Thursday, 10 March 2016

Jovian Chronicles Odyssey Seed - Part 1

Thursday, March 10, 2016

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Jovian Chronicles rpg session
I only snapped one picture while we played but it really captures the session perfectly!
It finally happened! Before jetting off to Japan we managed to squeeze in our first session of Jovian Chronicles - a game that has sat on my shelf, unplayed but not unread, since 1997!

As you can see we're playing with the first edition rules, although I might steal a few things from Core Command when it feels like a better fit. I've said before that I quite like the basics of the Silhouette system and planning for the session, where we would be making characters, my only worry was the abundance of different skills. As a game from the nineties Jovian Chronicles do suffer from maybe too much granularity when it comes to skills and equipment. While I love that in one way, it's great for world building and getting into the setting, it can certainly put some stumbling blocks before actual play. Still, I didn't want to charge in swinging the axe of Houserulius before running for a bit with the original system.

So the first couple of hours went to an explanation of the setting and character generation. I have put together a shared Google Drive folder where I collect all kinds of stuff that can work well as inspiration for the game, mostly tv series like The Expanse and Mobile Suit Gundam, so that my players could get some groundwork done before the game. Naturally I've filled it with much more than I expected or even hoped anyone to consume, based on the idea that a smorgasbord where you can pick your fancy is better than a set menu. Or something. In the end people were more or less familiar with Gundam (mostly less) and while that is certainly a big part of JC there's just so much more to the setting! I think I ended up just talking about the history of the solar system, the Jovian colonies, CEGA and briefly the other solar nations for almost an hour.

Jovian Chronicles, Uller cruisers and Syreens
A flight of Syreens screaming past a group of Uller missile cruisers.
Usually just "explaining" a setting like that ends up with your players asleep or with their eyes glued to their phones, but thanks to both the well written and real feeling history of the game and the wealth of details that perfectly captures your imagination ("the relatively cramped living conditions on Jovian colonies has lead to Jovian musicians often straining to create as rich music as possible while its still low key and personal") it actually got the players interested! Of course it wasn't just me talking either, but the players asking all kinds of questions about past events, every day life in space or their current situation as Jovian citizens.

Then it was time to get into actual character creation and although it looks like a quick process at first glance, what draws it out is the completely open choice in choosing attributes and skills, and players looking all of them up to see what they do. As I mentioned earlier the skill chapter really shows from what era the game is from and when you have Zero-G Maneuvering and Zero-G Combat it starts to feel a little redundant (yes, those are technically different skills, but why not shoot for brevity?). Still, we're starting out playing it rules as written.

For the start of the campaign each character is an exo pilot in the Jovian Armed Forces, but secondary/parallel characters will most likely be introduced once this particular episode is over. We ended up with Pierre Dutronc (left), a francofile smooth talker who ended up as the squad leader as well, Harrison B. Sturmer, famed for his sharpshooting rather than his sharp flying and Leif "Swede" Ericsen, the veteran who always seem to have the best tactical grasp of the situation at hand. The characters will need more fleshing out but as we start in media res and the players are still not all that familiar with the setting they are fairly blank slates personality wise at the moment.

The table decides that they should belong to the Black Cats squadron, meaning they have a very informal attitude and a penchant for hijinks, and the three pilots make up Angels 1-3 of Angel Flight (Dutronc claims that a girl once called him Angelface and decided, in a moment of self-aggrandizing, that this was something to name his flight after).

Pathfinder Alpha for Jovian Chronicles
A Pathfinder CT and a standard Pathfinder.
What we will actually be playing is the Odyssey campaign from the first Green Book, or rather the updated version from 2004 called Odyssey Seed, that is a bit more fleshed out. In the first edition of the game the Odyssey is already history and incorporated into the background setting so we're actually turning the clock back two years when playing - meaning the Wyvern is a new exo-armor and the Valiant is still under construction.

Potential SPOILERS for Odyssey Seed below!

We open with the three pilots in their respective exo-armors - Dutronc in a Pathfinder CT, Swede in a standard Pathfinder Alpha and Sturmer in a Retaliator - patrolling a certain sector in close proximity to Jupiter. Oddly they've had this same assignment for the past few days now. We hear the usual chatter between the colleagues while Dutronc is piping some classic Edith Piaf through the comms (he owns three original vinyls, carefully sourced from Earth at great expense!).

Jovian Chronicles, Ebiiru transportSuddenly a blip appears on the scopes of the Pathfinder CT and after checking for scheduled ships in this sector at this time the squad moves to intercept. It turns out that the blip is an Ebiiru cargo hauler (see right) called Nighthawk and it claims to have some mechanical troubles. The captain seems evasive and while the transport complies with orders there are some strange power readings going on and Swede spots someone in a vacsuit actually welding on one of the containers attached to the hull. As Sturmer is trying to lock down where the odd power sources are emanating from the entire squad find their communications jammed. Something is afoot! While Dutronc can use the superior ECCM equipment of his Pathfinder CT to break through the jamming locally he's not able to contact command for advice.

Fearing the worst Sturmer moves in closer to the Nighthawk, and the welder specifically, while Swede hangs back to cover him. He has locked down the power readings as coming from inside two of the attached containers and he realizes that the signatures look awfully similar to the newest exo-armors from CEGA! Just a couple of klicks away the container that is being welded upon suddenly swings open and a large green shape can be seen moving inside. A second later another container is pierced from the inside by what looks like a hummer knife and a second Wyvern blasts out into space!

Aaaaand cliffhanger!!

Yepp, although we were all eager to at least play out the current scene, the prepp had taken a little longer than anticipated and real life made itself known as one of us had an early-ish deadline. Actually though, it was a perfect point for us to end the session at it allows me to read up a little extra on the combat rules and make sure the combat flows as smoothly as it should. Three against two seems like it should be an easy fight, but the Wyverns are tough and our three pilots aren't that skilled - Dutranc is better at seduction than firing a gun and Swede would rather meet his opponent on the judo mat than in space!

The date for the next session hasn't been set yet, but hopefully we'll be able to try out a game over roll20 or Skype and then continue when I'm back in Sweden. Oh, and I think we'll simply integrate our missing player in the next session and retcon that he was there or along. It's not that all that much has happened anyway. Hehe!

Well, that's about it for the first session. The adventure continues in part two!

5 kommentarer :

  1. Awesome. You make me feel excited for you.

  2. Nice. Got here from Facebook when you mentioned Jovian Chronicles. Bought it way back when, never got around to playing Odyssey. Maybe I will in the future. Still have the Mekton campaign version, too. It really rocks.

    1. Welcome to Fire Broadside! :D

      Yeah, the setting is amazing and I think if all, or most of, the pieces of the Odyssey clicks into place it will certainly make for a memorable campaign! The Mekton books are good for extra background, especially as we're playing in that time frame rather than the the time frame of the white book. I prefer the Odyssey Seed though as it has been fleshed out substantially.

  3. Hi Martin,

    I can't seem to find the Odyssey Seed PDF files. You linked to BGG, but there's no files there..


    1. Hi Jeroen!

      You are quite right, I meant to take care of that myself but forgot all about it. I just need to get in contact with DP9 and get the necessary permissions.

      You can still get the individual parts from the first five issues of Aurora Magazine, available here. Or download the PDF from my Google Drive.

      I hope that helps! By the way, the next session report will be up soon.


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