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Last Voyage of the Ghazali (2018)

Phew, buckle up, Last Voyage of the Ghazali (2018) is all adrenaline-pumping action. It’s the first scenario I read for Coriolis and is maybe not a good representation of the RPG’s tone. In a lot of ways, it feels like a sort of flirtation with Alien (particularly the Chariot of the Gods scenario in the Starter box), like perhaps this was trial run for seeing what a Year Zero game can do in a close-quarters, high-stakes doomsday scenario. I don’t mean to diminish the action, though, it’s a great scenario on its own merits.

Players climb on board an unfamiliar ship to take part in an emergency rescue mission, but right after entering cold sleep, the ship is knocked off course. They awake with the ship drifting in to a nearby sun, nowhere near the rescue operation. There are plenty of survivors to interact with, side missions to complete and hazards to avoid, but time is running out, and escaping is of paramount importance.

There is a lot of material here, more than any one run through needs, which is cool. This is ideally a super-tense one-shot, filled with just enough factions and objectives to keep the proceedings high strung, with the rest jettisoned in service of keeping the action at the fore. One of my favorite things is the handful of problem-NPCs, those sorts who seize on crisis as an opportunity to grind axes rather than concentrate of survival. Those folks (think Mrs. Carmody in The Mist) are supremely frustrating foils for player action and nicely rendered here.

The epilogue, should players live to see it, provides context for the explosion that knocks the ship off course in the first place, has a lot of nice roleplaying potential and acts as an on-ramp to the larger, paradigm-changing Mercy of the Icons campaign, which we’ll look at tomorrow!

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