Tonight we tried a second session of Archives of the Sky by Aaron A. Reed in hopes that the mechanics will engage more strongly with a smaller crew, and they do. Six characters is really too many for this game, but it worked great with four.
We played as the House of Gears, committed to building and keeping our secrets and remaining human. Our crew consists of Apogee the Engineer who always keeps a promise, Daedalus the Architect who values freedom above all else, Zero the Machinist who finds the truth no matter the cost, and Pebble the codebreaker who always destroys abominations and keeps our secrets safe.
Our mission begins with a trip to the Defiance system to build fortifications for the populace to protect them from the Endgamers, a movement dedicated to destroying the immortal houses. Not only do they oppose all houses, but their constructs are ramshackle perversions of the very idea of building. Their poor designs are abominations that set Pebble on edge.
When we meet with the Governor of the central planet, he explains how they want us to quickly put up some basic fortifications to delay the invading Endgamers and protect the planet’s mines. His insistence on a constrained budget and speed of construction is a challenge to our creative freedom and high standards, but we press on and begin decrypting the messages they’ve intercepted from the Endgame and determine that their plans are more advanced than anyone suspected; the invasion will arrive in a short six weeks. We then learn more about what they’re mining here and how the volatile plasma by-product of their mining has a nasty side effect: it robs those exposed to its radiation of free will. Rather than build grand fortifications, we decide to build orbital weapons to protect the planet, weapons laced with the explosive plasma, but can we complete our job and get out before the invasion arrives?
Pebble and Zero discover the miners work for the Wormhole Theocracy and the Governor plans to use the plasma to mind-control entire planets by lacing it into a drug and distributing it across the galaxy. We now have a clear dilemma: will we complete our job and build the weapons or will we leave so the Endgame can destroy the Governor and his plans? In a tense scene, Apogee convinces first Daedalus and Zero that we must keep our promise and keep true to our identity as builders, then all three work on Pebble to convince her that our mission is more important than politics. While she accedes to our plan, she knows that we should have destroyed his abominable plan and swears to never again allow such an abomination to stand.