I should really throw my preconceptions out the window. “I expect we’ll finish next week,” I said. Better off as a GM not going into a game thinking you’ll know how much the players will do.
This post is a continuation from last week’s After Action Report, which was a mix of getting started with my Freezer Operations campaign setting (life after Sleeper Crew) and the pamphlet adventure, The Haunting of Ypsilon-14.
Be sure to check last week’s post for the list of resources I used to put these sessions together.
On with the session report. Be forewarned, it’s FULL of spoilers for the Ypsilon-14 (Y14) pamphlet!
The Yellow Cassette
We kicked off the session re-listening to Mike’s Yellow Cassette.
Nobody Wake the Bugbear Podcast
Luther latched onto the water aversion details. He asked McKay for the water spray bottle, as his Nail Gun proved rather ineffective against the Monster.
With the Y14 crew “safely” in their shuttle, their plan of action was to fully search the Quarters, Mess, and Showers before cracking into the Heracles and checking out the mines. Terrence still had his fire extinguisher from the Quarters, and Luther took another from the Workspace.
Spooky Station Vibeshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2b0QACI-WOw
With the lack of oxygen in the Mines, and not wanting to shed his Advanced Battle Armor, McKay asked Terrence if he knew of any way to jury-rig one of the extra oxygen tanks (12 hour) to his short-duration valve (1 hour). Terrence knew the Rimwise had methods for this, but as a Company man, he remained ignorant. Luther, however, grew up in an asteroid station, and offered McKay some help. With advantage on his INT+Military Training roll (after offering a very cogent, story-building reason to use Military Training), McKay and Luther affixed an adapted nozzle and tube to get the job done. McKay strapped a full oxygen tank to his back, partially using the magnetic bands for his boarding axe, and is now walking around with a possible explosive on his back, hahaha.
They spent about 30 minutes pilfering the Quarters. They took Sonya’s keycard, and McKay strapped the boombox to his back. Terrence found Jerome’s handgun, and Rie’s narcotics. Terrence planned to use the narcotics as possible leverage, before they discovered the chaos of what happened on their shuttle. In Kantaro’s room, McKay found Dana’s clothes and the Yellow Goo tissues, drawing inappropriate conclusions about “Love Station Y14,” as he called it.
Off in the Mess, Prince begged for food. Luther found the catfood and gave him a good bunch, and filled his spray bottle. He also dug around and found a 1.5 liter water flask, which he also topped off. They decided they perhaps ought to bring Morgan his cat, so Luther closed Prince up into the cardboard box he was sleeping in, and carried him out.
Cutting through into the Washroom, I rolled a 5 for a Monster encounter. As they came in, Luther put down the box with Prince. I rolled an Instinct for Prince to escape, which succeeded. The cat jumped out and hissed at something behind the PCs.
Prince sees the Monster
Fear Checks all around, which everyone failed. Terrence, forgetting his fire extinguisher, loosed all his handgun ammo at the invisible space where Prince was hissing (failed Firearms roll), causing 6 DMG.
The Monster lunged for Terrence, Devouring him. I described the attack as taking him from the feet up, the sharp teeth down the fleshy throat tore away his armor, cutting up his legs for 21 DMG. With 7 AP and 17 HP, that left him with 3/17 HP. Luther unscrewed his flask and dashed out the water onto where Terrence was disappearing. I treated this as a flat 10 DMG, and had the Monster regurgitate Terrence and attempt to flee.
McKay charged at the Monster’s supposed location with his Boarding Axe, and missed. The Monster (failing a speed roll) scrabbled up a corner wall and began tearing away at the ceiling tiles, revealing its location. Luther sprayed Terrence’s fire extinguisher (having left his in the Mess to carry Prince), coating the Monster in a film of foam. This time with a viable target, McKay swung his axe into the Monster, dealing 14 DMG. Since the Monster crit-failed its speed check again, we played it as if the axe strike brought it down onto the floor. To add a little more “WTF why won’t it die?” horror, I rolled on the Wound table for the Monster (Gore & Massive 8) and described its yellow guts spilling out. I was also specific as to its similarity to the Yellow Goo.
A series of unfortunate combat rolls for the PCs was role-played as a too-many-cooks crowding problem. This allowed the Monster to escape. It scooped an arm over its guts and abdomen, Clawed Luther out of its way and into the wall (10 DMG, destroying his Vaccsuit), and fled to the Quarters. They attempted to track it, following the Yellow blood, but only saw it escaped the same way it did the first time they encountered it.
This then started the 10 minute real-time counter for the Monster to go to the Yellow Pod, and refill its health, but not Hits, to a full 2(40).
Yellow Goo Clues
Seeing the Yellow blood made a light bulb switch on in McKay’s head. He inspected Kantaro’s tissues again, and showed Terrence and Luther. “Why would he have alien blood in his bin?” he asked them.
During this time, they returned to the Medlab in the Workspace. Terrence and Luther patched themselves up. Terrence gave Luther the sole Stimpak in the Medlab, for use when things start looking grim.
Meanwhile, McKay took Sonya’s keycard to look through the Terminal again. He found the lack of maintenance of the elevator and ventilation system (255 days overdue) in Diagnostics particularly disturbing. He noted the ability to turn on/off the Showers as useful, noted the SCUTTLE STATION option, and opened the Airlock to Giovanni’s shuttle, the Heracles.
Finally he checked the Comms. Oops. No one inside had short-range comms, and the only communication was through the Terminal. A litany of messages awaited them. McKay called over the others to read a series of increasingly alarming messages from Sonya about Kantaro getting sick, and dying… and turning into a mass of yellow slime.
It started with violent cramps. Then Kantaro vomited all over Rie. After that, Ashraf ran out, down to the shuttle Bunks. When Kantaro began convulsing and turning violent, Sonya left to operate comms from the Bridge while Rie and Morgan tied him down to the Mess. But nothing was left by the time the party received the messages.
McKay suggested if they were all infected, perhaps they’d be better off scuttling their shuttle and taking the Heracles. They noted the ship release mechanism on the station would push their vessel out without needing to turn on engines. Luther and Terrence approved this as a provisional plan. But first, they wanted to see if they could help.
After hearing the story from Sonya over comms, they decided a decontamination was in order. They filed everyone out to the Showers. Along the way, Morgan appealed to Luther to let him gather up Prince. Luther promised after the showers, they’d take care of it.
Rie refused to comply, saying she wasn’t going to undress for corpo-fascists. Saying, this was their fault, nothing was wrong until their docking request showed up, the Y14 crew were experiments and Freezer Ops were inhuman oppressors, as well as spilling other verbal abuse onto them. Terrence pistol-whipped her and placed her, clothed, into the shower. He turned on the water and without a vaccsuit or gloves, he made sure her airways were clear. The Yellow Goo streamed out of her hair, onto his hands and forearms.
I had one of those “Are you sure you wanna do this?” moments, but the player was committed to the character’s actions regardless of consequence. One failed Body Save and 2d10 roll later, and Terrence started his 12 hour counter to goo-ification.
Sonya took over afterwards, and passed her Body Save to clean up Rie.
Everyone else complied. Morgan was visibly uncomfortable in the showers, and Luther saw him rub his skin raw with the towel. I told Terrence he felt butterflies in his stomach, as if he was doing something dangerous.
They grabbed some extra hardcore cleaning chemicals, tucked Prince inside his space-safe cat carrier (O2 bottle ready!), and went to re-lock the Y14 crew inside their shuttle.
As the decontamination was going on, McKay planted the explosive on the shuttle’s fuel bladder, and checked out the rest of the shuttle. Their Mess was, well, a mess. The cables they used to strap down Kantaro had fallen through the goo, forming three lumps on their table. The Y14 crew had pilfered their store of rations freely, and the opened MREs had spilled all over. A dried trail of yellow boot prints led back and forth to the Bridge, corroborating Sonya’s story. Everywhere else was rather clean.
Another point: they didn’t believe Sonya’s story that the Company only notes maintenance (the 255 day Diagnosis detail) if it’s done by certified maintenance crew. I didn’t intend this to be a red herring, but they’ve gone head over heels for it. I’ll try to think up some way to make this relevant between now and the next session. If you have any ideas, please leave a comment!
As they were getting everyone inside their shuttle, Terrence gave Sonya some of Rie’s narcotics “In case it might help.”
McKay gave Terrence a few bullets for his revolver. As Luther and Terrence helped each other get into vaccsuits, Terrence told his partners the truth: he felt the water aversion He may be infected. Luther hoped they’d find something to help him on the Heracles. So, they went to retrieve Giovanni and his research.
The final part of the session was what I thought they’d start with, haha! That’s the GM life, ain’t it?
Heracles Mood Musichttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UitmHXXaj2Q&t=2032s
I didn’t mention this in my original post, but I use Foundry VTT + Forge. For the map reveal, I use the Simple Fog module. In general, I opt for node maps or other simple styles. I’m not too crazy into detailed maps like this one, but it can help build an overbearing claustrophobic feel in tight quarters like this.
They entered the Airlock (AIR), with McKay in the lead. In the Locker Room (LCR) they found some more vaccsuits and a Bioscanner. Luther picked that up, and they say a biosign coming from 20-30m on the far side of the ship.
Once in the Bridge, they accessed the ship’s map. I made the “C” sections “Closets” for androids.
It’s hilarious how off-the-cuff details like this become unintentionally unnerving. The purpose of these androids is to operate the ship if need be (and become back-up PCs). Their mere in-standby presence made the players super paranoid about Giovanni activating them and getting attacked. Once they were somewhat convinced they posed no threat, they advanced on the life sign.
The lab had an immediate negative impact on Luther. It reminded him too much of the labs where the Company had experimented on him to provoke and learn about his psychic powers.
Terrence called out to Giovanni. He just laughed, turning with yellow good dribbling from his mouth, and charged at them. Firing his Nail Gun, Luther dinged McKay’s suit, who then missed his swing as Giovanni got a futile stab in. The not-so-good doctor bounced off McKay right into Terrence’s line of fire. Giovanni took a bullet to the cranium, the shot projecting yellow brains and goo all over the interior wall.
They understood why the others strapped down Kantaro, and searched the lab. In addition to the pamphlet materials, I added a Portable Computer Terminal dependent on the main computer in the Mines. I described the main computer as the workhorse, analyzing and compiling more data in the three days Giovanni had been locked away in his ship.
Before inspecting anything else, they listened to the White Cassette.
Nobody Wake the Bugbear Podcast
From here, Luther checked the Microscope. Without any relevant training, I gave him a “Yup, those are some yellow blobs.” McKay still trusted Luther to check their blood. With a decent INT pass, I told him some blobs seemed yellowish, maybe, in Terrence’s blood. Luther told the others, and they held out hope the main computer in the Mines might hold some answers.
After this, Terrence took the Portable Terminal, and Luther disconnected and decontaminated the IR Goggles around Giovanni’s neck. When he rejoined the others—debating on turning on the androids—Luther opened his vaccsuit visor and put on the IR goggles.
He saw the three-toed footprints, and followed them to the Monster on the ceiling above him. It pounced on him, and we cut the session at that cliffhanger.
The next game will be in two weeks.
My post next week will be on the zero session list I used, how I managed all of that, and probably sharing some pics of physical stuff I’ve made for in-person Mothership games I hope to run this summer.
I’ve been thinking up some nasty (and awesome) ways Terrence might be able to survive his Yellow Goo infection, and I’ll probably hit up the Mothership Discord for some thoughts on what I have in mind… Until then!