[D&D] Mass Effect – Chapter 1: Welcome to the Resistance

We had a few delays to start on this game due to real life circumstances but this weekend our first real session happened!

In this post I will try to cover all the most important parts that we discussed during our session zero and our first actual session. There is a lot to cover and I swear I tried to cut as much as I could, even then this post will be extra long, even for my standards…

If anyone is curious, this is the homebrew adaptation we are using: Mass Effect 5E

Also, before we begin properly my usual disclaimer for these kind of posts:

Disclaimer: English is not my native language. Although I can write and read it without issues, hearing and speaking is a different matter. I’d say I am at best 90% at those. Also I have a terrible memory.

What this means is that there may be mistakes here. In case my group corrects anything I will make a note about it here later and in the next post.

Actually, since I am pretty rusty for not taking notes for a few weeks there will be probably a lot of mistakes. So expect them!

With all that out of the way, let’s start…

Introduction

During our session zero we came up with a few decisions about the setting. Our campaign is happening after the end of Mass Effect 3.

All the companion’s storylines ended just like in the third game, with the best possible outcome. The only real major difference from the game is that the actual ending of Mass Effect 3 never happened in our game’s universe. Instead what happened is that right before that Commander Shepard was seen entering the Citadel just to disappear.

The only ones who knew what Commander Shepard was doing was probably her companions. Everybody else, including our characters, has no idea what her goal was. Whatever it was it probably failed as the Reapers continued their onslaught.

It is 10 years later, the survivors of several different species got together to form a resistance. The Resistance goal is simple: find a way to destroy the Reapers once and for all and then reclaim the galaxy.

Easier said than done, of course.

Oh, we also don’t know if there are any other survivors or groups working towards the same goal. For all we know we might be the last organic creatures in the Galaxy.

The characters

Our characters are all part of the military branch of the Resistance. I don’t think we discussed how our characters got involved with the resistance, just how we got to know each other so this section will be pretty bare-bones in terms of information.

Anyway these are the characters in alphabetical order:

Kronk – Krogan Infiltrator – Played by Charlie

Labor – Geth Engineer – Played by Kiran

Linus d’Earth – Human Adept – Played by Mtnpapa

Lorik Dectius – Turian Soldier – Played by Yours Truly

Lylide – Asari Sentinel – Played by Tink

Sidona Tanitus – Turian Vanguard – Played by Faeldray

Crew Members

These are some NPCs that are party of the ship’s crew that work for our party. At the time of this writing there are only 3 that are named. We have a few more that we are discussing but they don’t have names yet.

I will probably mention the ones that aren’t finalized yet in the next entries as they get introduced in the story then update this list.

Lieutenant Rodriguez – Human – He is essentially our “second-in-command”. Whenever our party is away for some business it is Rodriguez job to take care of the ship. He can also serve as advisor in case we need to make some important decision.

Vox – Krogan – The ship’s cook. Also helps to mitigate the crew’s disgruntlement. No, I am not making this up, it is an actual rule in the system. I don’t know how he does it though. My personal guess is that he either beat people on the head if they start getting rough or feed them delicious food making them less grumpy. One of the two.

He is also of some “indeterminate late age”.

Novis – Turian – The secondary medic in the ship. The primary one is Sidona. But since Sidona may not always be available for a reason or another Novis ends up being the substitute.

She can also help out with any medical duties from time to time.

The actual session

Our story starts in a planet located in the Nemean Abyss system. This particular planet contains a lot of element zero on its atmosphere making it pretty easy for the Resistance’s base to hide from enemies.

The planet also suffers from constant storms. In fact it is raining when our story starts.

Each character is off somewhere in the base working on something when they are called for a meeting in the conference room.

Inside there we end up meeting Commander Yulaya, a semi-tall green salarian. It is not our first time working for him, as each of us did it before for different amount of times. For some it was a month, for others it was just a week.

Yulaya also just got promoted to Commander rank not too long ago and with this came the task of building his own team. Some of us were recommended for him while others were personally chosen. We do notice that Lyllide is not present in the meeting though.

This is a good point to note that Lyllide’s player couldn’t participate in this session due to real life. However she and the GM discussed beforehand and they agreed on what Lyllide would be doing in this session.

Yulaya also presents the newest member to our team, Kronk.

Kronk introduces himself as a former biologist who was traveling around trying to find a cure for the genophage. Lucky for him, Commander Sheppard helped to solve that. Unfortunately the Reapers happened so he decided to join the Resistance as a scout.

With all those introductions out of the way we get down to business.

The first one was that we all got promoted from Lieutenants to Lieutenant Commanders. As far as hierarchy goes we’ll be on the same level, with Commander Yulaya being our direct superior.

However since Yulaya has a different way to work he won’t be joining us on missions. He is still needed at the Resistance HQ so instead Yulaya will just give us some assignments then leave it to us how to handle it.

However if we absolutely need some guidance we can contact him any time. Otherwise he trusts our judgement to act in the best interests of the Resistance while in the field.

Between assignments our mission will be to work on the overall goal on how to destroy the Reapers. In practice that means, finding any information about the enemy, making any possible ally or trying to find resources for the Resistance.

The ship we’ll be using is the Plankton, a geth ship that the Resistance acquired not too long ago. It has been retrofitted for organic life so we shouldn’t have any issue with it. If we need any help with the ship though we can just ask Labor.

Don’t ask me what is with all the lines drawn over the Plankton. I have as much of an idea as you and I was in the session!

Finally there were two assignments for us, both that the Commander felt were critical. However due to shortage of personal we can only pick one.

The first assignment was related to an industrial colony. It was responsible for providing the resistance with ammo and explosives. They lost contact with it two weeks ago, without any idea of what may have happened to them. Our job would be to find out what happened to it.

The second one was to help a farming colony that provides food for our organization. There were sightings of a scout geth ship making the colony afraid of being found. Thus they requested help to relocate to a safer planet.

The Commander also recommended to avoiding confrontation.

It is a hard decision but we quickly come to the conclusion that we should help the farming colony. Losing the production of ammo and explosives sucks but whatever happened to them already happened. Meanwhile the people at the farming colony were still safe.

Also, if the geth found them there was the possibility of them being turned into husks increasing the enemy’s forces.

We’ll probably end up hearing what happened to the industrial colony later but for now we had a mission to do!

What information we had about it was that there were about 300 colonists that needed to be moved. Our ship could take 24 of them comfortably or a maximum of 30 if we strained our systems.

It was also located in the Nemean Abyss system, which used to be a big pirate area before everything went to hell. Now the Resistance was using the structure they left behind for a secret farming colony. This planet in particular used to be a smuggling outpost where Batorians hid their goods until they could move it somewhere else.

Anyway, on the trip to the farming colony everybody was working on something different. Labor modified the life support system in a way that we can take more people at a time.

Sidonia reorganized all the medications in the med-bay as they weren’t quite in the right place. She also prepared some med-kits to take care of any colonist who were injured or sick.

Linus worked with the rest of the crew to strengthen our security. Just in case someone tried to get into a spot of the ship they shouldn’t be entering.

Kronk was going through the engines, taking inventory and getting to know the rest of the crew responsible for it.

Lorik was reading a book suggested by one of his human colleagues. This part of the trip could pretty much be managed with auto-pilot so there wasn’t that much need to pay complete attention to the controls. In case anyone is curious, and this is what I should have mentioned during the session, the book is Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

Lylide in the mean time was working on something in the ship. Something so important that she didn’t even have time to talk to anybody else.

On the farming colony planet itself the first thing we noticed was that everything there had as little technology as possible to keep it hidden. Even the landing pad itself was overgrown with vegetation.

It was also hidden in the middle of a mountainous region, so that the only way to find it is if you knew where to look for or were right on top of it.

Labor decided to stay on the ship worrying that a geth showing up might scare the colonists while the rest of the party decided to go meet the colony’s leader.

When they exited the ship they were greeted by an older gentleman called Sudosa Pardon. He was around his sixties and wore a formal green robe. His eyes looked shot like it were from watering all the time and he rubbed his nose like some allergy afflicted him.

Standing next to him was a turian that looked to be an assistant of some kind. On his other side there was another human, probably a bodyguard by his equipment. He wore a piece of body armor and a shoddy, not well-kept Avenger rifle.

Sudosa greeted us then explained the problem with the geth ship. The colonists were afraid of it, fearing it would just be a question of time until they were discovered. Apparently the geth ship would come by the planet every two days, probably in some kind of patrol. Their hope was that we could move them all away before the worst happened.

Then he offered to take us to his office to discuss the details which we promptly accept.

The outside of the office building didn’t look that much better than the docking area however the inside actually looked beautiful. It didn’t look fancy like a politician’s office from before the Reapers but it looked well-kept, even with an AC and a very nice climate.

Sudosa then said that was the only place that gave him a reprieve from his allergies.

At this point Linus did some discreet signs to Sidona to check on the colony leader to see if he had any diseases. Sidona picked on that easily then offered to do a medical check-up, which Sudosa accepts.

Sidona confirmed that it was allergies then asked to take a body sample for analysis later, which is again accepted. By this time, Kronk and Linus started to feel the effects of the allergies too, with a slightly runny nose.

Apparently the only species that were affected by this allergy are levo-amino based species, meaning that our Turian characters were completely fine.

Sidona immediately offered some medicine to help alleviate the allergies which once more is accepted, having some immediate effects.

With everybody feeling slightly better, it was time to get down to business. The assistant produced an holographic map that showed two locations.

The first one was a planet in the same system, a little dryer thus reducing the amount of crop that could be produced, but it was away from the geth’s patrol route.

The second one had great potential for farming, potentially even increasing the farming output. Even better it wasn’t only away from the patrol route, it was located near a white dwarf star, with very little life on it so the geth didn’t have a reason to search there.

The only problem was that the second planet was on a different star system meaning it would take longer for us to take the colonists there. It also meant that it would increase the risk of being discovered by that geth patrol.

Sudosa asked us to choose which of the planet would be the best choice for this endeavor. Linus however decided to offer a third choice: bring the colonists to the first planet for now and then at a later point, when circumstances were better, we could bring them to the second planet.

The colony’s leader agreed with the idea, claiming that he asked the Resistance for that before only to be refused. He would be very grateful if we could pull some strings to make that happen.

Sidona then asked if there were any people in need of medical attention. The assistant replied there were about 30 people in that situation.

Linus also asked about the planet’s defenses. Again, it was the assistant who answered, saying that there were only some laser cannons left by the smugglers.

This didn’t feel like it would be enough for Linus so he asked if there weren’t any bunkers or someplace similar that the population could hide in case of problems.

Our hosts said there weren’t any that they knew of but there may be some caves in the mountains that we could find with our ship’s scanners.

Sidona then came up with the idea that, if the colonists agreed to it, some of them could be sedated allowing us to take more people in each trip, an idea which they agreed to immediately.

Lastly in the agenda, Linus asked if there were any colonists that had a problem with geth since we had one as a crew member. They replied that there were some people who did have a bad history with the geth but they would send us a list of those people so we could make sure there weren’t too many of them together in one trip.

After all that business our party started to prepare for the trip. Sidona and Kronk worked together to figure out how much medication it would be necessary to sedate the colonists.

Lorik with the assistance of Novis helped the population with anything they needed to get onboard the ship.

As for Linus and Labor scanned the nearby mountains for a cave that the people could hide in. They found one that was large enough to accommodate everyone. It wouldn’t be comfortable but it would get the job done. It also took us one day to move all the non-traveling people there, with the use of our ship and land vehicles.

With all the preparations done it was time to take the colonists to their new planet. The trips were thankfully fairly uneventful…. except for the last one.

When we were about to take the last batch of colonists off the planet we received a “mayday” message. Then our sensors detected a small two-person craft entering the atmosphere being attacked by a geth ship.

Labor worked quickly, hacking the geth ship to make it appear that they destroyed their target. It worked and the geth ship went back to their original course. Unfortunately the small craft was already badly damaged and crashed.

We immediately went to the crashing site to see if we could still save somebody. Fortunately the craft didn’t get completely destroyed during the crash but there was a fire spreading fast.

Sidona and Lorik immediately boarded the ship looking for any survivors. They found just one unconscious person there, on the pilot’s seat. He was a dark skinned human, that looked to be in his middle age, wearing a nice aged leather jacket with a pistol on his side holster.

They immediately took him outside where Sidona was able to stabilize his condition. But when they brought him to the Plankton for further treatment, Sidona realized by Sudosa’s expression that he seemed to recognize the man. She didn’t say anything at that moment as saving the man’s life was more important.

Meanwhile Labor was hacking the ship’s system. First he activated the ship’s anti-fire system. He was only able to activate it only in part of the ship. The engine however was still pretty much on fire. At least it was enough to stop it from exploding.

From the hack Labor also noticed that the ship had a lot of non-standard systems and parts. It was like it was heavily modified to use parts from all kinds of different species’ ships.

Lastly, he took the opportunity to copy any files he could. They were all encrypted though, the only one that wasn’t identified the ship’s owner as a trader called Jack Knight.

Linus was curious enough to ask Sudosa to meet him in the conference room. When they met, Linus asked if they were expecting any trader. Sudosa said they weren’t, that they get all their supplies from the Resistance.

Since there were no obvious signs of lying, Linus believed it. Sudosa even asked that if we found anything about the man to share the information with him.

Linus then went to check the craft for anything that could be salvaged. Unfortunately the only thing he was able to find was a can of omni-gel which he gave to Lylide. He also marked the location in case the Resistance could send a salvage team later to scrap it.

On the trip to their new planet, Sidona decide to approach Sudosa to ask about the mysterious man they rescued. But unlike Linus who was polite, she decided to go the intimidation route. It worked as Sudosa just started to spill the beans!

To summarize it, Sudosa knew the man, in fact, they were working together as Jack Knight was a smuggler that provided certain products to them. Mainly drugs to keep the population’s morale up and element zero to help bolster the production of their farming.

That wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was that apparently Jack Knight worked for an organization called “The Hades Initiative”. They were remnants of Cerberus who decided to move away from their humans-only agenda to broaden their ranks.

They were led by three people who called themselves “The Cabal”. This “Cabal” was formed by one human, one salarian and one asari. Their army was also formed by mercenaries and disgruntled former soldiers of several species.

Their ultimate goal was to control the Reapers. They even made some lofty promises to Sudosa if he collaborated with them.

As for their position about the Resistance they didn’t have anything specific in mind, they were just observing for now.

Whenever Sudosa needed to contact them he used a long-range device the colonists rigged up. The communicator was even taken to the new planet already, hidden among the cargo!

Sidona also found a pin of a three-headed dog hidden among Sudosa’s clothes.

The colony leader even tried to shift the blame to the Resistance, saying how they asked more than the colony could provide without giving enough back. He also tried to lie a few times only to be found out by Sidona.

At the end of it Sudosa was so scared that he was lying on the floor crying. Sidona however just walked away saying “Just remember who came to save your ass!”

Back at the Medbay, Sidona asked Novis to gather the rest of the senior officers, including Lieutenant Ramirez. While waiting, she decided to check Jack’s clothes for any hidden items. The only one she found was another pin with the three-headed dog. But just to be on the safe side she decided to strip him of almost all his clothes, put it in a safe location and strapped him to one of the beds.

That is where our session ended. I expect on the next one our party will have a long chat with Mr. Jack Knight.

EDIT: I forgot to mention but The Hades Initiative took over the Shadow Broker’s network too. They might even have some Volus helping them out.

Notable quotes of the session

While you work into getting all these fleshbags into the ship I will work into increasing the security.

Labor

Sidona comes back covered in bug bites. “I hate this planet.”

Sidona

Turns out there is a baby yoda in the cargo hold!

Rakuno, Out of Character

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