Last night, my weekly D&D game was derailed by a player absence. After an hour and a half, we gave up, decided to play Lasers and Feelings (not to be confused by the amusing DoubleClicks song, which could be the counterpoint to Skullcrusher Mountain), and one of the other players logged off (he may regret that decision later). At about 7:15, we said “OK, let’s play for an hour and then call it a night. At 7:30, the MIA player hopped on and joined the L&F game.
For character creation in Lasers and Feelings, you pick your role, archtype, name, and a number between 2 and 5. If you want to be more towards Lasers (logic, cold, calculating, precise), you pick a high number. If you want to be more Feelings (diplomacy, emotions, passion, wild action, intuition), pick a low number. That’s the extent of your character’s stats for the game. Aside from that, the team will equip their ship– in this case, the Raptor is fast and has a cloaking device, but only one medical bay which is currently occupied by the Captain.
For the GM’s side, you roll 4 d6’s and consult the table for the threat facing the crew. I rolled and came up with: Space pirates want to occupy the space pirate king/queen, which will start a war. I didn’t like it. It didn’t make sense. So, like all good GMs, I cheated the dice and picked something to replace the space pirate royalty: ancient space ruin.
Space pirates want to occupy the ancient space ruin, which will start a war.
Our heroes are:
- Neznez, an Alien Engineer (L&F score 5). He’s a member of the Nasalians, a proud race of double-nosed people, who wants to meet sexy aliens.
- Dash Carmichael, Hot-Shot Pilot (2). His goal is to keep being awesome. He’s got nothing to prove.
- RX1138, Android Soldier (5). His prime directive is to shoot bad guys. He is armed and dangerous. Also, his arms are armed and dangerous. And although he has a security station on the bridge, he is fully integrated into the ship’s combat mechanisms and therefore is a security station, even when away from the bridge.
I asked a few lead-in questions about the crew, what kind of captain they normally have, and what they do for the Consortium. With such a small crew and a cloaking device, they decided they’re a spy ship, contracting for the Consortium. So they’re not gung-ho company men, but they do their jobs, and they do it well.
I also ask about the Space Pirates, who we learn are privateers for the Green Republic. Until that moment, by the way, I didn’t know who the adversary of the Consortium was, but I’m glad my players were able to supply the information. In fact, most of the setting information was generated by the players. I’d be filling in a detail, then say “Alex, tell me something about the Architects.”
Oh, but don’t let me get ahead of my story. At this point, it was almost 7:40, and I needed us to get going! I wanted to wrap up by 8:20.
According to Steve, knowing Capt Darcy, the last mission was at a space station with his drinking buddy, who must have slipped him something. He brought back some crucial intel, then succumbed to the malady.
The information was that the Space Pirates have found an alien space ruin, which was made by the Architects. The Architects provided space travel to us all. A long-lost race. NezNez’s people are descended from the Architects, but humans are not believed to be. They might have engineered much of the intelligent life in the universe, but humans are a fluke.
The Raptor has just dropped out of hyperspace in the far-edges of civilized space, near the alien ruin. Acting-Captain Dash Carmichael turns on the cloaking device and guides them closer to scan. Suddenly, a small craft, perhaps a scout ship, arrives. They move closer, bonk into a piece of space junk, revealing their location. The small craft fires on them. NezNez activates shields, Dash evasively maneuvers (unlike the previous piloting, evasive maneuvers for Dash is Feelings, not Lasers). NezNez realizes as he’s scanning the area that it’s a space pirate vessel.
In Lasers and Feelings, a Laser Feelings moment happens when you tie on one of your dice. Normally, you roll 1d6. If you are doing a Lasers act, you succeed if you roll under your number. If you are doing a Feelings act, you succeed if you roll over. If what you are doing fits into your archtype or role, or if you have specially prepared, or if an ally aids you, you roll an extra d6 (for each of those boosts). 0 successes is a total failure. 1 success means a complication. 2 is “yay, you succeed.” 3 is a critical success. If you tie on one of your dice, you have a Laser Feelings moment, which gives you special insight. You can ask the GM one question which she answers truthfully. You can then change your action and reroll. We determined, after multiple LF moments for NezNez that you should only reroll the tied die, though it would make sense to reroll all dice if you are going to switch from a Lasers to Feelings action, or vice versa.
And then the android RX1138 opens fire, destroying the enemy weapons and doing significant hull damage. Boom!
A few moments later, Neznez notices that the small vessel has been hailing them. It’s the Excelsior. At first, a nervous junior crewman keeps asking them who they are, claiming they mistook them from someone else, “Uh, but who are you?!?” Eventually, Capt. Chase MacIntyre gets on the comm and negotiates with Dash. He explains that they’re fleeing the Space Pirates, because this vessel might be a resurrection ship, and the Space Pirates are going to use it– and the Architects they resurrect– to force all-out war.
During this exchange, Neznez pulls up a lot of information from his database on the Architects. The message from the Excelsior is a set of coded instructions in an alien language, that would assist in interfacing with the station. Neznez gets to work installing it as an app on his communicator.
This is where we had a chain-reaction of Laser Feelings moments for Neznez and decided to limit the rerolls to just the dice that tied.
Dash navigates in and realizes due to the lack of resistance in the docking bay, there is no air in the bay (Laser Feelings moment for Dash during his Lasers roll to dock carefully). RX1138 does a bio-scan of the station and finds 5-500 lifesigns. They enter the station, and find in the center of the atrium a statue of the Architect god, the Chairman.
Neznez arms a grenade, but the fuse is short (unsuccessful Lasers roll). RX1138 blasts the statue with the grenade at close range, toppling the statue and crushing the enemy that is trying to sneak up behind them, but destroying his gun-arm. Lasers roll: I gave RX1138’s player a choice to either take damage from the grenade and get a careful shot, or throw it away and probably miss. He chose to self-harm. Too bad the other crewmen were also right there.
Dash leaps out of the way, firing on the run. He blows a few holes in several mooks and the ricochet obliterates one of the computer panels.
Because it’s a Feelings roll instead of Lasers, Dash has a better chance of hitting when he isn’t careful, when he fires while dodging and doesn’t even look at his target.
Meanwhile, Neznez has activated his personal force field. It’s a backup plan. I decide on the fly that “preparedness” is a Lasers roll that being an Engineer certainly will help him with. Unfortunately, the force field goes both ways. Neznez fires his shotgun sidearm, which bounces off his force field and takes off his own ear.
RX1138, meanwhile is kpow kpow kpow’ing more Space Pirate mooks with individually placed head shots. We’re picturing The Terminator. He’s okay with that.
Dash tries to negotiate or intimidate the Space Pirates, and they begin to talk, but… it’s not going to go well here in a moment. Really, he’s just buying time.
Neznez leaves off from combat and approaches the access panel, using his double nose to interface with the access port. He identifies a threat, and the station responds with “Instruct allies to assume the worship position. Activating countermeasures in 3…. 2….. 1….” Thinking fast, Neznez tells everyone to “crouch down and, uh, stick your fingers up your nose!
Dash does so, also cupping his hands so it’s not obvious that he only has one nose. RX1138 dives for a space pirate, forcing the poor guy to stick his fingers up his nose while the space station eliminates the remaining space pirates with nerve gas. RX1138’s flesh is flayed from his shiny metal skeleton, but he did salvage a space pirate who survives.
The party has the station under their control, and have killed about 40 space pirates, all but 1 of the force on the station. This location is secure. It’s just about 8:30– a little later than I wanted to wrap up, but within reason.
We end for the night and I text the player who had logged off early to let him know we saved a PC for him to play next time we return to the crew of the Raptor as they decide what to do with an Architect resurrection ship. There isn’t a “space pirate” archetype for player characters in L&F… but I think I’m good with handwaving that.
Gameplay in Lasers and Feelings is similar to both All Out of Bubblegum and, interestingly, Fate Accelerate Edition, where firing a gun might be easier if you do it without looking, if your Careful score is lower than your Flashy one, for example.