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. 


  1. Thanks for the batrep, Joe. I enjoyed the story that emerged from your gameplay.

  2. Another great AAR of Fringe Space. Do you have a rough idea of when the rules will be available? I'm planning a campaign using 5150 NB but Fringe Space looks like a better fit for what I have in mind.

  3. Not really; at this point it is basically in line for editing, getting a cover, etc. I'd guess sometime before summer, but its hard to say.

  4. You can always start with New Beginnings and then add Fringe Space once its published.

  5. Sounds like a plan. The space and trading based stuff will be happening later in the storyline, the opening scenario I have planned will be fully on the ground. Fringe Space is looking really good Joe. Keep up the good work.

  6. Thanks for the encouragement; sometimes I worry that Fringe Space may be appealing to only a very small subestof SF gamers, but then I remember that for those gamers it is, IMO, the best and most complete game of its type. If even one person plays Fringe Space and feels the same way then my goals have been accopmlished.

  7. Reading through all your FS posts and I have to say, I'm really excited about this rule set!

    I am starting up a NB campaign... and now I need Fringe space too!

    I have a bunch of 15mm figures... and I've always liked spaceship minis (I have a ton of gzg ones) but not too big into large battles.

    What kind of table size should I plan for for the space battles?

    Great stuff, and keep up the good work and posts! :)

  8. For my games, table size depends a lot on the size of the models.

    With GZG (which I mostly use, especially the smaller models) I use cm for all measurements... using half inches would work just as well. I find that this works well for giving a lot of space to play in but it also means that even your longest range engagements won't be shooting even close to across my little table (which is only about 3'x4').

    For more standard table sizes/larger ships inches are a better option and then I'd expect players to be playing on 6x4 or larger. Even then the ranges will tend to be a bit longer on the table, but thats alright.

    All that really matters is that everything fits on the table. Usually that means that at the start of an engagement you'll want at least 60 "units" in length and width, regardless of what those units are. The only time the table edge really matters is if you are trying to run away or chase someone. Other than that situation, you'll usually end up engaging on some portion of the table and the rest is used as maneuver room... if for some reason you really need to "shift" the table because something is going to move off the table by a little bit and it isn't part of a pursuit, you can do that, but I've only had to do that once and it was before the pursuit rules were in place.

    1. That sounds perfect... thanks for the explanation. I'll be using the same minis (maybe some BFG stuff I have too) so it looks like i'll have plenty of room!