There will be a bit more recap-i-ness coming up after this post and then, onward to some new ideas.
I was only able to talk to a few of my fellow GMs at RECESS and all but for the briefest of moments. However, one mini-conversation in particular bares sharing but again, not until the recaps are over.
Now you've got something to look forward to and a reason to return to Barking Alien. Aren't I a clever pooch.
Following the Muppets RPG session I went to lunch with my girlfriend Jenn, her friend and hopefully now mine Lisa and my good buddy and GM of our current Hunter X Hunter campaign, Ray. Lunch was good, the beer I had was surprisingly tasty and I was ready to return to the frontlines. The ladies left us to do their own thing and Ray and I went back in to RECESS, he to his game (He ran Marvel Heroic) and me to mine...GALAXY QUEST!
'A Riddle, Wrapped In A Mystery, Inside An Enigma'
Taking in a little of R&R over at a Thermian Space Station while their vessel underwent some important repairs and upgrades, the commander and crew of the NSEA Daring, NTR-6269, receive an emergency request from the station's Chief Administrator.
It seems the Thermians have intercepted a weak and continually fading distress call from the NSEA cruiser Vindicator. The Vindicator, commanded by our own commander's long time rival, is a tough and powerful ship. What could cause it's CO to call for help?
First - AWEsome Characters!
The Commander was played by my good friend Andy who I know through the group I gamed with and ran for over at my FLGS, The Compleat Strategist. His character, Commander Thaddeus Shaw, was a almost a cross between Futurama's Zap Brannigan and Ben Stiller in Zoolander. He seemed to have the miraculous ability to slip out of his NSEA uniform and into a floor length, velvet robe, complete with martini in hand, and back again in the blink of an eye.
The Science Officer was played by a great guy named Ed who I got the chance to game with at my first RECESS. He played the Security Chief in a game of Starships And Spacemen run by the incomparable E.T. Smith. Here, in the Galaxy Quest game, he did not disappoint.
In addition to being the Science Officer, he was also the Token Alien. A member of the Cerebellian species, his name "To you would be a stream of unintelligible static. Do not try to say it, you do not have the parts. Call me Primus." To say Primus was pompous and full of himself and his vast intellect would be an understatement. He was hilariously, gratingly intelligent. Any time anyone said pretty much anything, Ed would reply, "Yes. I know."
The Pilot was played by a fellow named Don and he worked out a bit of backstory on the actor playing his character, Lt. JG Clive Britten. Originally a popular actor on the British version of 'Galaxy Quest', where he played the Commander, the actor was let go when budget constraints eventually forced the BBC to cancel the show. Now, getting this second string part on the American version, with its better special effects but weaker writing (heheh, so British), the actor has turned to smoking up a bit and trying recreational pharmaceuticals. This last bit has been worked into the character of Clive Britten, an ace pilot hooked on 'Space Drugs'.
A really nice and interesting guy named Will played The Doctor. Will, it turns out, is the boyfriend of Emi, who was in the morning Muppets game. Will played Old Hock, an old country doctor with a preference for moonshine, banjo music and Kentuky Blue Grass underneath his feet. He had replaced a section of the floor in his Med Lab with soil and grew a mini lawn, "Right 'thar on the gol-durn spaceship."
I say Will was interesting because he did several things that impressed me. Most notably, his boisterous, 'Southern Redneck' accent was hysterical and nothing at all like his regular voice which was mellow and subdued. Also, he stated that this was only the 4th or 5th RPG session he had ever participated in. None of his previous games included any form of D&D, so I took a liking to the guy right away (snark!). Furthermore, he felt by creating this neat character, he also created a situation where he didn't interact with the other characters or the adventure very much. Old Hock didn't want to leave his comfort zone and sure as hell thought all this other folks on board were plum crazy. He thought that he may have designed him 'wrong' for the adventure.
I told he that if he was having fun, it wasn't wrong. We make the characters we want to play because before we sit down (especially at RECESS) we really don't know what kind of adventure it's going to be exactly. On the other hand, if you think it would be more fun to get more involved, find a way.
He honestly thanked me, we talked a bit more and I must say, it was a great experience to feel like I helped a new gamer find their gaming zen as it were. He eventually opted to join in by helping get a Shuttlepod over to this alien object we found floating in space. The object absorbed energy from starships but Old Hock had, in the ship's docking bay, an old solar sail shuttle that might be able to get around the issue. He also had some ideas, modified by the all knowing Science Officer, on how to vent oxygen to move the shuttle with resorting to powering up the systems. We imagined his shuttle was held together by duct tape and baling wire. It had a gun rack and an old confederate flag draped over one of the bunks in the back. It was referred to a few times as 'The General Lee'.
Almost forgot, Old Hock was also The Prodigy. What Geordi LaForge has for sight, Old Hock has for hearing. Large headphone like domes with TV antennae sticking out cover his ears enabling him to hear everything from a tiny pin drop to the subspace wake creating by an enemy starship hiding behind the fourth moon.
The Engineer was Shayara 'Zero-Gee' Jones, a firecraker of a young woman played by a firecracker of a dude named Floyd. No one asks why they call her 'Zero-Gee' and she ain't telling. Lots of great Technobabble from Tech Sgt. Jones, who was so in tune with her ship she could feel a power coupling loosen on 'A' Deck while walking through the cargo hold on 'U' Deck. There appeared to be a bit of a rivalry between the Engineer and the Science Officer to see who was smarter and more knowledgeable about NSEA technology and Sci-Fi physics.
Finally, where would Galaxy Quest be without the Glorified Extra, Security Chief Harkin. Yes, he got a name! Actually he did so well, the other players voted him Ensign Harkin by sessions end! With one hit point but jacked up combat skills, this brave and stalwart Crewman (played by a nice guy named Hans) saved the Vindicator with a well timed barrage of Pulse Missiles launched into a time travel slingshot effect that enabled the Daring to save her sister ship and then arrive to warn the Vindicator before it got into trouble in the first place.
Ridiculous you say? What part of 'Sci-Fi-Space-Opera-TV-Show' did you not understand?
In the end, the bizarre space artifact, named 'The Black Spot' by our Science Officer (even though it is not actually black. Nor a spot), turned out to be a manned satellite/space station of an alien species who were merely studying the region of space where the satellite had been placed. With the help of the Doctor, Ensign Harkin made first contact with the sexy, female alien captain before the Commander moved in and presumably made second, third and perhaps even fourths contact with her.
Great game, many, many laughs and a wonderful group of guys. I may run this again next RECESS, although I am not sure as there are a number of other things I want to try. We shall see.
A lot of inspiration on a good number of topics lately so, more to come.
If you're not hanging out with the cool kids on Google +, come round, take a load off and I'll put on a pot of coffee so we can talk.