Thursday, November 24, 2016

Iteration 4 - The Final Playtest

Starlight sprang back into view with a strange, eye-watering blur as Jenna Skyrunner slowly pulled down the throttle on the hyperdrive of the Grey Morning and revealed a planet, brown and desolate. She smiled.

“I told you I could get you there.”

Dun leaned over the console of the spy vessel and marveled at it. “Old Maradon. I didn’t believe it could be found anymore.”

“Not if you follow those old star charts. Hyperspace has changed a lot since then. You have to know its ebbs and flows, like I do.” The blond flashed Dun a fetching smile. Alas, the other two people who had just stepped onto the small, compact bridge of the corvette held his attention..

Novina wore a modest, priestly gown crafted of violet silk that flowed around her body, bunching enough at the waist and hips to remind those who looked upon her that she was, in fact, a woman, with long sleeves that hid her hands. A ribbon the same color as her robe bound up her platinum-colored hair. Her gaze met Dun’s, and she smiled warmly before she remembered her position and averted her gaze back to the planet. She folded her hands into sleeves and stepped beside Dun.

The other woman owned the ship. Leylana finished gathering her hair into a smart pony bun and bound it up with band. To Dun’s surprise, she wore not haute couture, but a form-fitting battle-weave jump-suit, with a jaunty utility belt and some sturdy boots. She answered his raised eyebrow with a scoffing smile “I can be practical, Mr. Beltain.” Her eyes flitted from Novina to Dun, noting their closeness and Novina’s covert smile.

Novina’s raised her soft voice, her introspective tone suggesting she murmured more to herself than to her compatriots. “Alexian Command once controlled a million warships from their headquarters on Maradon. I’ve read texts that spoke of grand spires and breathtaking gardens. It seems all that is left now are bones of a dead world and endless deserts.”

“Not completely.” Leylana cooed smugly. She produced the small fragment of technology she stole from the dying Willow Star. “This is an old Alexian security key, and it’s keyed to the Maradon Headquarters. If that still exists, then we should be able to access its old databases and find...”

“A throneship.” Novina whispered, awed. She tilted her head, making swift mental calculations, connecting her knowledge of history and future history with this singular point. “You mean to use me to destroy the Empire.”

“Don’t sound so accusing. When I’m done, you’ll be a queen.”




Alright, so, we’re at the end of the Iteration, which means it’s time to put everything together and see how our techniques fared. So far, this week has seen a lot of insight into whether or not things work, but I have a soft spot for our original three, and I think they bring a lot to the table. They represent what we originally wanted, all the way back in Iteration 1: A space knight, with his rich mythology; a bounty hunter, with her awesome combat potential; and a spy, with her wicked non-combat competence. How far have we come? Have we achieved what we set out to do? And how does everyone look at 300 points?

So, when we last left our heroes, they had escaped the Willow Star. We’ve built a lot of setting and characters since then, adding in Communion, various martial arts, secret sects and dark space knights. They were on a quest to defeat the Empire, and Leylana had acquired something to do just that. Now we’re onto the next step of the adventure, unlocking some dubious and powerful secret that the Alliance can use against the Empire.

For this adventure, Tobin, Twee and Jenna are definitely here, but they won’t be important to the specifics. What I want to look at is how Psionic powers interact with the general Action framework, how the martial arts hold up on combat, and how our new mooks do.

Let’s skip ahead a bit. I like a bit of exposition as much as the next guy, but the point of this post is to playtest, not to write a story, so let's skip ahead and get to what matters. Namely, our heroes acquiring their macguffin, and then a villain trying to take it from them.

Before we do that, we do have one specific thing to deal with. Novina is a trained in the ways of an oracle. She can see the future, and has almost certainly seen this moment. Given time, she would look into seeing what will happen next.

We already know how to tackle that. We need to give her vague prophecies that are full of flexible symbolism that we can, nonetheless, manifest as a powerful Destiny. What do we, as GM, want to tell her? Well, about Vesper Tane, of course, and we want to present some dramatic danger to our heroes, and perhaps present a choice or an ambiguity. So, when she succeeds at her vision, it might look something like this:

“A princess in chains begins to ascend the steps to a great and might throne crafted of snowy iridium. One step, two steps, three steps. Suddenly, the castle gate is torn open by a great, red monster, the king of beasts. He casts a long, sharp shadow. A righteous, blue knight leaps to her defense, but the red beast casts him into chains and drags him away from the princess. The princess holds in her hand a knife, that she knows she can use to slay the knight, to spare him from his suffering.

“Do you seek the throne?” Cries the princess?

“I seek to end all things.” Growls the beast.

This is a dark destiny. The GM states that he’ll get 3 points of disadvantageous destiny, but that she gets 2 points to fulfill the destiny.

When she studies her future history, the GM tells her that she knows that the Alexian Dynasty can rise again, but it divides into two paths. On the one, the restored Alexian kingdom tries to remain true to its idealism and to bring liberty to the Galaxy. It and the Empire fight to a standstill and become vulnerable to “the great invader.” In another, Alexia accepts the hard realities of war and makes some hard choices and establishes a new order across the galaxy, one that replaces tyranny with restored aristocracy that is durable enough to face the coming threat, but sacrifices its nobility.

Back to our story:

---

Tobin reclines in the co-pilot’s chair, his feet propped up on the console as he tries to blow a stray strand from his handsomely boyish face, when suddenly a red light flares on the console. He sits bolt upright and scrambles for the controls when an Empire-Class Dreadnought suddenly erupts out of hyperspace.

Jenna’s pops her head in “What’s the panic about?”

“The empire.” Tobin says grimly.

Jenna steps forward, looking through the viewport. She carefully notes the lines of the ship and then murmurs “That’s not imperial. That’s a pirate ship.”

Tobin pauses and looks again. He realizes he’s looking at an old, Mythic-class dreadnought, the predecessor to the Empire-class dreadnought, and it’s been heavily modified, a great, patchwork hulk bristling with cannons and spikes.

“That’s the Reaver.” She continues, her voice barely a whisper as she speaks the name of Vesper Tane’s dread warship.

Tobin grabs the comms and radios down to the planet. “Grey? Corleoni? Beltain? Come in anyone! We’ve got a serious situation up here. Pirates. Really… big pirates.” His eyes widen as he sees shuttles dispatched from the ship descending towards the planet. “And they’re coming your way.”

“We need to get out of here.” Jenna shakes her head.

“Not without our friends, we don’t.”

“Your friends, not mine.” She snorts.

“Look, we can get them out.”

“Not directly.” She mutters. “But… you might be right.

----

Down on the planet Maradon, beyond the dusky shadow of a swirling cloud of dust, the pale remnant of a once magnificent tower juts out from a sea of dunes and stones. Behind the ruined facade of that baroque, technological wonder, our heroes work to uncover the secrets of the Alexian throneship.

A fine layer of dust lies mostly undisturbed on the floor of a grand, cathedral-like chamber. Three gateways lead out of the great room, though one has collapsed in on itself. Novina stands in the center of the chamber, facing the blank face of what might have been an ancient computer screen. Flanking their princess on either side are two Elite Ceremonial Guards, from the Guardians of Alexia. They wear ornate armor similar to Dun's, and carry Force Glaives.

Twee struggles under some raised floorboards near a set of consoles just beneath the huge screen.

“Almost got it.” He squeaks.

Their comms crackle to life as Tobin tries to warn them, but his voice is suddenly cut off by interferance. Kendra presses at her wrist comm “Tobin? Tobin!? Damn.”

“He said something about pirates,” Dun mutters ominously “We need to hurry.”

Twee suddenly connects the right conduit to the proper housing, and the display begins to bleed a dim red light as the great technological edifice winds back to life.

“They really built these places to last.” Leylana marvels.

A ring of triangles slowly glows around Novina, who closes her eyes. A sequence of ancient characters scrawl across the screen, which DD-6 begins to translate. “It says that Alexian Royalty has been detected, and that it’s unlocking its databases.”

(Right, I know DD-6 isn’t a diplomacy bot, but it just occurred to me that this would be in an ancient language, so let me use her as a translation macguffin. We’ll definitely need to look more into languages later.)

“Great” Leylana says, rushing to the console with the aid of DD-6.

The GM rules that they need 10 minutes and a successful Computer Research task to find the location and the access codes to the Throneship, but that the pirates will be here in 5. The general BAD is -3, and it covers everything like strange languages and protocols and such. To get done in half the time will apply another -5, so Leylana is looking at a -8. She has a Computer Operation of 15, which means she has a 7, but the other characters can assist her. DD-6’s translations can give her a +1, and Novina steps up to offer an explanation about some of the historical context, using History as a complementary roll, and she passes her roll (13) with an 11. Finally, Twee’s meddling with the computer can also act as a complementary roll (presumably we’d update his character to a full 300-point character too, but I haven’t bothered, so let’s assume he passes his roll). Leylana has a 10 or less to get the information she needs in 5 minutes and she rolls an 11. She declares she’s using luck and rolls twice more, getting a 12 and a 7, thus passing. The data begins to upload onto her datachip as the screen fills with starcharts that focus on the final location of the last three Alexian throneships.

Meanwhile, at the entrance to the tower, the door bursts open under a blast of plasma. Heavily armored marauders and pirates stream in as Vesper Tane strides through their ranks, his long cloak billowing around his red armor, his hood revealing the rictus grin of a warmask of Ithin-Kor. M’elena glides in his shadow, wrapped in a black battleweave suit and a helmet masking her face. With a gesture, he commands her to vanish and seek out their prey.

Our heroes hear the destruction of the entrance way.

“No time!” Kendra calls out, her tail lashing and her ears flat. “We gotta go!”

“Gotta go!” Twee echoes in a squeak.

“Almost there.” Leylana growls, her eyes narrowing with focused determination.

Novina wastes no time. She takes a veil and wraps it over her eyes and then folds her hands before her, beginning to chant in earnest.

“This is bad.” Dun says, as he sees Novina pleading with her god, Fate, to guide her. He carefully puts his helmet on and then activates both his force buckler and his force blade. Their blue glow clashes with the dim red of the cathedral-chamber. Novina senses the presence of her Blue Knight.

“Yeah, I think that’s not a bad idea,” Kendra agrees, unholstering her pistols. Novina's guards agree, and ignite their glaives.

“No, stay with Novina. I’ll hold the pirates off.” Dun growls.

Kendra opens her sharp-toothed mouth to hiss a disagreement, but Novina has finished her prayer and says, with a lump in her throat and interrupts her “No, let him stay. It is as it must be.” Nonetheless, she orders one of her guards to join Dun.

Novina is rolling for a miracle, any miracle. She easily passes her meditation roll (she rolled a 14) for a +1, but she has no additional modifiers she can take: she cannot afford to take more time, nor can she count on the assistance of others. She is wearing purple, she stands in a lonely tower, and she certainly bears something that marks her as royalty, so that’s worth another +1. She has to roll an 12 or less for a miracle. She passes with a 6! She has been true to her vows for the most part. Her love of Dun Beltain violates some obscure rule of her faith, though, giving her an even +0. However, these are pretty dire circumstances, so the GM grants her a +2 to her reaction. Finally, as a Bound Princess, she has a reputation of +1.This gives her a total of +3 and she rolls a 13 for a 16, or a “Very Good” reaction, which allows Miraculous Power. She gains Ego Mastery, and cannot be affected by any psionic powers for the next hour unless they have more Communion than she has. But rather than accept it herself, she asks if the GM will allow it to be passed to Dun. He agrees: Dun is now immune to psionic powers!

The door on the far side bursts open to reveal Vesper Tane with his grinning mask and his glowing red force sword, adding its own ominous glow to the gloom of the great Alexian cathedral. His soldiers pour around him: 3 marauders and 5 pirates. M’elena is nowhere to be seen… she’s here, but she’s “stealthed,” and will slip in to attack from a different point.

Leylana shouts “I’ve got it!” and yanks the chip out of the computer.

“Give it to me!” The Warmask of the Ithin-Korn turns Vesper Tane’s quiet command into thundrous roar. Dust sifts down from the roof far above.

“Run!” Kendra shouts as she turns to face the pirates who make their way towards them. Leylana, Novina and Twee do as she commands, making their way for the other exit.

Vesper Tane’s eyes lock on Dun’s. He motions for his soldiers to pursue the enemy. Dun glances at them as they pursue his friends, but then turns back towards the dark communion knight, knowing he is the greater threat. At his side, Novina's guard levels his force glaive at Vesper, who doesn't even deign to look his eay.

The lighting is dim enough for a -2, though this only matters of Leylana, Twee and Novina, as everyone else has night vision or IR visors sufficient to compensate for the low light conditions. The floor is sandy, but not so sandy as to cause penalties.

Turn 1 (3 marauders, 5 pirates, 2 elite guards)
Vesper Tane stands silent, watching Dun. He focuses inward and without taking his eyes off Dun, attempts to call upon Dark Communion.

Dun evaluates, trying to understand what Vesper is even trying to do. He gains a +4 (rolling stone!) against Vesper and a free Tactics roll, which he passes with a 7. Dun realizes that Vesper can’t possibly expect his forces to be sufficient… so he must have some hidden edge. He whispers into his comms “He’s arranged an ambush.”

The elite guard with Dun rushes Vesper and makes a Deceptive (-4) attack and hits with a 9. Vesper is at -2 to parry, and if he attempts to defend, he must make a Will -3 roll to maintain his concentration for this turn. He obviously attempts to defend: He succeeds at a precognitive parry with a 9, knowing that the guard would attack, and where, and he uses Grip Mastery to shift to a Defensive Grip: the battleweave of his gloves creaks as both hands tighten around the hilt of his blade and he brings it expertly up to defend himself. He has an effective skill of 13 and parries with a...4! A critical success, but that doesn't actually do anything. Finally, he succeeds at his Will-3 roll with an 11 (he has a superb will), so he only opens his eyes at the last moment to casually regard his opponent over the clash of his white-blue glaive-blade over Vesper's ominous, red-bladed sword.

Kendra retreats while firing at the pirates. She has Gunslinger, so may move and fire. She has dual weapon combat, so she can fire both pistols just fine. And she can fast-fire, but she chooses not to (it would increase her recoil). But she does spread her ROF among a total of 4 pirates. They’re at Pistol (-3) range and she has a -2 from darkness, but has Night Vision 2, so is fine. She needs a 16 or less, and hits all four targets with an 11 and a 10. Her opponents need a 7 or less to dodge. One succeeds, the other three fail. She deals more than enough damage to take them all out. So, with flat ears and lashing tail, racing backwards, she opens fire and brings down 3 pirates in a flash of blaster fire while one manages to barely sidestep her attack.

Leylana, DD-6. Twee and Novina move, trying to make it to the exit. The GM rules that they succeed, with Kendra close in pursuit. They need to get this new door open, and hope that Tobin and Jenna are waiting for them outside. Novina's second guard moves with them, keeping his eyes open for any threats.

M’elena takes this moment to suddenly appear out of the superstructure above them. She descends silently and makes her strike. The GM requires a quick contest of Stealth vs Perception or Observation. M’elena has an 18 while Leylana has the best score with 16. They both roll an 11, which means M’elena wins. She appears behind the group and attacks. She could go for anyone, but to “play fair,” we'll go for the Elite Guard. M'elena could do a Cross-Blade Execution. She’d certainly hit, the guard would fail to defend, and she’d take about ~35 damage, which is enough to force two survival rolls, nearly three. She’d definitely be out of the fight, but then M’elena would lack defense for a turn, which means she’d die to Kendra. So, she chooses to make it a normal, rather than all-out, attack. Both hit (6 and 8), and the guard cannot dodge. She takes 13 and 7 damage, reduced by the weaker portion of the guard's armor to 1 and 0. One is sufficient to remove the guard from play, so the GM allows her to narrate his head being cleaved from his body dramatically by M'elena. As he collapses Novina turns, her hair whipping about her delicate body, and she regards M’elena implacably. Leylana too, jumps, startled, as though she just barely avoided her death.

The remaining 2 pirates and 3 marauders open fire on our party, with a total focus on Kendra The pirates make a combat assault, need a 5 to hit (-3 for pistol range, and suffer no vision penalties thanks to their IR visors) and miss completely. Blaster fire pits the stone and steel around her. Then the marauders slow to a stop and open fire with a plasma avalanche. They need a 9 or less, and all hit with a 9 and a 7 and 8 (though none hit twice). Kendra needs to dive for cover. She’ll make an acrobatic roll to get out of the way and passes with a 13. She dodges the first with a 7 and the second with an 8. We’ll say that one shot each would have hit her, and another shot hit close enough to divide by 3. Now, because she dove out of the way, she divides the first hit by 3 and the second by 6. She takes 12, 10, 9, 4, 3 and 5 damage, but her battle weave takes all of it, though she does take a total of 3 points of blunt trauma. She rolls out of the way of their enormous plasma blasts, though she’s definitely going to feel it in the morning.

Turn 2 (2 pirates and 3 marauders remain; 1 elite guard remains; Kendra is at 7 HP)

Vesper Tane’s finishes his attempt to Commune with the Id. He did this with a single turn, so at -2, and he does it without meditating, but he seeks to gain the Power of the Id (A Miracle of the Rebellious BeaSt), so he’s at +3 from his regalia. He needs a 7 or less. He fails with a 12. His actions here would “bring down a great empire,” so the GM allows him to spend his Destiny. Regarding personal behavior, in the last playtest he pushed back against more angry and lustful desires, and while that was certainly “a long time ago,” we can assume that such behavior might continue, so we'll give him a -1. In regards to need, Vesper could do a lot of damage and this is a fairly important point, but I'm not convinced this really furthers Vespers selfish desires. Perhaps a +1. Finally, he has his Legendary Reputation for +1. He rolls a 14 and enjoys a +1 total, giving him a 15, which is good, and enough for the Power of Id. He is empowered by the Id, a great and terrible beast. He gains... +3 to his stats for the next minute (not very impressive).

Now, he focuses his attention entirely on the Elite Guard. With their blades already in contact, he makes a Rapid Strike Beat-and-Strike against the Guard's torso. For the first, he spends a point of fatigue to reduce the penalty to -1, and remains in defensive grip, giving him a +2, and uses his Contact TK for a +3, giving him a 24 vs the guard's 20. He rolls an 11 (winning by 16) vs the guard's 9 (winning by 11), beating the guard by 5 and unreadying his opponent's weapon. Then he makes a second rapid strike, spending a point of fatigue for flurry of blows, and then applies a deceptive (-6) attack, and succeeds with a 7. The guard is at -5 to defend, dropping his dodge to a 5, and he fails with a 7. Vesper deals 33 damage against the guard's effective DR of 20 and drops him.  With a sweep of his blade, he casually shoves aside the guard's glaive and then cuts him in twain with a quick follow-up strike.

Dun charges, using Heroic Guardian Assault. He rushes forward, shield at the ready. Dun rolls to hit (he's at +3): a 10, which is plenty. Vesper makes a side-slip retreat for +2 to his Dodge and succeeds with a 7.

Kendra, still sliding to the side (she succeeds with an Acrobatics roll of 12) from her dive, opens fire on the mauraders. She focuses her fire on their face places (-5) and fires one shot at each of them. She needs a 14 or less to hit both, and rolls a 15 and a 14. The 15 hits the torso of her opponent, and neither marauder dodges. Against the marauder's face plate she deals 17 damage, which is plenty to remove him as his visor shatters in a puff of red mist and fire, while the other marauder is hit for a measly 9 damage and shrugs it off.

Leylana turns on M'elena and knows its up to her to somehow defend the combat incapable Novina against a combat powerhouse. With her paltry 13 in unarmed skills and her lack of fast-draw, she can't really turn the fight around very quickly. Her best hope is to hold things off until Kendra can get there. Fast-Talk would be ideal for distracting M'elena somehow, but Leylana focused on Savoir-Faire and Sex-Appeal, neither of which will help us here. Her Holdout of 19 is more than enough to keep them from finding the datachip ever. Even running might not be the best option, as M'elena is faster and far more physical.

So Leylana surrenders. She lifts both of her hands, palm out. “I surrender.” She steps away from Novina.

DD-6 carefully watches her mistress and Does Nothing.

Novina lifts her chin, equally certain she can do very little against M'elena. She then follows Leylana's lead and lifts her hands in surrender.

M’elena hesitates. Her orders are to acquire the datachip, but Leylana doesn't  have to be alive for that to happen. The GM rolls a reaction roll. Leylana is very pretty (+2), but not particularly charismatic or pitiable. She has a title, but M'elena isn't impressed by titles. She has an Honest Face, which might be sort of like pitiable in that she seems innocent, so the GM might allow a +1 to reaction for surrender to keep her from being killed out of hand. Leylana rolls a sad 6 (and she used her luck earlier), giving her a 9, which is a bad reaction. M'elena is poorly disposed towards Leylana, suspecting treachery, and had bloodlust (she rolls a 7, so could resist if she wishes). Instead, she decides she could get the chip from Leylana's corpse. “All of master's enemies die.” She hisses through her mask and launches a casual attack against Leylana. She hits, obviously, with a 9, and Leylana makes a retreating dodge, meaning she can dodge on a 12 or less. She rolls a 14. M'elena whirring blade shears into Leylana's battle weave, dealing 10 damage, of which Leylana's armor absorbs 4, leaving her with  6 (increased to 9 damage) damage. That's a major wound, and she rolls an 8 to keep to her feet.

Clever tricks and deception won't beat M'elena (which makes sense, as M'elena is nearly as Crafty as Leylana).

The single most dangerous character to the pirates, thus far, is Kendra, so they keep their attention on her. Another move will put them into melee range with Kendra, so more explosive shots might be a bad idea. The Marauders ready their vibro blades while releasing their shotguns (perhaps they're on a strap). The pirates already have their vibro blades out, and run and gun at Kendra. When they finish moving, they're in melee range, and so they need an 8 or less to hit, and one hits with an 8. Kendra needs to dodge, but is currently prone (thus at -3). She needs a 7 or less to defend, but her diving shot gives her a free +2 to her defense from acrobatics, and she can spend a point of fatigue for another +2. It's just enough and she rolls a 10. The shot hits where she just was.

Turn 3 (2 pirates and 2 marauders remain; No elite guards survive; Vesper has +3 to ST, DX and HT for the next 9 turns; Leylaya at 1 HP; Kendra is at 7 HP and 10 fatigue;)

The blood of the fallen guard grows thick on the floor as it mixes with the dust to create a ruddy mud, and Vesper and Dun dance about the body. “Why do this at all?” Vesper growls “What will you gain?”

Vesper waits. If Dun attacks, he'll use counter pulse to throw him off balance.

Dun goes back into a Watchful Guardian Stance, gaining a +4 to his next attack and ignores up to -4 of his opponent's deceptive attack/feint penalties. “We're going to end the empire!” He snaps back.

Kendra knows she'll be overwhelmed soon by the rushing guards and doesn't want to be on her back when they get there. She changes posture to kneeling (an acrobatic stand would be better, but that's -6 to her acrobatics).

Leylana clutches at her wound with one hand and and draws her pistol with the other. Her mind swims with sudden panic: she's no great warrior, facing down a bloodthirsty monster. None of her tricks will work.

DD-6 Sense of Duty (Leylana) triggers a panic in the secretary bot.  She could make a Desperate Flailing attack, which will do no appreciable damage to M'Elena.  She can't access her claws because Leylana hasn't triggered  her transformation (it would take 10 seconds anyway).  So she goes for an all-out grapple.  She needs a 15 or less to hit and succeeds with an 11.  M'elena dodges on an 11 of less and does so with a disdainful 8.

Novina sees that the situation is growing very dire, and that she cannot wait for Twee to finish with the door. She closes her eyes, drawing deep within her for another desperately needed miracle.

M'elena rushes after the retreating Leylana. She brings both blades to bear, faster and more dangerous this time. She makes a dual-weapon deceptive attack (-4) against both Leylana and DD-6. DD-6 cannot defend, and is struck for 10 damage against an effective DR of... 10!  Her buzzing blades grinds off of DD-6's armored chassis, ripping away the delicate tissue of mannequin biomorphics to reveal solid armor beneath.

Leylana makes a Feverish (+2) retreating (+3) dodge to defeat a total of -3 in penalties. She'll dodge on an 11 or less. She fails with a 13: Leylana staggers back from M'elena's quick-flowing, humming blades but one catches her for another 10 damage. The battle-weave soaks up 4, meaning she takes 6 damage (increased to 9), another major wound, and falters with a 12, hitting the ground, the pain too much for her.

The Marauders rush towards Kendra now, in an effort to catch up to the pirates who've already reached her. The two pirates lash out at her with their vibro-slaughter. She could quick sheath her pistols and go for a unarmed defense, but brawling doesn't allow safe defense against armed attacks, so she's probably better off just dodging, even at her -2 (For kneeling). Unlike Leylana, she has High Pain Threshold and can afford to take a hit. Both attack and hit with an 11. Kendra attempts to roll out of the way with an Acrobatic dodge, which the GM allows at -4, but she passes with a 9, and then dodges the first of the attacks with a 5, but rolls right into the second attack with a 14. She takes 8 damage, and her armor absorbs 4, leaving her with 4 (increased to 6), which is a major wound, but she avoids being stunned with a 7. Both she and Leylana are badly hurt enough that they're at halved dodge and movement.


Turn 4 (2 pirates and 2 marauders remain; No elite guards survive; Vesper has +3 to ST, DX and HT for the next 8 turns; Leylaya at -8 HP and stunned; Kendra is at 1 HP and 10 fatigue;)

“You would replace one empire with another. You would cast down a dark emperor to raise up a dark queen.” Vesper roars through his war-mask, but in fact, he finds himself in a draw with Dun: If he uses any beats against Dun, Dun will just defend with the other weapon, and Dun is being very defensive, which means he'll “wait out” Vesper's Power of the Id. But if Vesper launches forward with deceptive attacks and feints, Dun's tendency to Evaluate will defeat him. Vesper sees only one possible option: He summons up his psychokinetic power, draws on the Id, and makes a extra-effort TK-grab at Dun. He spends 2 fatigue and then 6 points from the Id and applies a -4 to his will. This gives him +160%, or a spectacular ST of 30. He rolls to grab Dun with his TK-grab and rolls a 14 and nothing happens because Dun is immune to psionic powers. The power of communion shuts the Id down completely.

“What?” Vesper seems surprised.

Dun launches forward, sensing he's gained the initiative “And what would you do, monster? Leave only destruction in your wake?”

Dun makes a Feint with his force sword. He's got a +4, for a skill of 22, and succeeds with a 10. Vesper needs to roll against a skill of 21 and fails with a 17. Rotten luck. Dun will certainly hit next turn.

As part of her step, Kendra rises to her feet. She hasn’t moved (as in, she’s not making a move and attack, just an attack). That means she gains a +5 to her attack. She makes a quick shot of -9 (4 shots), at the two pirate torsos and the 2 marauder’s legs (-2), meaning she needs a 15, 15, 14 and 13, and all four shots hit. None of the pirates successfully dodge, so each is hit by her blaster. She deals 10, 16, 18 and 14 damage, enough to eliminate all 4 mooks. No pirates remain.

Leylana is stunned and can do nothing except defend at -4.  DD-6 rushes to her mistress's side, letting out a tinny shriek to see her in such a state.  She makes an ST roll to begin moving her away from M'elena.

Novina finishes concentration for one turn, and has no time left. She needs a miracle now to save Leylana. She’s at -2 for a quick miracle, but she’s been meditating for that one second for a +1 (she passes with a 12), but she already used a miracle today for -1, and she has enough regalia for +1. The result is a straight 10. She fails with a 12, but she notes that in her vision, Leylana didn’t die. She makes the argument that the vision of the future, one in which the great beast focuses his attention on Novina and and her blue knight and that this attention includes the Beast’s Shadow (which she argues is M’elena). The GM assents and she succeeds at her miracle. He grants her a -1 for recent behavior (her love affair) and a +4 to directly save a life with this miracle and +1 for her reputation. She rolls an 8, for a 12, which is a neutral reaction. She can’t get much of a miracle. Whatever happens must be subtle. We could do some minor telekinetic effect, give her some wildcard skill, but the most reasonable seems Confidence, but she has nothing to be confident with. Luck won’t save Leylana. Nonethless, the GM gives it to her and whispers “Trust in Communion.”

So, Novina moves closer to Leylana (she’s still within melee range) and makes a Wait “If M’elena attacks Leylana, I’ll make an All-Out Sacrificial defense”. A sacrificial dodge is acceptable, if Novina takes the hit, but the GM will allow her to make a Judo defense as well, as part of the miracle.

M’elena does indeed go for a finishing blow on Leylana. She makes a non-all-out (I should really go back and change that to committed: all-out is just too dangerous) Cross-Blade Execution. She attacks. Novina intervenes suddenly, rushing forward with the impetus of Communion behind her. She makes a Feverish All-Out Judo Parry (giving her a 12) while M’elena’s attack gives her a -1. She succeeds with an 8. She must make a second parry at -4 or with her off-hand (which is -2 to defense). She needs a 9, and she fails with an 11, then she activates her Confidence, rolling a 14 and an 8. Thus, Novina glides in, her hair flowing behind her until she catches M’elena’s hands and gently guides the attacks away from Leylana, and they stand poised on the cusp of a throw…

The pirates all lie in a pile around the furious Kendra.

Turn 5 (No pirates remain; No elite guards survive; Vesper has +3 to ST, DX and HT for the next 7 turns, and 12 fatigue and 6 points of dark points; Leylana at -8 HP and stunned; Kendra is at 1 HP and 10 fatigue; Novina has 8 fatigue left)

Vesper responds with “And would a galaxy free of any oppression and tyranny not be preferable to the monstrosities that walk our galaxy? I would leave it clean, so the next generation could build something pure. But you, you don’t even know what you fight for.”

Vesper senses the coming strike and knows he cannot defend against it, but waits for Dun’s attack, prepared to initiate a stop hit. Psionic powers will not affect Dun, and he’s been out-feinted, but he has one chance to take Dun down with him. He’ll trust in the power of the Id and perhaps come out as triumphant. He shifts from his defensive grip to a purely offensive, one-handed grip.

Dun answers with “I know who I fight for.” Then launches forward, executing a Bristling Guardian Counter-Charge. His shield and sword turn into twin blue blurs and Vesper’s cloak streams behind him.

Dun rolls a 9 against his 18, winning by 9. Vesper rolls a 10 against a 21, winning by 11. He hits first and has no penalty (other than his -12!) to defend. Dun is at -1 to defend with his shield, and does so with an 11. Vesper can only succeed with a 1. He does not roll a critical success, which is the only way he could win. However, there are three points of destiny that suggest he will succeed, and the GM activates these. In fact, Vesper Tane does parry. Blade clashes on blade and shield, the three forming a brutally bright triangle.

Leylana can attempt to recover from stun. She does so with a 9, but to do anything would force a consciousness roll. Instead, she stares up at DD-6, who struggles to drag her to Twee and the door, leaving a trail of blood behind her.

Novina moves against M’elena. She succeeded at a Judo parry, which means she may make a Judo Throw. M’elena cannot defend with her unarmed skills (she’s carrying weapons), only her dodge. Novina makes an all-out throw (+4 determined, -2 dim gloom). She needs a 12 or less and hits with a 7. M’elena needs a 10 or less and just succeeds. She barely slips out of Novina’s grip at the last moment, recovering her balance and bringing her blades to bear against the princess.

The blood of the slain pirates covers Kendra as she rises to her feet, roars, and then brings her pistols forward for a sudden, bright barrage at M’elena, whose back is currently towards her, facing the princess. She makes a dual-weapon fast-fire to unleash 5 shots from each weapon, for a total of 10 blasts. Her recoil is 2, but with an effective skill of 24, she’s reasonably confident she can hit with all of them. She rolls two 9s, meaning she hits with all 10 shots. M’elena needs to dodge with with a margin of at least 4 to avoid all of them twice. She responds with an agile, aerial cartwheel to the side away from the shots and succeeds with a 10. Then she dodges with a 7 (she needed a 12) and again with a 6 (she needed a 10). She manages to dodge all 10 blasts.

M’elena lands deftly on her feet and spins in place to launch herself at Kendra, seeing who her opponent really is. She launches herself forward, but then suddenly skids short with a quick Test of Mettle, honoring Kendra’s apparent prowess with a display of caution. She needs a 15 or less to hit and does so with an 8. Kendra makes slip and comes into close combat with M’elena for a +1 to her dodge. This gives her an 11, and she evades the attack with an 8.

Turn 6 (No pirates remain; No elite guards survive; Vesper has +3 to ST, DX and HT for the next 6 turns and 12 fatigue and 6 dark points; Leylana at -8 HP and has 9 fatigue; Kendra is at 1 HP and 10 fatigue; Novina has 8 fatigue left)

Vesper has lost patience. “Not who, but what. You know not the Ways of Communion.” His eyes burn within his mask. “Let me show you.”

Vesper cannot affect Dun psychokinetically, but he can affect himself. He makes an Extra-Effort roll again, spending 2 fatigue and 6 dark points. He makes a Will -4 roll of 12 and gains +160% to his PK, giving him ST 30. Using his Contact TK, he gains effectively ST 33, which is ~+20 to his current ST. Then he makes an All-Out Attack (Double). With the first, he makes a rapid-strike Beat on both Dun’s shield and sword, arguing that he parried and was parried by both. The GM allows it. He’s currently at 30 and succeeds with a 10 and an 8, while Dun succeeds with an 11 and an 8, but c’mon, this is like trying to hold your weapon up against an elephant charge, and both weapons are made unready. With his second attack, he makes a Deceptive (-6) attack. He succeeds with a 10. Dun is at -3 to dodge, and his Dodge is 9, which is reduced to 6, but improved back to 9 by a retreat and then improved to 11 with a feverish defense. He rolls a 12.

Thus, Dun’s blades fly high as Vesper flows low and then with a sudden, swift slash of his blade, cuts straight into Dun, who staggers back in a vain attempt to defend. Vesper deals 32 damage with his clash, of which Dun’s armor absorbs 20, inflicting 12 damage on Dun, which is exactly his HP. He needs to roll for stunning and he passes.

Vesper Tane cannot defend for the remainder of the turn.

Dun remains standing, though he coughs up some blood which leaks through his armor. He needs to ready his shield and sword. This takes a perk to ready both at once, though he can also fast-draw one and ready the other (the fast-draw doesn’t precisely represent him turning the force sword back on as he draws it, but it’ll work for our purposes). To do this, however, requires a consciousness check and barely passes with a 12. He wavers for a moment and then steals himself. He readies his force buckler and fast-draws his force sword with a 13… which fails. He’s currently at -4 to all of his DX rolls, which drops his fast-draw to 9. Dun only has his buckler and will ready his force sword next turn. He brings his shield back before him, but his force sword has been deactivated, and he’s pressed the button to activate it again.

Kendra makes a fast-draw roll to quick sheath her pistols and passes with a 7. Then she executes a grapple. As she dodged beneath M’elena’s attack, she slips her pistols back into their holsters and digs her shoulder’s into M’elena’s belly and wraps her arms around her. She makes a deceptive (-4) grapple attempt. She passes with an 11. M’elena cannot parry (Unarmed etiquette), but she can dodge, but she’s at -2 to do so. She retreats to bring Kendra back into reach 1, but fails to dodge with a 12. Kendra has her grappled: She’s at -4 to DX.

DD-6 continues to pull Leylana to the door, finally reaching it, while Twee fushes to open the door at last.  They cross the threshold into the darkness beyond.

Novina retreats a step. She sees the flash of Vesper’s blade and sees Dun waver, and blood gush from his wound. The GM assails her with a vision: She sees the White Queen, imperious and powerful, joining her shadow and her warbeast on a mighty throne, or she sees a bound princess kneeling beside a wounded blue knight and bringing him back to life. Her vision splits in two as she sees the paths unreeling before her. She is mentally stunned.

M’elena drops her blades and grapples back. She’s at -8 to attack Kendra with her blades and they won’t help her defend. So she makes a Judo grapple at -4 and critically fails with a 17 and rolls a boring old 10. She tries to shift to gain a grip on Kendra, but instead loses her footing and finds herself in a precarious position. She’s at -2 to her active defenses (and to resist takedowns!) for the next turn.

Turn 6 (No pirates remain; No elite guards survive; Vesper has +3 to ST, DX and HT for the next 5 turns and 10 fatigue and 12 dark points; Leylana at -8 HP and has 9 fatigue and is unconscious; Kendra is at 1 HP and 10 fatigue; Novina has 8 fatigue left and is mentally stunned)

Vesper sees the opening of the unready blade and knows that Dun cannot attack back. He steps forward and makes a dramatically powerful and fast swing, making an All-Out Attack (Determined). This gives him a total skill of 25. He makes a deceptive attack (-10) and rolls a 5! A critical success! He rolls a 16, which states that he does double damage. He thus inflicts 54 damage, of which Dun’s armor absorbs 20, dealing 34 damage. He needs to make 2 survival checks. He passes both. He fails his stun check, though, and collapses under the attack. As Dun collapses beneath the sinister, crimson sweep of the blade, the lost force blade of the Alexian dynasty slips from his hands, clattering dramatically on the floor.

Kendra is still occupied with her grappling contest. She attempts an all-out take-down. This gives her a total of 15 vs M’Elena’s 9. Kendra rolls an 8 and M’elena rolls a 13. M’elena hits the ground with a heavy thud.

Twee gets Leylana to the door, which hisses as it opens. He takes one last look at the carnage behind him, his eyes on Novina.

Novina attempts to snap out of the mental stun, but as she watches Dun dying in her vision and watches him crumple to the ground, this is evidently too much for her as she rolls a 16. She stands there, tears rolling down her cheek.

M’elena can do nothing this turn. She’s no longer off-balance.

Turn 7 (No pirates remain; No elite guards survive; Vesper has +3 to ST, DX and HT for the next 4 turns and 10 fatigue and 12 dark points; Leylana at -8 HP and has 9 fatigue and is unconscious; Kendra is at 1 HP and 10 fatigue; Novina has 8 fatigue left and is mentally stunned)

Vesper kicks Dun’s force sword away from his hand. If I were running this for real, I wouldn’t bother with rolls, but if we wanted to, it’s a brawling disarm: he’s at -2 (trying to knock it away), -5 (for the size of the hilt), and -2 for kicking. If we make it All-Out (Determined) and Telegraphic, he’s only at -1, so hits with a 16 or less. He succeeds with an 8. Dun is at -5 to defend and cannot block. His dodge, even with his shield, is 12, so with this penalty, he’s at 7 (though I think you can make the case that he can’t apply his DB in this case). In any case, he fails with a 12. This initiates a quick contest, though I’m not sure you can use your weapon skill to defend an unready weapon. If you can, he’s still at -4 for being stunned and -3 for being on the ground, so it’s 11 vs Vesper’s 18. Obviously, Vesper wins and kicks the force sword away (which was obvious, which is why I wouldn’t bother with it in a real game).

Dun needs to recover and critically fails. He passes out.

Kendra goes for a pin. Once again, she makes an All-Out effort, gaining a +4 and wrestling gives her +1, so it’s a 15 vs M’elena’s 11. Once again, Kendra wins and she has M’elena completely under her control.

Twee takes Leylana, and the throneship access codes, out of the fight. The door hisses shut behind him.

M’elena is pinned and helpless.

Turn 8 (No pirates remain; No elite guards survive; Vesper has +3 to ST, DX and HT for the next 3 turns and 10 fatigue and 12 dark points; Leylana at -8 HP and has 9 fatigue and is unconscious, ; Kendra is at 1 HP and 10 fatigue; Novina has 8 fatigue left and is mentally stunned).

While still standing over Dun’s unconscious body, Vesper raises his free hand and points it at Novina. He makes a TK grapple. She has -4 to defend as she’s stunned, and -4 to dodge because it’s an invisible attack. The GM waives the roll. He has her in his power.

Kendra, having pinned M’elena, fast-draws her pistol. If we cared about fast-draw from unusual positions (we don’t, right Han?) we’d give her a -2. Either way, she passes, and her weapon is aimed directly at Vesper. She hasn’t moved, so she gains +5 to her shot, and she makes an All-Out (Determined) sighted shot with a single-handed grip, fast-firing for 5 shots. She chooses for random hit locations, simply spraying Vesper. She rolls an 8, easily hitting him all 5 times.

Vesper must precognitively parry (He succeeds), and shifts instantly to a Defensive Grip for +1 with Grip Mastery. He has a parry of 15 and rolls an 12… she hits him once. She rolls for the torso and inflicts 13 damage, just enough to do a single point. So, Vespers blade flashes and swats aside the blaster bolts, but one slips through his web of defenses and hisses from his armor. He needs to make two Will-3 rolls to keep his focus on Novina, and passes both (a 13 and a 5).

Novina must recover from her mental stun and succeeds with an 11. “Wait! Stop!” She shouts as she feels herself being drawn to Vesper. She hits her knees “I surrender. Just don’t hurt Dun.”

Turn 9 (No pirates remain; No elite guards survive; Vesper has +3 to ST, DX and HT for the next 2 turns and 13 HP, 10 fatigue and 12 dark points; Leylana at -8 HP and has 9 fatigue and is unconscious, ; Kendra is at 1 HP and 10 fatigue; Novina has 8 fatigue left).

Vesper draws Novina to his side. She does not resist. “It’s over, cat. Give me the codes” He growls through his mask. He waits. If she acts, he’ll use a TK grapple on her weapon first.

Kendra snarls “I took down your pirates, I took down your assassin, I can take you down.” Her tail lashes.

Novina lifts her hand “Let her go, dark lord. Let him go. You have me. You want to destroy the Throneship, don’t you? Without me, they cannot activate it. The codes are irrelevant. I am yours.”

Vesper Tane watches Kendra “A trade, then? My assassin for your knight?”

Kendra spits “Fine.”

She dismounts M’elena, who springs to her feet instantly and reaches for her blades, but Vesper Tane shakes his head. Kendra sprints to Dun, her blaster still trained on Vesper Tane, keenly aware of how close, how lethal, that force sword is. She gathers up her fallen comrade, and makes for the door.

Thoughts


Well, how dramatic. And it should be, at over 8000 words. A lot of the complexity came from the intricate martial arts. This fight saw more grappling and sword-play than the previous fights, but that’s to be expected, as this is a martial arts iteration.  I would also like to note that in a real fight, I expect players would have a few character points kicking around, for flesh wounds, and would be willing to spend more fatigue to remain conscious.

My concerns going into this were:
  • Are space knights good enough at 300 points? Are they better at 400 points?
  • Are psionic powers useful enough?
  • Is Communion useful enough? Too useful?
  • Is the assassin useful at all?
  • Is the bounty hunter OP?
  • Do martial arts feel right?
Let’s go through these one by one.

Space Knights: I thought Dun did very well. His biggest problem was that he got unlucky, and I could have used a few more tricks to keep him going (why not more feverish defenses? Why not spend some of his destiny to succeed anyway?). Part of the reason I didn’t was that I suspected the outcome was somewhat inevitable, and I didn’t want the fight to run on forever. He also did as well as he did because of how his design matched up against Vesper’s, but the flowing set of circumstances like that are typical of martial arts fights. While a 400 point Vesper Tane was definitely cooler, to my eye, he looks too cool for a starting character. I expect a lot of PCs would love that level of power, but I think, for staring off, 300 points is fine. What also stood out was that Dun was easily on par with Kendra for combat capability. In fact, in a previous version of the playtest, Kendra got hammered by the pirates and was unable to really recover when they came for her, which was not a problem Dun would have faced.

I will say equipment matters. Dun’s armor and shield really helped him a lot, as usual, though Kendra’s agility and choice of battleweave also contributed to some of her success.

Psionic Powers: TK was certainly useful, much more useful than I expected. The addition of contact TK is a good one. I had expected Vesper to have wasted his choices on that power, but it turned out to be an excellent investment, even if he couldn’t directly use it on Dun (which was something that really screwed him over). Furthermore, a “mere” TK of 12 looked like it was too little, but in actual practice, it’s very powerful, thanks to the extra-effort rules I have in place.

I wouldn’t mind revisiting TK, though. It feels like TK-Control is basically the only power you need, and I rather like that. I’m less certain it needs to be priced the way it is, and perhaps I should treat TK thrust or tk choke as techniques rather than sub-powers.

The other powers were less useful. Like with Rafari, they suffer from being situational. Danger Sense just didn’t come up, and Novina’s powers were more useful in a non-combat fashion, which is fine. I think I could afford to let prognostication and visions to be more useful, but it’s hardly surprising that they didn’t impact a fight nearly as much as, say, a war. Furthermore, if someone had used Tactics to deal with this situation better, her +4 would have been invaluable.

So, these fights are stilted a little against non-combat powers, which is hardly surprising. If Dun had focused his powers on Combat Sense, things might have gone differently, especially since a good Extra-Effort roll there would be useful.

Communion: Communion was less overwhelming in this fight. I find 1-2 miracles in a fight is all you’re going to get out of it. I’ve worried that spending destiny to force a miracle to happen would be overpowering, but in practice, you have to make two rolls, and as Novina showed here, succeeding at invoking a miracle doesn’t mean you’ll get a good miracle. Sometimes, you’ll get a lame one.

Instead, I found (Ego) Communion a little weak. It had few interesting mid-level miracles, few interesting combat miracles, and Vesper is able to draw on Dark Points for extra-effort while our heroes aren’t able to draw on anything similar, but the intent behind Ego Communion is that meditation should balance that out. In other words, Novina should have some 10-20 points of Meditation built up that she can draw from. But how do we handle that? Psi-Wars is not the sort of game where one should require people to use time sheets. Instead, I would expect that when the Id user ends a session, he’ll end up funneling some XP over to his dark points to get rid of those penalties, while the Ego user should get some kind of session-by-session meditation point reward. I’ll need to work out the specific rules (How many are reasonable? Is it a static value or does it depend on Meditation?)

We could also use some more miracles. Otherwise, I’m pretty satisfied with it.

Assassins: Oh holy yes, was she useful. It turns out that the ability to slip behind the enemy and then engage them in melee is very powerful. A sniper is powerful too, but after that first shot, you just take cover, and if your dodge is good, he can’t really do anything about it. Assassins can make feints and deceptive attacks and grapples and really force you to deal with them, and if you lack melee capability, like Leylana (I ran two of these fights, and Leylana died in the first one, in a single attack), you’re in trouble, and because you can use stealth to slip behind enemy lines, you’ll bypass the tough combat characters and force the non-combatants to deal with you. M’elena was plenty effective. I’m not worried about assassins anymore.

DD-6 escaped my notice in a few of the passes, and I've done my best to rectify it.  I found it interesting that she was capable of completely ignoring M'elena's strikes.  If Leylana had had the time to trigger her assassin mode (she could have done so as sort of a threat, but if she'd passed out before she could switch DD-6 back off, you'd have a lethal murder-bot rampaging around Novina, which was probably sub-optimal), that might have made a difference, as there wasn't much M'elena could do against her.  Overall, vibro-weapons seem very light on damage, which hurts them.  M'Elena might have been better off with a blaster. Perhaps a +2d cutting damage, rather than +1d?

Bounty Hunters: The other problem would be that ranged is too effective, or not effective enough. Now, Kendra was plenty powerful. She was arguably the most lethal character in the game (in one playtest, Vesper Tane, the big bad, critically failed a parry against her and went down under a hail of blaster fire. Luck is a worthy investment for space knights), but without ranged deceptive attacks and feints (are those in? I’ll have to check, if they are, I’m going to remove them), Fast-Fire becomes an interesting technique for gunslingers, as you try to saturate your opponent with firepower. When ranged combat becomes impractical (up close), the Bounty Hunter’s excellence in hand-to-hand proved to be excellent. Now, M’elena got unlucky and it basically cost her the fight, but even so, this proved the value of unarmed combat as a reasonable investment.

She was powerful, but as I said before, in a previous playtest, she outright failed and died. Once again, GURPS is touch and go. A bounty hunter is useful, but her ranged combat doesn’t put the melee fighters to shame. Instead, I had the impression that she was about on par with the assassin, which is what I want, and that she was beneath a space knight, unless you can remove a space knight’s special advantages, in which case she will own them. Even without that, she’s pretty decent against them. She felt about right.

One concern I do see coming up a lot is the ability to parry, or block, numerous blasts.  It might be worth considering, perhaps, a perk that "improves the recoil" of defenses: a successful defense parries twice its margin in attacks.

Martial Arts: What I want from a decent martial arts game is a sense of interesting interactions, and I have that here. Ranged, melee and unarmed all have their own sort of roles and are best used under different circumstances. A character who specializes too deeply in one will find herself defeated by someone who mastered adapting to changing circumstances.

As in CBR, I found that you get interesting style interactions. Vesper Tane seems built to respond to Rafari’s specialty of evasion. Psionic Force Swordsmanship would trap such a character and force him to face Vesper under circumstances that benefit Vesper Tane. But Dun’s reliance on two weapons made it very hard for Vesper to use that approach to defeat him. Instead, Rafari with 50 more points in the Graceful Form would allow him to outmaneuver the slower Dun and fight under circumstances where his shield and helmet (no peripheral vision) really hamper him. We have a sort of rock-scissors-paper of style choices. That’s exactly what I want to see.

My one complaint is that this might be a touch on the complicated side, and that space knights are really hard nuts to crack. Precognitive parry and psionic powers mean they usually have tons of defensive bonuses, but I suppose that’s to be expected. Your best bet is to keep hammering them until they screw up a roll, and then they go down pretty quickly, but that’s true of most people

Overall I’m very pleased. I do think this will be the last time I do something like this. The point of Psi -Wars thus far is to create a campaign framework, and I clearly have that now. It needs some tweaks here and there, but if I sat down to run this right now, I think my players would have a really good time.



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