Two sessions, re-told in brief: We are continuing the “Stars Without Number” saga of the ship “Prospector” and its crew of “Free Traders” bordering on amateur space pirates.
Someone called Madda Wigi declares that we should pay a minimum of 100 credits for the staff of the station, to be paid up in the main bar… we are unsure if that is a thing, and try to figure that out, but without clear result, so we risk not paying it.
We meet with Captain Ivan in the Torian Chapel, a kind of multi-faith-chapel of the space station not unlike some classic non-specific prayer rooms in hospitals. And he asks us to facilitate a secret meeting between him and the Chief Engineer of the “Burden of Usury”, the starship under the command of Amber St.Cloud – in exchange for 2000 credits. He wants us to “get him” and then call to find out where to deliver him, secretly. Any witnesses must be silenced.
We accept and try to find and get to know this Chief Engineer, one Pascal Graydon, who happens to be of the same species as Captain Ivan himself. This is rather tough, as the “Burden of Usury” crew is a tightly knit community and does not trust outsiders easily.
But Riaw especially wants to exhaust all options for a peaceful solution before we resort to some sort of kidnapping scheme. Why not just get him to meet Ivan in a peaceful atmosphere, he figures. Yes, knocking him over the head and stuffing him into a crate would be more straightforward, but wouldn’t it be much more rewarding to have them two just shake hands and become friends – and still earn the 2000 creds?
While we try that, we also call the number we have seen, of someone who needs a Private Eye. It turns out this someone is Amber St.Cloud, and she wants eyes on Jebediah Kerm. This guy always, mysteriously, is the first to know of any new treasure site, so she wants to either know his secret or see his advantage neutralised.
Jebediah, though, is very guarded and not open to talk at all.
At least, after many attempts, we finally manage to get into talks with the Burden of Usury people and start hanging out with Pascal.
[**At this point we lose our captain due to RL player reasons**
And as it must be, without a good captain, our adventure is…]
Over the course of several days we become some kind of good acquaintances with Pascal’s crew, and finally we have the chance and talk to Pascal, in private, about Captain Ivan. We convince him that it can’t hurt to talk to the guy, and he thinks, sure. Real interest only sparks once we mention that it seems to be about a very unique technical challenge that Ivan can’t trust his own crew with… being valued as a great expert, that tickles Pascal’s ego enough to convince.
But now Captain Ivan is difficult and only reveals the meeting place once we are already on the way with Pascal. A very awkward way of doing it, but we pull it off.
However, that goes sideways too, because once we reach the place, Captain Ivan is not even there – there are just six of his ruffians carrying weapons and bringing a crate.
They demand that Pascal get into the crate.
Well, that does not go over well, and it was completely uncalled for, given that Pascal was coming willingly anyway. But the brutes know no other way to bring anyone, apparently, so they grunt and wave their weapons and get ugly. Pascal wants to bail, and our crew sprays him with paralytic fluids and zaps him with an electric shock to soften him up, then Ivan’s goons descend on him, beat him up and drag him away.
Well… that went less than stellar, but at least we get our credits, paid out to the captain’s account.
We continue to watch Jebediah and also act out a bit to be noticed so we have some kind of, even if shaky, alibi.
But watching Jebediah for hours we only see him sit there without any more movement than it takes to lift a beer to the mouth and set it down again. No talk, no tech, no movement.
Until a cleaning bot that always seems to harass everyone finally comes to us. We have the fantastic idea to hack it and use it as a spy drone to follow Jebediah. So Katron connects to it…. and it shouts on maximum volume that he is now its new bestest friend! It is all rather alarming and embarrassing, so we want it to get out of public view. Katron offers to show it our ship, and it is excited! It turns out that it used to be on a spaceship, but somehow it got tricked to get outside and then the ship flew off, leaving the cleaning bot stranded here on Euphoria Station.
We make the mistake to bring it to our ship.
The bot is deliriously happy to have a new ship now and promises to take every little bit of it apart to clean it meticulously. This alarms Riaw no end, because not only is the cleaning bot slightly bigger and more bulky than the little Mowbo, but it wants to take the Spike Drive apart! No, no, no, no….
Riaw readies his laser pistol and takes position between the cleaning bot and the entry hatch to the spike drive, resolved to protect the engine at all costs.
Katron invites the cleaning bot to clean the shrimp coffee machine, and it takes that apart, cleans it, but then does not manage to get it together again. Just as Riaw feared! He is anxious that the bot might now go for vital parts of the ship!
The others see that danger as well and try to surprise the cleaning bot and get it off the ship. But the cleaning bot is quite well armored and well equipped, and he is hard to tackle. There is a long scuffle that slowly turns into a shootout, and during the whole combat the crew stabs and stabs and shoots and shoots and shocks the bot, but completely fails to overcome its defenses, while the bot gives as good as it gets and also screams to stop it, because we are making a mess!
The whole situation is really embarrassing, considering that we are three armed aliens fighting what is essentially an overgrown vacuum cleaner… and losing!
[This is the first real combat of the game, and we – as noobs to the system – discover the ins and outs like initative (1d8+DEX) weapon damage and the system-specific “shock”-effects, as well as the effects of getting to zero hitpoints (bleeding out over a number of combat rounds, making first aid cumulatively harder over time) as we reach them.]
As we fail to hurt it, we start to try and shove the bot into the airlock to eject it into space. But it manages to capitalise on its bulk and the surprising arsenal of weapons it has hidden under its armor carapace, so that does not go too well either. The cleaning bot stabs Katron, the hacker, so he lies there bleeding out. This stresses the bot, and it cries to Katron to stop bleeding, it will take hours to clean that up! It becomes very clear that we are no match for the bot, but we must get it off the ship or it will wreak havoc on it. While Riaw gives up close combat with the bigger and heavier machine and resorts to shooting at the bots armor plates to distract it, Drakan manages to stabilise Katron and save the guy’s life. But while he is doing that, the cleaning bot pulls out a submachine gun and mows down little Riaw.
Drakan as the last alien standing (but wounded!) finally gives up, throws down the weapons and declares cleanup time!
The bot agrees and starts to vaccuum up all the blood and shells. Drakan tries to stabilise Riaw, but fails: The litte alien dies.
So now the ship has gained a cleaning bot, but lost its Pilot/Engineer. He was the only qualified starfarer and talented tech-fixer on the crew, so catastrophe has struck. If there is an opening to find treasure on the planet now, they will need to hire an external pilot or they will have to sit out the gold rush and watch it on TV.
When Katron regains consciousness, Drakan tells him: “I have good news and bad news for you. The good news is that the combat is over and the cleaning bot has found something productive to do. The bad news is the productive thing it does is that it is cleaning up all the blood that Riaw lost … as he died.”
Rules PDF: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/230009/Stars-Without-Number-Revised-Edition-Free-Version