Previously, our heroes Liam, Oberth, and Byzi received proper introductions. These three men are prisoners, each for a different reason, and as our game begins, they arrive via inmate transport shuttle at the notorious prison facility, BIG-16...

Read the first part of this campaign log here.

Day 1

Liam, Olberth, and Byzi disembark from the transport that carried them to BIG-16. They join a column of prisoners and are led through sterile, metal corridors to a heavily guarded teletrain terminal. The guards load the prisoners into the train, and our heroes share a carriage with one of Oberth’s fellow nomads (a sub-race of small humans engineered for spaceflight). The teletrain carries the four prisoners to their cell in Cell Block C. It contains two bunk beds and a toilet and is sealed off with a forcefield, which results in a dampening effect on all sounds. Liam notices a sensor in the corner of the room and studies it; he concludes it has a microphone and a camera, but there seems to be a blind spot in the corner of the cell (at least for the camera’s eye).

Our heroes discuss their fate. Byzi, who believes he has been framed by the Archon’s intelligence services, is determined to get out of BIG-16 at any cost and as soon as possible. Liam, who realizes that he’s going to be worked to death here if he doesn’t escape, is with him. Oberth, however, is not willing to trust the others. He calls them mad for trying to devise a way to get out of BIG-16 and suggests they had all just better do as they’re told. At a stalemate, our heroes talk to the other nomad in their cell and find out he’s a smuggler, convicted for delivering weapons to the rebellion on Bellermacher III.

Lo, on the first day, they quarreled...

The scene in the prison cell was the first scene where players actually got to interact with the world around them; the stuff before that was introductory (sure, it was possible to try to run while being escorted to the prison cell, but that would’ve made for a short game). For two of our players, I believe this was also the first time they played the Stage, or any tabletop RPG for that matter. They handled themselves well and stayed true to the character backgrounds they had written and avoided the player pitfall (which most GMs don’t see as such) to trust each other right away simply because they’re all player characters.

This campaign, as most of my campaigns, started out with the player characters not being friends or even remotely familiar with one another. Although these guys were pretty much stuck with each other (literally, in fact: in a prison cell), this ‘free-form’ campaign kickoff sometimes causes issues as players struggle to find reasons to work together and trust each other. The Silver Street campaign, run by a friend of mine and in which I am a player, shows the benefits of asking your players to create characters that already have a connection, and how that connection may persist in role-playing long after the first session. For my next campaign, I might try something a little bit more like that to change things up.

As they talk, the forcefield to our heroes’ cell flickers open, and two guards throw in a new prisoner. He’s a large clone (about 8 feet tall) with scaled, gray skin, dressed in the same bright yellow jumpsuit as our heroes. The guards then order the prisoners to line up against the wall and provide each of them with a bracelet than annuls magical effects (this to Byzi's anger).

After the guards have left, the newcomer--whose name is 332 (clones do not receive a name; they are referred to by the final three digits of the number of the vat they were grown in)--claims a bed, leaving the others one bed short. Byzi offers himself up to sleep on the floor, as it’s practically impossible for him to sleep now anyway. At night, he sees the guards take a prisoner from a cell, while delivering a seemingly heavily sedated prisoner to another.

As Byzi wonders what is going on here, newcomer 332, who lay awake in his bunk bed watching, snickers; he tells Byzi that it’s best to lay low in BIG-16, because the guards tend to take guys away to some secret place--they usually smart guys, like Byzi is, and they come back all dazed, or not at all. Byzi--who doesn’t trust 332 one bit--nods, and says he’s not that smart so he has no reason to worry. 332 Smiles at that.

Read part 3 here!