a few minor concessions (bonus pay and some time off) but not getting the guaranteed raise or the names of any higher-ups. Dr. Cane mostly just spins in a chair and tries to make Roge even more frustrated. As they leave, she scares people by describing how she’d autopsy someone alive.

The crew decides they want to know more and will continue to investigate the activities of this Society of the Outer Realms. Next week, they plan to find out whatever they can here on the station (Jones is not quite ready to leave), before then heading to Enceladus armed (hopefully) with information. Boris would like to take a job that will pay them to head that way, and Dr. Cane surreptitiously keeps the dog, cat, and catfish DNA.


While we’ve finished the first arc (“recover the Alexis”), we’ve decided to pursue the current storyline with another 3-ish session arc. I don’t want to commit to a long-term multi-month campaign all at once, and of course I wouldn’t ask that of my players either. So we’re taking it one short arc at a time and seeing how it goes.

Also, I noted that, at the end of the previous session, the group asked for more “weirdness”. My thought is that the “weird” works best when it’s a constrast to the normal, so honestly I’m happy with what we have done so far. This way, when they get to those bits, it will stand out because they will understand that, otherwise, the world in 2222 is a comprehensible world that works in ways humans today can understand.

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