Holidays and illnesses have kept the gaming schedule a bit hit or miss this last month or so, but we’ve completed another adventure in our Battlestar Galactica RPG campaign. This one saw the introduction of a new character — a fresh from training viper pilot who finds herself assigned to Galactica as her first posting, instead of her preferred Pegasus.

The fallout from the campaign thus far is finally starting to hit. Commander Pindarus, the “lead” character, and much of his command staff has been parked on Galactica as a means to cool his career off by jealous officers. (He is also a pawn in a personal tiff between the fleet admiral, Nagala, and his father, now the defense secretary.) Special Agent Chaplain, the Colonial Security Service officer that was investigating Cylon infiltration was exposed as having been an agent himself. The last “episode” had ended with their secret investigation having been outed by a major colonial news service. The assumption in the halls of power is that Pindarus ratted because he didn’t think the brass and politicians were taking the matter seriously. Without proof, however, all they could do was bench him on what is soon to be a spacegoing museum.

Pindarus’ efforts to get the political machine to acknowledge and do something about the toaster threat have, however, paid off. President Aidar is aware of the threat and is quietly shuffling his cabinet to prepare. The most important change for the characters is the return of Pindarus’ father to government. Having been ingloriously binned as presidential security advisor near the beginning of the investigations, the bellicose old man is now in as defense secretary.

This “episode” mostly revolved around the new PC, and her perceptions of what was going on aboard Galactica. To that end, I tried to structure the adventure so that while the other players were doing their own particular things, the new pilot — call sign Billboard — was usually present to witness things. The player of the new character has been documenting her reactions and opinions in a little journal he’s been sending to me. (Got him a few plot points for the effort!) The first thing she noticed was the strong animosity between the former (temporary) XO, now returned to CAG — Dipper (he’s in the miniseries) and the new one, Pindarus’ XO from Aegis, the (too?) young Major Evripidi. She meets the characters from the show that were continued into the campaign — Helo, Boomer, Starbuck. We also see JOlly (mentioned in the miniseries and reutrned in his slightly overweight, gloriously mustachioed glory.) WE’re using the Katee Sackhoff Starbuck, but without the tremendous angsty stuff that made her annoying to me.

The crew is befuddled. The new commander knows the ship is to be decommissioned in a matter of months and they are doing their last CAP of Caprica and Gemenon, before heading to Picon for the refit that would make her a museum and her disarmament at the Zeus Armory. So why is Pindarus running them hard on full-scale combat drills — complete with damage control exercises and boarding repelling operations? Why does he have the chief engineer (a cousin to Billboard) attempting to refit their FTL drive and get the ship rearmored? He says it is to put her back in the condition she was in during the First Cylon War and make her more authentic an experience for the guests.

Also aboard, is the Ministry of Education archivists, designers, and wonks — led by the Deputy Director for Public History, Aron Doral (this time more of a Oded Fehr type.) The man is slick, friendly, and seems genuinely interested in making Galactica a big attraction. They have installed a secondary, civilian network that is unconnected to the ship’s essential functions (save communications…), they’re putting up informative signage and color-coded paths through the ship, here and there, for the tour. I’m trying to give it more of a ship at the end of her life feel than the miniseries had.

Adventure seed here: The new character is put to the test when the ship receives a distress call. They were just entering Gemenese orbit when a Caprica-Gemenon liner was struck by the FTL bubble of another ship jumping in. Disabled and in a rapidly decaying orbit, they are requesting aid. Meanwhile, the vessel that had illegally jumped into orbit outside the prescribed commercial “bullpen” is racing into Gemenese orbit to escape apprehension. Galactica scrambles her alert fighters, including Billboard, to chase and monitor the ship, which is running an IFF transponder that does not register as belonging to any legally registered craft.

The rescue of the liner was done in the background, and directed by one of the characters; Billboard and the alert fighters follow the other freighter to the Gemenese surface — the Gramada Mountains, which another PC tells them is a hotbed of separatists, individualists, and illicit drug manufacturers. (Khammala and canaba are legal and used for “religious purposes” but synthetic opiates, endorphins, and amphetamines are tightly controlled.) The ship is a smuggler, moving synthetic dope from Leonis to Gemenon.

The characters have to capture the smugglers, who are armed with at least one shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile system. Billboard nearly gets splashed, and they get cleared by Pindarus to take out the trucks. Marines in a raptor arrive and eventually take the ship, discovering weapons, drugs, and other violations of the law.

Overall, the adventure ran well. It was mostly interstitial stuff between push adventures, a chance for more character development over action. It was also a chance to set the mood for Galactica prior to the events of the miniseries.

Next week: 1930s pulp using Hollow Earth Expedition!