Happy Mother's Day!
I'm not sure if it had always been in the back of my mind or some gamer suggested it, but Cha'alt + Alpha Blue eventually needed to happen. Last night was the first one-shot...
What's the difference? Well, I started with Cha'alt and just included more scifi and sleaze. That's pretty much it.
I ran the game on Roll20 with 9 players. Since I run these virtual one-shot sessions so rarely, I didn't want to turn anyone away. It was a little hard to keep track of everyone, but that didn't deter me from GMing like a fucking boss.
Some notable characters were... Vrek, a chaotic vore wizard, an elven cleric named Muldraen who was the party prude (until he wasn't anymore), not wanting to spend much time in the desert oasis sex club... but I'm getting ahead of myself. Who else? Gabbak Notha the demon cleric, Hanz Frazen the swole & shirtless human wizard. Tan'ndoor Starblade, a moon-elf thief, and several reptilian PCs.
One player in particular renamed his reptoid Whitesnake to honor the memory of Tawny Kitaen.
I simply focused on what was happening and how the adventurers responded, letting everything else fall into the background. The PCs talked amongst themselves, and I had to ignore most of that to keep all my balls in the air.
The session started in a normal non-sleazy way. Mysterious humanoids pulling strings, making the adventurers dance. It all started with a game. This magic ring thrown down a well, and the PCs had to go fetch it.
I was expecting more in-fighting, but that was my fault. Next time I run it, I need to incentivize betrayal. No one turned on each other, sadly. However, there was a decent combat encounter to get the blood flowing (though, not everyone participated). The rest of the party had already climbed out of the well. They missed the fight, but found out what was going on via drones circling the air. The gold they were expected to get for surviving was being held at the desert destination sex club - Pervert's Paradise.
The majority of the session took place in the club. I had a random table for what they encountered upon entering, a random table for what happened to each of them while they were hanging out, and then a third for the inevitable bar fight.
It's important to let PCs off the leash when it comes to sandbox social interaction scenes. I want them to roleplay, to gravitate towards whatever kind of play experience they're interested in. That's an important part of Alpha Blue, and any RPG, in my opinion.
For example, one player started gambling away, using a friendly drunk elf as the "table stakes". Another asked the bartender if he could make a pan-galactic gargleblaster. As everyone knows, my games are very pop-culture friendly.
By the time the bar fight happened, we were close to the end of our 2-hour session. I had a variety of plot hooks in my notes, but it was too late in the night to make good use of that. So, we simply roleplayed the after-effects of the bar fight.
The Federation broke up the fight and sent everyone home. A couple PCs sauntered into the Federation starship that was parked just outside Pervert's Paradise. They stole the ship and flew it to Alpha Blue.
The rest went to an afterparty thrown by one of the hot bimbos from the club (possibly the woman asking if anyone wanted to take a pussy shot). At the very beginning of the scenario, it took them 2 hours to walk from A'agrybah to the well. At the end, it took them about 15 minutes to get back to her apartment via shuttle.
I almost forgot... one of the PCs, Muldraen, stayed behind, sneaking into an upstairs bedroom with 3 elf maidens while the Federation troopers weren't looking. BTW, that was the one and only skill-check of the night.
After getting with the girls, he asked if any of them were holding. One elf-girl presented a handful of glowing purple crystals they could smoke. And smoke them they did. What were the effects? While I did have both Cha'alt and Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise (as well as the Saving Cha'alt PDF) sitting right next to me for reference, an idea sprang to mind... an out-of-body experience that makes you feel like you're Nicholas Cage for a few hours. Yes, that's the dream!
And, of course, the best part was reading all the enthusiastically supportive comments post-game. Thanks, guys.
All in all, a very satisfying one-shot. Yes, there will be more! ;)
p.s. If you still want hardcovers of both Cha'alt and Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise, ordering details here. Thank you for supporting independent RPG content creators like yours truly!