Super-Sheriffs of Sagan City

I’ve been running a play-by-post game with an overly long name. It’s a superhero game with the PCs set on another planet, the first off-world Earth colony.

This isn’t a post about the whole game, which you can read online here. Instead, it’s a run-down of my favorite moments from the game.

Session 1:

  • The whole session was orientation. PCs got to know each other, stories were swapped, team tactics were developed.
  • The Ikarus-Compound partnership gets its start here.

Session 2, in space:

  • Apollo. Yeah, he’s an NPC, but I loved playing this guy. Look at his icon and you’ll know instantly who he is. Compound needs metal to armor himself up? Apollo uses his powers to wreck the transport ship, also creating a cloud of debris to provide cover against a group of attackers.
  • This is everyone’s first fight scene and every PC’s personality is shining through in terms of their style.
  • Exodus trolling Blink, and vice versa.
  • Compound’s first thought is the safety of the enemy pilots - there weren’t any, but Bluescreen later compliments him on his compassion.

Session 2, Sagan City:

  • The psychic microorganisms of Gaia need an emotional focus. Every PC gets to recount their best memory, creating a bond with their new living badges.
  • Blink’s best memory is freedom.
  • Ikarus’s best memory is flight.
  • For Compound, it’s the superheroine Illumina, the angel.
  • Zarya’s most positive emotion isn’t a memory, but an ideal.

Session 2, the McDowell homestead:

  • Ikarus’ player narrates some local insect life, which become more relevant later. It was one of those throw-it-in details that I love getting from players, then expanding on.
  • Everyone’s teamwork kicked into high gear when fighting the phasing worm. With a human family, some harmless if huge local wildlife, and a mindless predator, the team acquitted itself well.
  • Compound got to talk about what makes a monster at the end.

Session 3:

  • This was kind of a rough session in terms of pacing, but I learned some valuable lessons from it.
  • I liked creating Ddungu - a native lifeform that communicates using others’ memories, and acts as a “god” to its creatures by being a central clearing house for the herd’s collective memory and knowledge.

Session 4:

  • Another fight against the mysterious aliens from earlier, now identified as “Harvesters”.
  • We started introducing some actual compels here. Compound falls through the ground and discovers Tao and the Wu children.
  • The team did a great job of organizing and fighting together.
  • Blink got wounded (though not seriously, given a super’s healing factor) and did a great job portraying it.
  • Compound stood up to Tao to defend Illumina.
  • The Magic School Bus.

Session 5, Sagan City:

  • Compound and Blink interacting. Compound is doing his best to come up with a plan, but Blink is concerned about the direction it’s going.

Session 5, Sunrise:

  • This was a short session, but watching the PCs attempting communication with Lily - their first alien lifeform, not a machine like the Harvesters - was grand.

Session 5, Ikarus and Pyrepower:

  • Ikarus and Pyrepower, Mr. Big’s apprentice, meet up.
  • This session was made of win. A hesitant, shy, and very young hero is flirted at by a confident, if troubled, supervillain girl.
  • In particular, watching Ikarus squirm as Pyrepower gets angry at him repeatedly.
  • The others show up just in time to avert…smooching?!
  • The unified power origin does a lot for me narratively, but it let me do one awesome little bit of characterization: Pyrepower “tickling” Ikarus with her powers.

Session 5, Bester’s Gulch:

  • The team confronts Mr. Big and his entire crew of supervillains.
  • Blink may not be in the best shape to bargain, but she definitely roleplays “poor impulse control” in a credible way, without coming off as too loose a cannon.
  • Blink’s behavior didn’t warrant a compel, but we got another one that defined the session. Compound’s extremely funny, but misguided, advice to Ikarus about sex left even Mr. Big laughing. Unfortunately Ikarus took it far too personally (the player, of course, did not).
  • Ikarus’ powers exploded. While Blink pulled the Wu family away to safety, the others did their best to contain the blast. Even Pyrepower ran forward to help out, though she was pushed aside initially.
  • The explosion was the sort of thing I love seeing: we had a compel which the group agreed was a great idea, we had a specific bad outcome from it (which I turned into a challenge, just because), and people were stepping up and ready to spend Fate points on behalf of this thing. Multiple people were ready to pay 1 or 2 FP to contribute to this effort. That’s how I can tell people are into the scene.

This is where the game is currently at, so the last part of session 5 isn’t done yet. I’m looking forward to seeing how it changes the tenor of negotiation.