Conflict at the Underwater Archipelago

This week we played Archipelago by Matthijs Holter. We created a world where many sea people live in the utopian Shallows, human scientists have established Aqua Base Z on the ocean floor, and explorers tell of giant sea monsters that roam the Deep.

Our characters are Luna, a mermaid who wants to leave her overprotective family in the Shallows to explore the Deep and start her own business; Amber, a skilled doctor in the Shallows who lost her young child to illness years ago; Atlas, an explorer working out of Aqua Base Z who hopes to discover a new creature; Roy P. Hannigan, a deep sea diver looking for lost knowledge; Maren, a merperson helping humans and sea creatures to understand one another; Zimmon, an octopus-person mage concerned about the impact of humans on the environment; Ron Johnson, an excitable marine biologist stationed at Aqua Base Z; and the Violet Kraken, an ancient sea monster recently awakened from their slumber in the Deep Hole.

At a medical ward in the Shallows, Amber is distraught and overworked as children are falling ill from a mysterious new disease. Near the old whale ribcage, Zimmon greets the Kraken respectfully, while Atlas looks on from Aqua Base Z, confused at what he’s seeing. Later, Maren meets with Zimmon and the Kraken at the same whale ribcage, hoping to promote understanding between them and the humans, but the Kraken is annoyed at the bright noisy base and Zimmon worries that humans only study the sea to control it. Meanwhile, Roy is descending from his boat into the Ancient Drowned City, where he sees an entire chunk of continent has broken off and sunk to the ocean floor.

At Aqua Base Z, Ron and Atlas argue about whether the Kraken Atlas has seen matches the rumours they’ve heard about leviathan sightings, but agree that they want to do more study of whatever creatures haunt these waters. Maren meets with Atlas and asks if he has the Kraken’s permission to film them. Atlas asks Maren to negotiate on his behalf, which surprises them. Back in the Shallows, Luna has come to visit her family, who offer her a gift that is almost, but not quite, the conch necklace she’s been hoping for. Her parents want her to stay at home, but she learns about a rare plant found in the Deep that may help treat the mysterious disease afflicting the children and vows to go find it.

Just outside the domes of the Shallows, Zimmon and Amber meet to discuss the disease outbreak. Zimmon suggests that human pollution or even warfare could be behind it, but Amber doesn’t have time to track down the source. When Zimmon, using his magical perception, sees a pattern in the sick children that reminds him of the Deep, Amber resolves to go to the Deep Hole and seek the Kraken’s help.

As Amber is on her way out of the city, Luna accosts her and asks to go along on her journey to the Deep. Amber doesn’t trust Luna not to disrupt her meeting with the Kraken, but Luna gives her word, and her necklace as collateral. Maren agrees to translate between Amber and the Kraken, but doesn’t understand the urgency until Amber explains that her species has only one child at a time, not hundreds of eggs.

Roy finishes descending into the Drowned City and finds that the only building not covered in algae is an ancient temple covered in writing he can’t read. He takes samples and pictures of a mural that seems to depict an epidemic.

At the Deep Hole, Amber is awed by the Kraken’s size even as Maren translates for her. The Kraken says it remembers a disease outbreak like the one she describes, and offers information in exchange for making the noisy humans of Aqua Base Z go away. Maren keeps the details of this deal from Amber, but offers the Kraken information on the structural weaknesses of the base. Amber is torn between asking about the disease killing children now, or the disease that killed her child ten years ago, but decides the present is more important. The Kraken tells her the answers she seeks are in the Drowned City, near the Volcanic Vent.

Maren races back to Aqua Base Z and warns the scientists to pack up their research and get out before the base is destroyed. Atlas hangs around hoping for one last chance to film the Kraken, and ends up taking video footage of the Kraken destroying Aqua Base Z.

In the Drowned City, Roy is about to re-ascend to the surface when Amber arrives, interrupting his mesmerized study of an ancient writing. She begs him to help her, saying the Kraken promised her a cure was somewhere in this temple. Roy invites her to return with him to the surface, where they can contact a translator to decipher the writings from the temple walls. But when they arrive at Roy’s boat, they learn that Aqua Base Z has been destroyed, dashing their hopes of working with a translator there.

In the end, all our characters reach their destinies: the Violet Kraken has destroyed Aqua Base Z. Luna opens a B&B where Aqua Base Z used to be. Amber has found the cure for all disease, if only she could translate it. Atlas publishes the video of his encounters with the Kraken, but nobody believes him. Roy P. Hannigan has discovered lost knowledge, but does not understand it. Maren has helped humans understand the discoveries of the deep. And Zimmon meets an unidentified U-boat captained by a man named Nemo, who offers him leadership of an organisation that protects the ocean. The last thing we see is Zimmon and Maren sailing off to explore the deep.

For the Headline on the Alien Ambassadors

Tonight we played The Case that will make the Headlines by Nicolas ‘Gulix’ Ronvel. Our characters are a group of newspaper reporters covering a high-profile meeting with alien ambassadors. We are Justin Case, who runs a paranormal blog on the side; Carol, obsessed with access to government officials; Odin, cursed with bad luck ever since entering the newspaper business; Fabrone Carbury, chenille suit enthusiast who’s wanted to be a reporter since childhood; Sam Smith, a paranoid columnist; and Sidra, passionate about journalistic ethics.

One year ago, Sidra got her first front-page story, covering a robbery and attempted heist. Odin was the first to congratulate her, musing that he’s never made it to the front page because the editors only give him unimportant stories to work on. Things were fine when he worked on the college newspaper with Fabrone, but his luck went bad when he became a professional reporter, and his envy of Fabrone’s assignments has soured their friendship. Sidra hasn’t been back on the front page since, but she’s hoping this case will get her there. Odin understands that if he messes up this story, he’s likely out of a job.

Fabrone and Carol often cover the same stories as part of the government press pool. Carol, who never goes back to the small town she grew up in now that she lives in the city, is not above making campaign donations as a bribe to get information out of politicians. Fabrone, inspired by her time covering U.N. meetings, is hoping to frame the alien summit story in a way that will bring people together, without turning people against the aliens. When Fabrone got this newspaper job in the city, she left behind her (now ex) girlfriend and their dog, but now she has a new girlfriend, a fashion designer who designs her suits.

Coworkers Sam and Carol used to regularly go out for drinks, but they’ve had a falling out over Sam’s latest story. He’s cast suspicions on the aliens and their motives; Carol thinks he’s ridiculous and finds his fear-mongering abhorrent. Furthermore, her government sources won’t talk to her anymore now that Sam has given their newspaper a reputation for criticizing their plans.

Justin needs his newspaper job to pay the bills, but his real passion is the blog he runs about paranormal and extraterrestrial activity. He spends his spare time watching paranormal documentaries and trawling YouTube for evidence, so he can share his stories with the world. Sidra doesn’t trust Justin not to fabricate stories in order to bring in more readers.

The alien meeting case brings back a painful memory for Fabrone: As a child, she made up a story about aliens for her handmade newspaper, complete with painted “alien rocks” and a dog dressed up as an alien, but her peers mocked her for being weird. Sam’s childhood also inspired his journalism, when he helped clear his neighbor/babysitter’s name after the neighborhood targeted her with false reports to Child Protective Services. His absent father wanted him to become a professional oboe player, but his heart belonged to journalism.

Odin’s contact meets him in a dark alley and gives him a strange package. The package contains a piece of alien technology that reveals the details of the aliens’ schedule… but Odin can’t read the information, because it’s written in an alien language.

Sam already has beef with Fabrone over her coverage of the U.N., and this story continues the trend. He dislikes her positive approach to the story, because he wants to alarm the masses. He used to envy Sidra, but now thinks she’s delusional like everyone else, because she doesn’t see the danger of the aliens.

When Justin invites Carol to dinner to discuss the case, Sidra is incensed. She doesn’t trust the pushy blogger not to pry into Carol’s personal life. Between this and his dubious blogging, Justin has gone too far. Sidra follows Justin to a bar and punches him in the face. Surprisingly, this is the wakeup call Justin needs to realize that he needs to tone down his obsessions, because they’re interfering with his newspaper job, and blogging doesn’t pay the bills.

At the last minute, the venue of the meeting is changed, because the original meeting place is near a paper mill, and paper pulp fumes are toxic to the aliens. Fabrone gets the scoop on this story, and is the first in line for the new venue.

Two weeks later, the meeting is over, and the world has moved on. Sidra never got a story submitted because she was poking into everyone else’s business, and her job is in jeopardy. Justin published conspiratorial rumors to his column and blog, and has been hired for a TV show about aliens. Carol published a dry story about government policy, which everyone ignored. Fabrone’s upbeat story got more attention from young reporters and the blogosphere than newspaper subscribers, but her photos of alien fabrics elevated her girlfriend’s fashion career. Odin’s newspaper went under the day after he published his story, due to a scandal in the publishing department; Odin moved to Connecticut, got married, opened a candle shop, and lived happily ever after. Sam broke into Odin’s home to steal the alien schedule and then disappeared, leaving a legacy of conspiracy theories around his disappearance.

For the Haunted Aether Island

We had some extra time after our session of For this Ungrateful City, so we also played The Lost Island by Steffen Jörg. Our characters are survivors of an airship crash in their world’s Bermuda Triangle, on a floating island not found on any map. We are medium Minerva, dentist Flavia, upper class Brenda Goodwitch, and areal cartographer Reginald.

Unfortunately, disaster has brought out the worst, or at least the crankiest, in us. As soon as we crash, Flavia starts complaining about the crew’s incompetence, and we start arguing: Reginald wants to explore, but the rest of us just want to get the ship fixed and leave. We eventually decide that the ship’s crew will make repairs, while Reginald and the vacationers explore the island.

Minerva notices that the island is absolutely full of human, or humanoid, ghosts and spirits, suggesting that it is not uninhabited. Reginald notices that his mapmaking compass has disappeared, and blames Flavia. Brenda misses her mansion full of servants, and her politically connected brother who will pay for anything.

On the fifth night after the crash, we make a campfire. Reginald is reminded of his childhood, when the world seemed bigger; a feeling this unplanned excursion has rekindled. Around the fire, we exchange secrets. Flavia confides that despite her success, she is afraid of the dark. Brenda confesses that she uses less-than-legal means to help her brother get ahead politically. Reginald is in no rush to get back to his loveless marriage. And Minerva notes enigmatically that she has helped cover up a murder… more than once.

During our extended stay on the island, Reginald teaches Flavia how to build a clay oven. She is impressed with his skills, and vows to support scouting programs when she returns home. Brenda is spends a rainstorm hiding under a rock ledge with Reginald, but has no desire to get any closer. Meanwhile, Minerva continues exploring, protected from the ghosts by the symbol she wears. She is terrified to discover an old ritual site that, unlike the rest of the island, is completely devoid of ghosts.

Finally, another ship appears out of the fog, here to rescue us and take us home. Reginald takes with him a bag of Neanderthal teeth found at the ritual site, after trading two of them to Flavia to get his compass back. Flavia looks forward to presenting the teeth at the next dentistry conference. Minerva takes with her the memory of this strange, haunted island. Brenda is just glad to be rid of this place and return home.

For the Secrets of Quail City

At the other table, we played For this Ungrateful City by Alexi Sargeant and Cloven Pine Games. We are the City Watch: indestructible Rollbar, refracted light artist Lux et Partiis, cold-powered Captain Winter, and people-powered paragon Echelon. The leaders of Quail City have called upon us to deal with a rising threat: supervillain Solstice has built a machine that fills the city with mind-control fog, encouraging the residents’ worst and most violent impulses.

Lux (a.k.a. George Harvey) has only come to town recently, but finds inspiration in the city’s breadth of culture and street artists. The city’s leaders have tasked him with restoring the old clock tower, with the help of his old-money friend Norman. He takes note of the residents’ civic pride that drives people to get involved, and its flip side, the cruelty reserved for people who are seen as taking advantage of the city. While many locals believe that Norman is one of these advantage-takers and that his kindness is a front, George knows that Norman’s enthusiasm for the common people is genuine.

Captain Winter is a scientist who gained his powers in a lab accident while trying to solve global warming, and rose to prominence after freezing the getaway car of some mobsters who were robbing a bank. He longs to be a hero and do anything to help the city, which inspires him with its sense of community and different groups of people working together. His faith in people recently inspired him to forgive an enemy, seeing their potential for good. While his powers are so strong that he could easily condemn the city to endless winter, the Captain is optimistic that the city will continue to appreciate his help.

Echelon, generally recognized as the leader of the City Watch, is widely renowned for his seemingly infinite skills and expertise. What most people don’t know is that he draws his knowledge from all the people around him, and in fact moved to this large city in order to have more people to draw power from. While the people love him, and have built a statue in his honor, the city’s political leaders and law enforcement dislike vigilantes and feel threatened by his popularity. Thanks to his powers, Echelon knows that the chief of police is Solstice’s son, and she plans to use her machine to make her son look like a hero by creating more crime in the city. Echelon respects Solstice’s brilliance, and is tempted by her offer to trade information on other criminals in exchange for staying out of her way.

Rollbar (a.k.a. Finley Holland) honed their powers of strength and durability in the underground fighting scene before joining the City Watch. After years of homelessness as a teen and young adult, during which they saw a friend die without any help, Rollbar feels they’ve seen the worst the city has to offer, and they’re skeptical of the vastly different treatment available to a member of the City Watch. Nevertheless, they’ve made a promise that if the city is in danger, they will be the last to leave. They don’t trust Lux, a newcomer who’s always skulking around and doesn’t want to be associated with the Watch. The fog machine frightens them, but they put on a brave face because the people need to believe it will be okay.

Finally, Solstice’s machine goes haywire, and all hell breaks loose in Quail City. Lux heads downtown to protect small businesses and people who need help, while Captain Winter goes to his lab in search of a scientific solution. Rollbar is relieved to have something they can fight, so they grab a sledgehammer and go with Echelon to the planetarium, where Solstice’s machine is hidden. Solstice pleads with the heroes not to destroy her machine, and plays on Rollbar’s resentment, asking why they should save a city that never cared about them. While Rollbar hesitates, we see George walking around downtown; in all the chaos, he didn’t have time to put on his usual disguise.

Back at the lab, Captain Winter has found the cure, which must be distributed via Solstice’s machine. He rushes to the planetarium, where Rollbar has shaken off Solstice’s influence and is about to destroy the machine with a sledgehammer. Just in time, the Captain freezes Rollbar mid-swing. Echelon, affected by all the emotions running wild in the city, lets slip that he’s known about Solstice’s machine for a long time, but was letting her run it without interference. Now that she’s out of control, she must be stopped by any means necessary, so Echelon starts brutally attacking the villain. Captain Winter dodges through their fight to get to the machine, where he plugs in the can of cure and reprograms the machine. A blue cloud rolls out over the city.

Downtown, George sees the city residents calm down and return to normal, wondering at the unusual fog that has turned to snow in the summer. He sneaks away before anyone can see him out of his disguise. Once the people of the city calm down, Echelon does too; he’s beaten and badly injured Solstice, but stops just in time to avoid killing her. The police chief is upset by what’s happened to his mom and throws us all in jail. Fortunately, before too long, Norman makes friends with the police chief, who sets us free and thanks us for saving the city.

Aliens and Science on the Selene

This week we played The Final Voyage of The Selene by James Mullen. We learn how each of our characters originally boarded the Selene: A suspicious figure hands Courier Kerenski a briefcase as he hurries towards the passenger boarding line for the Selene… where his briefcase is immediately confiscated by security. Dr. Tsien, ten years after escaping the virus-ridden Station Rona and signing up to be a ship’s doctor, is assigned to the Selene. Artiste Bahk has been here for years, attempting to improve ship-board morale with his comedy routine. Professor Ursel Carris watches the Earth stock market crash, taking her research funding with it, and moves all her lab equipment onto the Selene as a last resort to continue her work.

In Act One, our characters settle in and get to know each other. Everyone meets up at the holo-pub to enjoy a synth-ale, but Bahk’s best efforts are unable to cheer up a gloomy Professor Carris. Later, Dr. Tsien flags down Kerenski to ask what exactly it is a Courier does, and gets some euphemistic answers. Bahk joins Kerenski for a game of racquetball, where the courier grills him on the ship’s security protocols. At the swimming pool, Professor Carris and Dr. Tsien discuss the struggles of a career in science.

In Act Two, some suspicious things start happening. Dr. Tsien catches Kerenski trying to break into the secure storage area at night, looking for his briefcase, and promises to try and get it released for him. On the observation deck, while viewing an interstellar anomaly, Professor Carris is concerned with eye protection, but Dr. Tsien begins acting very strange. Professor Carris has a private conversation with Bahk, where she urges him not to waste his life as one of the last of his species, and offers him some dangerous dust to use in self defense. This feeds Bahk’s suspicion that he’s being watched, and he asks Kerenski for advice about protecting himself by non-lethal means.

In Act Three, everything comes to a head. Professor Carris confronts Dr. Tsien in medbay and accuses him of exploiting Bahk’s species for medical experiments. The doctor accuses her of raving wildly, and has her confined to a quarantine cell before paging Kerenski to report to the medbay. When Kerenski arrives, Dr. Tsien says he can have his briefcase, and in exchange the doctor wants to hand off something he’s been carrying for too long. It turns out he’s referring to the alien symbiote living in his body, which transfers into Kerenski before he can object. Bahk, passing by in the hall, sees Kerenski leaving medbay with Dr. Tsien’s lifeless corpse behind him. Panicking, Bahk steals the doctor’s keys and tries to take off from the shuttle bay, even though the Selene is still in interstitial space. Meanwhile, Kerenski tries to deliver the contents of the briefcase to Professor Carris, but opening the briefcase in the quarantine area causes some kind of explosive reaction that leads to the Selene’s destruction.

In the epilogue, we see Artiste Bahk, alone in Dr. Tsien’s shuttlecraft, emerge from interstitial space into an unexplored part of the galaxy. Courier Kerenski, walking into a meeting on Earth, tells his contact he’s got something new to deliver.

Holiday Wars Under the Microscope

Index cards arranged on a table, with 6 cards at the top indicating Periods and cards below them indicating Events and Scenes
Index cards arranged on a table, with 6 cards at the top indicating Periods and cards below them indicating Events and Scenes

This week we played Microscope by Ben Robbins. We explored the history of a magical land populated by magical beings associated with various holidays, particularly Christmas and Halloween.

The Christmas and Halloween armies first clash during the terrible Holiday Music Wars. The turning point in the war comes when a Halloween army songwriter composed a powerful tune, based on the sounds produced by sleeping Bethany. This song inspires the Halloween army, led by Bethany’s feckless boyfriend, to victory.

Unfortunately, Christmas’s humiliating defeat in the Holiday Music Wars leads to the rise of the brutal dictator Santa. Santa’s rule is so devastating that Jesus defects to Halloween. Meanwhile, the elves of Santa’s Workshop form a union to fight for better pay and working conditions.

All is not well on the Halloween side, either. The long war has led to widespread unrest, with a revolutionary song being sung in the streets. Various covers of this song, including ones by Marilyn Manson and a group of Gregorian chanters, increase its popularity.

In the hopes of bringing about a decisive victory over Santa, Jesus attempts to recruit forces from other holidays. After an inquiry to St. Patrick’s Day is unsuccessful, he finds substantial support from Easter, and forms the Easter Army.

Ultimately, both Santa and the Grim Reaper / Jack Skellington are seriously wounded during a Halloween/Christmas battle. The Elves’ Union violently overthrows Santa and takes control of the Workshop. Zeus (under the stage name HeyZeus) attempts to fill the power vacuum, with support from the ambitious Mrs. Claus. Fortunately, the elves and goblins manage to unite, and they trap Zeus and Mrs. Claus in a snow globe, bringing in a new era of egalitarianism in the magical land.

The Filed Voyage of The Selene

Tonight we played The Final Voyage of The Selene by James Mullen.

It seems that most of the Selene’s crew came to their posts through shame rather than accomplishment. Chief Engineer Camryn Price was press-ganged from a seedy bar on Earth, where he had been indulging in the recreational drug X3. Lieutenant Eve Kazarian lost most of her squad when they were ambushed, and as punishment she was demoted to ship security. Purser Ehrlick hastily got himself assigned to the Selene after a night of booze and infidelity to his wife. And Artiste Bahk left a failing dance career to become part of the ship’s nightly entertainment. The crew has been recently joined by Inspector Dan Ital, fleeing drug-running gerbils on a moderately war-torn planet, and Ambassador Phoebe Masiri, taking the Selene to her next negotiation after a government shutdown cancelled her usual transportation.

When Chief Pryce discovers that the Selene’s coils are failing, he tries to requisition more from Purser Ehrlick, but finds that the bureaucratic process of ordering new parts could take months. Frustrated, he turns to Inspector Ital, who promises he can find the coils in exchange for a favor later. Meanwhile, Ambassador Masiri tries to convince Artiste Bahk to help her solve the diplomatic situation in the Milky Way, but Bahk is horrified at the thought of working pro bono.

Ital, through a combination of favors and blackmail, convinces Ehrlick to give him the legendary Form 2B, which can bump any request to the top of the bureaucratic queue. Ehrlick and Masari, after connecting over their love of order and procedure, spend a steamy night together. Bahk asks Ital to help her find the strange long-tailed creature who has been following her, and he agrees in exchange for her performance at an upcoming party. She warns him that this creature is equally fond of crunchy food and reactor fuel.

Chief Pryce tells Lieutenant Kazarian that he’s concerned about Ital’s shadowy activities on the ship. Kazarian, afraid of disgracing herself again by allowing crimes to happen on board, agrees to a sting operation where Pryce will sell his personal stash of X3 to Ital, to prove that Ital is a drug trader. That night, Kazarian has a vision of the Selene going up in flames after Pryce does something in the engine room. She confides in Masiri, who has no advice for what to do about this vision, but agrees to help her track down the military bureaucrat who betrayed her squad.

The planned drug deal starts, but Ital isn’t playing along — he refuses to accept the stash of drugs. Kazarian, tired of waiting, rushes in and forcibly plants the drugs on Ital before having him hauled away to the brig. Ital attempts to blackmail her with a video of the failed entrapment, but Pryce shuts off the ship’s communication system to keep the video from getting out.

Purser Ehrlick seeks Pryce out in the engineering room to deliver the coil request form, and recruits him to the Church of Stapledom through the rite of stapling the form’s two pages. When Ehrlick visits Ital in the brig, he learns that Ital is a high-level Stapledom official who gives him a gold and platinum stapler he happens to have on him. Masiri wants to continue her romantic entanglement with Ehrlick, but he refuses and shuts her out of his office, a decision which Masiri protests with the help of he crew. The protest does not succeed at getting Ehrlick back into her life, but she does find out from Bahk that they may be long-lost sisters.

Ital has somehow heard about Kazarian’s vision, and convinces her to go and confront Pryce about his drug habit and mental stability. Pryce confides in his friend that he’s planning to resign his commission when the Selene reaches Earth, because he’s pregnant and wants to raise the baby in safety on the planet. Unfortunately, during this conversation, Ital has been eating some crunchy food outside Engineering, which attracts the strange creature Bahk warned him about. The creature bites through the reactor fuel line just as the coils finally fail, exploding the ship somewhere near Jupiter.

Pryce is tragically killed when the reactor explodes. Ital and Kazarian jump into an escape pod, but the creature, who is somehow bonded to Ital, infects Kazarian and makes her its new host. Masiri and Bahk are thrown into space, but thanks to their family’s ability to subsist on little oxygen, they survive long enough to be rescued. Ehrlick, sadly, dies halfway through filling out a pre-authorization form to requisition some oxygen.

Final Voyage of the Squirrel

Tonight we played The Final Voyage of The Selene by James Mullen.

Chief Engineer Pryce and Artiste Bahk had served alongside each other on the Selene for decades, sharing a love of the rejuvenating illicit substance known colloquially as “snooze juice”. When some new passengers came aboard at the latest stop, Bahk hoped they’d become fans of his band, the Agents of the Son. But they all had their own agendas. Disgraced Lieutenant Kazarian, of the military organization Agents of the Sun, hoped to find meaning in private security. Professor Carris was continuing her research into void technology, seeking the elusive Boomerang Effect. And Courier Lane Kerenski just wanted to safely transport some sensitive information, while meeting some new people and learning about humanity.

After a tip from Bahk led Kazarian to investigate, it turned out that Kerenski’s information implicated the Agents of the Sun’s leadership in war crimes, related to biological weapons that they’d pressured Professor Carris into producing. In response to this news, Kerenski attempted to punish the professor for her crimes, while Kazarian rebelled against her former life by turning to snooze juice dealing. Pryce, in an attempt to stop the authorities from confiscating his stash and firing him, turned off the ship’s navigation systems. During this chaos, it became clear that several squirrel victims of Carris’s experiments had come back via the Boomerang Effect, to take revenge on humanity for the squirrel plague. Just before the ship was destroyed, Pryce revealed his secret squirrel identity, choosing Kazarian to reign with him as his squirrel queen.
In the end, Professor Carris and Artiste Bahk escaped through a portal, to confront Bahk’s mother, who had used Bahk’s band as a front for her unsavory activities. Pryce, Kazarian, and Kerenski caught a life pod to Earth, where the squirrel people took over and instituted a reign of terror and slam poetry.

Gooey Ten Candles

This week we played Ten Candles by Stephen Dewey. After the sky went dark, and They came, four volunteers were left trying to make scientific sense of what had happened. A biophysicist, a biomedical researcher, an electrical engineer, and an anethesiologist, they spent a few days in a basement laboratory, but soon realized that their only hope was to make it to the observatory up on the hill. On the way, they picked up another survivor, a young girl who had figured out that fire keeps Them away. At the observatory, our protagonists tried to get the power on so they could observe the sky, and then tried to take samples of the goo They left behind, but all attempts at science were thwarted by corrosive goo. After being joined by an observatory staff member, finding one of Their victims in a cocoon, and losing their truck to one of Them, the band of survivors decided to abandon the observatory and head back towards town — the town might be on fire, but at least that would keep Them away. Unfortunately, the drive down the hill claimed the lives of three members of the group. When the remaining survivors made it into town, they discovered that the observatory worker was actually one of Them in disguise, and the last of our heroes quickly succumbed to the goo.

Fiasco on a London Stage

Tonight we played Fiasco by Jason Morningstar, with the London 1593 playset.

Two priests from the Vatican, Fr. Leo Amadeus a.k.a. “James Gurney” and a man who goes by “Bartholomew Oatcake”, travel to London with the goal of undermining the Church of England. Renowned actor Caston becomes romantically involved with Leo, while Bartholomew distributes radical atheist literature. Short on cash, Bartholomew and Caston start a business selling counterfeit tea. But tragedy strikes when they accidentally poison the Count’s daughter, the lovely Ursula Belch. With the help of some corned gunpowder procured by stage manager Puck Thump, the trio cause an explosion at Buckingham Palace. Caston escapes, stopping to take revenge on a man who insulted his shoulders, but both priests are defrocked for their exploits.