Sunday, November 3, 2013

S.S. Blackgate

S.S. Blackgate
            The S.S. Blackgate was a fine ship. A might fine ship, that was left adrift in space. But how did it end up there? Well, it was due to the most evil use of Jenga ever, a little game called Dread
Your characters dead now.
            I had opted had decided to drop in on a game night hosted by my campus gaming club. The theme was horror since it was just after Halloween. I decided t play Dread because …. well it was sci fi and I don’t get to play in a sci fi game nearly enough. The basics behind Dread are simple. The game is very free form, but when the GM decides something needs to be tested you make a pull from the Jenga game. If you collapse the tower then your character dies. If the tower falls because of some other reason then something bad happens in game to the entire party. Each pull makes it harder for the next person who has to make some kind of test. You can opt not to pull and just accept a failure. Oooorrrr you can make the supreme sacrifice and knock the entire thing over. Sure you die, but you die a hero.
            So it becomes a matter of when and not if you will fail.
            My character was Captain Sisko Mannheim, whom we called Captain Sisko. Yes I went with the great Sisko. It’s my favorite show damnit! My crew included an ex spec op’s scientist who was into gene splicing, a ex spec ops doctor; who had a crush on my non human (reptile race like in V) first officer. The crew was rounded out with a tech specialist and a navigator. We were a small time military ship (about the size of Serenity from Fire Fly) enroute to pick up a VIP at what we were told was just a basic colony ship.
            Sounds simple enough right? We arrive at the rendezvous and discover that the ship has gone silent. We pull alongside it and dock. Aaaannnndddd this is where we make the first horror movie mistake, we split up. Ignoring Star Fleet General Order #15 (we had already ignored General Order #12) I go aboard the other ship with the ship’s doctor, my second in command, and the engineer. The scientist and the navigator stay behind to monitor stuff. Once aboard we decide to split up …. again. Yeah I know how bad this is. Horror movie, space, black captain. But we need to do two things at once!
             After we restore power to the ship, I go with my second in command (SiC) to the bridge to see what we can discover from the ships logs while the other two head off to the med labs to see if they can find the person trapped in a research closest (discovered from the only transmission we got). This is when things start to go screwy back on the Blackgate. So we split up again! The engineer leaves the doc so he can head to the med bay and he goes back to the Blackgate.  Surprisingly …. no one has died ….. yet.
            It doesn’t take long for us to regroup back into two groups of 3, and along the way we’ve made a lot of pulls from the Jenga tower. A …. lot. Doom is around the corner, and it hits back on my ship. Space zombie dogs are attacking the navigator and the scientist. Their battle is valiant but in the end we lose our navigator. Damn the Red Queen!!!! To make matters worse there is a random set of creature on the loose who have fucked up both the bridge and the ships engines. Not even a ship lock down is able to slow the creature down. And to top it all off something is causing stress on the docking clamps which forces means the two ships need to do an emergency disconnect!
            Meanwhile I’m facing down an eviscerated man … zombie … thing. He nearly takes out my SiC and the doctor (who admittedly saved the SiC from the zombie creature). We get into the restricted research lab and find the only survivor of the massacre. One private King, whom I begin to order around because well, I’m an ass. It’s at this point that it’s decided that we need to get to the escape pods. There is no hope of salvaging the ship and we can’t make it back to the bridge to redock with the Blackgate. We use our two grenades and make a mad dash to the escape pods, with private King taking point, because … well … I’m an ass. And this is where karma catches up to me.
            I’m having to make two pulls because my character is an alcoholic (a functioning alcoholic!) who drinks to help handle the stress of command. And being chased by zombies is sure stressful. I examine the Jenga tower and come to the conclusion that there is no way for me to pull two and live. So I knock the whole thing over and decide to go out like a champ. Sisko leaps over the railing and punches a zombie in the face and then opens firing on the horde, buying the other two (three if we count the NPC) some time to get to the pods.
            In the end only 3 of my crew members survive. The engineer and mad scientist had to get into the escape pods of the ship. The doctor gave his life saving the love of his life and she makes it to the escape pod (with the NPC in tow). The event is covered up and classified since the colony ship was really a black ops research lab that had discovered something in space better left in deep space. I get a posthumous promotion to admiral. Which is cool. I was personally happy that as the only black character in the game I wasn’t the first to die. That’s an accomplishment considering it was a horror game. J

    Overall I found the mechanic of using Jenga to be different but fun. It built tension in the game. I’ve played a lot of horror games but I’ve never had that much tension in a game. It was a nice change. The free formish nature of character creation and play allowed us to focus more on the characters, which was good for a one shot. The game kinda reminded me of Event Horizon, which was an awesome movie so I didn’t mind. And of course I went out like a champ. If you get the chance I recommend checking out Dread. A simple system that's easy to pick up. All in all a good night. 

No comments:

Post a Comment