A last minute cancellation put me in a rough place this week. I had a new pulp game all set to go and one of the “leads” — who was necessary for the beginning of the game texted out after we were due to start. At first, I thought, “Great! Board game night!” but the last board game night revealed that one of the players is not the sort with which you want to have any kind of game that involves competition. Plan C — fire up the Battlestar Galactica “new season” on the fly.

I didn’t have much to work with ready, so instead thought about what kind of impact losing two of the major characters would have on the NPCs and the players, and ran with that. In this episode…we talked about our feelings. I pieced together how the president — who had thought himself inured to loss after the Fall of the Colonies — is beginning to fall apart with the death of his son in law. Now, all he has is his son, and the fear of losing the man (the commander on Galactica) hasn’t paralysed him, but he no longer feels empowered. The commander lost his best friend, the other PC was a trusted colleague, and his burgeoning love affair with another officer has been interrupted by her reassignment to Pegasus. He’s alone. Another character had been the dead pilot/oracle’s lover — she’s crushed, and has had to take over his duties as a squadron leader. How can she command her friends, knowing she might have to send them to their deaths…and can she do it?

Another aspect of the night was the goings on aboard Pegasus. ADM Cain is a constant presence in the background, but was never encountered. Instead, the pilot now squadron leader found herself touring the flight deck of the flagship. She noted immediately that everyone was locked down tight — humorless or at least very restrained, with a strong undercurrent of fear or anxiety. She was approached by some of the crew who were curious about Galactica, including a couple of enlisted men who were interested in the “robot girl” they had in custody. It was creep, and made moreso by one of the female officers telling her to be careful where she went alone on the ship.

They heard about Cain’s “razor” speech — that they had to be a weapon, until they couldn’t fight anymore, or until they won. The idea that, being alone and having no real hope, the ship has been on a mission of vengeance is palpable. Now the trick is to bring Cain around to her new mission, that of guardian. (It’s a similar character arc that the one player’s commander had to go through early on.)

So there’s a prime example of how my slightly tongue-in-cheek post from a few days ago can be put into use.