Saturday, July 31, 2021

Have To See A Bot About A Dog (5 Parsecs Turn 12)

Mission 12

 This is a step-by-step breakdown of the twelfth Campaign Turn and Mission in my Five Parsecs From Home campaign.

This Turn's battle was great fun. The mission was just plain bonkers: our long-term Patron the Fellowship of Temporal Philosophers hired us to take out some rampaging War Bots, that had ended up running some strange viral emotional software. The Bots swapped personality programs mid-battle, called in other robots for help, and, I kid you not, one of the War Bots even had a pet dog. 

Crew names below are often abbreviated G to M, as explained in: Crew Roster, which also tells you about my team and a bit about their ship. See also the Index of my Five Parsecs articles for a list of previous Missions and other content.

1.1 Flee Invasion: - n/a
1.2 Decide Whether to Travel: - nope
1.3 Starship Travel Event: - n/a
1.4 New World Arrival Steps: - n/a

1.5 Gain 1 story point if it's turn 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, etc. - Yes. Brings us back up to 9 Story Points.

2.1 Upkeep and Ship Repairs: -
Crew Upkeep - 2
    Ship Debt - 0
    Ship Repairs - 0
    Medical Care - 0

2.2 Assign and Resolve Crew Tasks: -
Find a Patron -    Train - M    Trade - L, G    Recruit -    Explore - I, J    Track -    Repair Your Kit -    Decoy - K, H

Noteworthy results from Tasks: -

Leonidas gets a Hot Tip that counts as a Quest Rumor. It's our 6th one, so the Quest will be short and successful. It's an old map that points directly at the Xanthous Soul from the 5th Dimension!

Our robot sells a bit of scrap for 1 credit.

Inshubur meets a guru while Exploring, and earns 2 XP. 

Juniper takes a Small Job, basically a 2 credit bounty on 1 random Enemy during this Turn's battle.

Moreva Trains for bonus XP, saving up for some Advanced Training at the end of the Turn.

It's not especially relevant at the moment, but I might as well note now that I've decided to use a variation on the "Slower Progression" rules from the "Difficulty Toggles" PDF available from the designer's official Discord. His version increases the cost of certain Stat bumps by a point or two, and also puts a lower cap on some stats. I like the cost bump, and even kind of feel like it doesn't go far enough because characters become badasses pretty fast. But I don't like the lower caps, because they can cause you to quickly run out of things to spend XP on, and end up with all your PCs having the same maxed-out stat profile. To solve this, I implemented his new higher costs for stats up to the listed new cap. Beyond that, my characters will have to pay double the new cost for each rank of the stat. So, for example, I'm now charging 8 XP to go from Combat 2 to Combat 3, but 16 XP to go from Combat 3 to Combat 4. This will have a lovely ripple effect of also making the Advanced Training options look comparatively better.

2.3 Determine Job Offers: -  Going to go see a Bot about a Dog...

2.4 Assign Equipment: - n/a

2.5 Resolve Rumors: - n/a

2.6 Choose Your Battle -

Patron:  Fellowship of Temporal Philosophers - (Persistant Patron from Turn #8)  Type: Private Organization.  B8+ H8+ C8+   Danger Pay: +3 Credits and when you roll for Mission Pay in Get Paid after the battle, you may roll twice and use the higher of the dice.  Time Frame: Turns 11 to 13.  Hazard: Private Transport (Rivals cannot interfere with us this Turn)  Condition: Reputation Required (We completed another Patron Mission on this planet last turn, so it is unlocked)

Initial deployment. Robots on the right. Our Crew surrounding their Shuttle on the left.


Deployment / Planetary Condition: - Planet-Wide Fog - All shots beyond 8" are -1 to Hit.

Notable Sights:  -

Offered a small job during Exploration - When fighting this campaign turn, select a random enemy figure. If your crew kills them, earn 2 credits. No reward if they run away.

Also, the actual Notable Sight is Priority target: Select a random enemy figure. Add +1 to their Toughness. If they are slain, gain 1D3 credits.

Objective: Fight Off (just Hold the Field)  

Enemy Type:  Hired Muscle:  Sub-Type: War Bots

Numbers: +0    Panic: 0     Speed: 3”     Combat: +1     Tough: 4     AI: A     Weapons: 3C
Fearless: Never affected by Morale.

Robot Body: 5+ Saving Throw.

Hired Muscle: You are -1 to any attempt to Seize the Initiative.

Enemy Count: 

  • 2 regular War Bots with Infantry Lasers,
  • 1 regular with Infantry Laser, that is the target of the Small Job for +2 credits if killed
  • 1 regular with Infantry Lasers, that is Priority Target. Toughness 5, +1d3 credits if killed
  • 1 specialist War Bot with Plasma Rifle,
  • 1 War Bot LT w/ +1CS, Blast Rifle, Blade, and better armor (4+ Saving Throw)  - I decided after the last mission that I'm now going to use the optional rules called "Hit Me Harder" from the Difficulty Toggles PDF. That's why the LT has better Armor.
  • +1 Unique Individual:  Gene-Dog 

Gene Dog  Speed: 6”     Combat: +1     Tough: 4     AI: G     Weapons:  Fangs (Melee, Damage +0)

Enhanced versions of Earth-dog breeds, usually modified to withstand the environment.

Loyal: When owner or Dog moves into a Brawl, it is not resolved until both have had a chance to act. If the owner is slain, the Dog becomes Fearless and remains in place, but attacks anyone that approaches within 8”. If all other enemies are slain or Bailed, it will also Bail.

6 robots, and their dog. What a crazy group of baddies! 2 of the robots are special targets worth extra money if I kill them. I was a little tempted to reroll the Gene Dog, or just have it be a robot with the same profile. But since the job is from The Fellowship of Temporal Philosophers, I decide the craziness is fitting. These robots have gone rogue, and the FTP thinks it's because they received a code transmission from the future. Weirdly enough, one of the bots has a pet Gene Dog. This is not supposed to be possible with their cold programming. If the FTP can't crack their code, the robot uprising could go viral.

Another fun little bit of weirdness is that the two special targets the FTP really wants us to kill are of the variety with the weakest weapons.  If I go full-bore on killing the big-dollar targets, it'll leave Plasma and Blast weapons in play. Who to target is especially meaningful this battle. Best of all, the Gene-Dog is guarding the Priority Target. So if I want the financial reward, I'm gonna have poke the bear Gene-Dog.

Deploy: I grab an old map of a D&D ruin, and drop a couple extra little bits of technological terrain on it to break up the lines of fire. Robots and their dog on the East edge, and my new Shuttle dropping off my crew in the West.

Round 1: -  Seize the Initiative: We drop out of the shuttle and move forward.
Everyone moves into position. Shots are fired, but between Cover and the planet-wide Fog, everyone misses, so there's no Panic rolls.

The Enemy Ploy is not triggered yet.

Round 2: 

 Quick Phase: - Inshubur Aims, and scores what would normally be a kill shot on the War Bot LT, but it's robotic armor Saves it.  (EDIT: This should have been a kill, because Plasma Rifle's pierce armor, but this was maybe the second time that's ever actually mattered in the campaign, so I forgot about it at first.)

The Kid advances, and misses. Juniper moves up, but can't quite line up a shot.

Enemy Phase - several shots miss I and H.  One carefully calibrated shot in the fog hits The Kid, but his Luck saves him, and he dives forward under the shot to survive.

Slow Phae - H, L, and M all move forward, and any shots they fire go wide in the fog.

No panic tests this turn, and the Enemy Ploy is not triggered yet.

Roll Battle Events between Round 2 and 3 - Change of Plans - "The enemy switches to the Cautious AI type for the rest of the battle." Well, that's interesting. They were Aggressive just a moment ago. Maybe the bots just figured out they are mortal? Now I kinda feel bad.

PCs movements in green, or blue if they used a jump-belt, or yellow if they spent a Luck point to leap randomly to safety. (You may have to zoom in to see the blue jump lines. They're in the south.) Red lines are enemy movement.

Cautious AI
Cautious Enemies will attempt to stay in cover whenever possible. Figures with an opponent in sight and range will remain where they are, aim and fire. Otherwise, they will advance in or behind terrain features, trying to establish lines of fire to opposing figures. They will attempt to engage targets at as close to maximum range as possible and will not advance voluntarily within 12” of opposition. As a general rule, they will not enter Brawling combat.

Round 3: It's becoming clear why the Fellowship of Temporal Philosophers consider these warbots a threat. Self-aware military bots with enough complexity to pivot their tactics radically, and enough personality to have a pet dog. These are not your granddad's battle droids, kids. Luckily, we had a great Initiative roll this turn.

Quick - Moreva moves up and fires at the Warbot LT, and misses because of Cover and Fog.

Inshubur Aims at the same bot and hits twice, with one shot solid enough to wound. As I'm reaching to roll Armor, I suddenly realize Plasma Rifles have the Piercing trait! They ignore Armor. Blam! The LT is slagged.

The Kid shoots at the War Bot that nearly took him out last round. His laser fire connects, and burns a hole through the CPU of that Bot.

H makes a fairly risky move, dropping in between two bots, to try to bring his Shatteraxe to bear against the War Bot with the built-in Plasma Rifle. He wins the melee decisively, scoring two hits. One rolls minimum damage and only stuns, but the second damage roll is more solid, and the Bot fails its armor roll.

Enemy - The War Bot next to H'Xex is the one chosen for our "Small Job".  It shoots H'Xex from point-blank, but only manages to Stun him.

The other Bot with LOS to him Aims, but even with laser Snapshot and the Aim reroll, it can't manage to get past the cover he's in. The gamble seems to have paid off.

The Priority Target War Bot moves to a spot completely concealed from all PCs except H'Xex, and shoots him. It's also only enough to Stun him, but it does drive him back out of cover. If I'd done that in the other order, he might have gone down. The suboptimal play for the baddies wasn't intentional, i just started with the Bots closest to their target.

The Gene Dog moves closer to H'Xex, but stays in complete Cover and doesn't charge him because the Guardian AI says it stays within 3" of the Bot it's protecting. If a melee-only Unique Individual has the Guardian AI, and the person they are guarding has a long-range weapon and Cautious AI, things get a little weird. Not broken, not unclear, but the level of danger posed by the Gene Dog dropped significantly when it's pet War Bot switched to Cautious AI because of the Battle Event. If all the War Bots were still Aggressive, H'Xex would be in a much worse position right now. As it is, he's double-stunned in the open, so it still might end badly for him.

Slow - Cover and fog save a Bot from Leonidas' plasma-fire.

Juniper... shooting a dog just feels awful, especially when it hasn't attacked anyone, and isn't in range to do so. Juniper just moves forward into cover, and considers her options. Not an ideal strategy move, but fine for the roleplaying side of the hobby.  Juniper grew up an orphan, was a good cop who quit the force before power and authority could corrupt her, and values freedom. She just can't pull the trigger if the dog hasn't done anything threatening yet.

No Panic. No Enemy Ploy just yet.

PCs movements in green, or blue if they used a jump-belt, or yellow if they spent a Luck point to leap randomly to safety. Lines in red, orange or magenta are enemy movement, with the color variation just being to help make visual sense of paths that criss-cross.

Round 4: -

Quick - H'Xex uses his Concealed Blade on the Job Bot, but only stuns it. (Concealed Blade is an item that lets you, once per Mission, make a free attack at anyone who is within 2" of where you started the Round. It doesn't seem like being Stunned prevents that in any way, but just to be safe I officially announce that his action for the Round will be Attack, not Move.)

He follows up with a shotgun blast. Two hits, two wounds, and the Bot only manages one of its Saves. The "Small Job" target is eliminated.

Moreva hits thanks to her Unity Battle Sight, but only stuns a War Bot. She's now blocking Leonidas' shot, so he goes out the back of the building to get into a flanking position.

Because of where the War Bot was knocked back to, Inshubur no longer has LOS, but she repositions and fires. Both shots go wide.

The Kid dashes forward, but can't get a view to anything.

Enemy - Since the bots are now Cautious, I decide the stunned one falls back into Cover instead of an attack. Per the rules, he should have just stayed where he was and shot, but standing in the open like that would have guaranteed his own death next Round, whereas he could move completely out of LOS to shake off the Stun in safety. Plus, he was blocking LOS for his comrade who could Aim at H'Xex. With all that lined up, it seemed like the best move for this badguy was to fall back into Cover or even break Line of Sight. People do weird things in adrenalin panic, but as these were also cold calculating War Bots with a Panic of Zero who'd swapped from Aggressive to Cautious AI due to a Change of Plans Battle Event... now I'm rambling, but it does seem like there could be some interesting un-utilized design-space where the rules could have given the various AIs slightly different response to being stunned.  Or maybe not. I mean, the smartest choice for the AI probably is "shoot back" close to half the time, even for Cautious or Defensive enemies. Any rule to cover exceptions is likely to be clunky, so anything more than an acknowledgement of "If the AI's action seems suicidal ignore it unless they are Rampaging" would probably not be an improvement.

Anyhow, that Bot gets out of the way, and shakes off it's Stun. The dice back up my assertion that this was the smartest play, because the Priority Target bot shoots at H'Xex, misses when it rolls a 1, but gets to reroll because of Aiming. (The stunned bot wouldn't get to reroll) The second roll is a hit, and damage is above his Toughness! His Combat armor fails him, but H'Xex does burn his Luck to stay alive. He is moved a random 4" south. Since he has a Jump Belt, I assume that's activated and allow him to fall back over the fence and the statue that are in his path. H'Xex is no longer in LOS to anyone, and still has one Stun on him, so this basically nukes his next turn as well.

Slow - Juniper moves, but can't draw a bead on anyone. She's still not shooting that dog.

The Enemy Ploy is finally triggered. It's Reinforcements. Two regular Warbots, and one Plasma-Rifle toting Specialist.  "The reinforcements will act normally in accordance to their AI"... so do they act with the original Aggressive AI, or the modified Cautious AI? I think I'll pause for lunch to contemplate that.

Roll Battle Events between Round 4 and 5: A Desperate Plan: A random figure in your crew cannot act at all next round, but instead select another figure of choice that may act in both the Quick and Slow Actions phases.   

Round 5: - Because of A Desperate Plan, Juniper cannot activate at all this Round, but one other character can activate in both Quick and Slow phases. I'm a little unclear on how "A Desperate Plan" is supposed to play out.  Does it replace Initiative rolls? I decide to roll the normal dice, and get:

5, 2, 6. 5, 3, 1 and an extra 3 from my Communicator, which lets me roll an extra and drop the worst.
So that's 1, 2, 3, 3, 5, 5. I assign the 1 to Leonidas, the 2 to Moreva, the 3's to Inshubur and the Kid. I assign a 5 to H'Xex, and the extra 5 as a second notification for Inshubur.

Quick - The Kid moves up, and lases a hole through one of the War Bot reinforcements. I, L, and M move but can't get LOS to anyone because the Bots are all hiding behind the ruins. War-Bots, come out to play-ay!

Enemy - The War Bots do indeed come out to play. I decided to have them all function on the Cautious AI, instead of having to worry about multiple AI styles. The deciding factor was that if they'd gone aggro, they would have probably gotten themselves killed failing to reach their targets for melee. Instead, they advance in cover, and lay down a lot of fire. Three shots hit Juniper, giving her 2 stuns and burning her Luck as it drives her far across the ruin. One shot misses Moreva due to the fog.

Slow - Inshubur advances again, and lights a plasma fire on a bot, melting it. This is a little risky, I guess, but she's got high enough Reactions it's not likely to backfire.

No Panic.

Round 6: - Quick - Inshubur comes around the pillar and fires. She only hits once, but still plasma-fries the Priority Target.

Juniper dives for cover, and removes 1 stun.

Moreva hits one of the reinforcing bots despite cover and fog, but it's hardened robot chassis Saves it.

H'Xex charges the Plasma Bot from behind. He wins the fight, but only stuns. That's not good. He's out of Luck, too, so that could be a fatal mistake. I spend a story point to reroll the damage. He drives the bot back just at the moment that Inshubur's missed shot is flying wide... (rerolling 1d6+2 damage... is still a "3". dangit!) but the Bot nimbly folds the upper part of its body over to avoid the plasma and the axe.

Moreva's got a couple shots at it now with her Plasma Rifle... and both miss because of cover and fog! That's one dodgy Bot.

Enemy - The squirrelly Bot opens up with its Plasma, and H'Xex crumples.

The Gene Dog rushes Inshubur! You hurt momma!  The dog rolls a natural 1. Inshubur rolls a natural 1. Inshubur rerolls with her Elegant Boarding Saber, and gets yet another natural 1!  Due to a higher Combat Skill, Inshubur technically wins the fight. She takes 1 Hit, and the Gene Dog takes 2. Net result, she's stunned, and the dog is dead.

The other War Bot lines up a tricky shot between the Pillars. A miss, but it's yet another "1", so since it's Cautious and didn't move it can reroll with Aim. It's a hit this time, but only gives her a second stun.

Slow - K advances. L dashes.
No Panic.

PCs movements in green, or blue if they used a jump-belt, or yellow if they spent a Luck point to leap randomly to safety. Lines in red, orange, magenta or purple are enemy movement, and not even making each one a subtly different color will help make sense of it all, I'm afraid. The reinforcements just ran right over the same ground as the first wave. I should have taken more pictures, I guess.

Round 7: -  Quick -  Inshubur trusts her Luck, and returns fire. She only stuns the Laser Bot.

Moreva Aims and fires, and stuns the Plasma Bot.

Kid moves in on the flank, and surprises the Plasma Bot, but only gets a second stun on it. That's not good. I'm going to drop another story point to reroll the damage. The Bot's defensive sensor suite was overwhelmed by the plasma fire wreathing it, that it failed to detect The Kid sneaking up. The damage is enough, and the Bot's armor Save buckles. Just one Bot left to deal with!

Enemy - It fires at Inshubur and misses.

Slow - Leonidas steps out into the middle of the room, and vaporizes the last Bot. Game Over.

Analysis: This was one of the most enjoyable battles I've had, in a game I love. I felt real pressure on this Mission, having to use 2 Story Points and 3 Luck. The Battle Events really mixed things up, and my characters moved all over the map with a two-pronged assault. The Planet-Wide Fog had a huge effect on the length of the battle and the need for me to close ground. The Enemy Ploy system helps make things unpredictable, and encourages you to take some early risks in the hopes of clearing the board before the reinforcements show up.

That said, I almost wish that Ploy I'd rolled up was something a little more elaborate. I'd kind of built-up these bots in my head a bit, as being super-smart and unpredictable.  I considered spending a Story Point to reroll their Ploy to see if I could Infiltrators, a Flanking Attack, or The Boss, all of which would have pushed that theme a bit more... but it feels weird spending limited resource Story Points to make things harder on my team. 

I do think that I may need to keep Reinforcements in mind during set-up in the future, if for no other reason than to make my after-action maps easier to visualize. All those Bots walked over each other's paths, which was kind of less interesting than the Cultist fight a few Turns ago where they came in from the other lane of the road. That's a pretty minor complaint though, and one I can easily prevent in the future if I think ahead next time.

And I LOVE that the mad murder robots had a pet dog. It was fun having Juniper be incapable of pulling the trigger, and even better that the Battle Events and stuns thereafter basically prevented her from firing another shot. She just completely fell apart there. Felt like a character-driven TV episode, not "just" a miniatures game, and that was pretty great.


4.1 Resolve Rival Status: - Nope.

4.2 Resolve Patron Status: - Already on the Patron list.

4.3 Determine Quest Progress: - N/A.

4.4 Get Paid and Benefits of Success: -

Planetary Condition - Booming Economy - When rolling for post-battle credit rewards, any 1 on the dice are rerolled until it shows a score other than a 1.

Danger Pay: +3 Credits and when you roll for Mission Pay in Get Paid after the battle, you may roll twice and use the higher of the dice.

Small Job for +2 credits if killed

Priority Target with Toughness 5, +1d3 credits if killed

11 credits total!  4+3+2+2. That's a big pay day. Our total is now 31 in the stash.

4.5 Battlefield Finds: - OMG, I can't believe I rolled "Still" again. It's my fifth dose of this consumable, and I never seem to remember I have it. It's amazing how dice can so "streaky" even when rolled weeks apart.

4.6 Check for Invasion!: - Not this Turn.

4.7 Gather the Loot: - I get a Seeker Sight (The weapon receives +1 to Hit if the shooter did not Move this round).

4.8 Determine Injuries and Recovery: - Crippling Wound: H'Xex requires 3 credits of surgery immediately. Since we got paid 11, that's not a problem. Unfortunately, he's also out for 5 Turns of Recovery. Guess I'll be fielding my robot, GcViib, instead of my K'Erin soldier, for a while. I hope Gee-Cee wasn't infected by the War Bot virus.

4.9 Experience and Character Upgrades:  G.0 H.1 I.5 J.3 K.4 L.3 M.3   - First Kill: - I     Rookie: K  Unique: I

I liked how Inshubur just raced all over the map today, so I buy her a 7th point of Speed.

4.10 Invest in Advanced Training: -   Moreva pays 2 Credits and 7 XP to learn Advanced Training: Mechanics - If your ship is in need of Repairs, you may repair +1 Hull Point damage every campaign turn (meaning 2 points of damage are repaired per campaign turn). Engineers (such as Moreva) count any XP spent as double value for obtaining this.

4.11 Purchase Items: - What the hey, I had so much fun with starship travel last Turn, I figure I might as well double-down.  The Rhapsody already had a Cargo Hold and a Shuttle, now she has a Hidden Compartment as well. Just for fun. I will now earn 0-10 credits every time I make the trip, but my fuel bill has gone up by 1 because of the extra weight.

4.12 Campaign Event: -  49: "You’ve earned a bit of a bad reputation. If you know any Patrons on the current world, randomly select one that will no longer work with you."

The Fellowship of Temporal Philosophers has decided they won't do business with us any more. I imagine it's about the dog. "You were just supposed to kill the war bots, not the dog!"  Juniper feels vindicated about her decision.

I am continually impressed by how the giant stack of random tables consistently hands out emergent narrative.  Now I just need to figure out why somebody on the team keeps stockpiling "Still" doses.

Oh, actually, that's obvious now that I think about it. Our Bot, GcViib, who used to go on Missions, but lately just flies the Shuttle and goes on shopping trips. They've been watching our video feeds, and knows that nobody ever pauses to Aim. Inshubur and H'Xex run straight into the jaws of death, time after time. GcViib's been silently critiquing our performance for weeks, and hoping the more spastic members of the crew will just chill out and sit Still for a minute.

Man, this game is great.

4.13 Character Event: -  Leonidas reflects on his experiences, and how glad he is that he decided to stay on with this Crew. +1 XP.

4.14 Check for Galactic War Progress: - N/A

4.15 Tick Story Clock: - Zero. The next Story Track Event happens next Turn.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Planetary Travel and Turn 11 (5 Parsecs From Home)

This is a step-by-step breakdown of the eleventh Campaign Turn and Mission in my Five Parsecs From Home campaign. 

This Turn's battle was much less epic than the previous two Turns. That's not a complaint. I'm happy there's so much variety from one Turn to the next. Plus, as you'll see below, this Turn we made our first trip to a new planet, and that was a really compelling and interesting part of the game that I hadn't gotten to see yet. I'm very pleased with how the game builds stories organically and constantly serves up surprises.

Crew names below are often abbreviated G to M, as explained in: Crew Roster, which also tells you about my team and a bit about their ship. See also the Index of my Five Parsecs articles for a list of previous Missions and other content.



This is my first time relocating to a new planet. Buckle up and stow your tray tables, because the next few steps are going to be quite involved.

1.1 Flee Invasion: - n/a

1.2 Decide Whether to Travel: - Yes, we're headed to Tiresias-3, a planet also known as "The Soup". Fuel costs 5 of our 16 Credits, leaving us with 11.

Leonidas again announces his intention to stay behind, as he has decided space is not for him and Aceso Menrva Prime is pretty nice. This is from a character event that was rolled up for him several Turns ago. Per the event, I can spend a Story Point to make him change his mind, or I can let him go and I can keep his equipment.

In the end, I decide to spend the Story Point. Why? Because his listed Motivation (rolled up in character creation) is Loyalty. He'd rather stay on this cushy planet, but he'd feel like a cad if he ditched out on his crew while this whole Q'narr situation hanging over their heads. Per the Story Track, Q'narr has hired AbsuCorp and Blood Storm to hunt down the crew of the Rhapsody, and Leo can't walk away while that's standing.

1.3 Starship Travel Event: Down-time: It’s a long time to just sit here. Select a crew member of choice and add +1 XP. Well, if Leonidas is sticking with us, I might as well make his decision worth it.

The crew has time to do maintenance tasks, and can Repair 1 damaged item with no roll required. Moreva fixes H'Xex's Combat Armor.

1.4 New World Arrival Steps: -

I roll for all our Rivals, and it turns out The B'Lilu Gang of K'Erin Outlaws hate us enough to chase us all the way to The Soup.

The Fellowship of Temporal Philosophers are Persistent, so they have a branch office on Tiresias-3. All our other Patrons are left behind on Aceso Menrva Prime.

Licensing Requirements:

Freelancer License - Required, and will cost us 1 credit.

Salvage License Required (this is from the Salvage Jobs expansion, which is a 2nd Edition supplement, but is mostly compatible with 3rd Ed, and I'd like the challenge and mission variety, so I plan to use it before this campaign ends) - Salvage Laws roll is: Salvage Rich Environment.  Increased chance of Salvage Jobs being available. Local Salvage Licenses cost 5 Credits. Universal License is recognized, and would cost 30 Credits.

We spend 6 Credits on the two License types. We are now down to 5 credits, having started the Turn with 16.

I'm using the "Wild Galaxy" optional rule, where each World gets 2 World Traits, instead of just 1.  The World Traits here on Tiresias-3 are:

  1. Planet-Wide Fog - All shots beyond 8" are -1 to Hit.
  2. Booming Economy - When rolling for post-battle credit rewards, any 1 on the dice are rerolled until it shows a score other than a 1.

So now that we're actually on the planet, it's time to use my Cargo Bay and all the fun delivery items I've picked up in the first 10 Campaign Turns.

Cargo Hold - "The hold of the ship has been upgraded to be environmentally stable. When traveling to a new planet, you may take on cargo. Roll 2D6 and discard any 5-6. Select the highest remaining die and earn that many credits from delivering a shipment to the new world. If both dice are discarded, no shipments are available. If your ship is damaged in transit, the cargo is also lost."    - I roll a "6" and a "3", so we make +3 Credits with default Cargo, bringing us back up to 8.   

(Now, you could argue the Cargo Hold isn't worth the investment it takes to build one on your ship. Travel between planets happens rarely enough that you're only going to come out ahead in a really long campaign... but it's a fun element that just packs so much sci-fi flavor that I really wanted to give it a try. And now that I've got one, I may be tempted to planet-hop unnecessarily, just to fill out my corner of universe. During crew creation we'd rolled up "We are best characterized as: Living the dream!" so this seems like a good choice for Roleplaying reasons at the very least. I might also consider getting the Hidden Compartment installed at some point, as they have good synergy together.)
Inshubur and Moreva each have a Delivery Package gained from Character Events. These sell for 3 each, and then you roll a die for each. On 1-2 you gain 1 Rival and 1 Story Point.  - I roll a "1" and a "5". So we gain 1 Story Point, 1 new Rival, and 6 Credits (bringing us back up to 14). I roll twice on the Unknown Rivals chart and get my choice of Zealots or a Salvage Team. Both sound interesting, but since I just bought a Salvage License and am in the middle of unloading a huge load of cargo and scrap, it makes the most sense that some local Salvage Team sees us muscling in on their territory, and doesn't like it.

We also have  2 x Trade Goods: Every time you arrive on a new planet, you may roll 1D6 to see how many Credits the goods will sell for here. You can wait as long as you like, but if you roll a 1, they have perished or become damaged, and are now worthless.  - I roll double 5's!  That's 10 more credits (bringing us up to 24).

And we have 1 Personal Trinket: On each planet you visit in the future, roll 2D6. On a 9+ you find the owner and receive a [Loot roll] (p.131) as payment.  - I roll "1" and "6", so this doesn't pay out just yet.

I have 3 credits worth of Debris and Scrap to sell as well. It came from a "Battlefield Finds" roll. Normally, you just mark it as Credits immediately, with the sale happening as part of the resolution of the end of the battle, but my previous planet had Import Restrictions that prevented selling it (or anything) there. So that's +3 Credits more (bringing us to 27.)

I also have some unused crew items I'd like to sell, but the rules indicate I have to wait until the Post-Battle Step "Purchase Items" to sell those.

Lastly, we have Vital info from a previous battle: "Turn in this information to get a Corporate Patron automatically". I roll up the possible standing Benefit for the Corporation, and get "Health Insurance", so I decide the company is Chariclo Cyberoptics. This info was taken off a Blood Storm Mercenary body, so it's probably some damning evidence that Blood Storm hit one of their CyberEye export vessels.

So, we started the Turn with 16 Credits, spent down to just 5 remaining between fuel and licenses, and then sold cargo of various sorts to get us back up to 27 credits. We spent a story point, then gained one. We ditched one rival, then picked up a new one. We did leave 5 of our 6 Patrons behind, which is going to sting a little, but overall it was a good start to the Turn. Most importantly, moving to another world means we can progress the Story Track, and it was fun to see all the transit rules and use our cargo bay.

1.5 Gain 1 story point if it's turn 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, etc. -  not this time.

2.1 Upkeep and Ship Repairs: -
Crew Upkeep - Would be 2, but I have "Basic Supplies" I can spend instead.    Ship Debt - 0    Ship Repairs - 0    Medical Care - 0

2.2 Assign and Resolve Crew Tasks: -
Find a Patron - I,G    Train - L    Trade - H, K    Recruit -    Explore - M    Track -    Repair Your Kit -     Decoy -

Noteworthy results from Tasks: -

Leonidas trains, and buys his first point of Luck. Now five of my seven crew have Luck!

Trade for a Glare Sword, and some Spare Parts.

While exploring, Moreva meets a new Patron and is offered a Job.

Juniper can't perform a Crew Task this turn because she got into an argument with the crew late last Turn about people not being punctual and timely. We'll see how they like it!

2.3 Determine Job Offers: -

There's three Patron Jobs on offer this turn. Two from the usual route, and one from Exploration.

The first is from a Edmark Creon III, a Wealthy Individual. He would be potentially Persistent, but this missions Condition is a One-Time Contract, so we'll actually never see him again. Danger Pay is minimal. This Low-Priority job would be to Move Through some Black Dragon Mercs, and keep an eye open for notably Shiny Bits. It's only available this Turn.

The other, a mission from our old friends at the Fellowship of Temporal Philosophers, is a lot more appealing. Danger Pay is significant.  A Private Transport is offered so it can't be interrupted by Rivals. It's a straight-up combat mission against Warbots, with a Priority Target. (Given the Patron, it may be time-traveling warbots.) All in all this sounds much better. Unfortunately, it's got the Condition of "Reputation Required". I can't accept this Mission until I've successfully completed some other Patron Mission on this world. I may decide to pay a Story Point to waive that, given that I've done a Mission for the Fellowship of Temporal Philosophers on another world. The mission is available on a wider Time Frame, valid until Turn 13, so I might not have to spend it if I do the less sexy Creon mission first.

Later, while Exploring, Moreva learns that Cerberus Alarm Systems needs someone to Protect their Corporate VIP on a planned negotiations with a band of Skulker Brigands that have been giving them trouble.  Right up our alley, but unfortunately this job also Requires a Reputation. It's on an open-ended unlimited Time Frame, thankfully.

2.4 Assign Equipment: - As a reward for sticking around when he was sorely tempted to stay on the other planet, the crew gives Leonidas the new Glare Sword.

2.5 Resolve Rumors: - When I get to this step, I remember that we actually had a Quest chain start off at this step in the previous Turn, and I never really rolled up anything more about it than a random name. I'll roll up the first Quest Mission now:

We'd extracted a data file from the files in the Cultist compound that had been infiltrated by Q'narr's Blood Storm Mercs. The data talks about something called "The Xanthous Soul from the 5th Dimension". That fancy name is random nonsense I rolled up here... I mean, it's a totally legit meaningful Quest. That's it.

Quest Mission 1:  Objective: Search (Put a token on each medium or large terrain feature. A character in contact with, inside, or on the feature may search it as a Combat Action. Roll 1D6. A 5+ finds what you were looking for, and you Win. If the roll fails at every location, the item is not on the battlefield, and the mission cannot be Won. If you drive the enemy away, simply add up the remaining features and roll the dice all at once to see if the item was here.)   Deployment Condition: Poor visibility (Maximum visibility is 1D6+8”. Reroll at the start of each round.)  Enemy: Interested Parties: Corporate Security.

2.6 Choose Your Battle -  Rolled a 3, so neither of our 2 Rivals on this planet harass us just yet.

I'm hoping to launch into a Salvage Mission soon, but clearly the right call this Turn is to take Edmark Creon III up on his Job offer. If we can successfully complete it, it will open the door to the other Patron Missions available to us.

Job Description:
1. Potential Patron:  Edmark Creon III  Type: Wealthy Individual B5+ H8+ C8+   Benefits: not this time   Danger Pay: +1 Credit,   Time Frame: Turn 11 Only   Hazard: Low Priority (Reduce Enemy force numbers by -1.)   Condition: One-time Contract (This Patron cannot be retained as a contact.)    Enemy: Hired Muscle: Black Dragon Mercs


Planetary Condition: - Planet-Wide Fog - All shots beyond 8" are -1 to Hit.

Notable Sights:  Shiny bits: Gain 1 credit.

Objective: Move Through (You Win the mission if at least 2 crew members move off the opposing battlefield edge. If you drive off all enemies, you Win as long as you have at least 2 crew members remaining.)

Enemy Type: - Black Dragon Mercs

Numbers: +1 (adjusted to +0 because of Low Priority mission hazard status)   Panic:1-2     Speed: 5”     Combat: +1     Tough: 5     AI: Tactical  

Hired Muscle: PCs are -1 to any attempt to Seize the Initiative.
Stubborn: They ignore the first casualty of the battle when making a Morale check.

2 regulars with Military Rifles , 1 specialists with Fury Rifle,  and 1 LT w/ Military Rifle + Blade

Deployment: We set up in the South, aiming to exit off the North end.
There's a bunch of water on the map, so wading through that will be difficult terrain. We'll assume the walkways are elevated on posts and pylons and have a railing on them. Anyone on or behind them is in cover against shots coming across. Climbing up on to a walkway from anywhere but a stairs will cost 2 inches (which is pretty cheap, actually, given that you're probably getting close to an inch of forward movement as well as the height boost).

Enemy sets up in the North. There's only 4 of them, and Tactical AI says to split them up into 3 teams. It also says they try to stay close to friendly figures, so I consider only splitting them into 2 teams of 2, which seems smarter. Then I remember my goal is to get past them, so it's more of a challenge if they're covering their entire table edge.

Green arrows are PC movement. Red arrows are Enemies maneuvering. The orange arrow is Enemy reinforcement that shows up after Round 2.  Note that the Sniper on top of the dome, and the warbot near the top show up mid-game, not at the start of the fight.

Round 1: -

Seize the Initiative:  Moreva's 3 in Savvy is enough to get the jump on them. (Rolled an 11 on 2d6+3-1.)

Quick Actions - Great initiative roll. All but 1 of my characters can advance. The Kid shoots, but misses because of the Planet-Wide Fog. Inshubur can't get a clear line of fire because of the bench on the platform by the western dome. H'Xex jump-belts forward the central ruin, and despite the fog manages to hit the Fury gunner, but only stuns him.

Enemy Actions - Fury gunner misses H'Xex, but the LT manages to stun him. Black Dragon regular advances on the west, and the one in the east shoots at the Kid but misses.

Slow Actions - Leonidas moves forward, and takes a shot at at the enemy LT. Despite the fog, and the intervening cover from the walkway, he gets a lucky roll and the Enemy LT goes down.

Panic Test - Because they are Stubborn, they fight on.

Enemy Ploy on a "1". It is triggered, so I roll on the Ploy table from the "Tricks and Guns" PDF (I got it through the game designer's patreon).  SNIPER!!! A new enemy with a Marksman's rifle is placed on top of the tallest piece of cover that no PCs are near. He's laying flat on the hex-frame of the northeast dome. The sniper's got special rules for morale.

Round 2: -

Quick - Another solid initiative roll. Inshubur advances around the west side. She shoots a Merc, but just stuns them and sends them over a railing.

L, K, and J all fire on the Sniper. Even with two of them Aiming, it still takes all three to shake the sniper loose. We score a single hit, and it's enough.

Enemy - The villains settle in to cover and open fire, but all miss. The fog makes long range shots pretty unreliable.

Slow - H'Xex shakes off his stun and gets into cover.

Panic Test - I roll a "3", so they hold firm.

Roll for Battle Events between Round 2 and 3 - "Enemy VIP: A Unique Individual immediately joins the enemy force. Place them on the center of their battlefield edge."  They've got a state-of-the-art Mark II Security Bot!

Numbers: +1 (adjusted to +0 because of Low Priority mission hazard status)   Panic: Fearless     Speed: 4”     Combat: +2     Tough: 5     AI: Guardian    
Targeting AI: May fire twice per round at the two closest visible targets. If only one target is visible, only one shot is taken.
Robot Body: 6+ Saving Throw.

Round 3: -

Quick - Juniper aims and lines up a shot with the bipod on her Plasma Rifle. She takes out the Fury gunner.  Inshubur also gets a lucky shot that frees up the western edge of the map

Enemy - The last Black Dragon Merc fires at the Kid and misses. The Security Bot heads towards the Merc to team up and Guard him. It takes 2 shots with its Fury Rifle (one at L, one at K) but both miss.

Slow - Moreva shoots at the bot, but misses due to fog. The Kid shoots at the last Merc, and kills him. H'Xex jump-belts up to the Bot and breaks it into pieces with his Shatter Axe.


 The Planet-Wide Fog definitely made the fight a little longer, but ultimately my team has enough skill and equipment to overcome it. The Black Dragon Mercs did not, even with Aiming and Fury Rifles. We did miss more than normal, but still hit more often than the enemies.

The Sniper Ploy sounded scarier than it played out. The Ploy mechanic is cool overall, but it feels like maybe it needs to be a little more aggro to get the intended effect. At least in the case of the Sniper, it feels like they should shoot immediately upon be placed on the map. Instead, it follows the usual timing rules, which meant with a half-way decent Initiative roll you're likely to get half your crew shooting at it before the sniper acts. That seems backwards from the standard sniper narrative. I did get a good initiative roll that turn, but since Ploys are a mechanic you add mid-campaign as a way to boost difficulty, it seems likely that you'll usually have strong Reactions on several crewman by then. I pointed this out to the designer on his Discord. Since the current Ploy mechanics are playtest/patreon, not final version, who knows? Maybe we'll end up with something a little nastier when they officially see print? That would be cool.

There are some other optional rules (in the playtest files on patreon or discord) that I could use to enhance difficulty, and I think I will start utilizing those (especially the "Hit Me Harder" option) with the next mission.

My Bad: I didn't figure this out until after the battle, but I was actually playing the Merc's "Tactical AI" incorrectly. The wording is pretty subtle, but it turns out the statement "If they have a clear shot and are in Cover, they will remain in place to Aim" has a precise meaning for 'clear shot' in that context. For them to sit still requires both themselves in cover and the enemy to NOT be in cover. So the ones on the west and east flanks should have moved around more, instead of holding still and firing. It makes their behavior a bit more involved than Cautious or Defensive AI.  I'll have to remember that for next time I'm up against Tactical AI. I'd been using a cheat-sheet that just paraphrased the rulebook, which made it even obscured.  It's hard to say if doing this right would have made the mission harder or easier, it's probably a wash. Aiming gave them better odds to hit, but they never managed to land a wounding blow so it didn't really benefit them. Getting closer might have changed who their targets were, or eliminated the planet-wide fog penalty.


4.1 Resolve Rival Status: - I rolled high, so they do not become Rivals.

4.2 Resolve Patron Status: - This is a One-Time Contract, so I do NOT get to add the Wealthy Individual to my Patron list. It does however contribute to my "Reputation Required" Missions being unlocked on this world, so that's good.

4.3 Determine Quest Progress: - N/A

4.4 Get Paid and Benefits of Success: -  5 credits total (3 for winning, +1 for Danger pay, +1 from Notable Sight)

Planetary Condition - Booming Economy - When rolling for post-battle credit rewards, any 1 on the dice are rerolled until it shows a score other than a 1.

For notable sights that are unclaimed during the battle itself, I have a special house rule I use, where each surviving character can roll 1d6+Savvy, and if any of them get a 6+, we get the notable sight. That way, it's not 100% guaranteed if I ignore it to focus on the fighting. I took the gamble this time, and won.

4.5 Battlefield Finds: - My fourth dose of the consumable "Still". I always forget I have these. Still gives you a bonus for shooting, but costs you your movement. It's actually probably worth using on this foggy world.

4.6 Check for Invasion!: - N/A

4.7 Gather the Loot: - On the body of the Sniper, we find a Tracker Sight: "+1 to Hit if you fired at the same target during your previous round."

4.8 Determine Injuries and Recovery: - No one was KO'd.

4.9 Experience and Character Upgrades:  G.0 H.4 I.3 J.3 K.4 L.4 M.3   - First Kill: L    Rookie: K   Unique: H

Laboring in this thick atmosphere does a lot to toughen you up. Inshubur raises her Toughness to 4. Juniper cashes in one of our two single-use Instruction Books to get the final XP she needs to raise Toughness to 5.

The Kid continues to practice his quick-draw, raising his Reactions to a 4.

4.10 Invest in Advanced Training: - Some of these are really starting to look interesting. Soon.

4.11 Purchase Items: -  I sell a handgun, a shotgun, and a military rifle, for 1 credit each.  This brings our total to 34 credits.

Time to invest in a Starship Modification. We install a Shuttle and corresponding launch bay.  This will help with starship travel and escaping planetary invasions. Those are both pretty rare, so I mostly got it so that I can drop a shuttle onto the map during deployment. I sometimes struggle for how and where to set up my minis during the game. Deploying them in a way that's really tactical feels like easy mode and kind of against the spirit of the Seize the Initiative rules, so I've been considering placing my shuttle on the map at the start of each Mission, and deploying my people within a few inches of it. That seems like a good compromise, a thematic win that also helps keep me from making too much progress on Round 1 of a fight. The shuttle costs 15 credits, leaving me with 19 in my stash.

4.12 Campaign Event: - The sector news networks are awash with rumors of war. While you remain on this planet, any roll for Invasion is at +2.  (Suddenly, just like that, I'm feeling real good about buying that evac shuttle.)

4.13 Character Event: -  Juniper has had time to reflect on her adventures. Earns +1 XP.

4.14 Check for Galactic War Progress: - N/A

4.15 Tick Story Clock: - 1 (currently on track for the next Story encounter on Turn 13)


Saturday, July 24, 2021

Five Parsecs, Mission 10, Story Track 2

Battle Map Mission 10
This is a step-by-step breakdown of the tenth Campaign Turn and Mission in my Five Parsecs From Home campaign. 

This Turn my Crew is tackling Story Track Event #2. Much like the previous Turn, this battle is pretty epic. There's a ton of super aggressive mercenaries, with heavy weapon support.

Crew names below are often abbreviated G to M, as explained in: Crew Roster, which also tells you about my team and a bit about their ship. See also the Index of my Five Parsecs articles for a list of previous Missions and other content.


1.1 Flee Invasion: - n/a

1.2 Decide Whether to Travel: - not yet, but soon

1.3 Starship Travel Event: - n/a

1.4 New World Arrival Steps: - n/a

1.5 Gain 1 story point if it's turn 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, etc. - not this time

2.1 Upkeep and Ship Repairs: -
Crew Upkeep - 1    Ship Debt - 0    Ship Repairs - 0    Medical Care - 0

2.2 Assign and Resolve Crew Tasks: -

Because of the Story Track, this Turn I cannot Track Rivals. Any encounter I do have is assumed to be related to the Story Track, regardless of if it's a Patron Job, Rival attack, etc. There's a old friend-turned-enemy, named Q'narr, who has hired the Blood Storm Mercenaries to get even with me.

Find a Patron -     Train - J    Trade - H, K    Recruit -    Explore - I, M    Track - Not Allowed    Repair Your Kit -     Decoy - L, G

Noteworthy results from Tasks: - Juniper trains Combat Skill to 3.

Trades get us a shotgun and a rumor (this is our 2nd rumor).

Explore gets us a rumor, and an information broker who sells up to 3 rumors for 2 each, but since I'm now at 3 I decide not to buy more.

2.3 Determine Job Offers: - I have a pre-existing Patron job. Whatever we do this Turn is now modified by the Story Track.

2.4 Assign Equipment: - No changes.

2.5 Resolve Rumors: - I rolled a "3", so we get a new Quest.  I roll a random name for it on a weird little Quest Item Name Table I've created, and I get: "The Xanthous Soul from the 5th Dimension".

2.6 Choose Your Battle / Job Description:
It's my last chance to go after the Menrva Bail Bonds job that the Cultist Rivals kept me from pursuing last turn.   - Menrva Bail Bonds calls us up with a Bounty.  Danger Pay: +1 Credit    Time Frame: Turn 8-10   Active Benefits: Provides a Rumor when I succeed.  Active Condition: Busy,  If the Mission is a success, the Patron offers a new job automatically next Turn.  Objective:  Secure - You must end 2 consecutive rounds with crew within 2” of the center of the table. A crew member with an enemy within 6” of them does not count. Once this is achieved, you Win. If you drive off the opposition, you can complete the objective at your leisure. Deployment Condition: Delayed: 2 random crew members won’t start on the table. At the end of each round, roll 1D6: If the roll is equal or below the round number, they may be placed at any point of your own battlefield edge.  Notable Sights: Really Shiny Bits: 2 credits, at 8" to the SouthEast.

However, that is now modified per the Story Track. I'm on Mission #2 of the Story Track, which reads in part: "If you pick up a Patron job this campaign turn, it’s assumed to be a job you took on to get closer to your quarry. If you get attacked by Rivals, they are attacking you en route. ...  Fight a standard battle against Blood Storm Mercs from the Hired Muscle Subtable. All normal rules apply, but minimum encounter size will be 4, even if the dice would otherwise indicate a smaller force.  ...  If you manage to defeat a mercenary by Brawling, you have captured him and can interrogate them for information. Add +1 story point."


Deployment Conditions:  - Delayed: 2 random crew members won’t start on the table. At the end of each round, roll 1D6: If the roll is equal or below the round number, they may be placed at any point of your own battlefield edge.

Notable Sights:  - Really Shiny Bits: 2 credits, at 8" to the SouthEast. .

Objective: -  Secure - You must end 2 consecutive rounds with crew within 2” of the center of the table. A crew member with an enemy within 6” of them does not count. Once this is achieved, you Win. If you drive off the opposition, you can complete the objective at your leisure.

Enemy Type: - Hired Muscle. Sub-Type: Blood Storm Mercs

Outlawed in many systems, the Blood Storm merc company are cold-blooded killers. They will take any assignment that doesn’t involve an excessive amount of warcrimes.

Numbers: - +0 (but Minimum Encounter Size this Turn is 4)   Panic: 1     Speed: 4”     Combat: +1     Tough: 4     AI: A     Weapons: 2B

2 regulars with Hand Laser + Blade, 1 specialist with Rattlegun + Blade,  1 LT. w/ Hand Laser and Blade   

+ Unique: Enemy Bruiser  A particularly unpleasant-looking individual.  Panic: Fearless     Speed: 4”     Combat: +1     Tough: 5     AI: G     Weapons: Power Claw

Hired Muscle: Being paid professionals, you are -1 to any attempt to Seize the Initiative.

Ferocious: +1 to Brawling rolls when Blood Storm Mercs are initiating combat.

Mostly short range weapons, but the Rattle Gun's dangerous across most the table.

Initial Deployment - Mission 10 (Story Track Event #2)

Deploy: We are infiltrating the Cult Compound, which is a huge manor-like building. What we don't know is that it's a set up. Inshubur's old friend Q'narr has a team of Blood Storm Mercs hidden inside the manor. These Blood Storm Mercs are bad mamma-jamma's.

In our previous run-in with the cult, Moreva was recognized at a distance and everything went pear-shaped real quick. So as we approach the manor, she and The Kid stay a long distance back. (Mechanically, they are Delayed for the first few Rounds.)

To keep things simple, I only loaded the ground-level of the map. (It's a map I had from a D&D game I've been running, and just added a few computer screens, holograms, and technological devices.) H'Xex's jump belt only allows him to go 3" above the table, so we'll assume the upper floors are taller than that. The AI in 5 Parsecs is straight-forward enough, the Enemy won't go upstairs if I don't.

Round 1: -

Seize the Initiative: Is at -1 against Hired Guns, but that's canceled by the +1 for being outnumbered (a resulted of the Delayed Deployment). Our total is a 7, so we don't seize it.

Quick Actions - Inshubur approaches the manor.

Enemy Actions - The aggressive Blood Storm Mercs won't sit quiet in manor and wait for us to come to them, so they start moving across the courtyard in a hurry, trying to get to the closest PC.

Slow Actions - Leonidas and Juniper follow the Captain. H'Xex jump-belts along the side of the building and makes as much noise as he can in an effort to lure the Mercs away from our main objective.

Red lines are Enemy movements, Red X's are where they died. Blue/Green/Yellow lines are PC movements. (Blue is JumpBelt use, Yellow is characters delayed until later entry.) Question Marks indicate PCs that went missing. This was a pretty dynamic battle.

Panic Test - None.

Enemy Ploy on a "1" - I'm using the Enemy Ploys from the Guns and Tricks supplement for the first time ever. At the end of Turn 1, it has a 1 in 6 chance of triggering a Ploy, and I rolled a 1.  That triggers a roll on the Ploy table, which is a "100" so their ploy is Reinforcements.  3 more Mercs are deeper inside the building, one of them with a rattlegun. This means I won't roll for ploys in future Rounds, but it does also reduce their Panic Range from 1 to 0. Unless something else changes it, all the Blood Storm Mercs are now Fearless. And they outnumber me 2-to-1 now.  Not a single shot fired, and it's only the first round, but things look pretty dire already.

Delayed resolves on a "1" - I rolled a 2, so Moreva and The Kid are still delayed off map somewhere.

Round 2: -

Quick - Inshubur swings out wider from the building, and H'Xex continues in the other direction to distract the enemy.

Enemy - They can't get LOS to any targets, so most of the Blood Storm Mercs head towards H'Xex's distraction. One of them, however, is actually closer to Inshubur and him, and so goes that direction. The diversion is working.

Slow - Leonidas and Juniper head north. J doesn't Dash because she's lurking by a window where she might get a shot at Mercs inside the building next turn.

Roll for Battle Events between Round 2 and 3 - Looks valuable: Randomly select a crew member, then place a marker 1D6” from them in a random direction. The enemy will ignore it. If any crew member moves into contact and spends a non-Combat Action, obtain 1D3 credits.

Delayed resolves on a "1-2" - Nope, I rolled a "5". Still delayed.

Round 3: -

Quick - A really good initiative roll has 3 of my 4 characters going in the quick phase.  H'Xex moves to a window, and puts two tight clusters of shot in the head and torso of the first Merc into the room. Inshubur rushes the main gate, but completely blows what should have been a simple shot on a Merc in the open.

Juniper goes on overwatch at the front window, hoping for some lucky snapfire at any Mercs rushing H'Xex. It's a trap that wouldn't work against Cautious or Tactical AI, but the Aggressive AI of the Blood Storm Mercs means they'll rush right into the jaws of death if within 12" of a good brawl.

Enemy - The LT rushes towards H'Xex, but gets stunned by Juniper's withering plasma snapfire. The Bruiser goes over the table, and drives H'Xex back with frantic Hand Lasering of the window.

The Merc that Inshubur missed closes half the distance and returns the favor.

Slow - Since he can't get a clean shot no matter where he goes, Leonidas doubles back for the "Looks Valuable" and scores us 2 Credits.

Delayed resolves on a "1-3" - I roll a "6". Where's my back-up?

Round 4: -

Quick - Initiative is bad this turn. Only Inshubur gets to go, and only because her Reactions is a 4. She charges the Merc and they brawl. Both roll 1s, but Inshubur gets a reroll with her Elegant Boarding Saber, and wins the melee on the reroll.  So that's 2 hits on the Merc, who goes down.

Enemy - The group on the far East of the map move south, with the one in front getting a clear shot at H'Xex. He picks up a second Stun and falls back 1". The Enemy LT shakes off their stun and gets into position in a window. The Bruiser runs along side them, but doesn't have enough movement to crawl out the window and brawl H. So instead they rush to the window, fire a Hand Laser, and put the third Stun on my K'Erin crewman! This would take him out, but H'Xex spends his Luck instead, and ends up diving for cover just beneath the window where the LT is.

Unable to get LOS to H'Xex, the Rattlegunner moves across the room and opens up at Juniper. Cover and Heavy mean the manor walls eat up all 3 shots.

Slow -  Juniper returns fire, and the Rattlegunner eats plasma-heated death.  Inshubur can't quite get LOS on anyone, so instead she heads into the Manor towers to go after the Notable Sight and get ready for close quarters battle.

Here's the part where it would be really smart for H'Xex to bail with his Jump Belt. He could drop back 9" into cover. Normally, K'Erin don't get to run away, but if they are Stunned, then they are temporarily pacified and may do so (this was clarified by the game's designer on his Discord). That's what I had planned to have him do, as he'd served as a great distraction already. But then his Luck roll pushed him right up to the window, less than 1" from the enemy LT. Because he's stunned he can't crawl through the window and also Brawl, but he can stand his ground and shoot from point blank. There's 5 enemies bearing down on him, it's probably suicide, but it's in keeping with the personality, so what the hell?

2 Hits, and a "6" on one of the damage rolls, so the LT is out of the fight. Too bad the reinforcement Ploy made the baddies fearless, as I sure would love their morale to start cracking right about now.

Delayed resolves on a "1-4" - I roll a 3, so Moreva and Kid are no longer delayed. Just in the nick of time. I get to put them on the board touching my edge of the table.

Roll for Battle Events between Round 4 and 5: "99: You want me to check that out? Select a random crew member. They may opt to go check out something they insist they saw. If they do, they are removed from the battle. After the battle ends, they may roll once on the Loot table (p.131). If you opt not to go, you cannot send a different character, and the chance is lost."

I number off my characters and roll the die. Rolling H'Xex would be amazing, as it would likely save him from getting KO'd next round. Most of the characters leaving right now would actually be okay, and worth the Loot. About the only roll that would be bad would be Inshubur, as she's perfectly positioned for snagging objectives right now.

So, of course, that means I roll Inshubur.

It's a tough call, but I'm feeling like I can risk it now that backup has arrived. Inshubur drags off the captured Merc to interrogate.

Round 5: -

Quick - A good initiative roll saves H'Xex's bacon. He can't see the bruiser, and can't shoot if he moves, but he does have range to one of the other Mercs, whom he drops. Then his stun clears.

Moreva dashes. The Kid sits tight on sniper overwatch with his Infantry Laser, to fry the Bruiser if she goes out through the window.

Enemy - So I thought H'Xex was going to be okay, but that remaining Rattlegunner disagreed. She shot him twice. No longer having a target, the others move through the building.

Slow - With no opportunity for Snap Fire, The Kid advances into cover. He shoots at the Rattlegunner, but misses. Juniper crawls through the window (this takes +2" of movement, per the rulebook). Leonidas heads north.

Round 6

Quick - The Kid stuns the Rattlegunner.

Enemy - Rattlegunner is out of range, and the Kid's not the closest PC either, so they run inside. All three Mercs move closer to Juniper, but only the Bruiser is close enough to shoot. Hand Laser hits, but only stuns.

Slow - Leonidas heads to the gate. Moreva to a window. Juniper returns fire, double-stunning the bruiser.

Round 7

Quick - Juniper blasts the Bruiser. Plasma Rifles are deadly. The Kid moves up.

Enemy - The last 2 Mercs advance across the great hall. The Railgunner shoots at Juniper. It's a hail mary shot that can only hit on a 7+ (due to Cover and Heavy), but it scores 1 hit! Luckily damage roll is low and only stuns.

Slow -Moreva breaks a window and climbs in. Leonidas runs through the gate.

Round 8

Quick -Initiative bombs out. Only The Kid gets to go first. He'll hold off in hopes of snapfiring through the window.

Enemy - Hand Laser backtracks slightly to get closer to Leonidas since he's moved up. Rattlegunner stands and shoots. Both miss entirely.

Slow - Being stunned does not stop Juniper from setting the Rattlegunners head on fire with plasma. Moreva picks up the Really Shiny Bits. The Kid goes through a window, since all the adults did it first.

Leonidas kills the last Merc.


This was a big crazy battle that made real good use of the terrain. Sending H'Xex as a diversion was a sound strategy, as it broke up the enemy advance and made them come into my other guns bit by bit. Assuming he doesn't die in the recovery step, it will definitely have been worth it.


4.1 Resolve Rival Status: - Rolled a 2, so there's no fallout from this fight.

4.2 Resolve Patron Status: - Menrva Bail Bonds continues as our Patron, and because of the Busy Condition offers us a new job automatically next Turn without us using a Find Patron Crew Task.

4.3 Determine Quest Progress: - n/a

4.4 Get Paid and Benefits of Success: -

Total of 8 Credits (Leonidas found a "Looks Valuable: +2 Credits", Moreva found - Really Shiny Bits: 2 credits, and Danger Pay: +1 Credit, all on top of a roll of 2, adjusted to 3 because we held the field)

Active Benefits: Provides a Rumor when I succeed.  We keep hearing mention of something called the  The Xanthous Soul from the 5th Dimension, and you can bet Inshubur will want to learn all about it.

Active Condition: Busy,  If the Mission is a success, the Patron offers a new job automatically next Turn.

Inshubur brawled a Merc and won. Per the Story Track: If you manage to defeat a mercenary by Brawling, you have captured him and can interrogate them for information. Add +1 story point. This brings me back up to 7 story points.

4.5 Battlefield Finds: - Vital info : Turn in this information to get a Corporate Patron automatically on this world.

4.6 Check for Invasion!: -n/a

4.7 Gather the Loot: -  Data Files worth 2 Rumors!

Inshubur went after a "You want me to check that out?" So we get 1 bonus Loot Check beyond normal. This becomes "Mysterious Items" worth 2 Story Points.

This bring my totals to 5 Quest Rumors and 9 Story Points.

4.8 Determine Injuries and Recovery: - I roll a "7" which means H'Xex is dead... but I just collected 3 Story Points, so naturally I spend 1. The reroll is a "30". No Turns lost in sick bay, but 1 piece of random equipment is damaged. His Combat Armor is Damaged, which is fine, as I'd forgotten he even had it, and I think I forgot to roll for it when he got hit.

4.9 Experience and Character Upgrades:  G.0 H.2 I.3 J.4 K.4 L.3 M.3   - First Kill: H    Rookie: K  Unique: J killed the Bruiser

Moreva raises her Reactions to 2.

4.10 Invest in Advanced Training: - Not yet.

4.11 Purchase Items: - None.

4.12 Campaign Event: - The life support system on the ship needs upgrading badly. Upgrading the life support system will cost 1D6 credits. The ship cannot be flown until this is paid. If your crew has an Engineer, modify the roll by -1. Moreva is an Engineer, and I rolled a 1, so that becomes a 0. Paid.

4.13 Character Event: - Juniper: You argue with the rest of the crew. During the next campaign turn, the crew member refuses to do any tasks but will participate in battle normally. Apparently, she wasn't happy about Inshubur buggering off, or Moreva and The Kid being late. Timeliness matters.

4.14 Check for Galactic War Progress: - N/A

4.15 Tick Story Clock: - Set the Clock to 2 Ticks, but the next Event cannot begin until you have traveled to a new world. Generate this as normal when you do.


Friday, July 16, 2021

Campaign Turn 9 (Five Parsecs From Home)

This is a step-by-step breakdown of the ninth Campaign Turn and Mission in my Five Parsecs From Home campaign. 

This Turn my Crew is up against Rivals who happen to be Cultists. The cultists get a ton of reinforcements during the battle events, and it's a pretty epic conflict.

Crew names below are often abbreviated G to M, as explained in: Crew Roster, which also tells you about my team and a bit about their ship. See also the Index of my Five Parsecs articles for a list of previous Missions and other content.

1.1 Flee Invasion: - n/a

1.2 Decide Whether to Travel: - n/a

1.3 Starship Travel Event: - n/a

1.4 New World Arrival Steps: - n/a

1.5 Gain 1 story point if it's turn 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, etc. -  Yes! Back up to 7 Story Points.

2.1 Upkeep and Ship Repairs: -
Crew Upkeep - 2    Ship Debt - 0    Ship Repairs - 3    Medical Care - 0

2.2 Assign and Resolve Crew Tasks: -

  • Find a Patron -     
  • Train -     
  • Trade - H, K    
  • Recruit -    
  • Explore - I, L    
  • Track -    
  • Repair Your Kit - M    
  • Decoy - G, J

Noteworthy results from Tasks: -

H trades for an instruction manual. (Read for +1 XP. Single use.)  

K trades for a Beam Pistol. It's nasty up close.

I spends time talking to a tech fanatic, they mostly geek out about the Strange Brain of the Skulker, and accomplish nothing.

M fixes the Camo Cloak.

We're a little worried that all these Rivals we've accumulated will come looking for us, So G & J both cover our tracks. G by being spotted in public, J by spread false rumors (about our mission) with her many contacts.

2.3 Determine Job Offers: - We're trying for the Bail Bonds job on the Cultists that was offered last turn.

2.4 Assign Equipment: - Kid gets the Beam Pistol and the Camo Cloak.  H'Xex gets the new suit of Combat Armor.

2.5 Resolve Rumors: - Quest not yet triggered, we just have that one tip from a contact.

2.6 Choose Your Battle -  So we were going after this mission that Menrva Bail Bonds offered to Juniper. Supposed to raid a Cult. Moreva's real nervous about it, because she used to be in a Cult. This same Cult. The Radiant Quiver of Resheph. Not this branch compound, her sect of it was on another planet, but the same general kind of abusive bastards. Bagging one of their leaders and turning him over to justice sounds good, but she's also scared. We all talk about it. We decide to do a little recon on the group. As we're acting real casual, watching from down the street, a cultist drives by and does a double-take. He's from the other compound, and recognizes Moreva from years ago. Suddenly all hell breaks loose.

(Here's what happened mechanically to justify that tale. I roll up the Enemy when I'm handing out the jobs, as that makes it more interesting and easier to work up a narrative if you know what the opposition is before hand. So, we had an open multi-turn job offer that involved cultists. Last turn's character event revealed that an old Rival of Moreva's returns to trouble her. As is the standard for Unknown Rivals,  I roll twice and get to pick which one I want. I rolled Cultists and Unity Grunts, and decided that Cultists implied the more interesting backstory for the character. I didn't really expect it to come up any time soon, cause in the first 8 Turns none of my Rivals have shown up. I even assigned 2 PCs to Decoy Actions this turn to reduce the chance of Rival interference. But wouldn't you know it, I rolled low enough to trigger a rival rumble, and then rolled a d4 to find out which Rival group it was and got a "4" so the most recent one on the list. And that just bloomed into a little story. It does mean there's a decent chance I'll be running back-to-back Cultist missions this turn and next, which is a little weird, but not really a problem.)

Job Description:
 Menrva Bail Bonds calls us up with a Bounty on a Cultist. We get tangled up in some ancillary business, because Moreva has history with these jerks. Rival trouble.


Deployment Conditions:  - none

Notable Sights:  - nothing special

Objective: - Just try to hold the field. Rival Mission Circumstances: Brought Friends  (Add one additional enemy figure. If you flee from the battle before 4 rounds are up, a random crew member will lose a random item of equipment carried in your flight.)

Enemy: Criminal Elements Subtype: Cultists 

Numbers+2 Panic 1 Speed 4" Combat Skill +0  Tou3 AI-A Weap1A 

"Fringe Space is full of odd, para-religious groups, congregating around this or that principle. They are often heavily armed, and up to no good."

Intrigue: Roll 2D6 and add +1 if you killed a Lieutenant and/or Unique Individual. On a 9+, you obtain a Quest Rumor.

7 Cultists total: 

4 regulars with Colony Rifle and Blade, 

2 specialists with Power Claw, 

1 leader with Colony Rifle and Blade,

Starting Positions - Mission 8

Deploy:  We're casually observing the cult from down the street, when they spot Moreva. So I decided to make Moreva was in Line-of-Sight to the enemy, and I didn't put any of my characters up on rooftops. This was partly for obvious story reasons, but mostly because 2 of the enemy only have Power Claws, and it seemed kinda cheaty to put my entire team up on rooftops where those melee-only enemies would have to run past us to the fire escape, then 3" or 4" up a ladder, and then backtracking across the roof. So instead, Moreva and Inshubur are near the beat-up old car we arrived in, Juniper is across the street getting a closer look, the Kid is out playing in traffic, and Leonidas and H'Xex are laying low in the alleyway.

Neutral Car House Rules: In a couple of my previous battles, I had fun placing neutral cars at roads on the edges of the map, and having them drive a random distance each turn.  I'll be doing the same this time. I set up their speed in Roll20 as moving [[1d8!+1d4]] inches per turn. A d8 and a d4 together give a nice flat-topped bell curve, but exclamation mark in the die code means that if it rolls a natural 8 it adds another 1d8 to the movement. So the cars usually going a little faster than the humans, but have the potential to suddenly accelerate to much faster. If they would hit something, they brake suddenly and the person they'd hit takes a stun. They follow their lane, but if they have turning options they determine it randomly. If a car goes off a map edge it re-enters from a random lane. On this particular map there are 3 main lanes entering the map (1 southbound, 2 northbound) and two kind of inconvenient or uninteresting lanes (eastbound alleyway and eastbound half-off-the-map). So I numbered them "1-2", "3-4", "5-6", "7" and "8" and will roll a d8 each time. Initial car placement roll was a 6 and a 3.  I'll move cars at the start of Enemy actions, for the maximum benefit to the NPCs and detriment of my crew. (Because the enemies will be able to rely on the cars for cover far better than I can.

Seize The Initiative was successful for once! Can't remember the last time that happened. M opens fire first, but misses with all her plasma. The Kid shoots a rooftop cultist, but only stuns them. L & I advance into cover. J just stays put. She's not got LOS to anyone, but if she moves she'll leave herself open to the Cultists. I want H to use his jump belt to the building roofs, but these are more than one story, so it's probably above the 3" height allowance. Instead I move him on to the fire escape in the alleyway, so next Round he'll get to the roof.

Round 1: - Inshubur and The Kid can act in the Quick Phase.  I takes careful Aim through the Unity Battle Sight on her Plasma Rifle, and a cultist experiences the Rapture.  K Aims at the cultist he'd shot before, and manages to stun her a second time and drive her back far enough from the edge that he can't see her.

The cars move 8" and 7" inches. None of the cultists have range to any of the PCs (the ones who did are either dead or knocked back and stunned), so the Cult Leader and one other cultist Dash out into the street to get closer. They keep the cars in front of them as a moving shield. I don't think the civilian drivers appreciate it.

The double-stunned cultist on the roof runs down the staircase to get in cover.  The other cultist on a roof makes a running jump from one roof to the next building.

The Power Claw specialists move forward, taking cover behind a tree and mailbox.

L moves forward and gets an angle where he can stun the cultist behind the cars, and slow their advance.

M takes out the closer of the two Power Claw wielders.

J dashes forward and shelters behind the big metal base of a street lamp.

Leaping from the fire escape, H uses his Jump Belt to reach the roof of another building.

All the Cultists pass their Morale test.

Round 2: - Inshubur plasma-boils the other Power Claw cultist, and Leonidas kills the person he'd just stunned.

The car in the left lane slows down, the driver braking hard at the sight of gunfire up ahead. The car in the right lane continues forward at roughly the same velocity as before, because its view of the trouble was blocked by the first car. (That's how I interpret rolls of 5" and 8".)

The cult leader rushes to take cover behind the concrete barrier between lanes, and pegs Leonidas with his military rifle. Damage roll is a 6, so I spend a story point. The shot punches through the hood of the car he's sheltering behind, and he's hit by shrapnel instead of the slug, so he's merely stunned. (Rerolled damage is a "1".)

The cultist on the roof tries shooting Leonidas as well, but misses. The other other remaining cultist moves into better cover behind a mailbox, and shakes off their stun.

H misses the Cult leader. M misses the cultist. Juniper advances and ducks in to a small alleyway, but doesn't have a clear shot at anyone.
The cultist fail the panic test, so the one on the roof slinks away.

Mission 8 Battle Map. This was the biggest, craziest battle thus far.

Green lines on the map are the movements of my crew, with the shade of green just indicating which person it is for when their paths overlap. Blue lines are H'Xex using his Jump Belt, and it switches to green when he actually walks. Purple lines are neutral cars, essentially just moving cover. Red lines are the bad guys moving around. The two orange segments on the red path in the right hand side of the map are running jumps from one roof to the next. The pink lines at the bottom are all the reinforcements that arrive on the map later in the Mission.

Battle Event between Round 2 and 3 -  Enemy Reinforcements. Another cultist rifle and cultist power claw coming running up the road. If the other one hadn't just bailed, this would get interesting.

Hmmm.... the rules say all the end of turn stuff can be done in whatever order you want, so I swap the order of them. Reinforcements first, then panic failure. So the new Claw runs away, as his weapon wouldn't get into range anytime soon anyway. Doing it this way makes the fight a tiny bit harder on myself.

Round 3: - The Kid moves out into the open, eager to end this. He burns a laser vent in the cult leader's head. Inshubur advances a few feet and takes cover behing a concrete bollard.

The driver who had slowed down realizes most of the fighting is behind him now, so he floors it.  The cars move ahead 9" and 7".

Cultist reinforcement advances into cover, and shoots at H but misses. The other cultist on the ground moves, and shoots at Juniper. J's luck saves her. It's a classic "cat scare" in the narrow alley, but she has to head in deeper to make sure it's not a cultist sneaking up on her.

Roof cultist makes a running jump to the next section, then fires wild and wide. Bullets ricochet off the concrete near the Kid.
Moreva's plasma fire ignites the cultist that shot at Juniper.  

Leonidas gets his wits back about him, and ducks behind the car.

H'Xex jumps down into cover behind a holobillboard, and fires ineffectually at the new cultist.

One failed panic test, so though can't seem to hit H'Xex, it is enough to make them run away.

Round 4: -  Inshubur sits tight, ready for snap fire if the enemy shows herself.
Both cars slow down, moving 4" and 5". I think maybe they're worried Inshubur or The Kid are about to run out in front of them.

Cultist runs forward, and jumps down a floor to the lower roof. Dropping more than 1" ends her turn. She's far enough in from the edge that nobody on the ground can see or shoot her.

Most of my team huddles behind the divider, and talks about what to do. Juniper heads toward the fire escape in the alleyway. H'Xex gets up high enough to see the cultist, but not close enough for his shotgun to accomplish anything.
There's no panic test this round. This cultist is prepared to die on this hunt.

Battle Event between Round 4 and 5: Possible Reinforcements: "Place 3 markers evenly spaced along the opposing battlefield edge. At the start of the Enemy Actions phase next round, select a random marker, and roll 1D6. On a 5-6, a new basic enemy figure is placed on the marker, otherwise it is removed. Roll for one marker per round until they are all gone. If a crew member moves within 3” of a marker, it is removed instantly."

Round 5: - K and I are ready to snapfire.

Both cars move off the map, so I roll to replace them. I roll a 1 and a 5, so one southbound and one northbound.

Roof Cultist moves forward, but doesn't quite have enough movement to get to the edge where they'd have Line Of Sight to Juniper. The smartest move would be to stay in cover, but they have Aggressive AI and are within 12", so they leave cover to get closer.

Reinforcements: Another cultist shows up in the middle of the board's southern edge. They take cover behind the median, and fail to hit H'Xex.

Since there's no target in range, K and I dash across the road instead. M and L maneuver in cover.

H jumps down into cover as well, and misses with the new cultist with his shotgun.

Juniper climbs the fire escape, and vaporizes at the cultist in the open.

Round 6: - I have lots of quick actions, but no enemies on the map. H, I, J and K advance in cover.

The new cars are moving much faster than the old ones. 10" south and 18" north, thanks to the exploding d8!"

A second new Cultist shows up to reinforce the first one. Both get in cover and fire shots past H'Xex's head.

H'Xex jumpbelts forward, swinging his his Shatter Axe. He gets to roll 2 dice, and choose the better roll. Both dice are natural 1's, augmented to 5's by his Combat Skill of +2 and the bonus for a Melee weapon. The cultist also has a Melee weapon, so their base 3 on the die is also augmented up to 5. On a tie, both sides take 1 Hit, and for rolling a natural "1", H will take a second hit. H gets yet another natural "1" on his damage, but the Shatter Axe has a high damage rating so he kills anyway. Both of the hits on him are low rolls as well, so he ends up double-stunned but still kicking.

Out of range, Leonidas and Moreva use a Dash to get closer.

The cultist does not panic.

Round 7: -  K and I Dash for cover.

Both cars slow down a bit, as their drivers try to figure what's going on around them. 4" and 8".

All three reinforcement rolls have been 5+, and the last  possible cultist steps out of a building in the southeast corner of the map.

The other Cultist moves forward and fires a slug at H'Xex. He's in the open, less than 6", so it's a hit on a 3+. The damage roll ends up being just a "1", but as he's got stuns on him already, that would be enough to take him out. I spend his Luck point, and he avoids the KO and bounces 2" southeast. That's basically scrambling into cover behind a concrete bollard. If he's only going to bounce 2", that's the probably the best direction, so it really is Luck.

The final cultist reinforcement moves out into the street, and joins in the "lets all shoot at H'Xex" plan. They roll a "1" on the attack, so he doesn't even get stunned.
M. J, and L move up. L can't shoot because M is blocking his LOS. J's just out of range. M lines up a shot, but just ends up melting the streetlight next to the cultist.

Since he's stunned, H'Xex isn't required to charge into Melee (thank you Ivan at Nordic Weasel for the clarification on how stunned K'Erin heroes work). He shotguns the cultist closest to him, and shrugs off 1 of his two stuns.

Round 8: A good initiative roll helps a lot here. Moreva adjusts her aim and obliterates the closer cultist. Inshubur takes cover behind the mailbox, and blasts the final cultist.

We hold the field! It cost us Story Points and Luck a plenty, but no PCs were KO'd this time.


That was a crazy battle! All those reinforcement waves made it epic, long and unpredictable.  It was great! 10 cultist corpses, and 2 escaped enemies due to understandable panic. Had all 12 of them been on the board at the beginning I probably would have lost the fight.

I will say though that enemies without ranged attacks are kind of wasted. Maybe it's the maps I'm using, but it seems like that's always going to be the case. 3 of 12 adversaries were armed only with a Power Claw, and while that's a highly damaging weapon, it only matters if they can get in close, which none of them did. Also, per the rules, even Aggressive enemies like these aren't supposed to try to initiate a brawl if their Combat Skill is lower than the target PCs. With their CS of +0, there's a point in the mid-campaign where they may not ever have any legal brawling targets. It only takes 2 or 3 missions to get your entire team up to CS +1. Also, as experienced by the cultist on the roof in Round 5, things get a little awkward now that you can't Dash into Melee. You end up in situations were an enemy can technically reach you, but can't brawl you if they do, and that's a little weird that they end up moving less than their Dash distance, but stop just short of you entirely lined up for your point-blank bust-a-cap that can't miss. In second edition, moving into melee was done at running speed if I remember correctly, so it didn't really have this problem. I wonder why he changed it for 3rd?

Possible House-Rule to Fix it: Enemies with just a melee weapon like a PowerClaw probably need a weak pistol added to their armament to help when they're not quite in range, and when they are out-CS'ed. 

About Cars - I am really enjoying the "mobile terrain" I've introduced with the neutral cars, as it really helps keep big open roadways from being boring sniper fests. Having the cars move right before the enemies does a good job of making sure the baddies can take advantage of it and the random movement amount keeps the player from planning too far ahead. That's all great. Having battles on city streets though does make me wonder about how long it takes the local police to respond to laserfire. Maybe some third-party Enforcers ought to show up if the battle goes too long? I'm in danger of making this too complex if I lean into realism. It is a tabletop miniatures game after all, not high-simulationist gritty RPG.


4.1 Resolve Rival Status: -  They've had enough! I broke their spirit, and can remove them from my Rival list. Moreva won't be troubled by these jerks again.

4.2 Resolve Patron Status: - n/a - We still have one turn to go after the actual Bail Bonds Patron Mission.

4.3 Determine Quest Progress: - n/a

4.4 Get Paid and Benefits of Success: - Lots of modifiers here.

Criminal Elements:  When setting up, roll 1D6. If the score is 1-3, that many bonus credits will be paid out as a bounty if you.  Bounty = YES, +2 Credits if we Hold the Field after the battle.

Intrigue: Roll 2D6 and add +1 if you killed a Lieutenant and/or Unique Individual. On a 9+, you obtain a Quest Rumor.  

Rival Battle: If you flee from the battle before 4 rounds are up, a random crew member will lose a random item of equipment carried in your flight.

I rolled a "1" for the pay, and a "7" on the intrigue, so it's a total of just 3 Credits in payment after all those modifiers.

4.5 Battlefield Finds: -  Personal Trinket: On each planet you visit in the future, roll 2D6. On a 9+ you find the owner and receive a Loot roll (p.131) as payment.

4.6 Check for Invasion!: - n/a

4.7 Gather the Loot: -  2 doses of the consumable called "Still". I've had 1 dose for several Turns, and always forget to use it. Now I can forget 3 times as much. Yay!

4.8 Determine Injuries and Recovery: - n/a

4.9 Experience and Character Upgrades:  G.0 H.3 I.4 J.3 K.4 L.3 M.3   - First Kill: - I     Rookie: K

H'Xex trains Combat Skill from 2 to 3.

Inshubur trains Speed from 5 to 6.

4.10 Invest in Advanced Training: - not yet

4.11 Purchase Items: - none

4.12 Campaign Event: - You’ve managed to settle some old “business”. If you have any, you may remove one Rival of your choice.   Inshubur manages to set things straight with the E'Rex K'Gal and end the enmity.  This eliminates the chance of them trying to invade the planet, so that's pretty great.

4.13 Character Event: - Randomly selected Inshubur, and got: "You’ve made a real personal breakthrough. Select one ability score that has not been increased from its starting value when the character entered the campaign. It increases by +1 immediately."  Because I just spent her XP on Speed, there was only 1 ability score she hadn't raised during the campaign: Savvy. So that goes up from her starting value of 1 to 2. Clearly, the Strange Brain has continued to open up new neuronal pathways, and expanded her consciousness.

4.14 Check for Galactic War Progress: - n/a

4.15 Tick Story Clock: - 0 (so in Turn 10 we have the second Story Track adventure)