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Nov 6, 2017

Chimera Playtest - Sessions 1 and 2


Introduction

About a week ago I had enough content to start testing the system (finally!). I contacted some people and formed a group of 5 players to take the system for a ride and they did not disappoint! Below you will find how the process of making characters and running the two sessions went.

Character Creation

The group consisted of 3 veteran players which I gave the document to make their characters without explaining anything to them. Their task was to go over the doc without asking any questions, the other two had never played a tabletop role playing game in their lives but they found the rules intuitive enough that they could make their characters with little questioning from their part.
Making the characters took around 2 hours but the players didn't realize all that time had passed mainly because we were caching up and sharing a few drinks while the whole ordeal took place. At first I wasnt sure if that was the reason but then on the second session we had a new player who had played a tabletop rpg maybe twice before and she was able to make her character with little assistance in less than 20 minutes.

The Cast



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The Setting

I had to find a setting were I could test all fantasy, modern, and sci-fi elements of the game in one place. After a few hours pondering I came up with a setting where a master race decided to abduct species from different planets and realities and keep them “safe” in different habitable moons they had previously colonized. They used the core of a giant planet to power an AI that would be in charge of maintaining every city/dome, and of sending the numerous vessels throughout the different planets to collect worthy, civil species.
These species were brainwashed to believe that all the different realities were in danger and were being currently destroyed one by one by a nameless horror. This helped most of the species to cope and adapt to their new lives, but the Boz, a species known throughout different worlds for being cruel and shameless abductors themselves felt there was something amiss.
The domes in which the species lived in had different purposes, some were to harvest food, others for labor, but they all shared the same architecture which was filled with statues and canticles promoting their captors as benevolent saviors.
Eventually the Boz revolted and persuaded/tortured members of other species to do the same. The rebellion lasted less than a year. Once the Boz found a way to hack the AI it was game over for the master race. What the Boz didn't anticipate was the AI going berserk on them once they were done with the tampering (something the master programmed into the AI as a way to say "screw you all" in the event their captives turned on them). Many domes were lost, most of the moons became barren wastelands after a series of nuclear explosions, and countless of them lost communication with one another.
The game starts 100 years after the rebellion. The surviving species now live from whatever they can find while they fence off the numerous pests and monstrosities the crazy AI has been bringing back to the moons (killing them off would have been just too easy). Crimelords and other figures of power who have managed to get a hold of a dome often look for lost portals to other moons in order to raid them for resources.

Session 1

Maddy (Patricia), Alexia (Joanna), Bastard (Tibaldo), and Comali (Carlos) are enjoying their credits from their last mission in a pub located in their home dome called the Cauldron. While enjoying themselves they hear a rumble outside. Once they step outside to take a look they notice that there is a ship crashing in the distance, one of the players notices that its a species vessel, a type of ship that has not been seen around those parts for over 50 years.
The players immediately received two calls; one from Cerdo (a genetically modified pig) and Max (a human boy genius). Cerdo offers them a job to go salvage whatever pieces from the vessel they can find, specially the core of the ship while Max requests their services to capture a unique species found inside the vessel and to kill/destroy any evidence of the ship and the other species found inside. Since Max offered them an exorbitant amount credits they decided to side with him. Max anticipated they would receive a call from and offered them to make a fake core engine for them to give to Cerdo and cash in those extra credits to which the players agreed.
Max  told them to plant a device he gave them on the creature once they knock it unconscious.  He also suggested that they should look for an abandoned train station near the crash site and find a way to activate one of the trains in order for them to make it back to the city fast once they were done with their mission.  As soon as the players acknowledged his instructions he  teleported them near the vessel. From there on they were on their own. 
They had no difficulty finding the crash site and apparently neither did a group of mercenaries that were close by. The players decided to observe them from afar and let them open the vessel for them and then get the drop on them. The mercenary group succeeded in opening the vessel but they were immediately dragged in by a series of tentacles. No screams nor any type of struggle was heard.
After waiting a few minutes to see if anything else happened the group started to argue among themselves deciding what to do next and while they were doing this, the creature they were sent out to get had crawled out of the ship and began to spring towards them. Maddy decided to slip out of combat and go for the ship to rig it to explode while the others fought the creature. The inside of the ship was covered in blood and with the remains of some of the passengers  but that didn't stop Maddy from achieving her goal. 
Having witnessed what the monster did to the mercenaries, Bastard didn't hesitate to place the teleporting device on the monster before it even got a chance to act. By then Maddy was finishing rigging the vessel when they heard the cries of goblins who had spotted them and were rushing in with guns and machetes in hand. Their numbers were too great so the group decided to make a run for the abandoned train station max had told them to locate. After almost an hour of running without stopping the characters managed to outrun the goblins but they were all now fatigued.

Session 2

The group finally found the train station but the entrance was completely shut. While searching for a way in they noticed that there was a small terminal that could open the gate leading down to the subway but someone had to either hack into it by making a Computers roll, or find a way to rig wiring to force it open by making a Mechanics roll. No one in the group had computer skills so it was once again up to Maddy to make sure they got in.

Patricia's roll got her a partial success which meant she would get the job done but it was going to take longer than expected. The other members of the group kept watch while she did her thing. In the distance they noticed that two figures were moving at a great speed towards them, upon closer inspection from Alexia, she noticed that it was Nicole (Nicole) and Forte (Martin) who were running towards them and that behind followed another pack of goblins. Maddy had just finished opening the gate when she noticed Nicole was in danger. One of Maddy's principles was that he only helped those who help him, so at that moment Patricia was struggling with whether or not her character should help them. Maddy knew them but they were not his friends and they had never helped him before. If she decided to help them, her character would go against his core principle and not cash in that XP later for sticking to it.

After Maddy saw Nicole getting swarmed, he decided to use autofire and attack all the goblins in an area. He got them all in one shot.
The characters feared more goblins would come and decided to get that gate closed. This time Patricia  was not so lucky with her dice; Maddy managed to close the gate but he ruined the circuitry and now the get was permanently shut. Their only way out was through the subway.

The subway was pitch dark. Some of the characters could see in the dark but those unfortunate enough to have normal vision had to spend some of their gear usage to light their way before descending a set of long stairs. Once they were below, those who were fatigued took this opportunity to rest while Nicole and Forte decided to scout ahead. Forte remained closed to the railway and the entrance while Nicole went ahead and explored further down where she saw a single train wagon parked at the far back of the station.

Like the station, the train looked worn and had no power. Nicole was still curious and decided to step inside, it was at this moment that she noticed that the door was not fully closed, a dismembered arm prevented the sliding doors to close completely and on top of that fresh blood was zipping out from further within the train. Nicole panicked and decided to go back silently to warn the others but as she backed away, she tripped face down. When she turned over she notice a man with odd goggles and a maniac smile coming out with a machete in one hand and a severed head in another. Luckily for her the others were alerted as well when she fell and immediately went to her aid. After seeing him, Nicole was more curious than shocked and wanted to know more about this man before attacking it. Maddy thought otherwise and proceeded to attack the man with his rifle. The attack did some damage and whether it was intentional or not, the man was now right next to him with a single jump. At this point Alexia felt there was something definitely odd about this man. She recalled hearing a group of humans talk about this creature, this thing that enters the body of a living person and possesses them to commit horrible crimes. The boogeyman they called it. If killed, the boogeyman would move to the nearest person and try to possess them. Alexia shouted out this information, Nicole figured that the best option was to incapacitate the creature, fix the train, and get the hell out before it woke up. She looked around for weak points in the structure and shot there to have a piece of debris fall on top of the creature without killing it.

After the boogeyman was incapacitated, Alexia, Maddy, and Nicole decided to explore further to try and find a power source to have the train working again while Forte and Comali stayed behind to make sure the boogeyman didn't wake up. Amongst the shadows Nicole spotted a small figure rushing out of view on top of a bridge and suggested that they followed. Alexia used her tracking skills to follow the creature to its lair. The tracks led to a heavily sealed room which Maddy figured was the control room for the entire station. He failed to try and rig the wires and Nicole turned to diplomacy to convince the creature to open the door from the inside. it was an old halfling scavanger who had been trapped down there for days. The boogeyman took a bite out of one of his legs and he had no choice but to barricade himself wherever he could until he found a way to get out.

The group assured the halfing the boogeyman was down for a couple of hours more and that he could leave safely.They even offered to help him with his leg but the halfling declined and only asked to escort him outside where he would find his way back. The group agreed, they took the pieces they needed to get the train working and left, leaving Nicole wondering who was the halfling and what he carried in his giant backpack.

Conclusion

The two sessions went surprisingly smooth despite me not having stats for monsters or even an adventure thought out. The players had a blast although the plot was very simple and had its fair share of plot-wholes. At the end of each session I sent the players a list of questions through a form for them to fill out anonymously. I got overall positive feedback. There was some confusing with the Wealth system and a few players had issues with the space in the character sheet. I already started to address some of this issues and hopefully our third session will be even better. Ill make sure to make a few posts about the rules of the game that the players had some issue with.

The Character Sheet

This was the character sheet I created for the first playtest session. Most of them were a bit confused when determining which skill went with which attribute because the icons next to them were a bit small. Other had issues with the space to write down information. Specially for weapon’s properties and some talents. I took these complaints into consideration and went from this:


To this:


The players loved the second sheet and felt it was a great improvement over the first version despite finding a skill repeated twice under Cunning.



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