Beyond Haven is a Fragged Empire game that I’m playing in on the first Wednesday of every month. I’ll not talk about the system very much – I’m planning to do a separate review at a later date once I’ve got a bit more table experience. For now I’ll just say it’s a sci-fi game in a post-post-apocalyptic universe. Our particular game is about being the crew of one of the first ships to leave the Haven system to rediscover what’s out there.
The intrepid explorers include:
Varghul – a Nephilim spaceship. Yeah, one of our players is actually playing the (fully biological) spaceship we’re in. They also play as a humanoid drone when they need a smaller body.
Lancel – a sassy, psionic Legion face.
Tij – A Kaltoran rigger (in the Shadowrun sense. Tij is strong in mechanics and does a lot of his work via robotic drones)
Leena – My Kaltoran dark tribe assassin and sometime doctor. She likes dark places and pretending that she’s sociopathic. She’s sworn an oath to never procreate so that she can do all the dark things that are needed to protect her tribe without passing the horrid memories on to her children (Kaltorans are ‘blessed’ with genetic memory). She’s pretty pro with anything that involves flesh. Especially if it also involves stabbing or hiding.
Wabmey – a Nephilim combat engineer.
The session started with us finally entering jump space to travel towards the first system we want to explore. Shortly after we entered jump space, something we thought impossible happened – another vessel’s jump bubble merged with ours and suddely there was another vessel flying through jump space with us. Not cool. Jump space is dangerous enough at the best of times. And these goats weren’t responding to any hails and seemed to be aggressive. So we launched a couple of our fighter drones to push their vessel into the bubble wall. Whilst our fighters were in flight, they opened fire on us with some sort of energy-draining weapon. We got our shields up just in time and avoided the worst of the effects. Then our fighters rammed into them. It went poorly for all concerned. There was a bright white flash and we all passed out.
When we came to, we were dead in space – Varghul was unconscious. The other ship or, rather, half of it was also dead in space a short distance away. We woke Varghul up and started to try to work out where we were. This turned out to be the next impossible thing – we had gone a lot further than intended and were about 90 degrees off course. That shouldn’t be possible. You don’t steer bubbles. You point them in the direction you want to go when you first create them and then hop in and ride them until they dissolve. Or something, I’m a ninja and bioscitentist not a damned space engineer, so I may have glazed over a bit when the GM explained that stuff.
We shortly realised that it was a mechonid ship and them being the Fragged Empire equivalent of Star Trek’s Borg or Stargate’s Replicators, Wabmey made an executive decision to start shooting at their vessel until it no longer existed. Tij and Lancel asked him to stop after the first couple of salvoes so that we could salvage some parts from it and maybe get some much-needed intel on the blasted things. I remained dubious about the entire affair. After all, I can’t really stab a mechonid like I can anything biological. Damned things are evil.
We hoped on my shuttle and headed over to see what we could loot. The first thing we learnt is that the person-sized mechonids are powered by nuclear reactors. And they don’t have any radiation shielding on them. Tij sent his drone in to dispose of the cores for us. Whilst working on the first one, he got something wrong and sent it somewhat critical. The drone dropped it and we all watched with fascination as it melted its way through the ship and hurtled on into space to ruin some random passer-by’s day. We decided not to fuck around with their cores any more and disposed of their bodies via their torpedo tubes. Tij’s drone is now somewhat radioactive. Life’s tough as a robot.
Wabmey found the energy draining weapon and started work on detaching it from the ship so we could research it at our leisure. It was connected by a power conduit to a lead-shielded cube deeper in the ship.
Meanwhile, Lancel was exploring the ship and found some bio-disintegrater in a repair room.
Wabmey cut the weapon out, whilst Lancel looked at the lead cube. It whirred faintly, but seemed completely sealed aside from the power cable going in. She secretly used her psionic abilities to see if anything living was inside. She failed the roll spectacularly and the GM told us she sensed nothing. Most of us assumed that was mostly because there was nothing living in there. We were all assuming it was a power core of some sort. Lancel went off to explore more of the ship.
We didn’t really fancy putting the plugged-in, uncontrolled weapon inside my shuttle, let alone inside Varghul. So we told Wabmey to break the power conduit apart. I then made friends with one of Varghul’s tool-drones which secreted a non-conductive plastic all over the broken cabling. I named it Cat. We fit the weapon and the cube inside my cargo space.
Suddenly Lancel was screaming and retching over our comms, so I sprinted to her location eager to finally get to stick my ancestral blade in something’s organs. Turned out she’d seen a room coated in blood but nothing dangerous. I went in to have a closer look. It was fair disgusting. A few dozen people, all with the tops of their skulls cut off and their brains removed, but otherwise perfectly intact. Most surfaces were covered in blood and viscera. Apparently the mechonids don’t believe in cleanliness.
It was at about this point that someone realised (I think the GM may have prompted us) that the mechonids don’t care about shielding their stuff from radiation. So why was the supposed power core inside a lead box? We got the sinking feeling that that box is where all the missing brains were. And that we’d cut the power to their life support.
My footnotes are never essential reading. It’s where I put the tedium (or the occasional attempt at humour) that I’m loathe to cut but that most people aren’t interested in. Read at your own peril.
1: Nephilim are weird. They’re ludicrously diverse and their technology is purely biological and not so much technology as relatives. As in a Nephilim spaceship can mate with a Nephilim screw driver and produce an angle grinder or god-knows-what. I’ve no idea how to explain these guys. They tend to be psychotic and make perfect murder-hobos.
2: Legion are kind of like Arctic Klingons. Big, aggressive, and all about the warrior-life. It’s mildly terrifying that our party’s most sociable character is a Legion. Kinda like if Worf were the best option for a first contact mission. What could go wrong?
3: Kaltorans are space elves who are also Kaylee from Firefly. I wish I was exaggerating, but that’s pretty much a spot-on description. Of course being one to laugh in the face of tropes, I proceeded to instead make a character who more closely resembles River.
4: In the earlier sessions we got side-tracked with rescuing a couple of new PCs from their ship which got disabled by mechonids.
5: It’s believed that it was the site of a Kaltoran colony before the apocalypse, so maybe there are still people there.
6: It’s really not my shuttle, though I do control a bit of cargo space on it – part of which has been converted into a med bay where I can practice my assassin-y skills on unsuspecting patients.
7: All the players know she’s a psion, but none of the characters do. It’s not exactly a hated trait in the Fragged Empire world, but it’s often met with superstition and fear-of-the-unknown.
8: Cat is short for Caterpillar, because it cocoons things. Or something.
9: It was at this point that Lancel’s player decided that the psionic test she did before was the best roll she’d ever failed. Getting the psionic impressions from a few dozen detached brains being enslaved to control (or do something) with a weapon system turned against their former allies would probably have been less than healthy.