Solo Skald |||

5 Parsecs from Home - Campaign Turn 6

Last session saw some changes in the crew composition. This time I’m planning to look a bit more at the narrative.

World Steps

Now that Stroud has left the crew, upkeep is back down to 1 credit. We have 14 credits and 9 Debt, so the Captain decides to pay it off all at once. This could backfire if suddenly we need more than 5 credits, but that hasn’t really happened yet and it’ll save us a lot of trouble in the future.

I imagine the crew has a bit of a party after this (including Stroud, who’s taken up residence here on Elyria). Getting out from under their creditors means no more losing money to interest and prevents any unfortunate entanglements in the future. There’s drinking, and probably some tears as well with this sort of doubling as Stroud’s farewell. Saige will continue her relationship with Stroud, and let’s hope nothing bad happens to her…

Crew Tasks

Other than that party, what are the crew members doing with their time?

  • Ellen Swales: Find a Patron
    • The captain is working the terminals, talking to other crews, and generally trying to find a job for the crew.
    • None of her contacts her have any work for the crew, unfortunately.
  • Reyna Crowder: Explore
    • She’s been shut up in Sick Bay too long and wants to see the sights.
    • That said, she shows her leadership capabilities and finds a Patron on her own, which we’ll work through below.
  • Shurl Reeves: Trade
    • She picks up some tourist garbage that’s not actually worth anything.
  • Thornton Darby: Trade
    • He also only locates worthless trinkets. Perhaps Elyria is something of a tourist trap.
  • Mark Notley: Decoy
    • The crew has more rivals here than they’d like, and he’s just the guy to try to cover their tracks.
  • Saige Alden: Explore
    • She’s a bit lonely now that Stroud is staying behind, but she finds a Duplicator that just needs a little love.
    • It’ll need to be repaired before it can be used, but once it is, it can create a perfect copy of any one item (once).

Job Offers

Reyna found work from a corporation, which means extra Danger Pay (+2 credits). The job needs to be done this campaign turn, and on success the crew will get a security team that will remove a rival for us. That said, the patron is clean and we can’t ever have had law enforcement rivals. The Weekenders haven’t, though; all our rivals have been criminals, mercenaries, cultists, etc.

Fortunately, Notley’s decoy works and it makes the difference - our rivals don’t track us down this time.

Equipment

Stroud had a Colony Rifle, Ripper Sword, and a Deflector Field. Saige will take the sword and field, and the rifle will go to Crowder.

Battle

They’re going to do the Patron job, so let’s see what that includes.

Readying for Battle

  • Deployment Condition: none
  • Notable Sights: Peculiar item (gain +2 XP)
  • Objective: Move Through
    • As before, the crew needs to get 2 members to the opposite edge of the board.
  • Enemies: Roving Threats
    • Vent Crawlers: Homicidal alien lifeforms that like to lurk inside starships and on strange moons.
    • Fate worse than death: If the post-battle Injury is death, the character cannot be saved, and no rerolls are possible for any reason.
    • Panic 0, Speed 6”, Combat +2, Toughness 5, AI R [Rampage], Weapons: Claws (Damage +0)
    • Number: 4 (3 Normal and 1 Pack Leader)

You’ve stumbled into something dangerous in the area, and must fight for your life. Any valuables found will typically be remnants of some unlucky prior crew found in the vicinity.

We’re essentially doing recon on an area infested with xenomorphs for Weyland-Yutani.

For the battlefield, thematically anything could work. Since we’re on a floating city above a gas giant, though, it still needs to feel technical” in some sense rather than, say, underground tunnels. I’ll use the Cargo Deck map from the same set of Loke BattleMats as I’ve been using in this campaign, with some extra decor to make it feel a bit more interesting rather than empty rooms.

Battlefield Map

Rules of Engagement

  • All Laser, Beam, or Blast weapons are -1 to Hit at ranges exceeding 9”.
  • Enemies will not bail (panic).
  • Rampaging enemies will move as fast as possible towards the closest opponent, and will always attempt to enter Brawling combat.
  • They will set up in one cluster with 1” between each figure.

Deployment

The crew will deploy from the eastern edge where the cargo lift is, and thus the vent crawlers will be on the western edge in that single cluster. For fun, I randomly determined which room they’d start in, and that turns out to be the smaller room on the southern part of the western edge.

Similarly, I decide to put all the crew on the cargo lift, as if that’s how they reached this area.

Then I put on some science fiction battle music and start rolling dice.

Round 1

Two of the quicker crew (with improved Reaction scores) can go first. That’ll be Swales and Notley, both of whom move to the northern edge of this cargo area, which is slightly lower than the rest of the deck.

The Vent Crawlers come pouring out of the small room, dashing towards the crew.

Alden follows Notley but takes a shot at one of the xenos, hitting it but only for a stun. Right behind her, Crowder does the same with her new rifle and takes it out completely. That’ll be worth an extra XP (assuming she survives). The other two crew members won’t have good LOS to any of the remaining xenos, so Darby and Reeves will just move with all deliberate speed.

Round 2

One crew member can go in this Quick Actions phase, and that will be Notley who rushes up the steps, readying his Blast Rifle. He sends a blaster bolt towards the xenos with no effect.

That same Vent Crawler dashes up to him but won’t have any actions left. Another one scrambles over cargo towards Darby, while the Pack Leader gets up in Reeves’ face.

Reeves draws her Brutal Melee Weapon and gets into melee with the Pack Leader, but it’s a clumsy weapon against such a quick enemy. Instead, she is taken down. Darby walks backward, trying to get out of reach, and then puts a blast into the pack leader that only stuns it. Swales runs up the same steps but fires her Fury Rifle at the xeno attacking Notley; these incredibly tough creatures are only stunned by this. Alden says something unintelligible and rushes the pack leader with her Ripper Sword, only keeping it stunned. Crowder is the last to go and runs towards Swales, then shoots a vent crawler with her handgun and stuns this one as well.

At the end of round 2, another pair of vent crawlers enter the cargo deck as reinforcements!

Round 3

During this Quick Actions Phase, Notley advances on the nearby xeno with his boarding saber, inflicting 2 hits on it - somehow this horrible menace is still alive. Alden continues to hack away at the pack leader with her Ripper Sword but it just won’t die.

The Vent Crawlers that have already reached the crew rush forward, but their stuns prevent them from doing anything more than this. The Pack Leader claws futilely at Alden, taking two hits (and thus staying stunned) but otherwise doing nothing. The new reinforcements run forward at full speed.

Darby maneuvers but can’t get a clear shot at the crawler engaged with Notley; instead, he fires his Blast Rifle at one of the two fighting Alden, and finally it dies. Swales follows suit and gets a clear shot off at the Pack Leader, and the Fury Rifle tears through the creature’s flesh and clearing the way for Alden on the next round. Crowder picks up the Peculiar Item; the crew will have to figure out what it is later.

Round 4

Notley has a big ugly creature in his face and would rather not, so he brandishes his boarding saber and drives it back but still can’t kill it. Alden, who is still trying to get out of the lower cargo area, follows behind Crowder.

The stunned Vent Crawler runs back up to Notley, shaking its head as if trying to clear its thoughts. The other newcomers continue their rampage but can’t actually fight yet.

There’s a problem, though; with Notley engaged, Darby still doesn’t have a clear shot, so he pulls back slightly, watching for an opening. That actually does clear Swales as she also steps back and destroys one more with her Fury Rifle. Crowder steps back as well; she doesn’t have a shot right now, but she wants to make sure Alden can move on the next round.

At the end of round 4, the event that I roll up doesn’t make sense (we don’t have any spare crew” anymore) so it gets discarded.

Round 5

All that’s left are these reinforcements, and Notley yells something about a scrum before slashing one of them to pieces. Everyone else holds in place; although one of them could go, none have a shot so it’s best to let the enemy come to them.

The last remaining Vent Crawler rushes up to Notley, only to meet his boarding saber and die screaming.

The Weekenders have Held the Field!

Post-Battle Sequence

Time to change up the music and go through the remaining steps.

Roving Threats cannot become rivals, and Weyland-Yutani is happy with the crew’s performance, promising the possibility of future work.

The crew earns 6 Credits in pay. As promised, a security team tracks down the rivals that came after Darby for his package delivery, who recognize when they’re outmatched. The crew finds some information here that’ll lead to an additional corporate patron; I’ll figure out more about what that is in the next campaign turn. They also get handed a data file (+2 Quest Rumors) that will need to be decrypted; does this relate to the truths” that Ellen Swales is seeking?

Reeves has survived, but she’s suffered a crippling wound and will have a permanent -1 to her Speed. Surgery would have cost everything the crew made on this job, and while Ellen isn’t heartless, that’s also not the wisest way to spend that much money. She’ll also be in Sick Bay for 3 campaign turns and get 2 XP.

Crowder has earned a full 7 XP from this job, which she’ll immediately spend on +1 Combat. The others get 4 XP each. That means Alden gets an advance as well, and she’ll take +1 Reaction.

Now that the ship’s paid off, they can finally buy some gear, and 3 Credits gets them another piece of Combat Armor. Crowder will take that; Darby probably could use it as well, but he’s still somewhat skeptical of violence.

Once they get back to the ship, it turns out that the life support system badly needs some upgrades that will cost 4 credits; they’ll spend that now, as the ship isn’t flyable without it.

During the repairs, Darby and Notley get to talking, and Notley ends up being affected by the violence as well. He’s going to sit out the next battle and think about what his life means to him, although this gives us +1 Story Point to make up for it.

We’re down to 4 Credits, and the crew is at an emotional nadir. It’ll be time to juice things up when I sit down to play again.

Next Time

What were those bits of information they found that got them a new patron and progress on their quest? And what was that Peculiar Item? These are some of the questions that will continue to deepen the narrative.

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