Design Diary: Flying Pig Campaign 3

(Originally posted on on 9/11/2006)

I could say that I did it as an object lesson for my column but its just reality. I’d gotten only so far in my prep (see the column from 9/4/06), ran out of time and just ran the session. We had fun, but I didn’t have the focus I would have if I’d planned it out. The session ran short as several players hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before so perhaps it was just as well.

Session Summary: We ran through the crisis of hauling Beckie back to the ship and having Dr. Jones save her. They then fled the city to hide the ship on the outskirts and avoid the counter attack from the Jaguar Tong. Letting Beckie recover, they mulled over their options. Unfortunately, the player for Vinnie Franco was absent making it difficult to advance the plot without him.

Since the data module squealed twice before they shut it off, the Alliance makes an appearance. An Alliance Patrol Boat comes into orbit and drops both of its ASREVs to hunt for a firefly-class ship. They don’t make a big show of it or put out an official warrant. They don’t want the data getting out of their hands again.

If I recall correctly, they haven’t made it off planet yet (I don’t remember having them escape the Alliance) so we’ll have to pick up there next time.

Back to Planning: So where does that leave us. We’re down to four or five sessions to wrap up this ‘short season’. Knowing my adlibbing style, I could easily run them through all four sessions and not really get anywhere, not reach any cool climax scene, or resolve any plot arc. So planning is required!

Let’s deal with the major plot first, then go back and fill in minor plots based on character history and traits. Recall that the A Plot involves the discovery of secret Alliance data (full planetary survey) on a planet in the system, Columbiana, which hasn’t finished terraforming. The data indicates that the terraforming is done, Columbiana will likely be opened to colonization soon, and with the survey data, someone could get very rich claiming the right land. (My inspiration for this plot was the Oklahoma Land Rush).

So our heroes have possession of the data module and have some idea of how valuable it is. The Alliance is hot on their trail to get the data back. They have to find some way to get rid of the module without getting killed and hopefully by making some decent money off of it. Yet, the module belongs to Vinnie, or Vinnie’s brother, and he may not want to just sell it off.

Where From Here?: I’d like the campaign to end up in orbit around Columbiana, racing against the Alliance blockade to get to the surface of the planet. There should be hundreds of ships flooding the sky trying to get to the surface and stake their claims. There should also be somebody after our heroes and willing to shoot at them, just to liven things up.

To make this happen, they have to let the news leak out (by choice or luck). They have to find a patron willing to pay them a lot to reach the surface and a handful of key sites first. They also have to piss of someone enough to come gunning for them. The first and third parts almost write themselves with my players :). So what do we need to determine.

  1. Select a patron, flexible enough to be inserted in several situations depending on where the PCs get themselves to.

  2. We need some complications and opportunities to fill in the time until the last two sessions (climax).

But about Vinnie’s brother? Will Beckie’s clan come into play? Or will it be a colleague of Sir Alan? We’ll dig into these in the next posting.

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