In this third session the scientist player-characters entered the Cyclopean Alien Temple through a breached wall. They tested out the Panic Table and pushed some buttons. Judd was going to name this session, Cyclopean Alien Temple but Pushing Buttons felt more clever.
It has been three weeks since this group last played, so they settled into things. Dr. Navaro, played by MadJay!, did some research, trying to make sense of this pillar orbiting a cube the size of a moon.
That roll failed and so Judd moved things to the Sanity or Fear roll the adventure demands for dealing with the scope and size of this thing. Navaro failed that too and took some stress.
Scans showed 3 possible entry-ways into the temple – 2 of which were breaches in the walls. Dr. Anders, upon spacewalking to the breach they chose for their entryway, failed his Sanity check too and took his Stress up to 5.
Shit was real when they finally rolled on the Panic table upon seeing 3 alien corpses floating in this control room. Navaro got a sense of DOOM, all critical successes are failures. Anders came away with a new phobia, latching on to the fact that the Triathals (what the aliens are called) were headless. The good doctor now has a fear of losing his head.
That Panic table is no fucking joke. You can lose your character in a single roll.
After that it was time to play with some alien glyphs and the room’s control panel, covered in alien glyphs and nerd out about theories about alien brains – both in and out of game. The breach they entered through was a claustrophobically close fit.
Drones wouldn’t work because the stone/metal the temple was made of ate the signal that allowed them to control it.
A few interesting things happened as they pushed buttons on the control panel.
First of all there was this moment of brevity, where the two scientists joked about pushing the 3 depressed glyphs at the same time. Navaro made a joke about, “Clearly, we’ll push the buttons on 3.”
Judd decided that this moment of levity took away a stress point. “For a moment, you two are interacting like you did back at the lab and you can almost forget that you are in an alien control room open to the vacuum of space in an alien temple.
The glyphs on the panel went from this:
That didn’t mean shit to them because the glyphs don’t have context yet. When their trusty android colleague, Mendel, reported that the pillar they were in was seeming to drift away from the cube and other pillars in formation, they quickly depressed the original glyphs again.
Going over the room carefully, they found a trapezoidal piece of metal with an alien glyph on it, crossed out.
Jim, who plays Dr. Anders, asked if he could make a Linguistics roll to make some sense of this shit or get a clue. Judd was down with it, knowing that it is a fine line. Part of the fun of this adventure is figuring this shit out but can you figure it out with the information at hand?
The roll was a success but not critical. Judd offered the following: The crossed out glyph means, God. The control pane is numbers and the other glyphs from the column are simple words and concepts.
Anders isn’t sure how or why he knows that; he is attributing it to the dreams that brought him here.
Anders was explaining this and the game was already a half-hour over time. Judd dropped a final detail on them before the game ended, as their mentor and professor, Dr. Grahm walked into the room through a trapezoidal glowing blue doorway. He had a strange key in one hand and a cheap pistol jury-rigged for vacuum firing.
“I am seeing a vision of my students from my lab back at the university. There must be a psionic angler nearby. I’ll shoot it and get to work.”
Pushing Buttons, indeed!
TO BE CONTINUED next week…
Blog of Judd Karlman from Daydreaming about Dragons