Arion, Episode 86: En Route to Perrior

Behind the Curtain

Uneventful travel is the kind of thing Savage Worlds uses Interludes for; these are purely narrative scenes in which players narrate some event which develops the character’s backstory.

Each participating player (it’s optional) draws a card whose suit gives them three options for what kind of story they tell. I draw four cards; Arion 10D Coriander 10H, Dmitri 8C, Irem 8S. Hah, look at that, one of each.

Jumpspace, Week 24, 1105

Once all the day-to-day chores aboard ship are done, time hangs heavy in jumpspace, and those aboard find themselves spending a lot of time in the crew lounge, just talking.

Cori drew a heart and decides to practice a skill.

“Where’s Cori?” asks Irem.

“In our stateroom,” Arion explains. “She wanted some time out.” That’s credible, there’s very little privacy aboard ship. What Arion does not explain, because it’s illegal, is that she is practicing her mind reading by following the conversation through him from inside their room. He changes the subject.

“So, Irem, what’s your story? Why are you out here?”

Irem drew a spade and elects to talk about a personal triumph.

“My family has been career Navy for generations,” she says, “And frankly they didn’t think I could cut it. So I joined up to… prove myself to them, I guess. My proudest day was graduating from the Academy. I got promoted early, and assigned to the Admiral’s staff at Pax Rulin, so I’m pretty pleased with how things are going. I get to meet a lot of senior people and see how different departments operate.” She pauses to sip a drink. “What about you, Arion?”

Arion drew a diamond and chooses to talk about something he wants or has. In this sort of situation I look to the character’s major hindrance for guidance, and for him this is Heroic.

“I wanted to make a difference,” he says after a moment’s thought. “And it turns out, what I’m best at is flying starships. The Navy protects, the Merchant Service makes money, but I see the Scouts as a way to help. Say there’s an outbreak of a plague three planets over, who do they send with three tons of vaccine and a specialist doctor? A scout. Who carries news off the xboat routes to places nobody else wants to visit? A scout. Who finds the new worlds and the new races to stop civilisation stagnating? A scout.” He runs down, a little embarassed at getting carried away like that.

“Huh,” says Irem, who hadn’t considered the scouts in this light before, tending to think of them as scruffy annoyances who could do with a boot camp refresher. Arion hasn’t done much to change that view, until now.

“And you, Dmitri?”

Dmitri drew a club. As a professional spy he is reticent about giving much away, so he decides to tell a humorous story about a misfortune in the past.

“I’m really only in it for the money,” he lies. “And sometimes that can get you into a lot of trouble. Let me tell you about the time my ship was impounded for leakage of cream buns… You see, we had a cargo of medical supplies and the captain thought it would be a good idea to push up the price by spreading rumours of a plague outbreak. Unfortunately, he didn’t know the particular plague he mentioned was spread through dairy products. We were sitting outside the ship in deckchairs, eating cream buns and drinking tea, when the local militia showed up to arrest us. Then it got complicated…”

GM Notes

The leakage of cream buns incident is something that happened in an earlier campaign with what was then my regular group. They managed to bluff their way out of it. Good times.

I’ve never used Interludes before, as my players and I prefer to fast-forward through the downtime – only one of us strongly prefers a narrative play style, and it’s not me.

Speaking of fast forward, if I want to get this lot to Noricum by the end of season 4, I will need to skip over a lot more worlds. So we’ll zip to the edge of Imperial space in a montage; as always, the frontier is more interesting than civilised areas.

Actually, that would be another good chance to use Interludes, mandating that each character picks the “Trek” option to describe something that happened on the way.

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