Ghost Echo Actual Play

image from ArtBreeder

filed under actual play on 09 Dec 2016
tagged ghost echo, narrative, walker, sharedscifi, and wraith


I am totally playing this one straight. No hacks, no pre-prep. Nothing. Just read the rules one more time and go.

Obviously I went a little overboard, but damn, that was fun. Not in the effortless way S\lay w/Me is. In a hard, grind it out, make it work, grim triumph kind of way.

Spectacularly fun.

Oh, and here’s the sidekick oracle I used to figure out what’s happening next. Not in Pythia, an old school roll the dice chart.

The adventure begins...


I know there are many worlds, and that the future isn't what we were promised.

I know my crew. Breaker. Nix. Demon. Wheel. Walker. Five go in on the job. We'll play to see who comes out.

This world was green, once.

I use "world" pretty loosely. It's not a real planet, just one of the derelict pleasure stations left orbiting over some dirtball after the Wraith war cleaned our clocks. Still floating because nobody cares enough to take 'em down. Empty because nobody dares set foot in one.

Not with the Wraiths lurking just under the surface, always looking for a way through from the other side to here, and sensing if you're sensitive to them.

And maybe if you are, and you don't notice in time one creeping up on you, maybe they can wear you like a suit for a while. Kill off the people you care about, but you won't really care, because nobody who's been ripped to the other side without a body has ever come back.

A moment of dizziness, and then I step out onto the dirt, surrounded by withered and long-dead trunks of Old Terran oaks. Overhead I can see the cold void of space through the vast window, far enough up that it seems almost like sky. That's why they used to call it the Night Carnival.

Breaker's off to my right, a head taller than me and twice as wide. He's from a planet where the gravity's high and most of their kids don't make it. We had to get his Echo suit made special because they don't come in size giant.

Demon has already split off from us, and she's waving one of her gizmos around like it should be beeping and flashing, but it's not, of course. She's reading the data off it with her mind.

Rolling 4d6 1 times.
[ 4 4 2 5 ] 15

"No way," Nix cuts in over my sub-aud, and I briefly wonder what she's referring to.

"Say again, base," I return, but there's only silence for a moment.

She and Wheel are on the ship, connected to this spinning hunk of junk by an umbilical, and monitoring our progress.

Rolling 4d6 1 times.
[ 2 3 3 1 ] 9


"Remind me again why we're doing an Interdict, Walker," Breaker rumbles at me, and I shrug.

"Because fuel isn't free and neither is food, and you take up more than your fair share of both," I say, reaching out to see if any Wraiths are lurking nearby.

Rolling 4d6 1 times.
[ 4 4 3 2 ] 13

Yes, and it looks dangerous.

There's a couple. Hawks, it looks like. Shouldn't be able to see us in our Echo suits, but we'd better be out of here quick while the batteries hold. I wave the team forward.

It doesn't take long for us to reach the former red light district. Heartbreak Square, the sign says. In the Golden Age, they say, you could buy anything for credits, and anything would have been sold here.

Until the Wraiths started breaking through. Then all the money in the world couldn't save you. Most people just went dirtside. Stopped doing the kinds of things that let Wraiths see you.

Some of us, though, couldn't turn it off. Or were born with it, after. They screen you for it in school, just like lice, and once you've been found out everybody treats you different.

Rolling 4d6 1 times.
[ 6 4 3 6 ] 19

"Not a chance."

"Not a chance," Demon says absently, like she's answering a question for us. I ignore it like usual.

Some of us adjust better to being sensitive than others do. Mine's manageable with meds and the kinds of things people usually do to blunt their senses.

Breaker manages his by breaking stuff and drinking too much and pretending his case of it isn't as bad as the rest of ours.

As far as I can tell Demon doesn't manage hers at all. She revels in it, pushing her suit to the limits of containment whenever she gets the chance.

"We're there," I say over my sub-aud. The Six Arms, the rotting hulk of a hotel that catered to the obscenely wealthy. We push our way in, past the dusty desk. We're here for metal, good old hardware, and once we find it we can bug out.

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 6 ] 6
Rolling 3d6 1 times.
[ 1 4 4 ] 9

Seems pretty obvious, but maybe we’re missing something?

"Stay on your toes, people," Nix's voice cuts in, cool and collected as always. I can picture her dark hair, bobbed short, and her long, graceful fingers dancing in the air over the control panel she doesn't have to touch to manipulate.

Demon's right beside me; I didn't think to watch her move and that's always disturbing. She doesn't really care that I'm disturbed of course. Her eyes are wild, and I can tell she's off her meds.

Moving quickly, we jog down the labyrinthine halls, which open out into a vast ballroom with a stage on the opposite wall.

It's dusty and shrouded now, the once lush curtains faded and ripped and the marble floor covered with dust and bones and rags. Must have been one hell of a party, I think, as we pick our way across it towards the stage. There's no cover, but Nix would tell us if we had company.

The stage is set up like a magician's show; there's a pile of props and a box, about Demon's size and shaped like a coffin. That's the metal we're here for. Breaker picks it up effortlessly and slings it over his shoulder.

"Seems pretty obvious, but maybe we're missing something?" he asks suddenly. Even at sub-aud his voice is a rumble that makes my jawbone ache. If he's dropped down to sub-aud, he's getting an omen, I think, and then all hell breaks loose.

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 1 ] 1
Rolling 3d6 1 times.
[ 4 4 5 ] 13

"It's wrong--" I hear Breaker shout, even as the floor opens up under him, right next to me, in a great gaping maw lined with teeth. It's a Wraith, a dog, but massive, and we must have walked right across it.

There's no way it can see us in our suits, that's what the suits are for, I think wildly, as the teeth slam shut around him and he's just gone. The coffin hits the ground, hard, and pops open, and a girl spills out.

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 2 ] 2
Rolling 3d6 1 times.
[ 5 4 5 ] 14

There are Hawks circling, in the darkness overhead, flitting in and out of ghostspace like it's no big deal, like it costs them nothing. That's just wrong, they can't do that, but they are.

Act under pressure to hit the ground before the diving Hawk hits us. Danger: we get hit by a Hawk. Bonus: dodging is part of Walker's portfolio.

Rolling 2d6 1 times.
[ 4 5 ] 9

I hit the ground just as one manifests, claws outstretched. It rakes my shoulder, tearing open the useless Echo suit, but I avoid the worst of it.

"It's an ambush, they can see us, Nix," I rattle off into the sub-aud. Black-suited corporate soldiers are crawling off the balconies, slipping out of the alcoves, moving slow, and their suits seem to be working. Why aren't ours?

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 4 ] 4
Rolling 3d6 1 times.
[ 5 1 5 ] 11

"No," Demon says, suddenly, firmly, and she gives me a glare. Her eyes are bright, manifest blue, and they glow through the face shield. "You get that girl and Walk," she adds, and then she runs out onto the floor.

If her Echo suit isn't functioning and she's been pushing it to the limits thinking it was --

I curse. Still no answer from Nix. Demon is glowing blue as the energy funnels through her, and I can hear her laughing ecstatically even as the circling Hawks begin a run. The corps don't seem to realize what's about to happen, but I do.

I grab the girl's hand; it's cold, and I can't tell if she's alive or not. I hate this part.

Goal: move into the ghostspace. Danger: paranormal backlash. Bonus; this is Walker's talent. GM Danger: You get shot by a corporate. My second Danger -- wraithsick.

Rolling 5d6 1 times.
[ 2 1 6 3 6 ] 18

So that's goal, success, getting shot, doesn't happen, a little bit of paranormal backlash and it's still a possibility, and Walker's wraithsick, whatever that is.

The world turns sickly blue for an instant and then all the color goes away, along with the sound. The Hawks are still flittering in and out of ghostspace and reality, but now we're in the ghostspace with them, and their attention is still on reality, on Demon, who glows so brightly I can't even look at her here.

The blue stuff pouring off her and around us coalesces on my skin and sinks in. The veins on the back of my hand are bright blue -- wraithsickness -- and I know we only have a short time to get back to the ship before I collapse.

I want to grab Demon, too, but I know she's gone, and I swear to myself I'll find whoever did this to us.

The girl isn't heavy and nothing weighs what it should in ghostspace. I run, carrying her, though it's more like a stagger as we hit the airlock and go right through, up the umbilical to the Axis.

I know if I lose concentration I'll go right through the thin fabric, but somehow I keep it together until the metal of the ship is underfoot.

Goal: get out of ghostspace. Danger: paranormal backlash. Bonus: Walking is what Walker does. GM Danger: pass out from wraith sickness.

Rolling 4d6 1 times.
[ 3 6 1 1 ] 11

Well, we're out of ghost space, at least.

Also about to pass out from wraithsickness, and suffering minor paranormal backlash. Which I've just decided is like an epileptic fit.

We slide out of ghostspace into comforting reality on the bridge just as the wraithsickness drops me to my knees.

Nix slumped over the control panel, half her head missing, registers wildly, and then the wraithsickness hits hard as my body violently purges itself of the blue glowing ether, along with what's left of my lunch.

I don't have time to be miserable as my brain short-circuits and, mercifully, I pass out.

Ghost/Echo. The most brutally hard system ever.

So here's what happens next. Someone untethers the ship, they escape the corporate guys, and... we'll see next time, I think.

But I'm thinking vengeance is going to be the first thing on Walker's mind.