Maiden Voyage to Maiden Voyage to the Moon

We tried a game new to us this week, Maiden Voyage to the Moon by Stephanie Godfrey, in which we play in a world crafted by Edgar Rice Burroughs. We are the crew of the rocket ship, Barsoom, forced to crash-land on Earth’s totally unexplored Moon on our way to Mars. Our crew consists of Earth’s ambassador to Mars, Delta Equinox; the scientific liaison, Dr. MacGuffin; pilot of the Barsoom, Ace Proton; and Jimmy John, the massively strong on-board stevedore.

Painted landscape with a rocket ship under the words 'Maiden Voyage to the Moon: A retrofuturistic RPG'.
Image courtesy of S.R. Godfrey.

We begin our tale just having landed on the lunar surface, which is covered in a thick atmosphere that obscures the stars and keeps the temperature sweltering. As we prepare to leave the ship and explore, Jimmy John is moving boxes around in the storage hold, aiming to determine what unexpected or unexpectedly heavy cargo necessitated our emergency landing. No one, particularly Dr. MacGuffin, seems entirely comfortable leaving Jimmy alone with our equipment and supplies. After subtle cajoling, Jimmy feels being left behind would be being left out, so agrees to join the crew in exploring the surface.

Outside, the forest is filled with strange plants and unbelievable creatures. After watching a group of geometric creatures crossing in front of us yet again, Ace realizes that we’re no longer bushwhacking but on a footpath. We follow it until we emerge into an opening in the forest, where a group of achingly beautiful natives await us, some floating in on mechanical wings. Delta tries speaking to them in numerous languages, including Martian, to which they respond in an almost intelligible ancient dialect of the Martian tongue. When Delta plays them music from our portable phonograph, they grow quite excited and invite us back to their village.

In the Kalkar village (for that is their name), we are greeted by their chief and invited to share a meal, during which Ace and Delta negotiate a trade of aid and one of their wing apparatuses in exchange for some item from our ship. Afterward, Jimmy participates in an athletic game in which each team attempts to put a magnetically levitating ball into their opponent’s goal. Jimmy keeps using too much force and ends up exhausted, challenging Ace to do better. Ace decides to give it a go and manages to score a goal using finesse over force, but gains a rival among the Kalkar who resents the newcomer getting past him.

Back to our ship, we instruct the Kalkar to unload many crates filled with items we’d likely have to leave behind anyway to return to our journey to Mars. When Dr. MacGuffin cries out that one of his instruments is missing, we rush outside to find ourselves stopped by members of the tribe as we see one of their number rushing away with the doctor’s box. Jimmy swings his crowbar to knock the sword out of one of their hands, while MacGuffin and Ace pull their service revolvers. MacGuffin fires wildly, but Ace calmly levels his aim and fells the escaping thief. At that, the clearing fills with Kalkars armed and able to cut us off from our ship, leaving us in dire straits. Coming to our rescue, however, is another group of natives, dressed quite differently than the first, who drive off the Kalkars after a brief skirmish. We are now ready to meet the Laythe, who will become our friends, and one of whom will join our crew when we eventually leave this rock. But that is a story for another day.