A starship flies toward a circular gate. A purple/pink nebula appears in the background

S2E6 Session Zero, The Expanse, Tome of Beasts 3, Astroneer, Collapsing Empire

On this episode of the Lair of Secrets, we talk about the concluding season (and book) of The Expanse, geek out about Kobold Press’s Tome of Beasts 3 monster compilation, conclude John Scalzi’s The Collapsing Empire trilogy, and explore the new xenobiology update for Astroneer.

For our main topic, we talk about the session zero for our Scum and Villainy campaign, in which we figure out the setting, tone, characters, and potential inspiration.

  • The Fortress of Mental Solitude
    • Ken dropped his daughter off at college in Vermont, then spent a few days on hisown in the Poconos. Ok, well, Hank (the yellow lab/golden retriever mix) was there too.
    • Worked remotely for a few days, then spent a two-days reading comic books and novels and watching movies.
    • Oh, and Ken built a snowman (Hank helped).
  • The Concluding Expanse
    • Ken finished all of The Expanse
    • Season 6 of the streaming series, The Expanse (sadly, it’s the final season)
      • The Expanse – season 6 finale (The final season? What?!) — David
    • Leviathan Falls (Book 9 of the novel series)
    • Ken love mashup of hard SF (realistic spacecraft physics, political drama) with space opera (weird alien tech, reality-bending threats, and extrasolar portals).
    • So it’s time for Ken to restart The Expanse
  • The Monster Pen
    • Tome of Beasts III Kickstarter by Kobold Press
      • 400 new monsters.
      • Also:
        • 16 or more monster minis,
        • four VTT editions for digital play
        • an exclusive engraved 7-dice set
        • a ready-to-play Tome of Beasts III Lairs hardcover
      • Yeah. Ken has a creature feature problem. This is known.
  • Astronavigation
  • The Collapsing Library (redux)
  • The Game Room
    • We did a session zero-ish of Scum and Villainy!

Main Topic: Scum and Villainy, Session Zero

  • Setting: Star Wars universe vs. Scum & Villainy setting
    • We decided on Scum & Villainy to avoid the weight of canon.
  • Tone: Light-hearted vs. grim dark.
  • Ship: Smugglers vs. Freedom Fighters vs. Bounty Hunters
    • We settled on smugglers.
    • We’re runners, not fighters.
  • Characters
    • Chris – Stitch
    • Ken – Pilot
    • Josh – Mechanic
    • Kris – Muscle
    • Erin – Scoundrel
  • The Crew
    • We’re strange … and we like strange things.
    • We have a stolen land rover. And the people we stole it from aren’t happy about it.
    • We’ve also got a med lab.
  • Next steps
    • a one shot game with pregen characters to get used to the rules and taking narrative control


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Cover art for the Scum & Villainy role-playing game. Credit: Evil Hat.

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