Here's my playtest so far.
The session ran for about four hours, including discussing the rules. It started much later than intended after one player was late.
To start with I allowed characters to purchase some items at the unnamed station they were on before getting the mission briefing to get them some familiar with the tech level of the setting and the items, as well as start rolling dice to learn the system. While they were interested in a few things, in the end they only got two vac suits with @-rep. Other items were considered but a lot of the available purchases (I skimmed the items from the Making Characters pdf and removed Major or (R) items) they wanted were already owned by someone in the group. Thus far this has been their only use of Rep due to low scores that would be relevant on Kongyún. I might remind them about Flex allowing for factional NPC's to show up next time.
Arriving ten days after Chi disappeared, the group scanned the asteroid on approach, but only got general information about where things were.
Chi was flippant and antagonised Constable Yu, but Njal managed to convince him that Chi was just an idiot and the Sylph claimed to have turned off their biomods and be drunk, which Yu believed. He did search Chi a second time for insolence.
The characters checked in at the BestRest Motel and Inn, and began researching. They discovered footage of Chi delivering Mariposa’s payment to Lion and realised it was faked and that public footage of Chi had been deleted by a professional.
Chi's old room was searched and found to have been emptied and a cleaner nanoswarm had likely been used to remove evidence of whoever had been there's presence. The footage of that person had also been removed, but it was clearly by a lesser hacker than the one who blanked Chi's presence from the public cameras.
While investigating the goings on at Kongyún the group discovered that Chi had previously met up with Chang’e Jade, a wannabe reporter and local blogger/conspiracy nut.
After doing an incredibly thorough job investigating Jade’s blog (rolled 00) and hacking her mesh (another crit) they discovered her apparent romantic interest in Chi, and that someone else had hacked her at some point.
They noticed many stores closed around them and people were whispering rumours about the group being spies etc.
Jade was sent a message to meet the players in a secluded location, which she agreed to given she can fly and knows her way around, and they talked with her about the activities on the station and the disappearances, including that of Chi. Chi managed to hide that they were the same person she was looking for (she 99’d on a perceive check, should that have been kinesics?).
When heading back from the meeting they were confronted by Josef Bves, and they managed to convince him that their cover stories were true.
Before leaving they saw that Bves caught a young worker at an XP store and confronted him with the phrase “shamsu heiroah yanaksha”. The man responded “iltubzuga isthazuhma.” Bves and the Confessors dragged him away. Chi managed to ask a local what just happened, and got a mumbled response about Bves looking out for people. Since their translators didn’t reveal the meaning of the phrase they asked what Bves had said, which prompted the person to send them a short clip of exactly what they’d just seen from the locals perspective – they either misinterpreted or deliberately misunderstood the question. The local left immediately after sending the video of ‘what Bves said’.
A speck bot was sent to follow Bves, but the metal laden tunnels were blocking the connection to it (are there any rules for the range of bots and drones I can port over from 1e?). Amal was able to follow behind the Confessors secretly, with a Gnat bot that Njal was jamming (can he do that? I can't find 2e rules about it, or about Forks for that matter, which the player considered briefly) following at the full extent of their mesh connection later, in turn followed by Chi and Sváfa. They came upon the group in their secret psychosurgery lab, and hacked into the impromptu labs mesh to see what they were doing. They overheard some Confessor thugs talking about how this was the third ‘infected’ this week.
A psychology check from Chi revealed the earlier call and response from Bves and the shop keep was likely a verbal tic and that this may be the exsurgant virus. The group watched briefly to see what Josef was doing. While they could not see what data Bves was getting from the Ego Bridge, a Psychosurgery test revealed his AR prompts seemed to indicate he was a professional who had developed specific tools and methods of dealing with this situation, indicating hard earned familiarity with this strain and its victims.
The group left the tunnels and returned to the ship, where they used Njal’s radio booster to contact Eludere and warned her about the apparent infection. She found no record of the particular call and response with a quick search and began organising a group of sentinels to come and quarantine the incident if needed. She requested they continue investigating and report back when they knew who/what is causing the infection.
Eludere also advised they get the gear out of the scratch space immediately, as the situation is elevating, and suggested they attempt to sneak weapons off the ship if possible. Finally, the Proxy brought up the idea of seeking help from Mariposa Chen, and admitted Firewall may be able to pay her for providing assistance a second time, but would rather see if she can be motivated through self-interest first.
At this point the session ends, to be picked up next week when the group finally goes exploring the mines.
Gameplay wise the QSR covered a lot of the basic actions, but I had to dip into the playtest 2e rules on occasion, and even then, I had to make stuff up on occasion due to lack of familiarity with things like Jamming. I think I had the player roll a COG check when it should have been SOM, maybe? That's from skimming the 1e rules.
I had to copy the item descriptions from the playtest material into list for the players to see what their gear actually does, which was a bit of a hassle, especially since if you only had the QSR you’d have no idea what these things do. I think I also had to find some things in 1e and hope they still work, since I could find nothing about it in the 2e playtest stuff released so far.
That aside, the players got the hang of the rules really quickly, and I think the comparison of the rolling system to blackjack helped with that, so thanks to the people who mentioned that. Everyone picked up on using Pool to flip rolls quickly, but since they only skimmed the rules no-one really did much extra with their points other than one or two spending Pool to get a bonus on some difficult rolls.
We had a lot of fun with this and will be trying to finish Acrimony in a few days.
A few things I'm considering, and would be interested to hear thoughts on: Should I add a simple server thing for Njal to the scratch space, so he doesn't need to finangle some way to contact the group in the caves? It does seem like a bit of oversight, but I'm not sure if it's because it is meant to be simple and I'm overcomplicating it, or if it is meant to be a challenge for whoever plays Njal to overcome.
With all the research and hacking going on Njál and Sváfa’s players had lots to do, and Chi's player got some action with the talking/investigation sections too, a fair bit worrying about what the first Chi had done with Jade, and concerned he may have made a mess of things. Amal's player though is a bit more reserved, and didn't find much to do. Sneaking after the Confessor's and the occasional group Perceive check were large parts of their action during the game. Does anyone have any tips on how to present Amal's player with more opportunities? I don't want to force stuff on them if they don't want to be as involved as the others, I just want to give the player options.
Since we’re looking at making some test characters after the game I was trying to find the rules on Forkin/Merging for 2e but they seem to not exist yet. Has anyone doing playtests come up with ideas on how to port 1e’s rules?
Finally, I can’t seem to find anything about modding morphs, or the options to do so. There’s a tiny bit in Acquiring Gear and Morphs about the rolls needed to mod them, but nothing about what options there are. Is this just another case of the playtest material not being out yet? In particular one character was wondering about changing movement modes.
Thanks for the help, and I’ll put up more playtest results once the next game is finished.
Edit: some typos.