Super Suit: Actual Play 1

2011 Jan 14

I know Jamie’s already starting to play Super Suit and both John and Sage indicated some interest, so here’s a step-by-step example of play for the first 4 cards of the campaign I’m currently playing. I’m writing and learning how to play the game as I go, so hopefully folks can use this example to avoid some of the mistakes that I made early on. But on to the actual play:

I begin, as the rules say, by imagining Joney exploring the landing site and surrounding “safe” area: getting out of her skimmer, checking out the mysterious shuttle tracks, being surprised and somewhat unnerved by the frozen faces on the cavern wall, and using her climbing gear to scale down the ice wall and cut better handholds for future use. I decide that Joney sets up her first pylon at the base of the ice wall because she was about to crawl through the tunnel to the left and wasn’t sure what might be in there. Better to be safe than sorry. And I imagine her puzzlement at finding the boot, examining it in vain for frozen blood or other signs. In the end, I decide she pulls out a bungee chord and straps the boot across the back of her suit, so she can carry it with her.

And with that, time to begin exploring.

With nowhere to go in this cavern, I decide that Joney is going to use her climbing gear to scale down the outside of the frozen spire, so I place a card as such:

I roll two dice to determine the contents of this card and get 4,6: a lesser horror and a hatch. So I draw some weird skull-bat thing and a portal deeper into the spire.

Joney fires off 2 shots from her arm cannon at the skull-bat, lowering her energy reserves to 97% (from 99%). I roll two hits (only needing one hit to kill a lesser horror), so the bat is toasted.

I roll to see if I get any energy recharged from the haze left by the vaporized bat. Nope! I do however get a total of 3 XP from 1) killing the bat, 2) clearing a card, and 3) going through a hatch. Nice!

So I place my next card, as Joney makes her way through the hatch…

…and I roll the same thing, a lesser horror and a hatch. Hmm, that’s not as cool. I draw them anyway and try to make them interesting.

Joney comes out of the hatch and tries to blow away this tentacled beastie, but totally misses with both shots!

The beastie lashes back with a standard hit (one die) and Joney rolls her one die of maneuvering to avoid it, but unfortunately doesn’t get out of the way very well and takes 2 more damage to her energy reserves. Down to 93% now. Embarrassing, but no real danger.

Miffed, Joney lights up the beastie with a full blast (3 shots, not the five I originally wrote into the rules, which is probably a suit upgrade) and vaporizes it, though she’s now down to 90% energy.

I mark 3 more XP, for 1) the beastie, 2) the card, and 3) the hatch, and manage to roll a slight energy refresh from the horror, bouncing back up to 93%.

On to the third card, I place it to show I’m moving deeper into the caverns of this ice spire…

…but then I roll a 1,1 for the contents, and a 1 means that I dramatically reorient the card I just placed. How do I reorient the card in a fashion that is doubly dramatic? I decide to rip the card in half.

I figure there’s some sort of crazy space-bending effect going on here that Joney falls into, sending her to some unknown destination — maybe not even on this planet! — through a strange energy portal. I attempt to draw the portal but kinda do a crappy job of it. I’m much better with pencil than with these markers I bought specifically for playing this game.

I make a judgment call and decide to roll again for the contents of the second half of this card, on the other side of the portal. I get a 3,5: another lesser horror and the beginning of a stretch of hazardous terrain. I decide that the energy of the portal is unstable and crackling all over the place, so I draw that and roll a 2 on my one die, setting the difficulty of the hazard. I also draw some crazy energy snake or eel, swimming through the air around the portal. I figure Joney is just totally freaked by all this portal business and will try to avoid both the hazard and the snake while she falls. Luckily I roll two 6s and evade both the 2 hazard and another 2 rolled for the snake’s hit, dropping off this card and on to the next one.

I roll a 4,4 for the next room: two hatches becoming a super hatch that I don’t have the right energy signature to open yet. I color it yellow. Since I want to know what’s making the portal, I decide it’s time to spend some of the 8 XP I have accumulated so far. I spend 6 XP on an interesting clue or piece of information (3 XP at the time, raised to 5 XP after this playtest) and on a harder enemy than the minor horrors I’d faced thus far (3 XP at the time, also raised to 5 XP afterward). I decided to combine both of these to create a field generating cannon that was bending space and making the portal. Also, because of the piece of information I bought, the cannon had the same skull symbol on it as the tail fin of Joney’s skimmer, a symbol that I now decided once belonged to the pirate queen Lady Tyrene from Joney’s backstory. What was she doing with space-bending cannons??? Plus, since I hadn’t rolled to stop the hazardous terrain yet, the previous hazard 2 from the sparks and unstable portal crackling filled this room as well, hovering about the field generator.

Now Joney is totally freaked. This is not what she expected at all and her first instinct is to try to blow up this machine and stop these crazy energy arcs from damaging her suit and dropping her through portals to Lady Ty’ knows where. Then, once things settle down, she can figure out what’s going on.

At first, I wasn’t sure how to run the fight with the field generator, not being a horror. But I decided to go ahead and stat it up real quick, so I knew what it did, and I got something like: [dark machine, immobile, 2 hits, 1 die of active defenses, 2 hazard from arcs of energy emanating from it, destroying it also destroys the teleportation portal it generates]. Cool. Now Joney could deal with it.

The first round only went okay for Joney. She successfully avoided the energy arcs, but only got in one solid hit on the machine, so everything was still live and cooking.

The active defenses of the machine struck back, popping Joney’s suit with some light damage.

But then, Joney avoided the energy sparks long enough to total the machine, causing an explosion that reverberated through the room and destroyed the space-bending portal.

So, to wrap up the fourth card, I covered up some of my previous illustrations and redrew the field generating cannon as a twisted wreck. But the portal was also gone, so Joney had no way of getting back to her skimmer, since she had no idea where she was or if she was close enough for the emergency evac system on her suit to transport her back to her pylon. If she was on another planet, in some other system, that definitely wouldn’t work. I ultimately decided this was a good place to stop and assess, with Joney now embarking on her explorations with a different and somewhat more desperate perspective. At least I got a 10% energy recharge off the dead cannon, putting Joney’s suit back up to 98% capacity. That’ll be useful!

The two main things I learned in these four cards was to slow things down even more. There was a lot happening here! Very dense. Too dense, really. There needed to be a lot more cards where I maybe only rolled 1 die for their contents. Also, I really didn’t care at all about the skull-bat, the beastie, and the energy snake. They weren’t very provocative enemies and had nothing to do with why Joney was here or the tone I wanted the game to have. So I retroactively declared that, instead of random monsters, they were all wraith-like entities, either the horrors themselves or the tormented spirits of all those who’d died when they razed the Absalom system. That connected them to the frozen faces that Joney had found on the walls and would make for much creepier foes, especially as I went deeper and encountered more powerful wraiths.

In any event, I’m excited to play more with the new revisions I just made to the rules! Woohoo!

6 Responses to “Super Suit: Actual Play 1”

  1. John Harper Says:

    Awesome. I’m looking forward to playing this.

    It looks like the way energy/damage works, Joney will never be in any real danger. If everything goes terribly, she might drop below 80%, but that seems pretty unlikely.

    Is there a reason for such a big safety buffer?

  2. Thanks, John!

    The big buffer is definitely one of the things that’s going to change in the next rules update, especially because pylons already make death unlikely. Time for a bit more peril.

    I’m also leaning towards my fix for 4E where you only roll for damage or to hit, not both. In this case, I think it’ll mean that hits do a fixed amount of damage (in the same way that you only count “hits” and don’t roll damage against horrors) and you’ll only roll to see if you connect (or if the horror connects with you).

  3. Your graphics are better than mine – maybe it’s because I’m playing a handheld version. (I’m using the backs of business cards.)

    I have some more questions, but I’ll wait until the next draft is posted.

  4. Nice, Jamie! That looks really cool. What’s your mission?

  5. I’m an agent for New Israel government who mis-jumped to avoid being caught smuggling weapons – I then crash-landed on Nazer B, near some ruins that may be Precursor? To my surprise (and delight, because it means maybe there will be a way off this rock) there’s already another ship there, though I can’t get past its encrypted lock and can’t seem to find its crew.

    My questions:
    * what do you roll/what resources do you spend to get past difficult terrain?
    * how does ordnance work? One of the horrors dropped some.
    * what are the xp costs for all the ‘?’

    Also, I want to play on a higher difficulty level – even rolling 3 dice a room hasn’t been slowing me down enough – standard horrors are barely speed bumps – 2 energy gives me a 75% win, then they drop approx 1/2 * 3.5 energy, pretty close to break-even…

  6. The new rules for statting up and getting past inaccessible terrain, hazardous terrain, and hatches are up here:

    I’m working on the new horror and damage rules right now, because — yeah — they’re a bit weak.

    Ordinance is like this so far: 3 hits to a horror, blow up a thin wall or floor, or roll one die for each piece of ordinance you spend in an attempt to blow open a hatch (against the hatch’s difficulty).

    XP is coming soon too, with the new horror and damage rules.

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