Thursday, May 5, 2016

Iteration 3 Playtest

At last!  Iteration 3 reaches its culmination in a playtest.  How well will everything fair, and how can we possibly playtest all elements? Well, the answer is "With a really long freaking post."  It took me a few days to write this up, and it surely has some errors in it, and it clocks in at 9,000 words, which technically makes it a novelette, so I'd forgive you for not reading it, but it gave me a few interesting insights, which I will post tomorrow.



Setting the Scene

We last left our heroes on the dying luxury liner, the Willow Star, and our heroes had defeated not one, but two ambushes, which seems quite enough ambushes for me. So, our heroes race to the hangar to make their escape. If we make the case that the Willow Star is a Xanadu-class luxury liner, then its hangar is large enough for shuttles and fighters, but not for corvettes. Since most of the party at this point has access to corvettes, we want the players to find their corvettes in the hangar, thus the Willow Star is like a Xanadu-class luxury liner, but +1 to +2 SM, so we can easily fit our corvettes into the hangar bay.

Once again, we join Kendra, Dun and Leylana, but a weird little alien named Twee Toolaroo has joined them as well. Jenna and Tobin have not. Unfortunately, the Empire grasped that our heroes had only two real escape routes: escape pods and the hangar bay. They have done their best to lock down both as they look for our heroes, and they've rounded up all the pilots they found in the bay and are holding them prisoner in the hangar. The Empire has 5 battle-bots, 5 imperial troopers, a heavy trooper and an assault trooper guarding the prisoners and watching the doors, and one recon trooper positioned in a higher, more distant level of the hangar to watch over the whole scene as spotter and sniper.

For our heroes to escape, they'll need to get into the locked down hangar bay, rescue the pilots, and then escape.

The BAD is 2. They've got it locked down tight, but it's not that bad.

The Plan

Our heroes, joined by a fretting-but-beautifully-dol-llike DD-6 and a panicked TB-7, arrive at the door. Kendra, impulsive, draws both of her pistols and begins to move directly at the door, ready to get to her Vermillion and aware that there may well be troopers guarding it, but Dun grabs her shoulder and easily stops her (ST 11 vs ST 9, though they don't roll for it. We're role-playing!)

“It's a trap.” He says.

“Of course it's a trap!” Kendra growls angrily. “But they have our ship, and how tough can they be?”

“Let's check, shall we?”

The first trick is to gain access to some kind of surveillance. Cameras dot the ship, as well as computer panels, but getting the surveillance cameras from within the hold of the ship to show on a local computer panel will be tricky. One obvious solution would be to use Computer Hacking. By breaking into the Willow Star's systems, we can tell the central computer to reroute that info here. This is typically how most Star Wars computer games handles it. Unfortunately, we have no hackers. We can also plant a tracer, which would redirect the feed of a computer or a system to another machine. Kendra has three, and everyone has a data-reader. It might be possible to work a patch from one to the other (Is there no standard viewer for a tracer?), and simply attaching it is an Electronics Operation (Surveillance), which Dun is skilled in. Finally, we could simply wire the nearby surveillance wires directly into the nearby computer panel: Electronics Repair (Surveillance) should do it. The group opts for the last:

“Hey, little guy,” Dun calls to Twee, “Can you patch the feed from inside the hangar bay in through this console here?” he asks, pointing to a nearby console.

“You got it boss.” Twee grumbles, rubbing his long nose, then expertly pulling apart the panelling and diving into the wires below using his electronics repair mini-toolkit. A mini-toolkit is -2, and the BAD is -2, for a total of -4 (Alternatively, we could use the generic “modifiers” rule from Dungeon Fantasy: The electronics system is compromised and damaged... again a -2). After a moment, Twee waves to TB-7 and the tech-bot waddles over, burbling anxiously, as it unfolds some of its tool-extensions and sets to work trimming wires, and makes a Complementary Roll with Electronics Repair (Surveillance) 12 and succeeds with a 11 for a +1. So Twee, having skill-16, needs a 13 or less. He rolls a 9 and succeeds.

Twee peeks up from beneath a mess of wires, his black eyes glittering gleefully “What about now?” and like magic, the grey-and-green images of the interior of the hangar bay spring to life on the screen. Dun steps forward to check them.

The Recon trooper is hiding. Our rules allow us to use Electronics Operation (Surveillance) to look for people, but the Action rules allow for use of Observation when checking video. Dun asks if his experience with manipulating surveillance might help, and the GM allows a complimentary roll, assuming he can control how the camera pans and switches between IR and standard modes: This is at -2 (giving him a skill of 12) which Dun gets precisely. He then rolls observation (15) +1 (complimentary) -2 BAD or against the Recon Troopers stealth. For simplicity, we'll use the former, and we get a total skill of 14, which Dun catches exactly. He twiddles with the controls, confers with Twee, and then a few moments later, he taps the screen.

“Alright, ladies, here's what we have. You can see Kendra's Vermillion here, and Leylana's Grey Morning, and some other ships. There's 6 troopers here and 5 battle robots here, and one sniper here.”

“Where?” Kendra asks. Dun flips the mode to IR and widens the view so Kendra can see more clearly. “Oh, there you are you sneaky git.”

If Dun wants an idea of what they're trying to do, he needs to roll Tactics. The GM allows this unmodified: the troopers aren't expecting someone to be spying on them. He has skill 13, and rolls a 9.

“The bots are covering the doors, while the troopers hold back and watch. They clearly expect someone to make a run for it, but see, look, all the pilots, including Tobin, are in cuffs and kneeling. They know we need to go after them to rescue them, so first we have to get past the robots and then through the troopers watching over the soldiers, while a sniper lays down covering fire from ambush. The heavy there lays down further suppression fire, and the guy with the shield, the assault trooper, he'll advance on us to take us out.”

“What do you recommend?” Leylana asks, arching an eyebrow at Dun.

“I could probably break through the line of robots, but the combination of sniper and heavy worries me. That's a lot of firepower, and I'm not sure my shield can take all of it. But they're expecting a forward assault. No, I think we need to ambush them. We need to get that sniper out of the picture, and distract the troops long enough to hit them all while they're milling about. We can't just sneak in there, though. They're watching the pilots too closely, and we'd need too much time to get our ships up and running. We need to take them out.”

“Twee can get me in through a side entrance, can't you, guy?” Kendra says. “I can take out the sniper, then drop to the floor, and help you take out the rest.”

“As for the rest, you only need a distraction, right?” Leylana asks. She glances at DD-6 and smiles.

“What is it, mistress? Do you need something?” DD-6's plastic eyelids flutter in demure surprise. Leylana pats the bot's shoulder, and then leans down to rip a larger rent in her dress, showing more of her long legs and daubing her hand in some of the grease pooling near Twee and carefully marking her face with it, as though she was applying the first touches for a make-over.

“Uh...” Dun hesitates, watching her.

Leylana arches an eyebrow “I have to make it look realistic, don't I? The ship is under attack. Beautiful and wealthy maidens all over the ship, just like me, are in dire distress and I'm sure those boys inside could find it in their hearts to pity and rescue a damsel just like me.”

Dun stifles a smile and shakes his head. The rest of the plan is made: Leylana and DD-6 will infiltrate the group as distressed passengers, while Dun lies in wait and Kendra positions herself to take out the sniper. Then, on Leylana's signal (“You'll know it when you see it.”), the group will attack as one. The intent is to sow sufficient confusion that they can rescue Tobin (“and my friend too!” Twee insists) from the troopers, get to the Grey Morning, and get out. Dun rolls Tactics (-2 from BAD) for an 11. He rolls a startling 5 and gets 6 free rerolls for the group as long as they're trying to sow discord and get out as quickly as possible.

The Prisoners

Conveniently, Tobin and Jenna are sitted next to one another. Kneeling with the rest of the prisoners, their hands bound behind them with neuronic restraints, they're in a vulnerable position, nonetheless, Tobin takes the opportunity to introduce himself to the new player-character.

“How you doin'?” He asks with a boyish grin.

Jenna merely scowls at him and gestures with her cuffed hands. “About as well as you.”

“That's alright, I have a plan to get us out of here.” He winks.

“And that is?” She whispers harshly.

Tobin hesitates. Escaping cuffs would require access to the security transmitter in the pocket of the Assault trooper, which he doesn't have, nor the skill necessary to tinker with it (Electronics Operation (Security)). He lacks Escape (which would require Escape -2 due to BAD, or -6 if we went with the Ultra-Tech rules), and he's not strong enough to break through the cuffs (The cuffs are ST 20). Fighter Aces do have options for Electronics Operation (Security) and Escape, but Tobin neglected them.

“I have friends coming,” he replies lamely.

Jenna rolls her eyes “You're not the only one with friends.”

“Enough talking.” One of the troopers growls menacingly.

Getting In: Dun

Dun leans against a bulwark out of view of the door and sighs. He needs to wait.

Getting In: Leylana

The doors whoosh open to reveal Leylana in her tattered glory, staggering forward into the hangar, flanked by her pristinely dressed secretary-bot (DD-6 is squeamish and thus allowed Leylana to put a single mark of grease only after Leylana promised her a trip to the robotic spa and deep-cleaner). As one, the battle-bots lift their blaster carbines and level them at the pair.

Leylana must instantly convince the officer that she's not a threat. Given that the troopers are expecting something and that they're actually looking for Leylana, I'm tempted to require some disguise roll, but after looking more closely at the rules, it seems that's not entirely necessary. She's simply trying to distract the inattentive and to look the part of distressed victim. Nonetheless, she must still fool them with an Acting roll: -2 for BAD, doubled because the troopers are especially alert, for a total of -4! Leylana has skill 17, so she needs a 13 or less, and she rolls an 11, that's enough. They believe that she's genuinely in distress… but is it enough? Do they care? It's now up to the commander's discretion, so we'll look at a Reaction Modifier. Leylana is beautiful for +4 and she's “dressed for the part,” having spent some time carefully and artfully ruining her beautiful dress to create the perfect tension between power and distress, wealth and rags, so the GM allows a +1 for Fashion sense: She rolls 11 again, and gets 15: Good. In a potential combat situation, the opponents find her likable and might even assist her: Roll again at +1. We do so and get a 9 (for 14): A request for aid is granted.

She rushes in, crying out for help, heedless of the danger while DD-6 glides gracefully behind her. Leylana collapses dramatically to her knees before the battle-bots just as they're about to open fire, but the assault trooper lifts his fist.

“Hold fire.” He removes his white imperial helmet to show a well-trimmed mane of dark brown hair and sharp brown eyes. “What seems to be the problem, ma'am.”

She staggers back to her heels and rushes to him, her artful tears tracing tracks down her sooty seeks, and she points back the way she came “There… men… rebels, I think. Shooting everyone.”

“Rebel scum.” One of the troopers growl into their helmet, the embedded comm-unit distorting his voice enough to give it a robotic quality.

She gulped and nodded, wide-eyed. “Oh thank goodness I found you when I did. I don't know what I would have done.” Reaching him, she hugs close to him and while he focuses on comforting her, she hunts for any security keys he might have: Pickpocket 14 vs a BAD of 2: 12 exactly, just enough to grasp the security device, the one to the cuffs on all the prisoners! Perfect! But it needs a code! And she doesn't know what it is.

“I said, what's your name?” He repeated. She regains focus and slips the security key into the same mysterious place (Holdout) that her gun is currently residing.

“Hmmm? Oh, Lady Diedre Starling? Of Starling Shipyards? My father will reward you handsomely when I tell you how gallant you were. Oh yes! But whom do I have the honor of addressing.

The assault trooper smiles at “gallant” and replies “Uh, Ferdinand.”

“Oh, what a lovely, strong name. I knew a fellow back on Palatine, Lord Tyre, he had a son name Ferdinand…. Is that just a coincidence?” She rolls Current Affairs (High Society)-15, get's a 14 and then smiles at the GM to see if she can possibly slip this in, but the GM finds it a stretch: At BAD -2, she'd have failed. Serendipity or a point spent as an Impulse Buy would allow it, but alas, he declines the effort.

“Uh… no, I'm just a humble farm-boy”

Leylana recovers quickly. “Oh, I don't believe that for a second,with that jawline, those eyes? You're surely noble and just pulling my leg.”

Meanwhile, DD-6 gets into position, joining her mistress and unaware that her mistress has just clicked a button on her bejeweled wrist-bangle. She slows and her eyes begin to flicker and glow red. Her voice slurs and she begins to whine “Miisssstresss. I doN'T feel so GooD.”

Getting In: Kendra

Kendra rolls her eyes at Leylana's melodramatic performance and subsequent flirtations and she makes her way to the floor above this one and then to a side-door Dun had identified (the GM allowed the addition as reasonable). Reaching it, they swiftly find it unsurprisingly locked.

“Twee!” She hisses.

“On it.” The sparriel grumbles, washing his nose, and then pulling forth his tools. TB-7 waddles to join him.

Unlocking the door is Electronics Operation (Security) if they have the right technology (which they don't) but Electronics Repair (Security) should work too. BAD 2 plus his mini-toolkit give him a total of -4 for a 12 or less, but again TB-7 assists him. TB-7 rolls a 13 and barely succeeds. Twee rolls a 14… and fails. Cursing, he tries his Luck and rolls… a 14 and a 15, And so really fails.

“Uh...” Twee says as the door's locking light remains red. “It should be open now. Oh, I see, the monopole meshing is fried. Wait, if you give me a few more minutes!”

“We don't have minutes, Twee!” Kendra snarles, flashing her teeth as she flattens her ears and lashes her tail.

(I find this is typical for an Action game: Something, inevitably, goes wrong, forcing the heroes to improvise and find a new solution. I actually find it one of the perks of a good Action game, as it captures the rising tension of an Action movie almost perfectly).

The Signal

Turn 1: Leylana and DD-6

DD-6 to finishes her transformation. Ferdinand's eyes narrow and the soldiers hesitate as DD-6 stands in their midst with baleful red eyes, distended, semi-mannequin features, savage teeth and claws.

“Shit! Shoot it shoot it shoot it!” Someone begins to shout, but it's too late. The group never expected this transformation (though they expected some trouble), so they are partially surprised and thus mentally stunned.

She makes a Telegraphic (+4) all-out (+2 damage) attack against a trooper's face for -5. Her effective skill is 14, and she rolls a 7 and connects. He's stunned, so he defends at -4, and needs a 4 or less, and fails with an 8. She deals 2d+3 (5) cutting damage and rolls a 10 for 13 damage. He has DR 20 on the face, which is reduced to 4. She deals a total of 9 damage to the face, which is enough to remove a mook, as her rapidly vibrating claws sing to life and then grind through his faceplate as he screams and then blood burst out from the slashes and spatters DD-6's delicate chassis.

Meanwhile, Leylana takes her opportunity to attack. She's already hugging “Ferdinand” and asks to turn it into a throw. The GM agrees. She makes an All-Out throw (17 or less) and rolls a 14. He's mentally stunned and so defends at -4: He needs a 5 or less and gets an 8. He's floored. He needs to make an HT roll or be stunned and he passes with a 7 (He needed a 12).

“Sorry, Ferdinand” she smiles over the din “It never would have worked out between us.”

Turn 1: Dun Beltain

Correctly assuming the commotion was Leylana's “signal,” Dun activates his force buckler and Fast-Draws his force sword (he rolls a 5). Then he steps into the door, presenting a nice and juicy target for everyone in the room, hopefully drawing some fire away from Leylana and DD-6.

Turn 1: Kendra and Twee

“What are you doing?”

“I can fix it!”

Kendra roars her frustration, and opens fire on the door. The door is “just” a metal door. We'll treat it as a security door (a ship wants to keep its hangar bays secure, in case something fails inside), giving it about a DR of 30 and 45 HP. The door is right in front of her (-0), about human sized, and Kendra is All-Out Attacking (+1) with both guns (Dual Weapon Attack 17), and she hasn't move (Accuracy +5), so she needs a 23 or less to hit and rolls a 9, hitting with all 6 shots. The DR of the door is lowered to an effective DR of 6, and each shot deals 4d6, so she deals a total of 54 damage to the door. The GM waves his hands and declares that the door has been “blown open.” But obviously, any attempt that Kendra might have made regarding Stealth has been blown.

Turn 1: Tobin and Jenna

The GM rules that the prisoners are as mentally stunned by DD-6's transformation as everyone else, and thus Tobin and Jenna need to make an IQ check before the start of their turn to act, but thanks to their combat reflexes, they'll act on a 16 or less. Both succeed. Tobin rises as part of a step action, makes a full move and slams into one of the troopers: He needs a 14 or less to hit (his DX), but rolls a 15 and misses. Jenna simply rises and makes a run for the nearest ship: the Grey Morning.

Turn 1: Troopers

All troopers are mentally stunned, but we'll allow them to try to recover before the start of their turn: The three elite troopers (the heavy, the assault and the recon) have combat reflexes, which means they recover on a 16 or less, and obviously all three pass. The remaining 4 troopers do not have combat reflexes, but all but two pass (one critically succeeds!).

The Assault trooper still has his shield, for all the good it will do him. He draws his neurolash baton. The Recon trooper hears the explosions ripping apart the door behind him and turns onto his back, drawing his pistol. The heavy has to choose between firing at Dun or at DD-6. A line of bots stand between him and Dun, while DD-6 is close enough to melee parry and he's carrying a heavy weapon: if she moves closer to him, he's in serious trouble, so he retreats to Pistol range with everyone.

One of troopers is staring at the trooper that just fell. One is still shouting “Shoot it, shoot it!” and the remaining two open fire on DD-6. She's close enough that she's at -0 to hit, so both need a 12 or less to hit. She has no defense. One rolls a 9, the other rolls a 14, so one fires wildly, the other hits three times. She has 50 DR (!) and this is reduced to 10 by the blaster carbine, which deals a total of 23 damage… just enough to force consciousness rolls. Her form jerks and spasms, sparks scattering over her exposed armor. Blaster damage is Surge, so she needs to make an HT roll or be stunned. She fails with an 11 and will be stunned for 1 round, collapsing to the ground, jerking and spasming… or she should. But she's Berserk, and taking damage is certainly enough to trigger a berserk roll. She chooses not to resist the berserk check and to lose herself in it (And why not? She's a murder-bot. Freaking out and murdering everyone is what she does!). She is now immune to stun and gains +4 HT to resist unconsciousness.

Turn 1: The Bots

The bots have had no countermand order, so they open fire on Dun, who is hoping his shield will keep him alive. The robots are at pistol range (-3) and have skill 12, giving them a 9 or less to hit. Only one manages to hit with a 7. Dun attempts to block with his skill 11 + 3 PD, and passes with an 11. The shot bounces, and he can direct it back “With a DX roll.” I don't know if range applies. In either case, he rolled a 14 and certainly fails to bounce it back at the robots. A hail of fire sparks and scatters off the hangar bay walls around him and his shield lights up when he brings it between himself and a shot from a robot, bouncing it away from him harmlessly.

Turn 2

Turn 2: Leylana and DD-6

DD-6 is, of course, pissed. She lets out a keening, electric wail and falls upon the nearest trooper in a frenzy of whirring claws. She makes an All-Out Attack (Double) for the nearest (Unstunned) trooper's arms. She needs a 13 or less, and hits once with an 11 and misses once with a 14. The trooper staggers back (retreat) and dodges (+1) for a 9 or less, and succeeds with a 7. She continues forward to remain in close combat with him.

Leylana does not have fast-draw, and so it will take her a full turn to get her pistol out while she's surrounded by 4 angry troopers with guns, and she's without armor (or much modesty). She also has the transmitter to unlock the prisoners' cuffs, but she lacks the Electronics Operation (Security) necessary to work them open. Without a lot of options, she chooses to make use of her close proximity, and steps into the space of the guy just starting at his dead comrade and grapples him, intending to use him as a human shield. She has Judo 13 and she passes with a 7. He currently has a parry of 3 and fails with a 9. She glides behind him, her delicate arm over the armor on his throat as she holds him between her and the rest of the enemy.

“Surrender boys. You're not outnumbered, but you're definitely outgunned”

Turn 2: Dun

Dun could bullrush the robots, but officially that would cost him his parry (a rule I have previously neglected). If we use the martial art rule about instead losing his block, that might be acceptable, but we must carefully consider his situation: What about the heavy with the gatling blaster? Dun opts for a more cautious route and simply makes a move towards the Robots, bringing them into melee range.

Turn 2: Kendra and Twee

Kendra steps into the open balcony that overlooks the rest of the hangar bay upon which the recon soldier has perched himself. He lies on his back, his sniper rifle braced at his side overlooking the mess of blaster fire and melee below, with his pistol out and trained in her direction. She instantly opens fire. She has moved, but as a gunslinger she suffers no penalty. She's close enough that she could make a melee attack (-0), and her target is prone, but she's effectively in melee (-0), so she makes a dual-weapon attack (17). She hits with a 12 and an 11, thus both shots hit his chest with all six shots. The Recon trooper is prone (-3), but within melee range and thus may make a parry, with a 7 or less, and a dodge with a 6 or less. He fails at the first (8) but succeeds with the second (exactly a 6), which means he dodges one of the six shots. His chest has a DR of 60, which is reduced to 12 by the blaster's Armor Divisor of 5. Her guns deal 4d damage, thus she deals 5, 0, 0, 6 and 0 damage, for a total of 11 damage, exactly enough to reduce him to 0 HP.

(The lighter armor actually does a pretty good job of defending him against a heavy blaster pistol, which is only one step removed from a blaster carbine. If she'd hit him only once, instead of unloading on him at point blank range, he may well have walked away without a scratch!)

Twee trundles in after her and surveys the scene below. “So far away.” He mourns. TB-7 whimpers its agreement.

“Go the long way around, then.” Kendra growls. She makes for the balcony railings…

Turn 2: Tobin and Jenna

The rest of the prisoners are, of course, screaming as DD-6 sprays blood every where and blaster fire is erupting all around them. Most of them have scattered, and Jenna continues to make her way to the Grey Morning. The GM rules she arrives, but she can't do much with her hands behind her back. She could try to activate the door, but it's locked (Electronic Operations (Security), which she doesn't have), but she'd be at IQ-5, with an additional -4 for being cuffed, giving her a chance of like 5 or less. She tries and fails.

Tobin tries to kick/shove one of the troopers to knock him over. He succeeds with a 10 while his opponent fails to dodge with a 12. A shove inflicts a total of 6 “knockback” damage, which doesn't move the trooper a whole yard, but the GM will allow for a knock down roll, which he fails with an 11. Tobin feels triumphant.

Turn 2 Troopers

The Recon trooper is dead. The Assault Trooper is prone and has drawn his neurolash baton, and the Heavy has moved away from the group to give himself some distance from the crazy woman and her mad robot. One trooper has been killed, one is stunned, one is grappled by Leylana and stunned, and one has been kicked prone by Tobin, and one is locked in close combat with DD-6. Only one remains free. He points his weapon at Leylana and demands that she release her hostage (Wait for Leyalana to be free)

The grappled trooper attempts to escape the grapple. Leylana has him grappled with both hands, and so is at +5 (for a total of 15). He has strength 11. He rolls a 14, failing outright, while she rolls an 11. He struggles, but she leans a bit to increase her leverage, pulling him onto his toes.

Assault trooper leans over to attack Leylana with his neurolash baton. He attacks her leg, which according to MA is at -0 thanks to his prone position. He still suffers a -4 to hit, and the human shield means she's “partially exposed” for a -2, giving him a total of 8. He'll make an All-Out Attack for +4, for a 12 or less. He succeeds with an 8 (the AoA was unnecessary!). She needs to defend with 10 or less, and rolls a 13… thus, she's hit by the neurolash baton! She'll likely fail to resist, and be riddled with blaster fire the moment she loses her grip, and so she invokes her Luck: 12 and 10, exactly enough to get out of the way. Dangerous!

“Dun, a little help here!” she shouts as she manuevers as best as she can.

Meanwhile, the Heavy unleashes fire on Dun, who has inserted himself into melee with the rest of the robots. He's farther than pistol range (say, -5), he hasn't aimed but he hasn't moved either, and he has +2 from high RoF. He'll hit on an 11 or less. He hits with a 9, hitting with 3 shots. An additional 12 shots are blasting through area, though, and so it's possible that he might hit a couple of the robots on a 9 or less (those on either side of Dun). He rolls a 10 for both, luckily missing both robots.

Dun chooses to block. He has a 14 or less to do so. He rolls an 11, exactly enough to block all three shots (and at 7d(5) vs hardened DR of 100, it stands up to each shot). He can bounce the shot back, but I'm not clear on how it would handle the range (is a DX roll enough to bounce it directly back at the Heavy? Maybe). So we'll say a successful DX roll will bounce it into one of the robots. He needs a 12 and rolls a 6. One of the robots is hit, and will certainly take enough damage to be destroyed (in an actual game I wouldn't check, as they're just mooks, but I can stop to take the time here: They have a DR of 25, which is reduced to 5. They have 20 HP, if they weren't mooks, and the shot deals 7d damage. The shot deals 27 damage, reduced to 22 damage, thus it would certainly ruin the robot's day even if he wasn't a mook).

The prone soldier opens fire on Tobin. He's prone, so he's at -4, but far enough away to avoid close combat penalties. He needs an 8 or less to hit and he misses with a 13.

The trooper locked in combat with DD-6 needs to get her off of him. She's close enough that he suffers close-combat penalties of -3, so hits with a 9 or less and misses with a 10, his shots lighting her already furious and horrifying face bright red as they just miss.

Turn 2: Bots

One bot has been turned to scrap by a bounced blaster shot. Four bots remain, and all four bots continue to fire at Dun as he rushes into their midst. They have skill 12, and he's in melee (-0). One misses with a 15, the other three hit with a 10, 8 and 8. Dun parries (he's in melee, so his force-sword is parrying their guns rather than the shots). He has a parry of 12 (15 with his DB) vs the first attack and succeeds with a 10, ruining that bot's weapon. He parries the second with a 10 (12 -2 from multiple parries in a turn for a weapon master), and ruins that bot's weapon, and his shield bounces the final shot off into the roof or somewhere (he rolled an 11, and has skill 8 + 3 from his shield's DB. The shield only allows shots to be reflected back on the attacker after a successful block, not a parry with another item).

Turn 3

One trooper has been killed, one has been knocked prone by Tobin, one is locked in close combat with DD-6, and one has been grappled by Leylana, and one is Waiting for Leylana to lose her grip on the grappled trooper to attack. The recon trooper is dead, the heavy is firing at Dun, and the assault trooper is prone. 1 battle bot has been killed, two bots have had their weapons destroyed, and all four remaining bots are in melee range of Dun. DD-6 is berserking and at -3/20 HP. 6 Tactical re-rolls remain.

Turn 3: Leylana and DD-6

DD-6 needs to make rolls to continue to act (she's at -3 HP), but she does so with a 14 or less, and succeeds with an 11. She makes another All-Out Attack (Double) for her opponent's arms, and this time she hits with both attacks with a 9 and a 10. He staggers away from her, but fails to dodge with a 10 and a 13. She deals 2d+1 (5) cut against his effective DR of 6, and she deals a total of 6 damage (3 and 3). As a mook, he's removed from the fight.

Leylana takes the risk of removing one arm from her grappled opponent to draw her holdout blaster. She presses it into his side and growls “Stop fighting, it'll go easier for you.”

He's seen her slaughter her friends and she has an admittedly small weapon pressed into his well-armored torso. The GM grants her a +2 to her Intimidation attempt (and a -5 for already being in combat)… but she has no Intimidation, so must roll with her default of Acting-3, or 14. She'll intimidate him with a 7 or less. She fails with an 11. Remembering the ill-used tactical benefits, she asks if the well-coordinated assault could benefit her intimidation attempt, and the GM allows it. She rerolls and succeeds with a 7. He drops his weapon and lifts his hands.

Turn 3: Dun

Dun faces 4 remaining robots, but only two of which have working guns. He focuses on both of these remaining robots with a rapid strike (-3). He has a shield, though, which is large enough to apply a -2 (I hadn't applied this rule before because, first of all, I didn't know about it, and also because I wasn't sure if it was the intent of the Force Buckler, but let's see how it works). With skill 17, he hits on a 12 or less. He hits with both with a 5 and an 8. They do not defend (Robots!). He deals 8d+16(5) burn damage vs their effective DR of 5. They're obviously dead, and I wouldn't bother to check at the table, but he rolled 36 and 31 damage, which is nearly enough damage to force a survival check outright. The GM rules both robots effectively destroyed. Two unarmed robots remain.

Turn 3: Twee and Kendra

Twee and TB-7 race back out the door and make their way back down to the ground floor and the hangar. This will take them several turns.

Kendra goes for the quick route. She makes a move and attack… by leaping Acrobatically off the balcony. The hangar bay floor is one floor below (thus ~15 feet). She fires both of her pistols as she falls, one at the heavy, the other at the remaining standing trooper facing Leylana. She was at -7, but the GM rules that the risky jump is enough to let her move one band up to Shotgun range (-5). She's moving, so gains no benefit from accuracy. She needs a 12 or less to hit. She misses with a 13 and hits with a 9. She uses a tactical reroll for her first shot and gets a 12 exactly. The first shot hits once, and the second shot hits 3 times.

The GM rules her attacks “from the side” and both the Heavy and the Trooper are at -2. The heavy needs a 7 to dodge and misses with an 8, while the trooper needs a 6 and flubs it with a 12. Kendra deals 4 damage to the Heavy, and 7 to the trooper. The Trooper (a mook) is removed, falling to the ground, while the Heavy only staggers, losing focus with his weapon for an instant. He rounds on Kendra, bringing his weapon to bear.

Then she completes her fall. Catfall reduces the fall by 5 yards… which means she takes no damage at all! She lands exactly on her feet and continues to race towards the group.

Turn 3: Tobin and Jenna

Tobin makes a desperate kick at the prone trooper's gun, trying to remove it from the equation: He has Brawl-15, and a kick is -2, for 13 or less. The weapon is -4 to hit and disarm attempts are -2, for an 7 or less. He makes an All-Out Attack (risky) for 11 or less. He gets a 9! The gun us thoroughly kicked! Tobin makes a roll against his attacking skill (brawl-15) vs the trooper's DX (10) or ST (11). The trooper chooses ST. Tobin rolls a 5 vs the Trooper's 12, and critically succeeds, kicking the carbine far, far away.

Jenna is grudgingly impressed by Tobin's brawling capability and is still unable to force the Grey Morning to open its doors with a 12.

Turn 3: Troopers

Three troopers are dead, one has surrendered, and one has had his weapon kicked away. The prone, weaponless trooper lifts his arms in surrender. The Heavy turns to focus on Kendra. She's far enough away that he's at -5 to hit her, he's at -4 from shock, but he has +2 RoF, so he hits on an 7 or less. He hits with a 5! That's 2 hits! Kendra yelps, and makes an Extra-Effort Defense (+2) with an Acrobatic Dive, which makes her Prone (+2 to dodge) and counts as Acrobatic (+2). She passes the acrobatic roll with a 6, and she currently has a Dodge of 16. She rolls a 10, sliding beneath both shots.

The Assault trooper rises to a crouching position, his neurolash baton and shield at the ready.

Turn 3: Bots

The remaining two bots bravely attack Dun by dogpiling onto him to grapple him. Both need a 12, and both miss with a 14.

Turn 4

The mook-troopers have been effectively removed from combat. Only the Heavy and the Assault Trooper remain. Two unarmed robots remain. Only DD-6 has taken any damage (she's at -3/20), and she's berserking. Kendra is at -1 fatigue. 4 tactical rerolls remain.

Turn 4: Leylana and DD-6

DD-6 must make an HT roll (14) to continue to act and fails with a convenient 16, thus collapsing into a glitching pile of parts while her eye-lights slowly fade (If she had succeeded, she would have attacked one of the surrendered troopers, forcing Leylana to switch her back to secretary mode, and thus out of berserker mode, with a Ready action).

Leylana needs to deal with the rising assault trooper (“Ferdinand”). Releasing the surrendered mook (He could, at this moment, turn and fight her in hand-to-hand, but I'm not going to bother. I'm going to judge that he books it), she brings her holdout pistol to bear. His chest armor is more than sufficient to completely defeat her puny weapon, and his face armor has a pretty good chance of doing so as well, but I described him previously removing his helmet due to her charms, thus he has no armor. That makes it her best chance to take him out, so she applies a -5 to shoot at his face, giving her a total of 9 or less to hit him. She rolls a 13 and misses.

Turn 4: Dun

Dun has two remaining bots to take out. He does the same trick as before, but makes it All-Out, as he's pretty sure nobody is going to attack him further and he's reasonably confident he can remove both bots from the scene. He makes an All-Out (Double) attack and needs an 16 or less to hit (-2 from the large shield) He hits both with a 9 and an 11, and blah blah they're really dead. He makes a little flourish as they collapse into parts behind him.

Turn 4: Kendra

Kendra has dived beneath the Gatling Blaster fire, and while skidding, she returns fire. She's at shotgun range -5, is still moving (-0), and prone (-4). She shoots a single gun (18) She's shooting both guns (17) at his chest (-0). She'll hit with an 9 or less. She hits with an 8 and misses with an 11, and borrows a tactical reroll for a… 13. Oh well. Her one attack hits with two shots. She deals 0 and a lucky 8 damage. He's taken 12 damage, which isn't enough to take him out. It could stun him, however: He rolls a 7 and is fine. Tough bastard.

Turn 4: Troopers

The Assault Trooper rises as the “step” part of his action and attacks Leylana. She no longer has cover and he's no longer prone. He has skill 14, -2 from his shield (I note that the shield rules state that it “does not impair vision” suggestion that it has doesn't actually have the -2). He hits with an 11. Leylana retreats with her dodge, requiring a 13, and scores… a 14! She uses a tactical reroll and gets an 11! Luckily, she barely avoids the sweep of his neurolash baton, back pedaling towards the heavy, with her back exposed to him.

The Heavy has a choice. Kendra is a direct threat to him and certainly has his attention, but he'll only hit her on a 5 or less (-5 range, -4 shock, -2 to attack a prone target, and +2 for RoF). Dun is closer and easier to hit (-4 range, -4 shock, +2 RoF), but has a ridiculous shield that might cause him a problem. Leylana is right in front of him (-3 range, -4 shock, +2 RoF), but locked in combat with the assault trooper… who might appreciate the assist. He stubbornly goes for Kendra again, as an All-Out Attack, and will hit on a 6 or less. He misses.

Turn 4: Robots

They're all dead :(


Turn 5

All robots have been destroyed. Only two troopers remain, the helmetless Assault trooper and the heavily wounded Heavy (he has 2/14 HP). Kendra has spent 1 fatigue. 2 tactical rerolls remain.

Turn 5: Leylana

Leylana is trapped between an aggressive assault trooper and a stubbornly dangerous Heavy. She continues to fire at the Assault trooper and again has a 9 or less to hit. She hits (thrice!) with a 7! He responds with a Block (14 or less) and rolls a 6. He has an effective DR of 12, which is more than enough to stop her damage of 10, 9 and 5.

“Dun, help!” She cries as she pours shot after shot into Ferdinand's shield.

Turn 5: Dun

Dun makes a Heroic Charge towards the Assault Trooper. He may make a full-on attack at skill 17 vs the Assault Trooper after closing the distance. He races forward and then makes a dramatic sweep with his force sword mid stride and connects with a 13. The assault trooper cannot bring his shield to bear (it's a side/rear attack) but can parry or dodge at -2. His neurolash field parry would give him an additional -1, and his dodge is just as good, so he attempts a dodge and just makes it with an 8!

Turn 5: Kendra

Kendra remains on her belly and simply fires. She's not moving, so she benefits from accuracy (+5) against a shotgun ranged target (-5) while prone (-4) and firing both weapons against the heavy (17). She needs a 13 or less to hit. She hits both shots with a 10 (3 hits) and a 7 (3 hits). She deal a grand total of 20 damage in a hail of blaster fire that completely connects, which is more than enough to defeat him (but she technically hasn't killed him yet).


She lets out a sigh of relief

Turn 5: the Assault Trooper

The Assault Trooper is the only to remain and stubbornly fights on. Now it's a matter of pride. He turns to face Dun and attacks with his neurolash baton. He'll hit with a 12 or less, and does so with an 11. Dun smirks and parries (12 or less for a destructive parry, 15 or less to take it on his shield). He parries with a 9… and destroys the baton.

“Idiot.” Dun mutters as the man stares, horrified, at his ruined weapon.

Turn 6

Only the assault trooper remains. Kendra and Dun are both down 1 fatigue. 2 tactical rerolls remain.

Turn 6: Leylana

Leylana gestures with her pistol. “Go, get out. You fought well. Now tell your superiors to stop messing with me.”

Dun nods his head in agreement, and the defeated Ferdinand runs.

(Optionally, she could have just shot him in the skull from behind, and would have almost certainly killed him).

Escape!

“Run to the ship!” Tobin shouts, nodding his head to the Grey Morning. Kendra growls and makes her way to her own Vermillion. She hops into the cockpit and begins flipping switches while the canopy descends.

Meanwhile, Twee and TB-7 finally arrive, rushing towards the ship. TB-7 whistles his delight at seeing Tobin again, his optical sensors glowing bright, and Tobin returns the bot's expression with a smile of his own, and then asks “Can you get these things off of me?”

Twee rushes to his companion, Jenna, lurking near the Grey Morning, and begins to try to find a way to get the cuffs off of her, reaching for his tools, when Leylana, passing him, tosses the security device to him.

“That useful?” She asks.

Then she shouts to Dun to retrieve her damaged robot. Dun switches off his force buckler and force sword, places it on his belt, and then tosses horrifying robot-carcass of DD-6 over his shoulder and rushes towards the now open boarding ramp of the Grey Morning.

“Can you fly?” Leylana asks Jenna

“Better than he can.” Jenna nods towards Tobin, who raises an eyebrow.

“You're hired,” Leylana says as she glides aboard her ship, in search of a more modest dress.

Twee needs to make an Electronics Operation (Security) skill roll at -2 (BAD). He easily passes with a 9. Both Tobin and Jenna are freed (as are, incidentally, all the rest of the prisoners and pilots in range, not that this is a concern for Twee).

Everyone boards the Grey Morning, and then after a few moments, its engines power to life and it and the Vermillion sail free of the hangar bay of the doomed Willow Star.

And then, the ship that attacked the Willow Star looms into view: the Imperial Dreadnought Regal Conquest. Its Typhoon fighters scream towards the Grey Morning.

Not Out Of The Woods Yet

Jenna takes the helm despite Tobin's protestations. “Take the turret, if you must help.” She complains as she leaps into the pilot chair and begins toggling switches. Her first priority is escape. Navigation, with skill 23, is no problem. Charging the engines fast enough is. “Twee, get those hyperdrives charged now.”

Navigation takes 30 minutes. Jenna is going to do it instantly, for -10. She could take a direct course on a hyperlane, but then people might track her. So she opts for the “first -1 the GM can come up with that's reasonable.” He agrees, and she needs to make a roll of 12 or less. She rolls a 6: the course is plotted and laid in!

If Twee wants to get them out “as fast as possible,” he needs to apply a -8 to his Mechanic (Starship) skill of 16, giving him an 8. TB-7 joins in to assist, granting him a +1 complementary roll if he scores a 13 or less on his Mechanics skill. TB-7 gets a 9, which is enough to give Twee a 9 or less, which turns out to be unnecessary as Twee rolls a 6. The drives will be charged in 3 space combat turns.

Kendra is on her own, though. She has Navigation 12, which is not nearly enough to plot a course of her own. She'll have to escape the old-fashioned way, by just outrunning or outgunning the fighters.

Space Combat Turn 1

Two Typhoon Alpha's approach the pair, both focusing fire on the Grey Morning. The Regal Conquest is close enough to look intimidating and to add a sense of urgency and tension to the scene, but far enough that it can't actually participate in combat. The Typhoon pilots are skill 12.

The Grey Morning has one engine (25gs), one FTL drive, the turret and its screens active. Twee mans the engineering room, Jenna the cockpit and Tobin the turret.

The Vermillion is firing all engines (including its reactionless) (125gs), its screens, and two beam turrets active.

Turn 1: The Typhoons

The two Typhoons attempt to Close on the Grey Morning. They have +3 hand (let's try the light/heavy dichotomy), +8 acceleration, -1 multitasking and skill 12, for a total of 22. Jenna has +1 handling, skill 19 and +1 acceleration, for 21. They roll a respectable 9, but she rolls a critical 5 and ditches them! They're definitely at Short range.

They try to shoot anyway. They have a tactical array for +2, they're firing fixed weapons for +2, they're attacking a streamlined (-1) corvette (+3) at neutral range (-8) and -1 multitasking. They have skill 12, so they have effective skill 9. They roll a 15 and a 9, so one barely manages to hit. Jenny has a Dodge of 11 (Skill 19 + 1 handling +1 combat reflexes) and misses with a terrible 16! They're hit! The shot does 10 damage against an effective DR of 8, thus 2 points of damage (to one of the reactionless engines, but it isn't disabled). The ship rocks dramatically, and Tobin mutters under his breath.

Turn 1: The Grey Morning

Twee powers all the same items and rolls a 10 on Electrician to power one additional system: the second engine (for another +1 acceleration bonus. Every little bit counts!)

The Grey Morning performs a Retreat, presenting its rear to the fighters. Jenna has +1 acceleration bonus and skill 19 and handling +1, while the Typhoons have effective skill 22, just as before. Since she critically succeeded in resisting the closing attempt from the typhoons, the GM generously gives her a +1 (for 22). She rolls a 11, they roll a 10. They remain at Short range.

Tobin occupies the hidden rapid-fire X-Ray turret, which pops up and opens fire. Tobin does not benefit from Daredevil or Dogfighter, but does have skill 20. His targets are fighters (SM +0, -3 from from relative size), the Grey Morning does have a Multipurpose Array (+2), but the Typhoons have Defensive ECM (-2). They're at Short range (-8) and Tobin has +2 RoF, so Tobin has a 11 or less to hit one. He just connects with an 11. The Typhoons will dodge with a 9 or less and rolls a 12, so is hit. Tobin inflicts 6 damage vs a hardened DR of 15, or 5 DR. Since its a mook ship, the GM rules it defeated, though it's clearly damaged in some way that just takes it out of the fight rather than utterly destroyed. The ship turns around and races back towards the Regal Conquest.

Turn 1: The Vermillion

Kendra flies to the Grey Morning's defense. She Closes on the remaining Typhoon with her full engines (+5 acceleration) and her sluggish (heavy fighter) handling of +1 and her piloting skill of 16 and her -1 for multiple actions, or 22. They resist with a 22. She makes a stunt with a -4 to gain a +1 to her roll, because every little bit counts. She describes the dangerously close burn she makes as she buzzes over the Willow Star to ambush it from an unexpected angle. She succeeds with a 10, giving her a 24 vs their 22, and they both roll a 7! Her stunt was enough to pull in Close to the Fighter (though it still faces her).

She fires all three of her forward-mounted fixed x-ray lasers. The Kendra has a tactical array (+2) but the fighter is ECM protected (-2), and is small (+0), but fairly close (-4). Kendra suffers a -1 from multitasking. She has a gunnery skill of 17, so hits on a 12 or less. She rolls a 12 exactly, hitting it with 1 4d(5) shot. The Typhoon can dodge with a 9 or less, and fails with a 12. She hits and deals 20 damage vs an effective DR of 5, blowing it to pieces.

All Clear

“You're all clear, Jenna! Get out of here!” Kendra shouts into her comm systems.

Jenna hits the hyerdrive switch and the Grey Morning vanishes into space.

Meanwhile the commander of the Regal Conquest lifts a sinister hand to his chin.

“Did you plant the hyperspace tracer on the Grey Morning as I asked?” He says.

“I did.” An equally sinister technician replies.

He smiles.

“WAIT!” Dun's player says. “I have the Bug Sweeper perk. I would check for any bugs on the ship.”

Dun has a bug detector and needs to succeed at an Electronics Operation (Surveillance) roll with a -2 from BAD. He'll succeed on a 12 or less, and rolls an 8. He then narrates Dun triumphantly yanking the hyperspace tracer out of the mess of gordium conduits that he found it in.

And thus, the signal on the screen suddenly dies, moments before the ship jumped to hyperspace. The Regal Conquest's commander covers his eyes in frustrated shame.
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