Last Saturday, August 7th of 2021, was the first time in over a year that I'd run an in-person game.
The game is question? The finale 'Episode' of my planned eight session ALIEN RPG campaign...ALIEN FRONTIER.
One of the best campaigns I've run in several years, the series was put on hold in March of 2020 due to the Covid-19 Global Pandemic. With all attending players and myself confirmed to be fully vaccinated and everyone wearing masks during the game, we scheduled the Grand Finale to begin in the late morning/early afternoon of the 7th.
Here is a recap of the story thus far...
Preface: Initially the players had no idea they were playing in a game set in the ALIEN franchise universe.
The game was billed as a Dystopia Science Fiction RPG with Cyberpunk elements based on an idea I had been making notes on for over 30 years (which was true). It was simply entitled, 'FRONTIER'.
The concept was that the Smithsonian Institute, in cooperation with the United Americas government and various megacorporate interests, had set up a scientific research project on the planet SA-2, orbiting the star 18 Scorpii, for the purpose of exploring various ways to save a dying Earth.
The PCs, operating from 'Frontier Station' in orbit around SA-2, would test ways of improving and/or surviving the harsh conditions of this world and applying successes to the Smithsonian Institute Terran Revitalization Initiative - SITRI.
Periodically the game would feature elements that evoked concepts from various Sci-Fi films such as Blade Runner, Outland, and of course Alien and Aliens. When this came up, I would answer questions regarding these elements absolutely candidly, matter-of-factly, and truthfully.
For example, when a [Non-Player] character bled a milky-white substance, revealing her to be an Android, the players began a discussion about Androids in both 'this setting' and Sci-Fi in general. When Replicants were brought up as a comparison to some point being made I said with a completely straight face, "Well, the Tyrell Corporation and Hyperdyne Systems have very different ideas and approaches to what an artificial person should be."
Around the fourth session one of the players said, "This is some Weyland-Yutani level techology"
I replied, "Don't be ridiculous. This is waaay beyond anything we have in Human charted space. Weyland-Yutani wishes they could get their hands on stuff like this."
Everyone did a double take. "Wait...are you saying there is a Weyland-Yutani Corporation?"
"Of course", I said with a warm smile, "This is ALIEN."
Previously on ALIEN FRONTIER:
The Smithsonian Institute Terran Revitalization Initiative (SITRI) Project was set to begin on SA-2, a world orbiting the star 18 Scorpii, on May 25th, 2212. A few hours before, a supply ship entered the system and reported Another Ship in its flight path. In an attempt to avoid this other vessel the supply ship changed course, causing it to collide with the orbital 'Frontier Station' and eventually crash onto the surface of SA-2.
SITRI Project Director Rebecca Jordan (aka Newt) sent the PCs to investigate and if possible rescue any survivors and/or salvage any cargo. The PCs managed to secure some supplies and found two crewmembers alive - well, one at least; the ship's pilot, a man with Cybernetically enhanced vision and Pierce, an Android. They also discovered that the supply ship's AI had indeed detected the signal of Another Ship, though it did not appear on sensor logs nor did the rest of the ship's crew see it.
The PCs (at this time) consisted of:
Dr. Aaron Allen (Dave) - Robotics Specialist. Serving as Recon and Security using Drones.
Templeton 'Temp' Diaz (Andy) - Mechanic and Engineering Specialist.
Dr. Stanley 'Stitch' Hudson (Eric) - Station Medical Chief and Surgeon.
Samantha 'Tex' Hunter (Ray) - Scout/Survey Specialist.
Dr. David Myers (Nick) - Social Sciences and 'First Contact' Specialist.
Lt. Mitchell 'Ace' Thompson (Carl) - Pilot and Owner/Operator of the USRSS The Queen
Prof. Mara Typhi (Will) - Life Sciences Specialist
Chief Charley Venchenko (Leo) - Security Chief
This began an investigation into a mysterious signal with three sending and receiving points: They were discovered to be an ancient temple/Outpost belonging to an extraterrestrial species dubbed 'The Thinkers', a crashed medical ship containing Dr. Ana Myr Clearwater (Lynn's character), and finally a derelict alien vessel belonging to a species Director Jordan identified as the 'Space Jockeys'. After exploring all three sites, the PCs learned that the Space Jockeys and The Thinkers were at war or at least had been at some time in the past. The Space Jockeys used a creature known as Xenomorph XX121 to virtually wipe out The Thinkers. The remaining members of the latter captured and modified some of the Xenomorphs in an attempt to fight fire with fire.
In the end, it is unclear what the outcome of this endeavor was. The Space Jockey ship was crashed at the bottom of a massive, continent sized crater and filled with small creatures called 'Facehuggers'. The Thinker temple was likewise devoid of living Thinkers, having only mutated experimental Xenomorphs and a single, long dead member of The Thinker species.
Following their investigation of the Space Jockey derelict, the PCs returned to their ATV and tried to radio Frontier Station. No response. All channels were flooded with the message, 'Another Ship...Another Ship...Another Ship...', in spite of the PCs deactivating all known signal transceivers.
The last episode ended with a pyramid shaped vessel, a Thinker ship, descending from the sky.
And now the conclusion...