So Saturday's game session went quite well. A friend of mine from work joined the group, playing a Kel Dor scout working as a hired gun with the Exchange, sent along with the other players as back-up for their second foray into the droid-controlled mine.
In an effort to maintain choice, I had planned the two major encounters for the session to be combat-free. That is to say, they characters could have most certainly talked their way through them. They didn't though. And this led to some rather cinematic moments.
The first battle, against the droids that were blocking off the entrance to the mine, was quite epic. There were several minion-like repair/construction droids, a prototype HK unit and a gargantuan spider mining droid. The players (all 4 of them) had managed to recruit several redshirts to accompany them, also employed by the Exchange. I think one of the moments I was most proud of was when one of the players, the Mandalorian, jetpacked onto the weakened spider droid, firing into its hull and then dropping a homemade explosive onto it before jetpacking away again. Very reminiscent of Starship Troopers.
After that, they found their way deeper into the mine, searching for a crate full of evidence for the Exchange, and the lead security officer's missing daughter, or evidence of her. What they encountered in the bizarre tunnel system under the mine, illuminated by the phosphorescent lichen lining the cave walls, was a bizarre ritual being conducted by a strange race of aliens never before seen. This situation too could have been talked through with a positive end. But diplomacy was never on the table for the characters, and they went in guns blazing.
Everybody had fun, combat ran smooth and the plot moved forward in an interesting direction.
And I've been asked to run a second game for one of my coworkers and her boyfriend, and I'm to choose the system. She's pretty new to gaming, but he's got some experience. I'm going to try and convince them to play Earthdawn, or possibly Deadlands.
As a minor note, I managed to write a draft of the first chapter of my weird western tonight, which pleases me greatly.