Confession time: the Planet Mercenary session at ConFusion was the first time I have run a Planet Mercenary game. I’m familiar with the system, and (obviously) the universe, and I’ve played the game several times as a player, but I’d never before been the Game Chief.
To the game’s credit, it worked just fine in spite of me. We identified a lot of small problems with things like layout and wording, but the mechanics of the game did exactly what they were supposed to do, and encouraged some brilliant role-play.
Granted, 90% of that came from the brilliant players: Saladin Ahmed (Ob’enn quartermaster), Delilah Dawson (Ursumari medic), Mur Lafferty (Esspererin engineer), Brian McClellan (Unioc legal counsel), Cherie Priest (Human pilot), and Brent Weeks (Fobott’r captain).
Brent managed to role-play “four-armed and in charge” with some hilarious pantomime, and Delilah got so into character as “Doctor Murderbear” that on a couple of occasions I thought she was mad at me. Brian put that big eye to use and spotted a spy, who he then bent to the party’s aid.
Cherie got down with the tactics; her roguish pilot did some mad stealth work, cutting off the enemy’s escape route. Mur’s engineer then performed some spectactular disassembly on the enemy getaway vehicle, reducing it not just to pieces, but to pieces of jewelry.
And Saladin’s bookish, persecuted, expat Ob’enn bet large, and managed to turn a nasty piece of enemy gear into a nasty piece of bookish, persecuted, expat Ob’enn gear.
I can’t thank these folks enough. They sawed a huge chunk of time out of their convention schedule to play this game we made, and they provided lots of suggestions about how to fine tune it.