Running a TNG era game and I'm looking for feedback
The crew will be on a routine survey mission when they detect an anomaly and almost immediately encounter another ship, just like their own, burning from within, systems offline, crew dying. Any evidence they can gather shows that the ship they see is theirs and the dying crew is them.
They will have a very short time to react and investigate before the anomaly recurs and the ship disappears.
And then things start going sideways. Multiple systems on the ship fail, giving them too many problems to manage. Everything goes wrong, and within a few minutes their own ship is a burning hulk, crew dying from radiation poisoning, consoles exploding, atmosphere failing.
The central conceit is this. Once the players die (and they will first time) then I'll drop them back in at the point when they start the adventure. The characters will have no knowledge of the loop. The players, of course, will. I'm rather hoping that with the instruction that their characters have no foreknowledge the players will play it on hunches based on their previous go around the loop. And so, even though the players know that their characters don't know what is going on, the players themselves have a bit of an idea and they will make good decisions and make them quickly. (Read that sentence again, it does make sense, honest). And each time round they will be better and faster, making good calls quickly "screw it, vent all the plasma and dump the warp core, things look really bad" "Don't bother trying to get to the escape pods, the ejection mechanisms are probably fried". It's a way of gaming hunches that may be pleasing for the players, running through a problem again and again and getting closer to a solution. Eventually they will manage to run through all the problems without a failure.
I was really rather pleased with the plot. It wasn't until I had it all written up that I realized I was just copying one of my favorite TNG episodes (the one where Frasier is captain). Also Groundhog Day. Bill Murray rehashed my plot 25 years before I even thought of it.
The whole elaborate ship destruction that the players are fighting is as a result of a saboteur. He's beaming around the ship, overloading EPS conduits and venting warp plasma into the coffee machines and whatnot. He's got a personal transporter and personal shielding, so they'll need to drop a containment field so he can't get away, and hit him with a bat'leth or something substantial to put him down.
And so, given enough time (or time loops) they'll find him and catch him and the ship won't blow and we won't go around the loop again. And then, what? Who is he? Why? I have him as a man desperate to achieve some sort of result .... Malcolm McDowell getting back into the rift in Generations, Picard stopping the universe ending in All Good Things, something significant and potentially morally ambiguous anyway, but I'm stumped as to what.
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