The Death of Zeke Dionne (Cepheus Solo Playthrough)

~665 words, ~3 min reading time


Zeke wasn’t much of a success. His application to the Science academy had been rejected, and he was drafted by the Marines. He was honorably discharged from the Marines after attaining he rank of Captain – though his honorable discharge was the result of a long legal battle that left him with significant debts. He spend several years as a drifter… ended up in prison a couple times. Finally, he was a failed Belter – mining in the asteroid belt, but he didn’t last long at that either. Yes, Zeke was not a success, but he knew an opportunity when he saw one. The Mulantis Joint Space Agency was seeking a sole explorer to travel the cosmos, so Zeke jumped at the chance.

Shortly after he applied, he was accepted. The Agency provided him with a ship – the first interstellar ship that Mulantis had built, and even financed it for him. He set off to find a supplier that could fill the cargo hold with goods for him to offer whomever he might meet on his travels. It took about a month (fortunately, the Agency was willing to lend him enough to cover his first mortgage payment and to buy goods to sell) – Zeke wasn’t exactly a business man – but he loaded up his ship with ores, petrochemicals, and precious metals and took off – only 700,000 credits in debts (well, plus the mortgage…)

Exploring and Trading

Thanks to the ship’s onboard jump computer, Zeke managed to explore 6 inhabited star systems not far from Mulantis. He engaged in some trade, but, sadly – he was no businessman. On Day 121 – a mere 90 days after he had left Mulantis, his ship was repossessed – along with all the cargo on it, and he was left stranded on Xipham – a world with no atmosphere in which the human colonists lived in biodomes to protect them from the vacuum of space. The only bright side was that he was left with about 60,000 credits in cash and his debts were forgiven. But, what would Zeke do next?

Exploring Venebe

Zeke used 10,000 credits for high passage to Venebe – a lush garden planet filled with life. He decided it was time to explore nature and rethink his life – maybe he should see if he could find an Interstellar Navy ship that needed a gunner or something like that.

He went into the forests around the space port and hiked camped for a couple of days before he ran across a pack of 11 animals – looking a bit like cat-sized praying mantises – eating leaves on the trees. The animals noticed him and turned to attack. He managed to kill a couple of them before he was overwhelmed by their attack, and dying from his injuries.

Closing Thoughts

This playthrough was mostly to get me familiar with some of the systems in Cepheus – lots of roll-playing, little role-playing. And it did that. I’ve now experienced character creation, the trading system, personal combat, and ship, world, and animal design. Didn’t get to do space combat, yet.

After this playthrough I am convinced that death during character creation is a better rule than treating that as just getting fired. It’s a good way of weeding out weak characters, and Zeke was definitely that. The best thing he had going for him was 2 levels of “Jack of All Trades” which let him decrease the penalty on using untrained skills to -1 instead of -3.

Things I’m doing for my next playthrough:

(1) I’ll put in more roleplaying, and incorporate using the One-Page Solo Engine to handle some of the GM emulation, along with a plot line/NPC list styled after something from Adventure Crafter.

(2) I’ll definitely let the character die during character creation if that’s what happens.

(3) I’ll pay closer attention to the character’s abilities when I choose their career – want to maximize their chance of qualification + survival.

(4) I think I’ll use a random subsector generator to generate the star map. I like the map generation process, but it’s pretty time-consuming.

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