Archives of an Abomination

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.

Archives of the Quantum Anomalies

ArchivesOfTheSky-BookCover

Tonight we played Archives of the Sky by Aaron A. Reed, although we were a bit rushed so used fast play mode throughout. We had to shoe-horn a dilemma together as time was running short but got a taste for how the game works through the evening—we didn’t quite master it but it is promising.

We are the bold House of Maps, dedicated to exploring and never turning away from a challenge. Our crew consists of Apogee the biologist who values free will above all, Ember the pilot who always follows her gut, Vela the linguist who always follows the trail no matter what, Raya the codebreaker who finds the truth at any cost, Orion the scout who always seeks glory, and Irida the archeologist who always questions dogma.

After our first scene, we take off to Gamma Obscura to determine what is spurring the Exodus of civilians from this seemingly peaceful system. When we arrive, we discover cascading waves of time anomalies, falling into loops and shifting willy-nilly through time. We think it best to evacuate, to flee along with the refugees, but before we can even begin we discover an ancient castle or temple filled with advanced technology and hear a telepathic cry for help. When we break the code to open the castle’s vault, a swarm of light escapes past our A-Team and invades our ship. This quantum anomaly explained that its mission was to protect the Obscuran population, but that it could no longer complete that mission once they left the planet. Just as it began to demand we let it take our ship to continue its mission, the planet beneath the ship begins to crumble, possibly due to the presence of the swarm.

Unable to decide if we should continue following the path of this mystery to its end or fly away to explore another day, our hand is forced when the quantum anomalies begin ripping the planet apart as the fundamental forces of physics threaten to unravel. Ember grabs the controls and flies us to safety, but both Orion and Vela are forever changed by the experience. Vela comes to understand that exploring is our House’s central mission and nothing should threaten that. Orion reacts in the opposite way, moving away from our House because we had selfishly sacrificed the glory of saving the planet, perhaps the universe, just to run off to the next unexplored planet.