Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Takin' Them Characters For A Spin

Time to try out a game with some of those 5150 Fringe Space/New Beginnings characters  I rolled up (see the last post)... if you missed that, basically I'm working on an optional modification for New Beginnings that changes the flavor of characters a bit, and sorta introduces 'skills' into New Beginnings by using the idea behind Professions and expanding it.

Onto our feature presentation...

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"No questions asked," Yosi said to the shady man across the table, "As long as things go according to plan and we get paid, we keep to ourselves."
The man nodded and put down his drink. "Just the way I like it. We can deal."

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"So now we're hitmen?" Brian asked. "Gotta say, I didn't expect--"
Sarah interrupted him, "Don't worry, Doc, you can keep your bleeding oath. We'll do the killin', you just keep us from dyin'."
"Well I don't like it either," Samuel Fresco cut in, "normally I don't mind doing a little merc work, but a diplomat? That's a loud target. Gives us a bit more attention than I like."
"We need the coin and the plan is simple. Why is this even a discussion?" said Yosi. "What do you think, Dempson?"
Dempson didn't even look up from  the rifle he was cleaning. "Just point me at the target."
Yosi gave Samuel a look. Samuel broke under the pressure. "Alright, give us the details. Tell us about this guy."
Yosi put one leg up a chair, leaned down over it, and got into what the rest of the crew called "Drunken Old Spacer Expressively Telling a Story" pose.
"Oh great..." Sarah mumbled.
"Hush kid," Yosi snapped, "This guy, our employer, is the killing type. You can tell from his eyes. Calls himself 'Ha-Dam' He's got just about the worst scar I've ever seen, coming through his hair, across his brow, through his left eye, and down to his jaw. Anyway: the job is simple. There is a diplomat, Alicia Felani from Miszahi Inc, vacationing here at her summer home that Ha-Dam wants dead. All we got to do is be matchmakers; bring Ha-Dam and Felani together and we get paid. Ha-Dam can do the rest."
"Clearly 'Ha-Dam' doesn't want us to know his motives."Said Sam.
"You got that right. No questions." Yosi warned.

There was a moment of thinking.
Sam spoke first, "Okay, we'll do it. But I don't want to walk into this blind. Brian, look into possible reasons Ha-Dam would-"
"-The blood."
"... Brian?"
"Ha-Dam. Its from an ancient Earth language. Hebrew. The original language of the First Testament of the Christian Bible. It means 'the blood.'"
"So Ha-Dam is as nerdy as you." Yosi said with perfect deadpan.
"Very funny. The guy we're dealing with put thought into this."Brian said.
"Wait a second... Sam, this is personal for Ha-Dam. I've seen this before. Guys get personal with a job, they start using funny code names and such, trying to attach some kinda significance to it..."
"Like some kinda Romantic epic." added Sarah.
"Exactly."
"You know," said Alex Dempson, "That happened to guys in the Star Army. Their buddy gets killed, next time they see action they're wearing a helmet painted like primitive war masks...."
Sam thought. "Okay, Ha-Dam sounds emotional. Emotional people are what we call people who get other people killed. We gotta be careful if we're doing this. Brian, hit the books... let's find out what made Ha-Dam Ha-Dam. Alex, we'll get some surveillance from the ship, analyze it, plan how we want to do this. Yosi, I want you to get friendly with Ha-Dam, try to find out more about him. Share some old spacer tales with him... he sounds only slightly uglier than you. Hm.... we need to find out more about this diplomat's defenses... rich folks never go vacationing on a back water world like this without an armed guard."
Sarah interrupted Sam with excitement, "I know! I could try to cut into the official port logs... they always track passengers. If we could find who she landed with, find out their history, maybe we can figure out what we're up against."
"Sounds good." Sam turned and started walking towards the cockpit. "Get to work everyone, I want to be out of the world by then end of the week."

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ALEX DEMPSON AND SAMUEL FRESCO
"Alright, this is as high res as we can go... unfortunately we can't adjust orbit, either, or else we'll look seriously suspicious to the authorities."
"That's alright," Alex said, "I'll work with what we can get."
The Compound (North is up, South is down)

Compound just out of view

Some wilderness.. what a pretty spot to vacation in.

The Western edge of the 'map.' You can just make out a hill on the Northwest corner (by the white rock)


"Well, looks like we're gonna go in from the West... the ridge drops too sharply on the Eastern side of the vacation home, we'd have to scale our way up that,  and they'd see us coming... they've got quite a view!"
"Stay focused." Sam said sternly.
"Sit down, I'm just thinking. North and South are both too open... they'll see us a mile away. Unfortunately the Western side isn't great cover, either... we could've used more trees and hills. Then again this gives us a good option for sniper support... looks like there is a good hill to the West North West that could see nearly all of the area approaching the home. And... Yeah, those are two trucks parked at the home. Can't quite make out the exact model, but I'm guessing we're looking at a total of 30 residents at most... probably less, as those trucks were probably carrying supplies. They're pretty far from the nearest colony.
"I'd imagine they send patrols out West pretty regularly... no permanent encampments, which means all guards and servants are staying somewhere in the home, but they barely even need to patrol the other directions, they just need to keep a sentry a few yards from the house... things might be pretty difficult. We'll move at 17:30... They'll have night vision for sure, so night time isn't really a good option, and any earlier and everyone's eyes will be adjusted to the light.... Yeah, 17:30 should be good."

(Game note: just used a ton of different skills... They did okay... didn't find out as much info as they could've. Mostly these things affect PEF resolution and such. Its fine that they didn't do that well, though, as the other guys can all work as well, and together they can get a pretty good picture of what they're up against).

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DOCTOR BRIAN SERA

Brian read through his notes.

Yes, it was obvious, now.

Ha-Dam was clearly a reference to the go'el ha'dam, the avenger of the blood, in ancient Judaic law. The idea was that if someone was killed, then someone in their family, their go'el ha'dam, would avenge their death justly. Ha-Dam was probably getting revenge for a family member or very close friend who had died.

So, what about this Alicia Felani? Miszahi Inc. is a fairly large megacorporation, so there is no hint in their operations that would explain Ha-Dam's motives. But Felani, as a diplomat, has openly worked with a pretty small number of groups. She seems to mostly make deals with private security organizations (or pirates... most of the deals seemed routine but the one with Rackham & Rogers coincided with the end of said organization, and was the only deal made between the two groups), government policy makers (mostly with regards to law enforcement), and the shipping department of Miszahi. Brian isn't sure how this all comes together, but its likely that Ha-Dam's motives are the result of one of these deals, as Alicia has a pretty clean private life.

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YOSI PAR

"Here, have another drink." Yosi patted Ha-Dam on the back as he pushed yet another mug of beer to the scarred assassin.
"Sure thing! So as I was saying..."
This was too easy, Yosi thought. All I need to do is get him to talking about those scars...
"You know," Yosi interrupted him, "I've been living on ships all my life... 35 long years of struggling on the roughest frontier man has ever known. But I ain't got any scars quite as beautiful as that, mate."
"You can say that again. Hell, you're practically a greenhorn compared to old, er, Ha-Dam here." Ha-Dam took another drink. "You ever been spaced? Thats how I got these scars. Practically no one survives it, for obvious reasons. I was lucky enough to have my suit on. My goddamn brother was on the same ship, toughest sonuvagun I ever known... even he didn't make it.
"Ever since then I've had no name but Ha-Dam... goddamned Gee Pee (Gaea Prime) don't care, to them I'm dead. They blew that ship up, saw the little bodies flying out of the cracked hull in pieces, and called the whole ship dead. No one survives that.
"Well I did.
"Roger's gotten his, now she'll get hers."

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SARA RESNIK

Sara looked at the list of names. It was the passenger and cargo list for the MIV (Miszahi Interstellar Vehicle) Profit.

Adam Aaronson
James Cal-Jeerah
Alicia Felani
Gin Forest
Captain Lee Frost
Ben Hadermann
Erik Jager
Ben Lin
Sergeant Bowen Merrick
Charles Mezrah
Emily Vulf
Major Max Zorrah

Two Trucks

Foodstuffs (inspected and clean)

She couldn't get through to more detailed information on any of the individuals listed, but the frequency of high ranking former military officials meant that probably at least half of them were guards.

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"So here's what we've got," Sam announced to the assembled crew, "Ha-Dam wants to avenge his brother's death, which he blames on Felani for... not entirely known reasons, and so has hired us to assist in taking her down.
"We're approaching her vacation home from the West at 17:30 with the goal of reaching the home without being detected... if we do make contact with any patrols, we'll try to take them out silently.
Due to the weather, we can't interfere with their communications.... it'd be too suspicious, and would give us away. If we are detected, we'll switch to plan B and try to jam their comms. Ha-Dam will provide sniper support... if we find it necessary, Alex will spot for him, but the current plan is that we act as a ground team that reaches the target building, extracts Felani, and brings her to Ha-Dam. Rest up: We have 3 hours."

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"In position."
"Alright Dempson, I'm providing overwatch... I'm at the agreed upon position, approximately 100 yards North of you." Ha-Dam's voice came clear through the radio.
"Alright, we're moving."
Alex readied his weapon. "Okay, everyone stay about 20 yards behind me... I'll signal if I see anyone, we don't want to be caught."

The crew moves from cover, waiting for the stealthy Alex to signal for an advance.

Ha-Dam's voice came back over the radio, "We've got four mercs patrolling out in the brush about 150 yards North East of your position. They can't see me, or you, but I'll keep an eye on their movements."

Suddenly Alex saw something green moving in the tree line in front of him... another Merc!
The Merc was all alone, and didn't look like he was focusing on patrolling... he was just walking about. "Why would a Merc be patrolling all by himself?" Alex wondered.

Alex, surveying the landscape around him, decides to head north for a moment, to seek better cover. He heads towards the forest north of his position. The crew follows him.

Alex's military instinct kicks in, and he watches the forest for a moment, making sure his flank is clear before heading East again. It was a good thing he did: 4 Mercs walk through a path in the trees just a few yards North of Alex. Alex lies still behind a bush. He knows that if he moves the Mercs will see him. He must wait for them to pass.

The rest of the crew sees his reaction, and huddle up behind their own bush.
"We've got to keep moving." Sam says. "Dempson knows what he's doing, and Ha-Dam will provide support if things go wrong."

Meanwhile, the Merc of to the East walks up the path towards the vacation home. The Mercs that Ha-Dam is currently scoping out remain in place, apparently talking about something rather funny.

Noticing that the Mercs have looked away for a moment, Alex quickly signals to Sarah to keep moving East.

The crew heads straight East, hoping to stay out of view of the Mercs to the North by following a slight ridge, while avoiding detection from the East due to the small woods blocking sight from the vacation home.

The Crew sprints to the small woods, into the path that leads up to the vacation home.
"I think we're going to have to make some noise... there isn't any cover from here on out. Our best hope is probably to confuse the Mercs by starting the attack at their home, and then letting Alex and Ha-Dam hit them from behind." Sam said.
"Why do that?" Sarah responded, "I could try to jam their communications and then we could attack silently... any remaining Mercs at the base will know what's up, but at least we'd buy some time for the guys back in the wilderness."
"Sounds like a plan."

Finally, the Mercs near Alex Dempson moved... and they started heading East, back towards the home. "That was a close one!" Ha-Dam said over the radio.
"Damn straight."
"Wait a minute," Ha-Dam continued, "they're all moving... the other group I'm watching is also moving back towards the home. Those guys are doomed if we don't make a distraction."

"Is it working?" Sam asked Sarah.
Sarah nodded. Yosi stepped away from Sarah, having helped her with his knowledge of electronics.

"Alright," Ha-Dam said, "Fire in three, two one-" The laser made a slight 'FWIP' noise as it recharged from the shot. The Merc point man clutched his bleeding gut and fell to the ground, badly injured. The Mercs, unable to determine exactly where the shot came from, run for cover.

Meanwhile, Alex opens fire with his silenced pistol on the lead Merc of the team that had just passed  him. With his years of training at taking single, well placed shots, he sends a single bullet through the head of the leader and then dives back behind cover, hoping to prevent detection.

Though the Mercs, facing away from Alex,  are unable to return fire immediately, one of them spotted him. "Shooter behind the dark green bush west!" the Merc cries, as the squad dives behind trees, bushes, and stones.

Sam and the rest of the crew, not yet knowing of Alex and Ha-Dam's actions, break from the treeline and assault the compound.
They see a woman in her late 30's walking down the path just North of the woods and carrying a pistol, as if heading for a hunt; the Merc who had been on his own stroll stepping up towards the ramp leading to the main door of the home; Alicia herself, waiting for a middle aged man to come down the ramp, presumably to follow the other woman on her walk.

This scene was quickly ruined by the emergence of an armed band of desperadoes popping out of the woods.

The woman fired at Sam, hitting him in the gut. "Ah dammit..." he grunted as he clutched his bleeding body and fell to the ground.
Yosi sprayed bullets at the Merc as the Merc started to run for the trucks, looking for cover. The Merc seemed to trip as a bullet grazed his leg, sending the Merc to the ground for a moment.
Seeing Sam go down, Sarah shot the woman, hitting her gun arm. She fainted from the pain.
Brian shot his rifle at the shocked middle aged man on the ramp. the bullet hit him right in the stomach, and the man started to slowly, painfully bleed out.
Alicia ran behind one of the trucks and drew her pistol.

When no one had fired for a moment, Sarah ran over to Sam. "Brian, get over here, he's bleeding bad!" Brian quickly patches up Sam's wounds, greatly increasing Sam's chance of survival.

Yosi marched up the path, shouting at Alicia and the wounded Merc.
"Reach for the sky! Drop your weapon- I SAID DROP IT!" -- The Merc frantically pushed his rifle away from his body.-- "Ms. Felani? Drop the pistol right now or the man bleedin' his guts out over there on the ramp ain't getting medical attention."
"Don't hurt my brother!"
"Ms. Felani, I know a bargain when I hear one. I promise you we will help this man if you just drop your pistol... though you best do it right now."
"Alright!"
Alicia threw the pistol away from the truck and stepped out with her hands in the air.

Brian ran over to the injured man and gave him medical attention, but was unable to stop the bleeding.
"We have to get Mr. Felani to an emergency room if he's gonna live."
"Alright, let's get moving then." Yosi said.
As they moved down the hill, the Mercs in the gunfight with Ha-Dam and Alex Dempson gave up the fight. When an employer tells a Merc to stand down, it tends to work. The Mercs packed up and headed back for their trucks, planning to leave-- they're contract was clearly up. Sarah and Brian carried Alicia's brother on a stretcher while Alex helped Sam limp back to Ha-Dam's position.

When they got there, things got ugly quick.
"Who's that?" Ha-Dam said, pointing his pistol at Mr. Felani in the stretcher. "Her brother," Yosi responded.
"Perfect." Ha-Dam calmly shot Mr. Felani through the throat.
"What the-?!" Alicia shouted.
"Its me, Alicia. Jared Rackham." Ha-Dam said as he trained his sites on Alicia's head.
"But... you were dead!"
"Join the club." He squeezed the trigger.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Backstory

Every good character has a history.

Traveller is famous for its character generation system, which basically provides a character with a backstory in the form of a mini game that you play everytime you make a character...

5150 New Beginnings can use something like that (its actually occurred to me many times that Fringe Space + New Beginnings could arguably be called a different version of Traveller without the setting attached... it just feels very Traveller in the way it plays).

So, here's some of my ideas. I'm looking for any concepts I've missed... career paths, upbringings, that kinda thing.

A few notes on my interpretation of the New Beginnings rules: I view Professions as almost like a group of skills... if I have the pilot profession, then I have some of the pilot skills... this gives me a stat boost when performing certain actions (like piloting a ship). The specialization just allows more granularity... I may be a pilot, but if I'm specialized toward piloting Hull 5 ships (frigates and free traders, for the most part) then I'm better at flying one of those than a Fighter or Battleship. For this reason, characters going through the generation process below will end up looking fairly different from regular New Beginnings characters... though there is nothing in NB stopping you from acquiring many professions, it seems most people stick to one or two. So just keep that in mind.

Note that these are all somewhat biased towards the 5150 universe (for example, the different career paths of the Star Army are based on units in, well, Star Army) but 5150 is pretty generic anyway, so these could easily be translated to any setting.

All characters start as "Rank" 3 (this is the same as Rep in 5150 NB character generation, so you get two 3's, one 2, one 1, and one 0 for your stats... its just that Rep isn't privileged: you can have Rep be 2 or even the 1, in theory... not the 0, though).

All characters start with one RANDOM attribute and no professions. Characters are 18 years old. They may be Drop Outs or LWC at the beginning, though this may change at some points in the character creation process.

Characters choose one upbringing (before doing any of the above stuff):

Good Schooling: +1 Sci
Well Rounded: Get a second starting attribute. You may choose which table to roll on (though you still roll on said table).
Spacer: Grew up on ships. Starts out with profession: Pilot (any Hull specialty) or Spaceship Crew (engineer).
Street Kid: +1 Fit
Legacy: Starts with 1 level in Fame or Notoriety (your choice). Note that Fame and Notoriety will be a big help in getting good careers both in the character generation minigame and in the actual game, in addition to being a bonus to certain social situations (not that different from Paragon and Renegade in Mass Effect, if you're familiar).
Old Friends: Starts with 1d3 contacts or crew members (your choice). (Rank determined: 1=3, 2-5=4, 1=5)
Colonist: +1 Sav
Socialite: +1 Pep

It should be noted that Rep isn't particularly important for most 18 year olds... you'll gain Rep through your career more than your upbringing.

Alright, so now you know how things started out for your character... Time to get into adulthood!
Now, I could try to include every career known to man, but the fact is that players are going to be of a certain type... they're either gonna be soldiers, engineers, pilots, officers, merchants, criminals, or the medics that patch them up... (or of course a combination of these). I'll make sure to have room for some of the slightly more obscure but possibly still useful/interesting professions... courtesans, missionaries, that kinda thing.

Character's backstories are payed out by year.

In any career one can be promoted, as well, but this is not listed as a 'branch.'

Military Professions (often gives you Merc QRS)

Star Army (Branches out to Tanker, Rangers, and ISS (Brances out to ISS Special Ops)).
Planetary Defense Forces (also covers any normal planet's military, Planetary Militias, etc... pretty much regular troops vs. the Star Army's more Marine-ish status. Branches out into PDF Commandoes and PDF Armor)
Star Navy (Branches out to Engineers, Security/Marines, Pilots, and general Ship's Crew).
Gaea Prime Scout Service (no branching out, but this is a highly variable job that is generally focused on exploration and some transportation/communications.... private messages are often sent by ships, to avoid being picked up by enemies).
Department of Home Security (Branches out into COG)
Mercenary (no branching out- generally is a bit more random and balanced in provided skills).

It should be noted that of the various military professions, Star Army is pretty much 'in between' navy and planetary skill sets, PDF is entirely ground focused, and Marines provide a much heavier focus on skills useful on a ship... stuff like using targeting computers and fighting in zero G (you get negative modifiers otherwise).

Other Professions (various QRS)
Free Trader (working on a ship independently.... provides a wide range of space, combat, technical, and other possible abilities).
Merchant (focuses on trading of various sorts).
Criminal (sets you up for any of the criminal careers in NB)
School (people can go to college, essentially, and can basically choose where to advance a bit more and with less danger than other careers, but it also tends to be slower... often sets you up for other jobs).
Blue Service (just got to have this.... doesn't give you much,  maybe some Pep and ability to cook a good meal).
Diplomat (also covers religious leaders, courtesans, that kinda thing. Mostly Pep focused)
Law Enforcement (planetbound, more or less... interplanetary police work is covered by the Star Navy, DHS, Mercs, and the Scouts to one extant or another).
Entertainer (similar to diplomat but slightly different set of abilities).
Government (mostly gives Fame, but also can give power and contacts... doesn't provide much actual skill).
Labor (can provide you with some mechanical skills and such).
Technical (Branches out into Medical and Mechanical... basically Sci vs. Sav, but not always.)
White Service (can provide,  mostly, the professions in under this label in NB.... could be a bit useful in certain situations... like translators have a higher chance of knowing another language, for example).
Drop Out: Just hang around, pretty much. Maybe travel a bit. Most random and variable job out there. Dangerous, usually not very rewarding. Its the only job you're guaranteed to get, though.

The sort of things you can get from professions (just examples):
- Rep/Skill advancement rolls
- Pilot (Hull: #)
- Ship's Crew (Engineer)
- Doctor (Surgery)
- Additional advancement rolls to any profession skill (this gives even larger bonuses for that profession).
- Soldier (NCO)--- allows use of "leader die" and allows you a better chance to avoid ambushes and such. Also gives you  +1 Rep for shooting (a translation of the Targetting attribute)
- Marine (Ship's Gunner)-- provides bonuses when using ship's guns (in addition the the regular marine bonuses to this and fighting in zero g and similar weird circumstances).
- Fame or Notoriety Points
- Smuggler (Captain)-- provides advantages to finding good deals, keeping a crew together, etc.
- Ship's Crew (Navigator)-- provides advantages to finding the best route to a destination (conserves fuel and/or speeds up trip).
- Attributes (some random, some chosen, some mandatory)
- Contacts and Crewmates
- Items
- Ships (or at least Items to get a ship).
- New QRS's to choose from (you never NEED to take a new QRS).

It should be noted that it probably sounds like you'll end up with a million attributes, too many Rep advancements, and a million professions.... don't worry!
I haven't totally worked out the system yet, but I'm aiming for probably only 1-4 professions, tops (and generally the more you have the less in depth any of them are... so you don't get any "Pilot - 2").
Attributes will generally be kept to only a few... no more than 4 to a character, and thats a rare circumstance.
Rep Advancement will be just enough to make characters usually end up in the Rep: 5 range in about their late 20's- mid 30's....

And all of those will be offset by the times that you are forced to lose some of these things (failed advancement leads to not gaining the profession, failed years lead to rep LOSSES, not advancements, and attributes are often given the option to be replaced, not supplemented).


So, thoughts? Worries? Suggestions?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

15m Stormtroopers

I don't think anyone has ever really done 15mm star wars before, successfully, for one reason: No stormtroopers.

I've seen some prototypical attempts at converting stormtroopers and such, but I've just found a quick and easy solution:



Those are New Swabian League (GZG) Armored Infantry painted white, given the proper helmet details. I didn't do a very good job on them... I just sloppily painted on a few layers of white (so used to Foundation Paints now that painting more than a little bit of white or other non-foundation colors is an absolute pain), painted black in the gaps in the armor, painted the guns grey (makes them stand out a bit against the black and white), and painted on some of the helmet details (how detailed I went varied from model to model, a bit, and I pretty much just painted the 5 main dots in the right zip code and called it done). I'm sure a more skilled/less impatient painter could do better... probably even myself, but I want to get playing!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Some Character Models...

Painted some of these a week or two ago, and just got around to taking a photo of them... I'm not TOTALLY satisfied with them (similar to the Firefly, I think I'll touch up some details once I get some new brushes sometime next week), but they look good enough to play with!

I'm also not totally happy with the way Wrex ended up looking... Krogan don't really roar with their mouths open in a large circle like that.... I think I might end up redoing his lower jaw so that his mouth comes to more of an edge.

Also, I still need a Garrus... ; )

Commander Shepard, Tali, a Viatsi Traveller, Ashley, Liara, Wrex, Kaiden, and Jubal Early (of Firefly).
All of these will double as generic spacers and soldiers, of course!

I'm afraid the guys don't have very interesting armor in Mass Effect (pretty much just grey with a red stripe or two...) but the girls get more interesting patterns, and I really enjoyed painting Jubal Early (he was easy and quick but looks cool!) and the Viatsi Traveller (I liked painting his kafiyeh/scarf/hood thing and the gun looks cool).

Hopefully some inspiration will be had-- a lot of these are modified in some way or another, or painted in rather unique ways, judging by the photos found on the internet....

Sunday, December 11, 2011

You Can't Take The Sky From Me

Painted some of my few 'real' (not micromachines or board game pieces) models today.


Reavers! (The little red and grey specs ships).

Not a perfect match for Serenity (especially the engine area), but the model isn't  either.... once I get some new brushes (my current ones are nearing on 5 years old!) I'm going to paint the crew and maybe touch up the ship a bit... make the engine actually match the one in the show (less yellow).

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Fringe Space Tutorial

I've gotten some requests for a game of 5150 Fringe Space that looks at the mechanics in more detail.

So I put together a quick one on one game, a fight between a TIE Fighter on patrol and a Rebel ace pilot in an X-Wing.

TIE Fighter--- Fly 4 Fight 4 Fix 4
Hull 1
Fighter
Speed 12
Engine 6
Complexity 3
Armor 1
Mobility 5
2x Light Cannon (Impact 3 Reaction)
1 Crew/Cargo Space

X-Wing--- Fly 5 Fight 5 Fix 5
Hull 1
Fighter
Speed 12
Engine 5
Complexity 3
Armor 1
Mobility 5
2x Light Cannon (Impact 3 Reaction)
2x Torpedo (Impact 9 Missile Action)
1x Crew/Cargo Space



TIE Fighter starts out in the corner at cruising speed (8"). X Wing will move onto the opposite corner at the same speed.


TIE Fighter (Blue) rolls a 6, over its Fly score, so gets 1 Action. X-Wing (Red) rolls a 4, under its Fly score but not a 5, so gets 2 Actions.

Movement Phase: The side that activated 'better' (by rolling higher or by not rolling over) gets to go second in this phase. The TIE Fighter rolled over, while the X Wing did not, so the Tie Fighter moves first. It chooses to Drift, and so moves forward. Note that in maintains its current velocity.


The X-Wing moves onto the board.


Sensor Check: This test is taken simultaneously. The TIE Fighter rolls over its Complexity with all 3 dice, and passes 0. The X Wing passes 2 dice under its own Complexity, also 3. As the X Wing just 'sighted' the TIE Fighter, it takes an In Sight test. It passes both dice beneath its Fight of 5, but is outside of shooting range for all its Reaction weapons.

Command Phase

The X Wing decides to take Evasive Action and then Fires its missiles.
It rolls passes 1 Die against its own Complexity (shown above), and the range between the ships is measured as 40". Because X Wing is going at 8", the TIE Fighter gets one Shoot Down test for every (8"+18") 26", or 2 Shoot Down Tests.


The TIE Fighter, rolling against its own Complexity, passes 1d6 on both tests. This does not take care of either of the X Wing's missiles.

The TIE Fighter successfully passes 2d6 vs the average of Mobility and Fly, and so is not hit by the missiles. It then takes a received fire test, passes 1d6, and Carries On.


The next turn, the X Wing rolls over its Fly score and gets one Action, and so does the TIE Fighter. The X Wing rolled higher, however, so the TIE Fighter goes first in movement and second in command.


The TIE Fighter drifts forward, hoping to use its Action for another attack. The X Wing decides to slow down, going down to 4" a turn, and takes a Fuel check. Passing 1d6, it loses one Fuel. The X Wing figures it has a bigger advantage trying to shoot the TIE at long range, as in a Dogfight the two only have a 1 die difference.


With no remaining Actions, the X Wing is unable to act in the Command phase. The TIE, on the other hand, saved its Action, and can now fire. It misses with both dice, even with the 8, because the two fighters have equal Complexities.

The X Wing passes both dice on a Received Fire test and shoots back.

The X Wing hits with one of its Light Cannons, rolling a 10.

The TIE dodges it (rolling Alien Snake Eyes!)


The TIE fires back and misses, but the X Wing only Carries On on its Received Fire test, ending the turn.


The TIE Fighter rolls a 6, getting only one Action, and the X Wing rolls a 1, getting 2 Actions.

The TIE Fighter uses its Action to accelerate forward a bit, the pilot eagerly hoping to prove his worth by defeating an ace Rebel pilot. Note that the TIE, which accelerated with 4 Speed (to increase to 12" a turn), only goes 10" this turn. Only half of the speed used is effective on the turn it is used, the rest takes effect the next turn. This may sound complicated but is very easy to do, as seen above. The TIE Fighter takes a Fuel Check against its Fix and passes 1d6, losing 1 Fuel.



As the TIE fighter moved to within 12" of the X Wing, the X Wing takes an Engagement Test, and passes 2d6. The X Wing misses, however...

... And the TIE fighter Carries On from its received fire test. The X Wing chooses to shoot once more with an Action but is similarly ineffective, and for its last action the X Wing takes Evasive Action, to try to force the TIE into a Dogfight: The X Wing figures the fight is now inevitable and doesn't want the TIE to get ideas about over shooting and trying to gun the X Wing down from behind.


The next turn, both sides activate with 2 Actions, and the TIE Fighter wins the activation (4 to 1).

The TIE Fighter slows down while the X Wing drifts forward. The TIE again loses 1 Fuel (down to 3).
The TIE then initiates a Dogfight (Down to 2 Fuel... the end result being that, if it survives this dogfight, it'll need to fall back with 1 Fuel and then stop back at base with its final Fuel). 

The X Wing passes 2 dice on its Dogfight Initiation test and shoots at the TIE, but misses.

In the Dogfight, the X Wing has 10 dice (5 Mobility + 5 Fly) and the TIE has 9 (5 Mobility + 4 Fly). Rolling for successes, the X Wing ends up with 2 dice when the TIE has 0. Both of these dice are used to make one of the X Wing's light cannon shots hit (it otherwise would've missed). At this range, the TIE cannot dodge. The Impact 3 Light Cannon (-1 Armor and +5 die roll) causes Heavy Damage.

Now its the X Wing's turn to activate. It starts another Dogfight (down to 3 Fuel) and kills the TIE, this time adding remaining success dice to impact.

The X Wing turns around and accelerates (down to 2 Fuel).
As it turned 180˚ (4 Mobility), it had 1 Mobility remaining... 12" Speed/5 is 2.2 inches per turn (don't worry about little fractions like that... just make it 2 and a half inches) of speed... with 2 Fuel remaining the X Wing drifts back to base with more than enough Fuel to stop and dock.

Thoughts:
Used the new Dodge test. Changed the game a bit, but its a good change... it might bog down really big games, but its only one more test, so its not a big deal. I do think I want to change it slightly, though, so that its a LITTLE easier to get hit... right now, unless you're a pretty slow ship or a bad pilot, its pretty unlikely that you get hit by anything but lasers.




Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far, Far Away

With 5150 Fringe Space now in truly playtestable form (that is, it is typed), and myself finally having some time to relax from the ever present "Real Life," I got in a quick game testing some of the more recent developments, especially boarding actions, as well as some of the pre-made ship designs in the rule book.

So, here we have a classic scene: The Tantive IV, a Blockade Runner, pursued by an Imperial Star Destroyer (Battleship)!

The Tantive IV cruising at a fair pace, near Tatooine
The Star Destroyer comes into view!
Trading shots, (both ships have a bunch of Reaction weapons so the gunfights between the two can last pretty long) the Tantive IV takes two Special Damages, as the sensors get zapped and a large, shaking hit knocks out several soldiers.

The Corellian Corvette hits the burns the Antimatter Drives!
Seeing that resistance is futile, the Tantive IV decides to run.... the Imperial Victory condition is to take the ship by boarding action (alive) while the Droids have not escaped by, er, escape pod... which they won't do until they're either boarded or fail a Cohesion Test. Staying as far away as possible from the Star Destroyer is just about the best thing they can do.
They seem to be getting away!
Indeed, it almost looked like the Tantive IV would escape! However, Tantive IV was already approaching the half way point when it comes to fuel, and the planet's gravity slowed the ship down as it pulled away... 

Seeing that making the Tantive IV run low on fuel was the only way to beat them, the Star Destroyer puts all of its actions into using its sensors to target the Tantive IV precisely with its largest weapon, its medium laser. 

It hits! Tantive IV is quickly reduced to just enough fuel to STOP, let alone keep going!

Distance keeps growing...
Despite the seeming inevitability of Tantive IV losing the race, the fact of the matter is that the Imperial Star Destroyer will take several turns to catch up to the Tantive IV, and until that point, the Tantive IV can repair in relative safety, beyond the effective range of most of the Star Destroyer's weapons.

The Star Destroyer goes to ludicrous speed!
With several turns of repairs and careful maneuvering, the Star Destroyer hits the Antimatter Drive button... it is now matching the speed of the Blockade Runner!

Uh oh...
Two turns later, after a turn of the Star Destroyer again using the Antimatter Drives and then getting some lucky shots (with its weakest guns-- too risky to shoot with anything larger) on Tantive IV's thrusters, the Star Destroyer reaches the Tantive IV... both are now running a bit short on fuel (The Star Destroyer has enough to stop, the Tantive IV doesn't unless it repairs its thrusters, and then only barely), but the Star Destroyer gets its boarding attempt. It succeeds, in part due to its PDS being powerful enough to force the Tantive IV into an intercept... 

Maybe PDS can represent tractor beams? Or maybe they were just able to 'head off' the enemy ship and 'corner' it with a large volume of cheap ammo... 

Anyway, the ships lock together, the smaller ship becomes locked to the larger ship's speed, and...
Breaching!
In a swift and brutal attack, the Tantive IV's crew either surrenders or dies, all in one turn. The Stormtroopers take insignificant casualties.

However, are the droids lost?

Probably, yeah. But in the spirit of the movies and the game, I decided to let the Droids pull a Challenge test on the Stormtrooper's searching abilities.... 4 dice vs 4 dice, counting successes. The Droids need to succeed not once, but twice (for two turns it takes to escape on escape pods).

They succeed! The adventure continues!


Thoughts:
1) The high speeds that come up in a pursuit game make me think about reducing all ship speeds... At a certain point in there the Star Destroyer was going something like 40" per turn (Thats when it caught up). Not really something that needs to be changed, though perhaps I should halve speeds, at least contextually (that is, make 2"=1" in pursuit games). 
2) Uneven games can be depressing: The Tantive IV stood no chance, and I rolled very poorly for its crew stats... so it was basically a massacre, just watching one ship hammer the other til it died. There were a few tough decisions for the Imperials, though (Rebels were basically stuck most of the time due to getting hammered so bad). Targeted shots vs. antimatter can be tough.
3) I came up with a minor adjustment for the shooting table about half way through that would make ship stats matter a bit more in whether or not they get hit. It'd basically give them a saving roll based upon their mobility. 
4) in retrospect the Blockade Runner, perhaps, should have tried turning around about at the planet and THEN going as fast as possible the other way... can't guarantee it would've worked (who activated when would matter a lot there), but looking at the 'deltaV' of the two ships, its pretty inevitable that the star destroyer would win in a straight up race... though the Tantive IV taking a hit to engines was a big part of that (they otherwise could've gotten far ahead enough for long enough to prepare a better defense).

Regardless, twas quick and fun.

Monday, November 28, 2011

5150: Fringe Space Playtesting

Finally got down to typing down the core rules (most of the campaign rules and such are written, just not on a computer).

"Mass" playtesting should start soon. If anyone is interested in playtesting the 5150 Space game (Fringe Space, its being called ATM) then send a message to me and I'll probably send some playtest copies out.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Firefly Characters for New Beginnings

Statted out the Firefly crew for NB... might be useful for others, and 
I also want to make sure I'm not missing obvious character elements/ 
misrepresenting anybody...

Couple of modifications:
1) Serenity's crew is not a bunch of greenhorns, so they all got some 
starting fame, notoriety, and advancement rolls...
2) Some don't have Rep as their primary attribute (Inara has People 
instead, for example). I allowed each character to decide to turn 
another attribute into their 'Rep.' (that is, if they would be Rep 4, 
they could put both 4s in other attributes and make Rep a 2 or 3).
3) I made some new professions (some will likely be the basis of the 
professions eventually featured in the space supplement).

Malcolm Reynolds
Human Male Dropout (Had trouble deciding that one) STAR
Rep: 5
Born Leader, Smooth
Fitness: 4
People: 5
Savvy: 4
Science: 3 (did well on advancement rolls, and fits his medic 
abilities gained during the war)

Fame: 20
Notoriety: 30

Professions:
Smuggler (Pep)-- Free Trader (helps with dealing with interplanetary 
trading and plans)
Soldier (Fit)-- Sergeant (helps with making tactical plans, 
assessments, keeping a team together, that sorta thing).

Zoe
Human Female Mercenary
Nerves of Steel
Rep: 5
Fit: 5
People: 4
Savvy: 3
Science: 0

Fame: 20
Notoriety: 20

Professions:
Soldier (Fit)-- Commando (helps with Stealthy activities and the 
like-- she seems to like sneaking up on her opponents)

Jayne
Human Male Ganger
Greedy
Rep: 5
Fit: 5
People: 3
Savvy: 2
Science: 0

Fame: 10
Notoriety: 20

Profession:
Ganger (Fit)--Hitman (I imagine this as giving him similar advantages 
to the Commando expertise, with perhaps a bit more intimidation 
advantages).

Wash
Human Male LWC
Exceptional Pilot
Rep: 3
Fit: 3
People: 4
Savvy: 5
Science: 2

Fame: 10
Notoriety: 10

Profession: Pilot (Savvy) Small Ships (Hull 3-7) (Note: When using for 
the Space game, you use Savvy for Fix and Fly... but you get negative 
modifiers if you AREN'T a pilot and of the right type. Still, he's a 
Fly 6 in his Firefly, altogether).

Kaylee
Human Female LWC
Exceptional Fixer
Rep: 2
Fit: 3
People: 4
Savvy: 5
Science: 3

Fame: 0
Notoriety: 5

Profession: Ship's Crew (Savvy) Engineer (Same as for pilots, you need 
these sort of professions to be able to operate almost at all on a 
ship).

Book
Human Male Dropout
Charismatic
Rep: 4
Fit: 4
People: 4
Savvy: 3
Science: 0

Fame: 0
Notoriety: 0

Profession:
Religionist (Pep) Preacher
Gunslinger (Fit) Assassin (inferred).

Simon
Human Male LWC
Logical
Rep: 3
Fit: 3
People: 4
Savvy: 3
Science: 5

Fame: 0
Notoriety: 0

Profession: Doctor (Sci) Surgeon

River
Human Female Mercenary (starts out as LWC? switches back and forth? 
She's complicated).
Charismatic
(I designed her like an alien)
Superior Senses
Terrifying
Vicious
Rep: 5
Fit: 4
People: 3
Savvy: 4
Science: 5

Fame: 0
Notoriety: 0

Child (Pep) Leaky Brainpan
Merc (Fit) Spy

Inara
Human Female LWC
Charismatic (not Stunning- note how she is also rather persuasive-- in 
all situations-- with all types of folk)
Rep: 4
Fit: 4
Pep: 5
Sav: 2
Sci: 2

Fame: 30
Notoriety: 0

Escort (Pep) Companion (advantages in knowing how to duel, play 
instruments, whatever)

And finally, the "Tenth Character"

Serenity
Fighterlike
Hull: 5 (basis of crew size, 'build points,' and cargo capacity)
Speed: 10 (how fast you accelerate)
Engine: 6 (how many times you can accelerate before running out of 
propellant or fuel)
Complexity: 4 (sensors, computers, and ECM)
Armor: 3 (how hard you can be hit and live)
Mobility: 3 (how quickly you can change facing)

I'm planning on doing some more of these for other things I've got 
models for... maybe some more Firefly characters (the bad guys?), Mass 
Effect characters, Star Wars.... its fun!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Operation Blackjack- 5150 Star Army

So, an update, because its been awhile.

My power's been out for a week or so, and I just got it back... and just before losing power I got in a game of 5150 Star Army... and I remembered to take pictures! Some may remember this as a distant sequel to a small game of 5150 Book 1 I posted to the THW yahoo group almost a year ago... that is, its set in the same universe, at about the same time, during the same war.

In other news, I've been extremely busy in October... so no Winston Brasil adventures, rare playtesting of the Space game (really need a better name for that...), but there's been a little progress, and things are starting to settle down again.

Anyway, here's the batrep...


LOCATION:
The Andromeda Galaxy, Paradise Sector, within the Twin Suns Emipre.
TancoKrav, an approximately Earth sized planet with one moon that is 
also inhabited- Shiloh.
This fight takes place on Shiloh, which is pretty much the quintessential American Southwest Desert Planet. water is fairly scarce, plants are mostly small shrubs, and the ground is a dusty red. 



SITUATION:
For the past 15 years, TancoKrav has been having a religious movement, 
The True Word of Boris the Prophet, sweep across its lands. 5 years 
prior to the war, the majority of TancoKravians had converted, and 
they established a theocracy, headed by Boris Masia, the Prophet.

TancoKrav had been a protectorate of the Twin Suns Empire for nearly a 
century, and had been a vital resource and trade partner. The TSE 
viewed the declaration of a new government that did not accept 
advisors from the TSE as an act of rebellion, and issued an ultimatum 
to the new government, telling them to stand down, dismantle their 
military, and submit to TSE rule; this time without the benefit of 
autonomous rule.

The TancoKravians responded by blowing up the TSE embassy in their 
capital, and prepared for war.

That was 20 months ago.

Quickly the TSE realized that they could win with the help of the 
Shilohs, who had declared their independence from TancoKrav as soon as 
TK had established its theocracy. The Shiloh had always been fiercely 
independent, and though some Shiloh (relatively few) had converted to 
the new religion, none wanted to be run by TK in the first place, let 
alone by a non-democratic government.

Shiloh itself is a rough frontier world. It has a fairly low 
population, but the rough lifestyle and relatively frequent rebellions 
against whoever their current ruler is has resulted in a good 
population for fighting wars. They don't like the TSE, but they prefer 
the relatively distant and relaxed rule that TSE would grant them than 
to be imperialized by TK's dictatorship, and so have allied themselves 
with the TSE.



TIME:
1730, local time. The 26 hour day of Tancokrav was the basis of timekeeping on Shiloh, but as a show in independence Shiloh has adopted the "Empire Standard 24 hour day." As a moon, times and dates are often skewed by the orbit of Tancokrav and Shiloh itself. In short, this battle takes place from about sunset to the end of twilight.



DATE:
The far future. About nine years before Sgt. Llewellyn became a space 
pirate captain.



WEATHER: The sky is a swirling mix of light blue, gold, purple, and red. Shiloh is known for its beauty, especially around sunrise and sunset. There are a few clouds in the sky. Soldiers have clear LOS at this time, as it is still light and there isn't enough moisture for fog or rain at the moment. It is winter currently, and the temperature is 53ºF, slowly dropping as the sun descends.


SCENARIO: After heavy back and forth fighting on Tancokrav, the Twin Suns Empire and Shiloh seemed near victory. Suddenly, however, it seemed that TK got an influx of weapons, soldiers, and much better supplies. The TSE and Shiloh quickly lost ground on TK itself, and by the 18 month mark of the war TK was ready to bring the fight to the enemy.


The key to planetary invasion is to establish aerospace superiority over a large enough area that you can transport troops without fear of being shot down. Even then, cost is extremely high, and the enemy doesn't need to pay for anything other than boots. Fortunately for the attacker, even a single ship can rain extremely heavy fire down upon any large troop movements, which essentially puts both sides in the position of fighting guerilla warfare. Shiloh is also fairly low in population, so many of Tancokrav's enemies are also being shipped in from even greater distance. 


Tanco Krav has set up in a mountainous area of Shiloh, with their base of operations essentially being in a valley surrounding on all sides by 3 mountains. Heavy AA cover coordinated by listening posts deeper in TSE territory mean that Twin Suns soldiers are forced to climb treacherous cliffs while under mortar and sniper fire. 


3 days ago, the Twin Suns Empire was able to bring a passing battleship into the system. The ship was in transit back towards the TSE's interior sectors, and staying any longer than 2 weeks would upset the New Macedonians (who are a rising power in Paradise Sector), but at least the Tancokrav spaceships are grounded during this time to prevent the battleship from picking them off at long range with its lasers. 


This provided an opportunity for the Twin Suns Empire to try to get rid of the Tancokrav beachhead on Shiloh.


Two thousand of Shiloh and Twin Suns Empire troops surround the mountain area, and start special forces squads are sent out on recon, supported by the mechanized Shiloh Rough Riders and Twin Suns Empire Marines close by. Though the Tancokravians are outnumbered, most of the Twin Suns Empire troops are kept back until these first strikes establish a foothold on the mountains.


OBJECTIVE: 
Recon the area with Twin Suns Special Forces and then clear it with mechanized infantry.


TERRAIN:


Seen here are some of the foothills of the three mountains, the outskirts of Tancokrav's control. 
The area shown is about 150 by 225 yards. In the North West corner of the area there is a small visible outpost, but its much larger underground. It dates back to Shiloh's earliest colonial era. 


As can be seen, the ground is uneven, providing lots of cover. (I'm using 'true LOS,' including soldiers blocking LOS, for the first time in a long time... it REALLY enhanced the game! Made squad tactics much more important).


The ruins on the Eastern side of the table are of suspected Precursor origin, as it is unknown how they got there. They have not been studied.


The TSE Special Forces team is walking in on the South East corner of the table. This being one of the largest gaps into the valley that contains most of the TK forces, the area is likely to be crawling with TK patrols.


THE FORCES:
TWIN SUNS AND SHILOH JOINT FORCE:
TSE Marines with their IFV

Shiloh Rough Riders with their Traveller transport.

In the distance-- Twin Suns Empire Special Forces
The Marines and Rough Riders are all Rep: 4. Marines use Star Army stats and HBA while Rough Riders use PDF. Sgt. Llewellyn leads the Rough Rider squad, and is Rep 5. 

The Marines are led by Sgt. Marcus Chen, who is Rep 4.

The TSESF are all Rep 6 (rolled on the ISS table) with Exo Armor and Rapid Fire Laser. They are led by Captain Jailus Ban Rabia. Second in command (and the grenade launcher) is Ed "Sue" Seward. The team is filled out by Tami Nai'Ho and Jake Nordehaus. They all have "Stealth" which makes them invisible at 36" and invisible at 12" if stationary (and prone or in concealment). Enemy also always has -1 Rep on in sights at range beyond 12" regardless of circumstances.

The IFV has a light projectile cannon and HMG, while the Traveller has a rocket launcher and light beam cannon.

TANCOKRAV FORCES:

Unknown.

WHAT HAPPENED:

Rust colored sand swirls low to the ground in the slight wind, disturbing the small shrubs that barely eke out an existence on Shiloh's rough landscape.

A Viatsi lying in the slight shadow lifts his hooded head and looks around. As he moves his red hood and dark armor become distinguished from the ground, as if the Viatsi had just emerged from the ground.

"Break is over. Fan out and prepare to move North." He whispers with a slight accent into his comms. Three more figures grow from the ground as they sit up into a crouch. "Look alive, this place is crawling Tancokravians."


"Alright, let us move."

"Captain Rabia, ruins to the North." Seward says.
"Nordehaus, follow me to the ruins. Seward, Nai'Ho, cover us."

Captain Rabia looks around, "We are going to move North another hundred yards or-"
"Contact West!" Nordehaus' voice cuts over the comms.

"Looks like a squad o' T-K's... they can't see us." He adds.
"Wait a moment... I am seeing some movement just North of those Tancokravians." Rabia says.

"This is strange...  not a Tancokravian uniform..." He turns a dial on the side of his goggles and the zooms in on the distant figure walking across the desert. "Red and black..."
"We've got a few more to the North... heavy infantry with laser rifles." Sue cuts in.
"Red and black... Perhaps they are mercenaries?" Nai'Ho suggests.
"CONTACT NORTH! IFV! Everyone get down!" shouts Sue as a small IFV roars into view just a few dozen yards to the North of the special forces. 

"Adaina..." grunts Nai'Ho as he throws himself against the wall. 
"Seward we've been spotted, take it out!"Rabia shouts.
The IFV's turret turns towards the squad as Seward leans out from cover and aims the grenade launcher. Bullets impact the wall and ground all around the squad as the IFV's attached infantry open up at their unseen foes, and the IFV starts spraying bullets from its HMG just to try to pin the squad down. 
Seward pulls the trigger. the surface of the IFV explodes, but the vehicle appears to be undamaged.
"Armor's too thick, sir!" 
"This is Bravo-3, we need assistance!" 
"Brech Ate Adaina..."
"Stay down!"
The IFV pulls back a bit behind a small hill crest while its infantry get cover themselves after seeing the grenade blast.
Tancokravian Mechanized Infantry take cover.
Sgt. Llewellyn listens to the transmissions. "Alright, Plan B. Time to get over there." He signals the Traveller pilot to move in for a quick landing south of the TSESF position.

The Tancokravian soldiers scramble for cover as the Traveller rises up over the mesa. One shoots a rocket that just barely misses the Traveller, which responds with a beam that blasts the soldier to pieces. Bullets whiz around the Traveller as it lands. 
"Sergeant, that's a hot L-Z. Good luck with the T-K's!" shouts the pilot over the din of battle.

Sgt. Llewellyn leaps out of the transport and is immediately angered at the choice of LZ. Leave it to a Twin Suns pilot to choose a kill zone, he thinks.

Bullets whiz around the Rough Riders, who take cover along the crest of the mesa and respond with as much fire as they can put out. 
"Where are the Marines? We need help clearing this LZ!"

"Hold in there Sgt. Llewellyn, we're on our way."Sgt. Chen says.
The Rough Riders, limited by the tight mesa tip they are stuck on, are only able to get a few of their men to fire at any one point, due to blocking their own sight. Still, the two SAWs are able to make the T-K's think twice about responding. One T-K is shot through the chest, but the bullets hitting him look no different than the poofs of red dirt thrown up by the other impacts.

The zooming sound of a moving vehicle cut through the gunfire.

Pvt. Joens pushed his upper body up to look. "Gareth, look's like the calvary's done arrived!"
The rhythmic booming sound of an autocannon shook the battlefield as the IFV tore the Tancokravians at the base of the mesa to shreds.

"Woohoo!" 
"Hell yeah!"
"Say it again!"
"Yeehaw!"

The collective elan of the Rough Riders shines despite the dirt covering their coats.
Red and Black armored soldiers, about to ruin someone's day.

Tancokravians in firefight with Rough Riders (seen at the far end on the hill)
One of the Rough Riders gets thrown back by a laser rifle's impact on the ground.
 "Damn!" he cries as he clutches a hurt arm.
Llewellyn poked his head up to look at the fairly distant IFV that seemed to be the main source of fire.
"Chen, take out that IFV, 150 yards North."
"Standby."
"Brace yourself..."

Boomshakalaka.
The IFV explodes in a poof of smoke and the soldiers in cover behind it are knocked over by the force, but start getting back up and rolling back into cover immediately.

"That's a kill. We're going to disembark now, Llewellyn, give us cover." Chen says through the comms.

The Red and Black soldiers run to engage the Marines and Rough Riders, and open up on them with Rapid Fire Lasers and Grenades.

"Damn, these guys are a step up!"
Two Rough Riders are knocked out by the heavy fire.
Sgt. Llewellyn pulls one of the injured back from the firing line and crawls forward, aims carefully, and fires a three round burst into one of the soldiers. Though dust and sparks were kicked up by the impact, the man barely seemed to notice the impact. 
"Shit, they've got armor. This is up to you, Chen!"
"Don't worry, we're engaging."
Though the coordinated laser fire of the marine squad was able to make a few of the armored soldiers duck back and take slight wounds, they were unable to take any out. But the fire on the Rough Riders lessened.

Meanwhile, the Special Forces were still taking heavy fire, but the line of Tancokravians at the hill crest were mostly armed with small arms that could not penetrate their armor, so the special forces decided to go on the offensive, and were able to push back the enemy squad except a single SAW gunner and one injured soldier who didn't have a friend to carry him. While the mechanized infantry fell back to some rocks a dozen meters back, the heavy infantry with lasers moved up on the Eastern flank to try to go in for the kill... meanwhile, some Red Hats, elite Tancokravian religious infantry, appeared to the Northwest and made the special forces squad duck back into the ruins.

Braving the laser fire, Nai'Ho and Nordehaus move up with cover fire from Seward and Captain Rabia. They hide behind the hill crest formerly used by the T-K soldiers. The heavy T-K infantry move up on both sides, with cover fire from the Red Hats. 

The heavy infantry and SAW gunner nod to one another and pop up over the crest, but the Special Force's quick reaction times allow them to gun down or suppress all of them.... but Nai'Ho is hit by a bullet from the SAW that penetrates his armor, and he goes down.
"I am hit! G'argh.... I can not move my leg!"

Meanwhile, the Red Hats' fire blows off a chunk of wall that falls on Seward...
"Sue!" shouts Rabia as he runs over to help him up. 
"I'll be alright," says Seward as he stands, "But I'll need help walking."

Meanwhile, in the firefight between the Red and Black soldiers and the TSE forces, the TSE Marines are starting to take some slight injuries. The Red and Black soldiers recognize that their line is collapsing, however, and start to fall back, carrying their injured and collecting as much of their materiel as possible, as if trying to avoid identification.

"About time!" Shouts Chen over the comms, as his unit changes position to get a better view of infantry assaulting the Special Forces' position.

"Alright, everyone back on the transport! We got them with their tails between their legs..." Sgt Llewellyn says as he waves his men back into the Traveller, carrying three wounded on stretchers.

The Traveller takes off, zooming North and shooting at the Red Hats the whole way-- the other Tancokravian forces were all falling back, but Red Hats never retreat.


The Red Hats, hopelessly outgunned, are quickly massacred by the beam cannon's deadly rays. 



The remaining T-K's, huddled together behind cover with many injured, establish a base of fire to let most of them fall back, and before long they have all run back into the valley.

Silence came slowly.
The sky started becoming dark.
There is only the cold sound of dark desert winds and the rare sound of very distant gunfire.
"That's all she wrote." Llewellyn says calmly into the comms.
Rabia responds, "Yes, no more Tancokravians in the area. Lets set up positions and wait for the dawn assault."
"Hell," grunts Llewellyn, "I'm fixin' to catch some shut eye before that."