Despite my intent to play games with as many new people as I could at DC Gameday, I ended up following around Scott Moore (Rel at EN World and Circvs Maximvs) like a sad little puppy. Actually, I wasn't sad at all. I practically leaped at the chance to play in his ongoing Sky Galleons of Mars series of Gameday adventures.
This time, he'd be using the brand spanking new Rad Sands of Mars supplement for Savage Worlds. That made me even more excited because I have a dirty little secret: I had never until that moment played Savage Worlds. Sure, I would gaze upon the light but pleasingly fiddly rules with fond admiration from time-to-time and I did have a serious geek crush on the game several years back. But it never seemed to make it into my primary rotation.
That may change because the game is a hell of a lot of fun. I say that knowing full well that Scott could scribble a few rules a post-it note and run it as the best game ever. But I could really see that the system hits a sweet-spot between the beer & pretzels of Risus (obviously my go-to system for cons) and a heavier system like Gurps, Mutants & Masterminds, or any of the 21st century incarnations of D&D.
It's been over a week since the actual game and my notes are no where near as detailed as I'd like them to be, so I'll spare you the detailed play-by-play. Suffice to say, however, that I was able to play a mean bitch captain of a flying ship who was struggling to make a profit hauling cargo between the ancient cities and human colonies of Mars. My crew, played by a fantastic cast of Gameday hombres, hit a gaggle of Space: 1889 tropes: a fantastically strong drunken ex-Quaker craftsman, a Hill Martian healer with a dog-like pet thing, a Canal Martian "Face Man" with a shady history, and High Martian barbarian prince who was an absolute terror in knife fight. Special props to Kennon Bauman [Universe at EN World and CM] who aced the German accent for Herr Doktor Professor Walter Nurnst and turned up the Mad Science to 11!
So, beyond convention war stories, I would like to point out something of general interest to the community. Scott employed a card-based optional rule that you see in games from time to time. At session's start, he handed out one card to each and every player and told us that it could be played at any point over the course of the session to do something cool (as specified on the card). Under no circumstances were we to tell Scott what card we had. Mine was a seemingly innocuous card that could be played to cause an enemy to critically fail a single attack roll. One would assume such a card would be played in self-defense. In this case, however, I struggled to maintain a poker face when it became apparent that a different application of the card could practically save the scenario for our party. We were in a stand-off with an enemy who had a powerful Martian lord at gunpoint. One false move and he'd shoot. I played my mean bitch captain to a "T" and let the bastard shoot, knowing full well that the gun would explode in his hand and a powerful and potentially very grateful Martian Lord would be safe from harm.
It worked perfectly and nobody (accept me) knew it was coming. If that isn't the definition of a "Dirty Little Thrill" (as per the Risus Companion) then I don't know what else it would be. I'd love to give my own players the chance to do something similar in my own games.