Mea Culpa

Wanted: 6 cm Pryxzods
First Plollan Marketplace Adventure

(This spanned three game sessions.)

Research and Approach

Our curious-as-cats team of K’t’k’prrk (Kateka Burrke), Kartesh Fartouch, and David “Davey” Anne Smith decided to be brokers in the slowly escalating trade battle for 6 cm pryxzods after seeing the following two ads posted in the bar over the course of a few weeks:



Kateka called the contact numbers on the wanted ads — the first was disconnected, but the second was an automated line that gave date time and space coordinates for a drop off location just outside the Network on a path to Saiphim.

Seeing this as a trade disconnect in need of a middleman, Kateka got the group connected with Giselle Goossens. She begrudgingly told the team that “pryxzods” sounded like the name of a rumored Plollan weapon: a small, mobile, robot that consumes the material around it. Purportedly, one 4-8 cm pryxzod is powerful enough to (given enough relatively uninterrupted time) consume something the size of Mea Culpa. The ads were asking for 25 or 75 of these devices. After some tense negotiations, Giselle gave the group a copy of her map of the Marketplace and a package to drop off at the Itemz n Thingz stall there.

She also gave them plenty of warnings: since the Plollans are incredibly xenophobic, the group would need some sort of invite to get in, which might be a formal invitation or knowing someone with access. Too much misbehaving while there could easily get the team banned from the Marketplace for life.

They opted to take the Shiidoo to the Marketplace; given Mx. Hood‘s considerable amount of access in the universe, it was likely their ship could get them into the Marketplace. The ship was welcoming and willing to assist them in scanning Giselle’s package: it turned out to be a normal Christian Bible with gilded edges. There were no Quirorks in the spine.

The Marketplace

The approach to the Marketplace was turbulent and the authorities as unwelcoming as Giselle promised, but the group ended up safely parked and staying at a hotel lining the Marketplace. Davey graciously agreed to give the strange, inhuman bathrooms at the hotel a good scrub during each of the Marketplace’s maintenance shutdowns in exchange for the group’s room. (See the Plollan Marketplace entry for more details on the time bubble, its physical characteristics, and its maintenance timing cycles.)

The group set out with three goals:

  1. Deliver Giselle’s Bible
  2. Buy the pryxzods and get them off the planet
  3. Find a countermeasure against them

The Marketplace map was designed to rearrange itself as stalls and shops moved, and while information on individual shops was limited (a rough categorization of the shop and its name), Davey took the time to check every shop of the “mixed items” category to find Itemz n Thingz.

The group set out into the Marketplace. Getting through was a slow process: while the crowd in the Marketplace is always moving, a normal path also requires zig-zagging the entire 5 km length repeatedly. Faced with the possibility of not making it to Itemz n Thingz before the next maintenance window, Kartesh shortened their journey considerably by finding some not-quite-approved shortcuts. Kateka grumbled pretty steadily as they ducked between and through the closely-packed stalls.

Itemz n Thingz was a small shop with an actual interior that was staffed by two humans — a strange occurrence, since Davey was told she was only the second human to be allowed into the Marketplace (the first was Giselle). John — the awkward proprietor who was definitely from the midwestern United States on the planet Earth — was excited to meet the group and arrange a later rendezvous with Davey. He accepted Giselle’s box with little fanfare and pointed the group towards the shop Intergalactic Armaments.

The group set off into the crush again in search of the arms store, occasionally browsing for and buying food and small trinkets.

Near the end of the current Marketplace cycle, they found and entered Intergalactic Armaments, meeting Mitzra, its proprietor. The shop was decked out in a clockwork theme, including Mitzra themself, whose mask looked like a set of interconnected gears.

Mitzra was not at all interested in selling sorta-secret, high-quality Plollan weaponry to the likes of the members of this group and drove a hard bargain, asking for both a continuous source of bee nectar and a complete data dump of the Mea Culpa university’s weapon-related research to sell 75 pryxzods. (Davey insisted no such research was happening at the university. Kartesh insisted that giving such research away to a society like the Plollans would be horribly unethical.)

With the Marketplace cleaning cycle rapidly approaching, the group agreed to resume the negotiations in the morning. Mitzra gave them a vague pamphlet on the specs of a pryxzod and agreed to move their shop to be closer to the hotel when the Marketplace reopened.

Internal debate led the group to opt for the 25 pryxzod deal in exchange for the bee nectar. With an instruction manual, a pretty box to deflect scanners, and 25 6 cm pryxzods, the group split ways to handle final business: Davey rendezvoused with John and acquired an exotic weapon; Kartesh and Kateka worked to hide the pryxzods on the Shiidoo and negotiate the departure inspection.

The group remains undecided about what to do with the pryxzods, which remain on the ship: several options for weapons research remain open, but problematic due to their ties to various governments.

Meeting, May 13

New folks: Lissa will contact Jim about joining the game. Gregory will follow-up with Tom.
Logistics: Lissa may have to skip narrating Memorial Day weekend due to surgery recovery

After game:
What story do we want to pursue? The Plollan Marketplace story started this session or (if Lissa is unable to Narrate) a flashback to how all the characters met.

Next meeting run by Brendan.

Note: As of 2017/05/26, Lissa won’t be able to Narrate a session of the duration and complexity as the second half of the Marketplace plot on game day.

Covered in Bees!

While hanging out in the bar, the players noticed buzzing noises. This was particularly annoying to the totally-not-hungover K’t’k’prrk (Kateka Burrke). Upon further examination, the buzzing sounds turned out to be from largish bees flying in and out of the air ducts.

A posting on the job board indicated that a group called The Exterminators was looking to hire local help, and the group decided to contact them and see if the bee situation was relevant to this ad. It was, and the group took the job to help track down the hive in the service ducts.

Kartesh Fartouch stayed behind, and the rest of the players followed the bees into the ducts. They tracked them to an open junction area of several passageways. Here, a large comb had been built, with a large number of workers coming and going, as well as an even larger number of bees covering the comb.

With the help of a friendly worker, the group got past the guard bees and talked to the Queen. It was clear this was not just a swarm of normal bees escaped from a farm. They were, in fact, sapient. They had escaped their home planet and were seeking a place to be “free”. At home, they were not allowed to move the hive as they’d like and they were kept in one area to pollinate the crops of the Teleeenu.

Burrke lied to The Exterminators about knowing the location of the bees, but they sent ‘employees’ to investigate once they found out the bees had been found. The group had a few turns to prepare for their arrival, and the bees were able to escape to Mx. Hood’s ship with only one round of combat. A few guards were killed, but it was far less damaging than it could have been.

The group were summoned to Georgeanna Vikram’s office to confront the lawyers from The Exterminators. The lawyers had documents claiming the bees were non-sentient livestock and the property of the Teleeenu who had hired the firm. On the testimony of Mx. Hood and Davey, Vikram offered the bees sanctuary in the arboretum of the station. The bees happily accepted.

The bees moved into the arboretum, but their new home was quickly threatened by Exterminator mercenaries. The group intervened, placing themselves in harm’s way to prevent attacks on the bees. They ‘convinced’ the leader of the squad to retreat through a combination of flirting and being scary like death.

The bees got recognition as a sapient species and will be applying to join the Entourage. The Diplomatic Corps and representatives of the Visitor will be investigating the situation with the Teleeenu (who, as members of the network should know better).

Burrke also made an arrangement with the Queen to sell excess honey.

Meeting, April 15, 2017

New folks: Lissa will contact Jim about joining the game. Gregory will follow-up with Tom.

After game:
What story do we want to pursue? The “self-sealing stembolts” ads on the board.

Lucy runs the next meeting!

Meeting, March 18, 2017

Recorder: Me

New players: Gregory has contacted two people. Brendan has one more candidate to try.

Group chat: We’re going with Discord. Please join the server via this link:

After the session:

  • Brendan will probably have plot next time.
  • Melissa will keep dropping seeds of a plot

Gregory will run the next meeting. The agenda is to discuss new folks.

The Cultural Exchange Festival

The station was thrown into chaos: it was time for the dreaded multicultural festival! The desperate station SysOps recruited the help of Mx. Hood and Kartesh Fartouch to prevent this from being the end of Mea Culpa.

Serving as event staff, Hood and Fartouch guided traffic, kept the methane-breathers’ dance party from exploding or descending into drunken violence, and defused a feud between a gastropoid food vendor and their dendroid rival.

It was widely hailed as the best multicultural festival ever. The rival food vendors became reluctant business partners and there were surprisingly few injuries.

Meeting, March 4, 2017
The "way too late" edition

Recorder: Melissa

Regarding new players: no one has contacted anyone yet. :-(

After the session, we decided to pursue stories about the four alien races Melissa has thought up. Folks also want to know what’s in the puzzle box the Mestromians received.

The next session will be run by Melissa. The only agenda item is to discuss recruiting.

Messing with the Mestromians
See, because "mess" means...

At the request of Mea Culpa diplomat Georgeanna Vikram, David “Davey” Anne Smith, K’t’k’prrk (Kateka Burrke), and Kartesh Fartouch set off for Mestromian space. Vikram requested that they deliver an intricate wooden and golden human puzzle box as a gift in order to establish a fixed diplomatic arrangement between the Visitor/Entourage and the Mestromians.

This (deliberately) eclectic group took a fast courier ship captained by Thaddeus Baker to Mestromian space. They scanned the puzzle box along the way, enabling them to produce 3D/holographic models and revealing that there was something shielded (but not nuclear) as the “prize” of the box. Kartesh struggled mightily with their own nature, but avoided opening the actual box to see what the prize was.

The Mestromians themselves were polite, and provided a large spread of foods for the group while sticking to their own various fluids. As conversation moved towards discussion of the gift, however, they became much more interested in K’t’k’prrk being the gift, given their extensive life experience: surviving a war, living among other cultures and on multiple planets, etc. They considered K’t’k’prrk a far better gift than a puzzle box, even a 6th century CE puzzle box.

There were a variety of linguistic snafus to complicate this: “guest”, “artifact”, and “gift” seemed related and interchangeable, as did “learn”, “consume”. The group was worried when they realized that giving K’t’k’prrk as a gift would, at the very least, lead to them being confined indefinitely.

Through some harrowing negotiations, the Mea Culpans were able to convince the Mestromians that the puzzle box was, in fact, an incredibly valuable cultural artifact, and certainly equal in value to the gift the Mestromians were giving (an old statue made of several metals crafted through different processes).

The group left the Mestromians without finding out what’s in the puzzle box. Or whether Vikram knew of the likelihood that K’t’k’prrk would be of interest as a gift.

Meeting Feb 18, 2017

Recorder: Gregory

On the topic of finding more players, Luxy has a candidate, Brendan might; Lissa and Gregory will pitch it to D&D folks.

On the topic of what language characters speak: There is a lingua franca for Mea Culpa and the entourage called “Hospeak” or “Hospie.” There are automatic translators for most known languages that are nearly instantaneous, but they are not universal translators for every language, and some nuance is lost.

We chatted about how to make the LARP more active and LARPy. Light costuming might be an option, as would standing more and making more rooms available.

After the session, we said that we like the ideas of investigating Tanya Billings, finding out more about the extinct species and their situation, and dealing with all these alien babies we’re collecting.

Next session’s meeting will be run by Brendan. Agenda: discuss new people more.

Meeting: February 4, 2017
Recorder: Lucy

This game was Ben’s last one. Fare thee well, Ben! We decided that Myra will remain as an NPC.
We discussed finding some new players.

The plot this week was Greg’s plot about the Coil separatists.

Agenda items for next meeting:
Finding more players
Common vs. English

Greg will run next meeting.


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