Thursday, June 10, 2021

Five Parsecs Crew Roster

I've been playing a lot of Five Parsecs From Home in the evenings. 5 Parsecs is a solitaire miniatures game. You control the crew of a small independant spaceship, something like the Serenity or the Millenium Falcon, having episodic adventures (often on the wrong side of the law) over the course of potentially quite lengthy campaign. It's a really fun game, with procedurely-generated narrative and fast-playing combat missions.  I like it a lot.

At the moment, I don't really have table space to keep miniatures and terrain set up, so I'm actually playing on Roll20's virtual tabletop. It was a bit of effort to set up initially, but is working really well now, and helping breathe a second life into maps I had already made for my various online RPG campaigns.

Here's my current crew:

5 Parsecs Crew Roster

I started with 6 characters. I chose to have a robot, and then the other 5 were all rolled up at random. They worked out to 2 normal humans, 1 human "hopeful rookie" special character type, and 2 primary aliens: a Precursor and a K'Erin. That's pretty close to the default non-random crew build option, which would have been the same except a third "baseline" human instead of the "hopeful rookie".

During character creation, my dice were pretty streaky. Here's a few ways I beat the odds:

Half my crew got random upgrades of +1 Combat Skill, which was a pretty great. Combat Skill is welcome on any character.

About half my characters got random upgrades of +1 Savvy, which I was honestly a little disappointed about. You would much rather have one character with +2 Savvy than 3 characters with +1 Savvy.  You get so few starting upgrades, and it's kind of a shame to see redundancy on the one stat that's not used in fights.

 A few sessions later, I rolled up an event that gave me another crewmate, which was of the Engineer species, which also has a low Toughness, and a high base Savvy, on top of which she got a random Savvy upgrade. I wasn't sure at first if I would keep this character or fire her, because going to 7 crew doubles your upkeep costs with only modest benefits.

We started with 3 Patrons and several Rumors. These are fun little story bumps to get the narrative going, but they're not exactly powerful. They can be hard to leverage into success early on, since the initial offering of Patron Missions they give you are likely to "expire" over time before you can complete them all. 

But then there was the other upside to my swingy streaky die rolls, which more than made up for it. I started with multiple Plasma Rifles. Now, it's not like the Plasma Rifle is the best gun in the game, but it's definitely above average. It's basically a shotgun, but with nearly double the range, and the armor-piercing ability. The range is the important part. Enemy armor didn't really show up in my first few sessions, but in game after game the characters with plasma rifles were able to engage early and often, while other characters tended to get shot-up trying to close the distance.

Speaking of getting shot up, I chose to make my Precursor be my Captain. In the early stages, the Precursor was the character I most expected to die, as that starting Toughness 2 on that species is a real dangerous liability. Your Captain gets a luck point, so it meant a much better chance of her surviving enemy fire. 

I also had The Kid, who was a "Hopeful Rookie". This is a special character type that starts with 1 Luck, and gains bonus XP for every Mission until the first time they end up in the Sick Bay. From then on, they can no longer spend or gain Luck.

Starting Equipment

Starting rolls had been:

  • Low-Tech Weapons: 5:    Shotgun x3    Scrap Pistol    Blade
  • High-Tech Weapons: 3:    Plasma Rifle x2    Infantry Laser
  • Military Weapons: 1:    Boarding Saber
  • Gear: 2:    Steel Boots    Booster Pills
  • Gadget: 1:    Repair Bot


What's in a Name?

Two little things about my character names. 

1) GcViib, H'Xex, Inshubur, Juniper, the Kid, Leonidas, Moreva. GHIJKLM. Why did I do that? Well, over a year ago I played a six-session mini-campaign of the previous edition of 5 Parsecs. One of the things I noticed then was that you write down a lot of notes about which character did what. To simplify the shorthand, my characters in that mini-campaign were Albertus, Bolokon, Carissa, Dirrin, Errice and Francis, so I could just use the first initial of each. It worked well. I considered just rebooting that campaign with the new 3rd Edition rules, but chose to start a new crew because the old version only had Human PCs. 

2) Captain Inshubur is named for a figure from Sumerian Mythology. Ninshubur was "the Queen of Servants", and right hand of the goddess Inanna. So I named their spaceship "The Rhapsody of Inanna". I didn't really have a deep meaning or plan to it at the time, but if I do post my game logs and mission reports here in the near future,  you may notice that I have continued to riff on mythology (especially Mesopotamian mythology) for the names of my Patrons, Rivals, and other NPCs. My crew just fought a battle against hired guns working for AbsuCorp, for example. 

The Rhapsody was randomly generated as a "Unreliable Merchant Cruiser" with 30 Hull Points, and a starting Debt of 24.

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