Solo Skald |||

Starforged - Exploration Part 3

After tussling with a spaceborne creature, Lux has linked up with another scavenger in system. Firestarter, her temporary crew member, boarded the other ship and tried to take that pilot captive but failed. Jackal has accepted that Lux didn’t know anything about this and they are working together to find the missing ship, at least for now.


I think the previous session felt like a slog in part because I didn’t really focus on the fact that a weak hit on React Under Fire still allows us to overcome the obstacle”. We might have slipped out of there sooner, because our goal was not to fight the creature, but to get away. I think I’ll try to remember that in the future. Similarly, one of the session moves is Change Your Fate which would have given me the freedom to reframe, refocus, replace, redirect, or reshape, as appropriate. If it comes up again, I may invoke that. Space combat just needs something more than two or three ships (entities, I guess) in the environment, so in those situations I may spend a bit more time with the oracles as well.

Exploring the connection

This is a bit of test for Lux and Jackal. Up until now, she doesn’t realize that they’re actually rivals. I’m going to ask GPT-3 (not technically ChatGPT but closely related) to help me envision this situation.

Lux stares at the viewscreen, her face a mask of stoic determination. On the other side of the transmission is Jackal, his face hard and unreadable.

Let’s make this clear,” Lux says. My crew member, Firestarter, attacked you first. I had nothing to do with it.”

Jackal nods. I understand,” he says. But Firestarter is now in my brig. Until I get what I want out of this mission, they stay there.”

Lux clenches her fists, her face betraying her anger. Just remember, I’m after the same thing you are. We could be working together, instead of at odds.”

Jackal’s expression is unreadable. We’ll see,” he says.

She’s going to try to convince him to let her recover what she needs from the ship at least. She doesn’t like the fact that he’s going to tear it up, but at least she wants a copy of the logs and any science payloads. That means Lux will try to Compel with pacification and charm, so we roll +heart: 1d6 + 2 = 3 vs 2, 8, a weak hit. Jackal will agree (and we take +1 momentum) but it comes with a demand or complication.

We’ll reincorporate: Jackal demands that Lux repair damage to the ship that was caused by Firestarter. We can represent that by Sacrificing Resources and marking supply down by 1.

I also feel like this Develops Their Relationship so we’ll mark progress on that connection, as they’ve found a way to move forward.

The Sareea”

We haven’t really fleshed out too much detail here yet. Who was Lux’s mentor? What were they researching or investigating? What else do we know about this system?

Kei Solas came out here ostensibly to [68] secure a resource. What kind? Checking the Descriptor and Focus, we get [13] Breached [99] World. That’s appropriately epic in scope, I think! What could breached” mean in this context? Maybe physical destruction, or maybe something from outside our reality reached in here. I’m going to lean toward the former; something hit the planet and Kei was here to investigate.

Let’s assume, then, that the ship crash-landed on the planet. We can ask the oracle for more information.

  • Class: [29] Furnace World
  • Descriptor: [89] Shrouded
  • Atmosphere: [44] Toxic
  • Settlements: [91] None
  • Observed From Space: [77] Towering mountain ranges

Again, I’ll ask GPT-3 to turn this into a prose description.

Flint is a furnace world, shrouded in smoke and ash from the relentless volcanic activity. Towering mountain ranges reach up to the smoggy sky, and the air is heavy with toxic fumes. Although no settlements have been observed, it’s clear that something lurks beneath the surface of this planet. It could be a source of ancient secrets, and untold riches, or perhaps a danger too great to fathom. Regardless, the planet of Flint holds an unknown power, and offers the brave a chance to uncover its mysteries.

Planetside Exploration

First, we need to get to the planet. We need to Undertake an Expedition. Based on the dangers here, Lux knows to stay vigilant and we’ll roll +wits: 1d6 + 3 = 6 vs 4, 1, a strong hit! We reach the waypoint, described above, and mark progress on the expedition.

We’re going to Explore a Waypoint a bit more to see what’s around the ship. We’ll roll +wits: 1d6 + 3 = 6 vs 7, 1 which is a weak hit. We uncover something interesting, but it is bound up in a peril or reveals an ominous aspect of this place.” We also take +1 momentum from the move and another +1 from our Explorer path, up to +7.

Is it a planetside feature or related to native life? [65] Rolling clouds of superheated gas and life is [13] none. Nothing could survive here. But these superheated clouds definitely present a peril. What’s the interesting thing? The oracle says [85] Safe [80] Storage. The ship’s data remains intact and we can try to grab it. Doing that with these clouds bearing down on us, though, means we need to Face Danger. Since Lux is acting with speed, let’s roll +edge: 1d6 + 2 = 5 vs 4, 1, a strong hit. She grabs the data and takes +1 momentum (up to 8). I think this also represents progress on the vow, as we’ve found the ship itself.

This gets us the science payload, and we can examine it later, but for now she wants to search for clues and see if her mentor’s body is here or if there are any other indications where they might have gone. As she tries to Gather Information, we roll +wits: 1d6 + 3 = 5 vs 4, 9. A weak hit means the information provides new insight, but also complicates [our] quest.” We take +1 momentum (up to 9). What could this information be? I think the complication is that Kei isn’t here and the vacuum suit is gone. Lux hunkers down in her ship while the cloud passes and thinks about what this could mean.

Since we previously established that Kei disappeared long ago, we don’t really expect to find him alive. That’s not in the cards here. But maybe figuring out where he went could help continue his research and exploration. As the storm rages around her, she’ll take the opportunity to work on the damage from the space crustacean. We’ll Repair by rolling +wits: 1d6 + 3 = 8 vs 3, 1, a strong hit in the field. That gives us 3 points and we can convert that to +3 integrity on the ship, restoring it to full.

After this, plus a bit of rest, she fires up Crash, her survey bot, and they set out together to try to track Kei. Jackal has already set to work on the ship itself, and she can see the spark of torches and other tools as he’s pulling out engines, computers, and other components. She’s still not happy about it, but she’s not going to stop him.

Again, we’re looking for our next waypoint and will Undertake an Expedition. Given how much time has passed, Lux and Crash need to stay vigilant for anything that seems relevant and we roll +wits (including a +1 bonus from the Survey Bot asset): 1d6 + 4 = 6 vs 5, 1, a strong hit. We reach the waypoint and mark progress on the expedition. What’s this location? [06] Ancient [45] Industry. Some sort of Precursor factory! Of course this would have grabbed Kei’s attention. Let’s ask GPT-3 to describe it.

The factory is an impressive testament of now long-lost technology, with walls of smooth black metal and intricate machinery that still holds its form despite the extreme weather and age. The factory stretches out to the horizon in an intricate maze of pipes, tubes, and vents, all connected to a large central building that hums with a low, almost mechanical energy. The air itself is thick with the smell of sulfur and heated minerals, the walls sweating with condensation. Every now and then a gust of wind brings a shower of ash and sparks, and the roar of the factory can be heard for miles. Inside, the walls are filled with strange technology and even stranger writings, though none of it can be comprehended without further investigation. All around there are strange mechanisms, some churning out plumes of steam, others powering the entire factory. Despite its age, the entire facility is still operational, and there are signs of recent maintenance.

DALL-E illustration of the factory

Do we find Kei’s body, though? We could start a full exploration of the site, and we probably will in a bit, but right now we’re just searching for his remains. That means Lux will Gather Information and we roll +wits: 1d6 + 3 = 4 vs 7,8. That would be a miss, but I feel like this is a narratively appropriate moment to Burn Momentum (currently at +9) to turn that into a strong hit. (We’ll reset down to +2.)

We find Kei’s body at an entrance to the factory; it seems some sort of security system killed him. The body is not fully intact but enough of him remains that he will receive a proper burial.

Taking Stock

Lux has done the thing she came here to do and will Finish an Expedition. We roll our challenge dice against our progress for 8 vs 7, 10, a weak hit. There’s an unforeseen complication, and we already know what that is: she needs to come back and explore this factory! We mark 1 tick on our discoveries legacy track (Dangerous = 2 - 1 for the weak hit).

What about her vow? We’ve certainly reached another milestone, taking us to 6 progress. I’m going to take a chance and roll Fulfill Your Vow. We roll our challenge dice against our progress for 6 vs 8, 10, a miss. Our vow is undone, but Lux will not give up. The data from the Sareea are insufficient to resolve this mystery, but she will continue to search for answers. To recommit to the quest, we reroll the challenge dice, take the lowest (4) and clear that number of progress boxes. We’re back to 2 progress and we raise the vow’s rank by one to Formidable.

Lux trundles back to the ship with Kei’s body in tow. Jackal realizes how important this is, although they do not share this moment with Firestarter. The two of them pause and reflect together, sharing a profound moment of grief and loss. This will Develop the Relationship between them, bringing their connection up to 6 progress. She’s going to leave Flint to attend to the arrangements for Kei’s burial, and when she returns, Jackal will be gone. But perhaps they will meet again.


I’m a bit disappointed in the progress rolls, but at the same time we have a clear direction for the exploration now. We’ve got a site to explore and a related vow, our ship is back in shape, and this is exactly what Crash is for. There’s a potentially recurring NPC that we didn’t start with as well. I enjoyed this session much more as it focused on the things I wanted out of this campaign in the first place, even if the dice didn’t cooperate. We’ll take +1 momentum (up to 3) and let things simmer in my mind until our next session.

Up next Starforged - Exploration Part 2 Abenteuerspiel Experiment
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