Tonight we played Clash at Ikara by Randy Lubin, a new game on his Story Synth engine with a crew of eight heroes committed to protecting the encoded alien archive discovered on the planet Ikara research site. The scientists and researchers have reached out for help from us after having been threatened and attacked by stellar raiders. We are Stanislas the Sage, who wants to protect the knowledge stored at Ikara; Marcia the Untested warrior, who wants hopes to prove herself worthy in battle; Xander the Tinkerer, who wants to help the weak; Terg the Strategist, who wants to test his stratagems; Mitsumi the Tagalong, who wants to find a new place for herself after her husband’s recent passing; Geo the Charmer, who is following his patients and wants to keep everyone safe and happy; X4 the Veteran, a robot built as part of the archive by the ancient race that created it; and Lyric the Virtuoso, who wants to test his skill in a real life situation.
The Ikara archives is buried deep underground with only a single tunnel to access the alien archives, so we decide to turn that tunnel into a costly gauntlet the alien raiders must drive through. Their previous attacks have burned the countryside surrounding the archive complex. In preparation for the coming battle, Xander modifies the lab equipment into weapons and teaches the researchers how to use them. Terg has a skirmish with a bandit scout and learns their origins based on symbols upon their clothing. Unfortunately, recent volcanic activity could threaten the safety of the archives on Ikara, so we prepare precise evacuation protocols in case an eruption occurs. X4 activates the complex’s internal scanning and tracking systems and a flotilla of drone defenses to protect the archive core, but as Geo discovers, activating the defense systems accidentally erases some of the archives untranslated files. Finally, Lyric asks Terg to plan a complex of booby traps that Xander arms with high-powered lasers. Then Lyric tests the trap for effectiveness using his acrobatic fighting techniques.
As the battle begins, Mitsumi, wearing her husbands old armor and carrying his sword, fails to save the group of scientists first targeted by the robotic centaurs that comprise the first wave of the attack. Geo sees an incoming asteroid launched by the raiders but can do nothing but watch it crash into the planet, causing widespread devastation. X4 sees the scientists who revived them, in particular one scientist who taught them to communicate with the human researchers, endangered by raiders armed with automatic weaponry and intercedes to save her life, overriding their primary programming to protect the archive itself at all costs. However, Lyric leaps into the fray to retrieve X4’s memory core, which Xander is able to upload into the archive’s main computer systems, so that X4 becomes the archive base. Xander then rigs up a device to allow us to intercept the raider’s communications and predict their next moves. Terg wades into battle using his traps to undercut the raiders before finishing them off with his plasma katana. Then the raider leader arrives, a massive minotaur-like creature wielding twin plasma battle axes, as he begins to sweep through the tunnel into the archives, Stanislas steps forward to slow his assault, barely able to deflect his blows, constantly falling back as the raiders continue to move deeper into the complex, until at the appointed moment, Stanislas stumbles and Lyric flips in to pull him free just as Terg’s laser traps activate to fell the leader of the raiders, stopping their progress, and allowing us to turn them back.
After the battle, X4 now lives as the primary intelligence within the archive complex and spends his time assisting his beloved scientist in her research. Terg walks away after a job well done, returning to space. Xander stays on to heal from their wounds and to help rebuild and fortify the archive for the future. Lyric meets with X4 and asks them to initiate a daily training algorithm to help him hone his gymnastic craft. Geo decides to stay and open a rehab center for those who’ve suffered from trauma, including the veterans and scientists who survived the battle. Mitsumi stays on to serve as den mother, having realized that she is no warrior like her husband and bestows her armor on Marcia, who proved herself worthy during the fighting. And Stanislas stays on briefly to study what wisdom the archive has to offer before leaving to wander the stars once more.