Friends at the Table: PARTIZAN FINALE- 45-47: Operation Shackled Sun
January 24, 2021 5:50 PM - Subscribe

It is the year 1424 of the Perfect Millennium. It is now. The question is not simply "Can Millennium Break win?" It is "What does victory look like?" Will they be seen as revolutionary heroes or jealous upstarts? Compromised cynics or naive insurgents? Can they break free from the gravity of the old logics in a way so confident, so stunning, that they inspire people everywhere to see the world differently, to not only raise arms, but lock them in solidarity, too?

"...and it is worth being really clear about how those methods and that reputation will shape millennium break going forward. Though you do control some territory, like the new headquarters you've established on the lost farming world of Colier and other shadow planets like it, your ever-growing rebellion finds itself increasingly shut out from traditional, affordable sources of the supplies you may need, which pushes you all further towards the precarity of piracy and smuggling and illicit patronage. And with that, the ever-present threats of imperial discovery and internal betrayal, and moral disenchantment and death.

But operating in this new decentralized way has other effects, too. Driven by your dispersion throughout the galaxy, you find that you have to invest further in reliable, clandestine communications networks. So the network that once only ran messages throughout icebreaker prime has now been expanded to operate across the galaxy connecting specially, heavily guarded cells to one another, able to send messages not only when the portcullis system is open, and to do it privately.

In the end it was not only the genius of Seadra Ballos, or the advances made possible by the kalmeria or the motion particle, but the knowledge of the Ashen, whose ancestors once plotted courses across space without the help of gates and networks, and on whose knowledge the strand semaphore system was built in the first place.

If there is another plus, it is in the simple act of finding one's identity. Yes, some, like Gucci Guarantine may find themselves daydreaming about what other choices may have brought them to. About what might have been. But her regret is the exception now, not the rule. You might think that would the most obvious in the clear-eyed radicalism of Jesset City or in the poster-child grin of the now notorious pilot Ao Rook, but it's perhaps most felt when Agon Ortlights and the Company of the Spade loudly voice their recommitment to the cause.

Regardless of what the rest of the world says, you all know what you did, how many you saved. You all know the rocky territory you came over to get here, the names of those you lost, and the weight of the mission you all carry in your hearts. You know the lyrics to the songs you sing when you win, and when you lose. The right way to apply tourniquets, to fire a pistol, to plant a seed, to hold prayer, or space, whichever is needed. And so it doesn't matter what they call you know, because you know in your hearts, that when it is all said and done:

They will remember you as revolutionaries.

Austin, Art, Jack, Keith, Ali, Sylvi, Dre, Janine
posted by fomhar (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Kalar teaches the principality about two factor authorization with passwords
Figure in Bismuth has a cool robot, wow
Milli travels to the album cover dimension
Sovereign Immunity needs to work on his timing
Broun is a problematic fave
Thisbe evades the paparrazzi
Phrygian shoots some apostolosians in a barrel

Might be their strongest standalone season, overall I love what they did.

I think I'm going to stop posting friends at the table discussion threads here for a while.
posted by fomhar at 6:02 PM on January 24, 2021

Thank you for posting the threads, fomhar! I am an active reader and sometimes talker in the FatT Discord—there's a good amount of discussion there if you're hungry for it.

Also, I agree PZN is the tightest, best-done season to date. I really wonder how this end could have played out if Gur and/or Valence were still around, to help the PCs interact with Autonomy Itself. I really felt the absence of their grounded personalities in these final episodes. But hey, that's TTRPGS for you!

The ending vignettes had me all misty-eyed, plus the final SI scene. And Kalmerium as the new particle name? I am here for it.
posted by Maecenas at 7:05 PM on January 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Also this end monologue slaps and helps to frame what I thought was the "just ok" ending (I thought Leap would have been best? but I guess I am a milquetoast technocrat) as the intro to a cool rebel alliance/revolutionary thing for Armor Astir in S8.
posted by Maecenas at 7:06 PM on January 24, 2021

Agreed about feeling the absence of Valence, for sure. I really respect how hard this show has come down against noble sacrifices. Star Wars: The Last Jedi tried to do that sort of story beat but utterly flubbed it, then here in a podcast made by a bunch of underpaid wierdos you get the perfect argument between Broun and Sovereign a few episodes ago where he just says 'things would be better if he were still here' and you constantly see the hole in the group where someone with more personal connection to the current events and the theology of the world could've made a difference but the new crew members are just flailing, like "I wasn't here for that conversation, nobody's told me why the war criminal is bad." Doesn't mean much anymore, but I'm gonna say it, Divine Saga > Star Wars.

PS every austin monologue slaps, but yeah this is one of the best
posted by fomhar at 9:41 PM on January 24, 2021

It's not really the outcome I was hoping for, fictionally I think the best outcome is Millennium Break breaking away from the Principality to become a sovereign power that could, if nothing else, be a refuge for folks that need it. But the friends definitely do their best work when they're playing a team of shady revolutionaries working outside of the law, so we can look forward to some great stuff when they come back to the world with Armor Astir.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:33 PM on January 25, 2021

Also, hot take: These episodes would have been better if they had been done in Beam Saber. Yeah, I know, they get to take bigger swings and do more interesting stuff when they shake up the mechanics, but the only tension was in what ending they'd get, not if they'd succeed in the mission. I think there were only what, one or two failed rolls in the entire thing?
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:38 PM on January 25, 2021

Agreed about the system. I like switching systems to switch emphasis in general, and I like that they spent time talking about the optics of empire, but even if not full beam saber they could've had more beam saber in this game.
posted by fomhar at 3:02 PM on January 29, 2021

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