The HSD community on Discord is built in large part around alpha and beta tests of the original and 2.0 rules. Can a tabletop game be considered “canon?” I’m not sure. But certainly a campaign hosted by one of the official HSD Discord mods, with the game’s author at the table providing rule and color feedback in real time, gives an interesting lens on the development of the HSD world.

Episode 4, “Lost Light.”

I don’t really want to recap the episodes of “The Sammi Sessions,” because actual play sessions tend to be a little long (usually 2-3 hours), and I listen to them at work when I’m distracted. But I’d like to call out some interesting ideas from the session.

The PCs are in a biohazard warzone, I think a mess left behind by TTI. In the background of the conflict, a number of armed guards are on patrol, employees of IRPF. In any other corp structure–say, you’re an ASR employee–seeing the colors of your own corp would be a relief. ASR probably doesn’t fight ASR that much. But IRPF is a police force and military-for-hire, and they might work for any of the other corps, engaged, functionally, as employees of that corp. This sounds immensely stressful. Say, you’ve been working as a contractor for Progenitus for years now, and the cadet you graduated with, maybe dated, was employed by TTI, Progenitus’s enemy corporation. She’s been working a task that’s perfectly fine by TTI policy, illegal by Progenitus’s reformist rules, and both of you are operating on Ganymede, outside either corp’s authority. Who’s right? Sammi: “IRPF can be on both sides of a war.”

A bit later in the episode, perhaps 1.5 hours in, we encounter a bioprobe. “Bioprobe” is a generic HSD term for any constructed, task-built creature, a living machine, like the orcas under Europa. This one is sentient, has a reasonably sympathetic personality (Little Girl #2). That kind of turns the idea of a bioprobe upside down – as “machines” they’re useful tools. But what are they when they move into the world of full sapience? With clothes? Are they particularly horrible blips? Hmm.

Not specifically philosophy-oriented, I do like the way the table gives the baddies cute names like “zippy,” “zappy,” and “krakathoom.” That’s an element of fun that we don’t have–probably easier online than with miniatures. And it sounds like the “favor” system is really getting a workout in this episode – I’ve been hoping for a Drama Point system in HSD, looking forward to seeing how this plays out.

Edging toward the end of the game (3:30:00 or so) one of the players wants to do something truly cinematic in combat (along the general lines of vaulting onto the enemy, landing on its head, and so on.) Sammi’s approach is to let the player try, but with a roll that requires a lot of successes. Not bad as an approach, I’m not sure if the rules as written support that. I think there’s a lot of flexibility in the way difficulty is established, at least in 1.0 – extra dice. extra success needed, raised/lowered difficulty threshold. The “cliffhanger roll” has a long and proud tradition, curious to see how 2.0 handles that sort of situation.