Saturday, June 15, 2024

Five Parsecs From Home: Campaign Turn 5

Last time we saw our crew, they had to make a decision as to whether or not to stay on Zindox 20 and continue to nurture the relationship they had started with Nethercorp. The problem was that not only were Pirates and K’Erin Outlaws hunting them, but reports of Unity losses to Converted forces seemed to indicate an invasion was immanent. As a consequence, they decided to change scenery, avoid a war, and possibly shake their rivals off their tail.

The trip to the planet of Bargol 3 was relatively uneventful. The random travel event indicated that the crew had time to reflect, which seems to suggest that they took a couple of extra jumps to try and hide their destination from anyone attempting to follow. This stratagem worked, because both the Pirates and K’Erin Outlaws failed to follow the crew to their new port of call. Borgol 3 is a Hospital Planet, which means that any injuries the crew sustains will require less time to heal. This also resulted in Skins managing to Stragically Transfer some Equipment to an Alternate Location in the form of a damaged Pain Suppressor Implant.

The rest of the crew focused on either training or finding work. The latter proved fruitful with two jobs: the first from the Astra Coalition and one from one of the local Hospital Groups. The former was both urgent and better paying, so the crew decidied to do that first.

The crew was tasked with securing a crash site and to determine whether or not there were any survivors. The problem was that the crash happened at the edge of the property of a Unity-controlled facility. The grounds were heavily guarded by merceneries. With lives possibly in the balance, our crew blasted by the mercenery check points and a fire fight ensued. Maggot and Skins tried to get to the crash as the rest of the crew laid down cover fire. While Wither managed to get the first casualty, wounding one of the mercs, both Maggot and Skins found themselves pinned down and Maggot was dangerously close to having to melee with a merc Bruiser armed with a Power Claw (highest damage of any weapon in the game). Cinders rushed forward and managed to get to the crash unscathed. Determining that there were indeed survivors in desperate need of help, he cried out to let everyone know.

Once the mercs realized that our crew was not there to kill them or steal something from the facility, the firefight ended and the survivors were evacuated. Among them was a child which both endeared our crew to the locals (+1 Story Point) and allowed Cinders time to reflect on this new phase of his life as the “dad” of the crew (+2 XP).

We shall have to see if this new notoriety will gain the crew unwanted attention…

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Five Parsecs From Home: Campaign Turn 4

This Campaign Turn saw our crew preparing for a raid on a remote space port which had fallen out of use due the relative difficulty of landing and shipping goods in and out of the location. With other more optimal choice on the planet, the port caught the attention of smugglers and pirates.

According to the data the crew has accumulted, this port somehow has ties to the Sector Government and possibily beyond. Thus, the mission of this turn was to acquire some kind of data storage unit which could expose those involved.

Upon arrival, the crew found themselves badly outnumbered. Additionally, the pirates had been tipped off that the crew might be coming and a Bounty Tracker had been brought in to bolster their numbers. Fortunately, our crew was more resourceful than expected and they were able to Seize the Initiative. In game this allows the crew to take one action before the beginning of the battle, usually to make a move so as to have a tactical advantage. I interpreted this as our crew getting ahold of some old blueprints and exploiting a feature in the port to get much depper into the facility than expected.

Things started slowly, as each side maneuvered into better tactical positions. By the second round, however, the crew’s positional advantage proved fatal. The bounty tracker was the first casualty and when more followed, the pirates began to panic. While they did get a few shots in, none of the pirate’s efforts were able to penetrate the crew’s toughness. In the meantime, Skins was able to secure the data storage device without issue and made his way off the board.

In the end, the pirates were driven off and the crew found more than what they were expecting. The data they managed to secure revealed a syndicate of various criminal organizations (including the K’Erin Outlaws responsible for the deathe of Wither’s family). Currently, this syndicate is targeting Nethercorp, a sector-wide corporation with a local headquarters. While there is enough evidence to suggest that the power behind this syndicate is somewhere in the Unity Government, more investigation is necessary.

After some deliberation, the crew decided to share some of their findings with Nethercorp, giving them another Patron, at least on this world (Zindox 20). Unfortunately, news feeds are full of high casulaties of Unity Forces tasked with protecting the system from invasion. In game this means any future rolls for Invasion will be at +2. In addition, they have also heard rumblings that the pirates they fought this turn are out for revenge. Thus, the beginning of next turn will bring with it some serious choices.

Monday, June 3, 2024

Five Parsecs From Home: Campaign Turn 3

Note: I am going to lean a little more into mechanics with this post, because the mechanics played such a key roll in determining the narrative of this Campaign Turn.

Having just been reprimanded by Maggot for being duped into making him an assassin and tool for the corruption rampant within the Unity government, the rest of the crew has decided to rally around what brought them together in the first place: their common belief that they can make a difference.

Over the course of character creation and the first two turns, the crew has gathered several Rumors and Quest Rumors. The former determine whether or not Quests are available as options during Campaign Turns and the latter determine how close you are to completing the Quest. I rolled that a Quest was available for Turn 2 but decided to opt for the Sector Government job because it had good pay, allowed the party to automatically avoid an unplanned fight with K’Erin Outlaws (a Rival), and there was a time frame within which the job had to be completed. The narrative consequence of Maggot being unavailable this turn happened due to a post-battle roll.

So, the crew is going to pursue the Quest this turn and their pre-battle choices reflect this. The major occurrence during this preparation stage was what I am going to call the “accidental” recruitment of Pint:

While in game I chose to use Wither’s pre-battle turn to recruit a new crew member so I had five characters to go on the mission, the result of the rolls provided for an interesting way of describing how that came about. Pint is a modified human called a Hulker. The game describes them as

Bulging with muscles and rage, these Human gene-mods are perfect for hauling, crushing, and breaking. Or hauling things that need to be crushed or broken.

Additionally, Hulkers are unable to grasp the more technical aspects of the game. For example, they cannot have Technician, Scientist, or Hacker as Classes and their Combat Skill cannot be applied to shooting, only brawling.

The planet that the crew is currently on has a trait called “Technical Knowledge” which allows a +1 on all Repair rolls. Thus, it didn’t make much sense for a Hulker to be present. So I rolled up a Motivation from charcter creation. This isn’t normally done with recruited characters, so there was no mechanical benefit. I was just looking for some narrative clarity. The result was Loyalty. This suggested that Pint was on this world because of his loyalty to a company, a contract, or a person. Since he was available to join the crew, that means this loyalty was abused.

Narratively, I imagine that Wither committed a random act of kindness, buying a meal for what looked like a down and out guy who had been shafted by the system. This triggered Pint’s need for loyalty, which he immediately shifted to Wither. Like a stray dog, he started to follw her around. Initially creeped out by this, Wither tried to lose him in a crowded bar; however, in her hurry to get away from Pint, she bumped into the drink of someone who was perfectly happy to enetrtain themselves with some fistacuffs. It was at this point that the “accidental” recruitment happened. Pint caught up with Wither and assessing the situation declared that anyone wanting to fight Wither had to have a conversation with his fists first, because Wither was his friend. Thus, Pint was now officially part of the crew whether or not anyone wanted it.

The mission for the battle of this Campaign Turn was Defend. This seemed odd until I rolled up the opponent: Security Bots. Thus, I interpreted that the mission as a raid on a secret government facility. In process the crew had to hold their position long enough to download the information they needed to find out the location of the final step of their Quest. In addition, there was a Deployment Condition (Brief Engagement) that suggested that they further had a limited amount of time before overwhelming reinforcements arrived.

It was a rough battle. The Security Bots have a high Toughness and an Armor Save. So, they survived several hits. On the flip side, our crew also got hit several times, but their Toughness proved to be enough. In the end, the superior weapons of the crew proved too much, punching through the Toughness of the Bots when weapons with less damage would not. Pint proved his worth by going toe-to-toe with one of the bots for a couple of rounds, finally getting the better of the exchange on the last turn. Thus, the crew got what they came for.

Satisfied by what the crew accomplished during the turn, Maggot is now motivated to get back to what the crew does best; however, in the post battle part of the turn, Cinders was put into the Sick bay and will not be available next turn. Apparently, he was doing some upkeep on the ship and something went catastrophically wrong. The ship took 1 Hull damage in process.