Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Beowulf Adventures, Part 2

For Part 1 of our Tale and a more in depth look at the campaign rules:

Entering: Asteroid Blues (the original saloon that the rest of the station was built off of). It uses Gentleman’s Club from New Beginnings. (Pop 4 for PEFs, L2 for resolution... its night time in a seedy club, not the nicer part of the station).  There is 1 Enemy Point in this encounter...

Dolan Popeo-Merc- Rep 5 Fit 4 Pep 2 Sav 3 Sci 0. Ballistic Vest/MP. Resilient.

Asteroid Blues is now a fairly large wheeled space station that mostly uses spin gravity. Originally it was merely an asteroid cargo drone with a jury rigged habitat spinning around it on a tug’s cable. While the habitat remains as Asteroid Blues, the original saloon, the rest of the station that grew around it is considerably larger. Still, Asteroid Blues forms the central core, and Bubba has retained power over the station both through owning all rights to attaching a station segment and also refusing to let any rival bars open.

Time to get those kidnappers and slave traders.

Resolves an automatic PEF in the entrance:

Barney “Bubba Blue” Bhargava- Dropout- Rep 5 Fit 3 Pep 4 Sav 5 Sci 0. BAP/Shotgun. Initiative

Bubba Blue, a middle aged ex-asteroid miner and founder of Asteroid Blues, greeted the crew of Beowulf as they came through the airlock. Wearing a large grey cowboy hat, longcoat, and a dull purple helmetless spacesuit beneath, he stood behind a counter with a security scanner, cash register, and a revolver. The butt of an old shotgun was sticking out from under his coat. His eyes came up from the security scanner’s screen to see Beowulf’s well armed crew.

“I don’t need a scanner to see that battlesuit, son.” he said to Alex Dempson.
Sam took out a Ceres-issued warrant. “We’re on official business. You’re technically harboring a fugitive.”
“If you don’t want any trouble you’ll let us pass, weapons included.” Yosi added.
“Hey now, I’m just a small business owner. I don’t want any trouble with fugitives or”- he gestured at Yosi Par- “hit squads and”- he pointed at Sam-”overpaid cowboys... but this institution has a simple rule: you want in, you don’t get to carry any long arms or wear anything heavier than a light vacc suit.”
Sam put his hands up in a show of defeat. “Alright, we don’t got no right to infringe on your saloon, ‘s’long as you promise to make sure that these fugitives are held in the brig until Ceres picks them up.”
“Fair deal, I don’t want to anger any law abiding customers.”
“Yosi, Alex, Sera, lose the rifles.”
Alex took of his helmet after putting his assault rifle in a locker. “Suit off, too?”
Bubba Blue nodded. “I’m afraid I have to be sure that Old Betsy”- he tapped his shotgun-” and I can handle any disagreements on the dance floor.” Alex looked at Sam. Sam nodded as well. Alex removed his suit.
Sam took a photograph out of his pocket and showed it to Bubba Blue. “This is the lone good photograph we have of a face. Recognize him?”
Bubba immediately nodded. “Yep, he’s upstairs in a private room with some buddies. You can get there through the elevator that way (he pointed to the door leaning into the dance hall, behind his counter) or up the stairs to the left.  
“Much appreciated.”

(Resolving the PEF now as we know about them from Bubba Blue).They’re Criminals  There are 6:
Ben Cho Ganger Rep 3 Fit 3 Pep 2 Sav 0 Sci 0 Pistol Cruel (surrendered)
Ken Cho Ganger Rep 5 Fit 5 Pep 4 Sav 3 Sci 0 Machine Pistol Brawler (Fights)
Tony Dodge Ganger Rep 5 Fit 5 Pep 3 Sav 4 Sci 0 Pistol Slow to React (fights)
Grenda Waters Ganger Rep 4 Fit 4 Pep 3 Sav 2 Sci 0 Pistol Poser (surrendered)
Boris Yitsar Ganger Rep 3 Fit 3 Pep 2 Sav 1 Sci 0 Pistol Attractive (Fights)
Denny Kraza Dropout/Pilot Rep 3 Fit 1 Pep 2 Sav 4 Sci 0 Pistol Lucky Bastard (fights)

PEFs move.

Alex turned to face the rest of the crew. “Alright, we’ve got two points of entry but we have to time this properly. Sam and I will wait in the elevator. Yosi, Brian, and Sarah will head up the stairs and wait outside the private room. We’ll go in at the same time for optimal surprise.”
The crew head through the door into the dancehall. Two couples dance to some mid-tempo rockabilly blues fusion song. Tonight didn’t have a live show. Two spacers sat at a table to the right, and two more at a table to the left, with a set of stairs running up just next to their table. Ahead was a door into the kitchen area. Trying to get to their target quickly, the crew cuts their way through the dancers; one group to the stairs, one group to the door to the right of the kitchen that should lead to the elevator.
Alex spoke to Yosi over comms. “keep moving quickly, we’re going to call the elevator.”
Yosi, Brian, and Sarah made their way up the stairs, past a lonely looking Viatsi woman with her helmet off but still in her space suit and onto a retractable little stage; when Asteroid Blues had live performers, they’d bring the stage down so that the dance hall would still have room for dancers but they could pull it up when they didn’t need it. Alex and Sam made sure their weapons were loaded as the elevator descended to them.
Unbeknownst to our heroes, One of the spacers downstairs stood up from his table, felt his holstered machine pistol, and headed for the stairs.
Yosi opened the door to an empty room with a table in it and a single door on the left. Through that door were the targets. “We’re waiting for you.”
“Just got in the elevator,” Sam responded.
Sarah and Yosi got behind the table and aimed their weapons towards the door while Brian slowly approached the door’s controls. Suddenly the door to their left opened , revealing a rough looking face and the barrel of a weapon it was aiming. “Yosi, you bastard, its time you done payed up!”
“What the-?” Sarah shouted. Almost instinctively, without aiming, she fired. The laser blasted a small hole in the wall just to the left of the spacer’s head. Within the same moment, the flinching spacer and Yosi fired at each other. The spacer’s bullets flew through the room and as he tried to hit all 3 of Beowulf’s crew, but they did nothing but damage the walls and the table.It was no wonder; in the same moment that the spacer started firing, Yosi’s first shot went through his head. The spacer fell dead, still firing, until his clip was empty.
There was a moment of shocked silence.
Sera quickly whispered, uselessly, into the communicator. “Cover’s blown! We just got in a random gunfight right outside their door!”
“Yeah, we heard! What the Hell?” Sam shouted back into the comms.  Just then the elevator door opened on the six shocked slave traders, all facing towards the gunfire... away from the elevator. Only Dempson, ex-Marine, was able to get to his senses quickly enough to fight.
“Surrender! Drop your weapons! NOW!” Two of the criminals threw down their weapons. Three more turned with guns drawn, and another started fumbling for his pistol. Alex started firing, as did the leader of the criminals. Both opened up with machine pistols. The ganger, in his surprise, had forgotten that his weapon wasn’t loaded. Alex sent a bullet into him and into the hardened pirate next to him. Though Sam was slow to react, the two criminals left standing were even slower. One was struggling to pull his gun from its holster while the other was still turning. Sam sent a large bullet into the gun arm of the the armed one who went down crying in pain while the clumsy one was shot right through the gut.
As the gut-wounded pirate kept trying to draw his weapon, Sam went up and stepped on his arm, aiming at his head. “Thats a nasty wound, feller. Best you let the prison infirmary heal you up.”
Sam proceeded to disarm the other wounded pirates while Yosi, Sarah, and Brian secured the surrendered criminals.
“Good work, everyone,” Sam said as he picked up a wounded ganger to be carried to the infirmary. “looks like we killed the leader but Ceres’ll be might happy with getting these slavers in prison. Maybe’ll find out where they’ve been taking the slaves. Send ‘em back home.”
“Nice thought.” Yosi said. “We get paid?”
“Soon enough,” Said Alex. “Sam, I could’ve sworn you were going to get shot again. It took you about ten seconds to realize we were in a gunfight.”
“Again?” Sarah cut in, “Don’t you worry Sam, I’ll keep on patchin’ you up.”
“I just took down six slavers with my crew. Same as the only folks who don’t respect me after a kind thing like that, I reckon,” Sam laughed.
“Aren’t you all forgetting something?” Brian said irritably. “What was up with that gunman, Yosi? Who the Hell is after you?” There was agreement from the rest of the crew.
“Well,” Yosi said, “Thats a whole story in itself...”
(Mid Late January over, onto Late January).
(May add a few pics later but I only took one or two and my Khurasan indoor terrain is not painted yet).

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Beowulf's Adventures, Part 1

Samuel Fresco (Age 34, Free Trader and Navy) XP: 2
Contact Points: 5 Enemy Points: 2

QRS: Mercenary/Star Army Personality: Normal Pragmatic/Code(Job)
Attributes: None (Former Drunk).

Proficiencies: Pilot (Hull 5-2, Hull 3), Ship’s Crew (Sensor-2, Navigation, Engineer, Gunnery), Soldier (Marine-2).
Fame: 4 Notoriety: 0
Resources: BAP
Rep: 4
Fit: 3
Pep: 4
Sav: 4
Sci: 2

Alexander Dempson (Age 28, Star Army) XP: 2
Contact Points: 1 Enemy Points: 0
QRS: Mercenary/ISS            Personality: Normal
Attributes: Rage, Nerves of Steel, Born Leader
Proficiencies: Soldier (Marine-2, Grunt-2, Tactics, Vehicle, Recon, Commando), Technical (Electronics-2, Mechanical)
Fame: 3 Notoriety: 1
Resources: Hard Body Armor (Full Suit), Assault Rifle.
Rep: 5
Fit: 4
Pep: 2
Sav: 1
Sci: 0

Sarah Resnik (Age 26, Navy) XP: 2
Contact Points: 3 Enemy Points: 0
QRS: Mercenary/PDF Personality: Tribal Pragmatic
Attributes: Steely Eyes, Attractive
Proficiencies: Technical (Electronics-2), Computers (Hacking-2, AI-2), Soldier (Grunt), Ship’s Crew (Engineer-3)
Fame: 1 Notoriety: 0
Resources: Laser Pistol
Rep: 3
Fit: 3
Pep: 3

Sav: 3
Sci: 3

Yosi Par (Age 35, Free Trader) XP: 2
Contact Points: 2 Enemy Points: 3

QRS: Merc/Star Army           Personality: Selfish Pragmatic
Attributes: Slow, Cruel
Proficiencies: Soldier (Marine), Free Trader (Smuggling-2, Markets-2), Criminal (Bribery), Technical (Electronics), Ship’s Crew (Engineer), Pilot (Hull 2), Streetwise (Underworld).
Fame: 0 Notoriety: 3
Resources: Assault Rifle, BAP
Rep: 4
Fit: 3
Pep: 4
Sav: 3
Sci: 3

Dr. Brian Sera (Age 27 Doctor) XP: 2
Contact Points: 0 Enemy Points: 0
QRS: LWC Personality: Altruist
Attributes: Logical, Poser
Proficiencies: Ship’s Crew (Navigation-2), Doctor (Medicine-2, Surgery), Pilot (Hull 2), Scholar (Culture).

Fame: 2 Notoriety: 0
Resources: SA Rifle, Pistol
Rep: 2
Fit: 3
Pep: 2
Sav: 2
Sci: 4

Lightning Bug Class Freighter
Hull 5
Speed 10
Engine 15 (15)
Systems 4
Armor 6
Mobility 4
5x Crew/Cargo (5 Supplies)(5 Cargo/Supply Spaces) (5(4) Open Crew Spaces)

Current Wealth Points: 52
Monthly Costs: 15 Wealth Points

Relationships Table

Sam F. 4Alex D. 2Sarah R. 3/4Yosi P. 4Dr. Sera 2
Sam F. 4Norm. Prag.AcquaintanceCoop FriendAnt. RivalAcquaintance
Alex D. 2AcquaintanceNormalAcquaintanceAcquaintanceAcquaintance
Sarah R. 3/4Coop FriendAcquaintanceTribal Prag.AcquaintanceAcquaintance
Yosi P. 4Ant. RivalAcquaintanceAcquaintanceSelfish Prag.Acquaintance
Dr. Sera 2AcquaintanceAcquaintanceAcquaintanceAcquaintanceAltruistic

The Following Campaign segment (I cut it off at the point that I finished yesterday... I played for about 2.5 hours, including the combat, setting up the campaign, etc). The previous weekend I had set up the map and the characters which ultimately took an hour and a bit, but (as I'll note further down) this was largely because I chose to go for more complexity than I normally would to have more chances to show off the Star rules and such.

Though I've been running a relatively slow moving PBEM campaign to test the campaign rules, I decided that running my own solo campaign parallel to that PBEM campaign would be a better playtest and would also be a better look at the game to 5150 fans.

I've opted to go "full complexity." Characters on a ship are all accounted for and treated as PCs (ie they have Contacts and Enemies, they had their proficiencies rolled in an interactive character life path system, etc). I'm using the Flight Sim Movement rules, which are harder to master than Simple Vector or Cinematic. I'm using all the bells and whistles to see what that looks like, as opposed to an approach that I've used many times and I expect many THW players use all the time: Just play the game, the rules are just guidelines.

A little background; some of you may remember Beowulf and her  crew from some earlier AARs. These are the same characters, though the system has changed enough since those earlier AARs that I opted to just keep the names and totally regenerate the characters. I did keep the results of earlier interactions (Sarah and Sam are Cooperative Friends, Sam and Yosi don't get along, etc) and tried to keep the characters close in spirit, but the mechanics have changed enough that those original Proficiencies didn't line up with the current ones. 

Last time we saw this crew they were carrying some semi-hijackers towards Ceres, an uninhabitable mining planet in the New Oregon system. This campaign picks up with the crew in orbit of Ceres, having just dropped off the now cautiously friendly pirates with cargo (to help compensate for them losing a ship and being so kind to the crew of Beowulf).

So here's the campaign so far, with everything recorded meticulously (I did this while I played) so that y'all can see how the game plays.

New Oregon; several uninhabitable (but inhabited) mining worlds of various sorts. Not high population, but there is a steady flow of travelers, traders, roughnecks, and criminals through this low key system.
WormGates: New Texas, Juldanta
-Ceres (Frontier Mining* Terrestrial Grav 1 L2 P1)
-Asteroid Blues-Saloon, Dance Hall, and Grill. (Frontier Trade* Space Station Grav 0 L3 P3)
-Asteroid Belt (Frontier Barren Asteroids Grav 0 L1 P3)
-Nevada (Frontier Farming Terrestrial Grav 2 L0 P2)
--Zephyr (Frontier Mining Terrestrial Grav 0 L1 P2)
-Nash (Uninhabited Generator Gas Giant Grav 5)
--Gibson (Frontier Mining Terrestrial Grav 1 L0 P2)
--Moons (Frontier Mining Asteroids Grav 0 L0 P1)
-Perth (Uninhabited Generator Terrestrial Grav 0)
-Three Craters (Frontier Barren* Terrestrial Grav 0 L1 P2)

Early December 590 AEE; Ceres Orbit, New Oregon, Paradise Sector
Offered Interplanetary Mission: Arrest from Ceres Government. Target: Kidnappers at the Asteroid Blues- Saloon, Dance Hall, and Grill. Pay=3x4=12. Intel 4. 

"Looks like some kidnappin' slave traders have been harassing some of the towns here. Ceres wants us to take them into custody on the Asteroid Blues space station." Sam reported from the bridge.
"Sounds like the right thing to do." Alex cut in.
"Sounds right if the pays right," Yosi retorted.
Sarah glared at him, "You owe Sam one for that stunt with Ha-Dam, Yosi."
There was a tense moment. "Aye, fair enough."

Actions Taken:
Traded (Yosi Par):
Buy Prices: (multiply by 1.25 and round up). Smuggling prices in parenthesis.

FoodMaterialMachineryFuel Luxuries
7 (5)4 (2)9 (7)8 (6)8

Look at these bloody prices, Yosi thought. Better to go to the black market and smuggle our goods out.

Successfully Smuggled.
Bought 2 Material (Cost: 6). Also Bought 4 Light Missiles for defense (Costs 2).

"We need some backup weapons," said Sam, "Don't want to get hijacked again."
"Too right," Sarah said, "No matter how friendly the pirates turn out."
Sera performed some rough calculations on a napkin, "Can't afford much more than a few missiles stowed away in cargo unless we want to risk losing all of our money in a bad trade."

Took on 1 Traveller as a passenger, headed for Nevada. (2 Wealth Points Gained).

"Thats a nice ship. I can pay fine coin to ride on it should you take me to Nevada."
"Alright, we're headed that direction anyhow. You traveling alone?" Sam sized up the traveller. he looked safe.
"Yep, just me and my weary old bones. Planning to rejoin some kin back on my home planet. Her atmosphere might not be breathable but the bio-habs are Eden compared to the rest of this system."

Odd Jobs (Dr. Sera helps local physicians, Sarah Resnick helps another crew fix their engine, and Alex Dempson and Sam Fresco provide security at the spaceport.) 4 Wealth Points Gained.

Takes off and flies towards Asteroid Blues (Distance 2, -2 Fuel for taking off and travelling. Travelling at 9” per turn, will spend one turn in transit.
13 Fuel remaining, 29 Wealth Points remaining.

Early Mid December 590 AEE; In Transit from Ceres to Asteroid Blues, New Oregon, Paradise Sector.
Discovered an Uncharted Asteroid. -1 Fuel. Explored; may be Mined. +2 Wealth Points, 8 Cargo Slots of Material Discovered. Dropped two Supplies and took 2 Material. Resumed regular flight: -1 Fuel.
11 Fuel Remaining, 31 Wealth Points Remaining.

Late Mid December 590 AEE; Near Asteroid Blues, New Oregon, Paradise Sector.

Lone Ship Encountered, travelling starboard-port (Perpendicular). 

Fury Class Missile Frigate with 4 MultiRole Fighters. No known affiliation, they do not hail Beowulf.

"Military ships... out this far... not normal for the Twin Suns Empire or the New Macedonians." Dr. Sera noted.
"Probably mercenaries." Said Sarah.
Sam looked at the powerful warships' data on the scanner. "Well, long as they leave us alone..."

Fury Class Missile Frigate Fly 4 Fight 5 Fix 5
Hull 5 Speed 6 Engine 15(11) Systems 6 Armor 6 Mobility 2
2x Heavy Missile (Torpedo)
3x Large Missile (Explosive)
3x Large Missile (Torpedo)
2x Crew/Cargo (2 Supplies/2 Cargo/10 Crew)
Wealth Points: 42 WP

Multi-Role Space Fighter Fly 5 FIght 5 Fix 5 (FIGHTER)

Hull 1 Speed 12 Engine 9 (7) Systems 3 Armor 1 Mobility 5
1x Light Cannon
1x Crew/Cargo (2x Supplies/1 Pilot)
Cost in Wealth Points: 9 WP

As this is our first AAR with this crew in a long while, it should be useful to go over positions:
Sam Fresco- Pilot, Fly 5. Also runs Sensors (Senses with +2 to Systems)
Sarah Resnick- Engineer, Fix 5. Also runs Hacking and Counter-Hacking.

Gunnery: Computer run (with Sam Fresco directing), Fight 4.
For Morale, Alex Dempson is acting Captain, also Fight 4.

1st Turn:
Beowulf gets 3 Actions, Pirates get 1.

All ships are detected.
Beowulf accelerate 7.

Pirates accelerate 6.
Beowulf hacks Fury twice but fails both times.

"Yosi, think they might be pirates?"
"Aye, Sam. Best to assume the worst and attack."
"Too risky," said Alex, "They'll beat us to a pulp, especially at this range."
"I could try hacking. We don't even know if they're planning anything yet, best to play gentle." Sarah responded. She pressed several buttons rapidly. "No... looks like their defenses are too good."
"Best we fly quick to Asteroid Blues..." said Sam.

2nd Turn:Beowulf loses activation, gets 2. Pirates get 2.
Beowulf flips around.
Pirates Drift.

Pirates Sensor Beowulf.
Pirates fire on Beowulf. 3 Light Cannon Hits (no Spec. damage). Hit by 1x Large Torpedo as well.
Beowulf takes evasive action.
Dodges all but 1 cannon hit.
Beowulf takes light damage. Special damage knocks out Yosi Par (but he’s merely knocked down).

"Gotta prepare to dock... time to start slowing down." Same quickly flipped Beowulf over.
Suddenly the loudspeaker was blaring a message from the Fury frigate: "SURRENDER NOW."
A moment later the Fury shot two large torpedoes and the fighters started sending guided munitions from their cannons. Sam managed to dodge most of the hits while Sarah caused a missile to go off track, but Beowulf was still hit by one of the cannon shots. A small missile bullet tore through the hallway Yosi happened to be standing in. He was knocked off balance by the blast but he managed to recover quickly; the atmosphere was kept in by automatic seals.

Next activation: Beowulf wins, 2 Actions. Pirates have 1 Action.
Beowulf accelerates.
Pirates drift.
Beowulf fires all missiles at Fury. 3 missiles hit. 1 special damage gained. Beowulf causes Severe damage and the Fury fails its damage check, exploding. (+21 WP)
Two  of the fighters (in range) initiate a dogfight.

Though disarmed, Beowulf manages to keep the fighters off target with some skilled (and lucky!) piloting.

"They probably think we're unarmed... let them get close." Yosi advised to Sam.
Indeed, the pirates, off guard against a supposedly unarmed civilian ship, pull in close to Beowulf, preparing to fire again if it does not comply rapidly.
Beowulf slows down as it approaches the space station, nearly matching its vector... but also gettting very close to apparently surrendering to the pirates... but then Beowulf unleashes all 4 missiles into the Fury at close range. Shockingly the missiles not only strike true but score massive damage (I rolled 6 for damage on all 3 that hit and then the Fury failed its Damage check)... the Fury exploded into 9 large chunks!

"Nice hit!" Alex called from down the hallway to the cockpit. "We need to check that kill in for a reward once we dock."

The fighters quickly engaged Beowulf in full force but Sam's careful maneuvering managed to keep them from properly targeting.

Beowulf wins next activation, 2 actions. Pirates get 2 as well.
Beowulf flies in for landing, successfully docks with the space station.

With the pirates shocked at having lost their flag ship, Beowulf manages to pull away from the dogfighters and pulls into Asteroid Blues' main hanger.  The pirates decide they stand no chance against an entire space station and instead continue towards Ceres, their original destination.

Beowulf's crew are at their destination... now they just need to bring these slavers into custody. 


Some quick thoughts: Beowulf is doing pretty well monetarily. Its not too likely that Asteroid Blues will be a good place to trade away the Materials that Beowulf has picked up but that depends a lot on Yosi's bargaining abilities. Regardless, its lost a lot of fuel. At best it might be able to travel to one more world before getting more but it would be cutting it close. So even though it looks like I'm doing well I'm actually just about breaking even between killing a pirate, finding an asteroid, and doing some trade... If the mission on Asteroid Blues goes well and I get a good deal for the materials then I'm doing well, but the latter seems unlikely.  Hopefully I can take on a few more passengers on their way to Nevada or some other world thats "on the way." 

I got really lucky in that battle. Not only did  I manage to roll well for not taking much damage (dodge rolls, damage checks, poor shooting for the enemy, etc) but I got super lucky in taking down that Fury. Even then its not usually the best idea for the pirates to attack so close to a station. I also got lucky on activation... my crew was technically slightly worse than the fighters but the Pirates rolled 6 for activation more than once. 

Of course I suppose if it were any different then an unarmed ship would have no chance... even now, if you're caught in open space (not near a destination) by pirates, especially fairly powerful ones, your only real hope is to run and hope someone comes to help you (or that you outlast their engines). That is, of course, expensive in fuel, and if you are smuggling you might end up being caught by the authorities who have come to rescue you.