Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Redshirts: Race to the Reprieve!

The new Stars Without Number campaign kicked off last Wednesday, with six players showing up at the FLGS to participate.  While Kaye had already used the point buy system to create his AI character, everyone else sat down and generated their PCs from scratch with rolls of the dice, 3d6 straight down the line.  It's not such a big deal since you characters get to put a 14 in one of their class' prime requisites, so they don't completely suck.

I was feeling particularly menace-ful that day, so I had everyone roll their hit points, rather that have them start off at max for first level.  Well, Felipe rolled a 1, so I let him re-roll   He got a 2.  Merwyn got another 2.  Adelaide got a 3.  It just wasn't looking good for anyone.

The game began with the characters groggily waking up from medical experiments in Infirmary 47 aboard Perimeter Station Nine.  They were all in hospital gowns and somewhat disoriented, but remembered that they were the last of the scouts to be going through cold sleep checkups before the mission began.  Doctor Bengani and Nurse Tendai were looking after them.  Their ship was far away in Hangar 18, being prepped for launch.

That's when the explosions happened.

Nurse Tendai stuck her head out into the hall and suddenly slumped to the ground, headless.

"The nurse is dead.  The doctor is freaking out.  You hear more explosions and gunfire.  The draught you feel up the slit in your hospital gown makes you uncomfortably aware that you are bare-assed and weaponless.  What do you do?"
Feel free to click for a bigger picture.

I love my job.

Well, of course they freaked out as well, trying to understand the situation and wanting to know what they needed to do and where they needed to go.

Before the game I had sketched out the space station and decided to give areas names so that it would be easier to describe to the players.  That sketch is over there to the right.  I divided the station up concentrically into the outer ring, the inner ring, and the hub, then sliced the whole thing up into Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta Quadrants.  There were four spars, which were the standard areas for people and freight to move through, as well as four spokes, which were primarily for structural strength  but also acted as conduits for pipes, cables, etc.

I explained the layout and that they were in the outer rim of the Delta Quadrant, mid decks, and needed to get to their ship in Hanger 18.  (I don't think any of them got those references, but that's okay - I'm really just entertaining myself.)  I was rather amazed at how fast they took to the description and how they began using the terminology as they made their battle plans.

Lt. McManus pulled up schematics of the station and found a nearby armory.  Petty Officer Owlicious poked her head out the door (like the ill-fated nurse) and saw rubble and twisted metal down the corridor to the right, with a hole in the ceiling.  Hidden in the rubble was a laser rifle wielding man in armor with scorpions emblazoned on it.

Aha!  A soldier of the Skorpios Empire.  The bad guys must have found out about the Reprieve and had decided to act against it.  Spaceman XC-OM (the android) ran out after the armored soldier, dove at him, and tripped over the rubble.  Oops.

Spaceman Kek rushed out in his beautifully flower patterned hospital gown and grappled the heavily armored Skorpios soldier.  Thus ensued a bizarrely homoerotic wrestling match.

With things getting all Greco-Roman, the rest of the scouts hustled down the hallway to the nearest armory and began to grab weapons.  Another Skorpios soldier from the level began shooting at Spaceman Kek through the hole in the ceiling and hit him.

The newly armed scouts, with Petty Officer Loranzo, then jumped out from the armory and blasted the soldiers to bits.  Lt. McManus dug through the local Net and found the CCTV feeds.  Investigation showed Skorpios soldiers marching down the Alpha Spar towards the Hub, and twisted metal being all that remained of the Delta Spar between the Outer and Inner Rings.

Hacking away, Lt McManus took control over the environmental systems in the Delta Spar and vented the atmosphere   This did not deter the soldier as they were in EVA capable armor.  The party then discussed using the maintenance conduits in the Alpha-Delta spoke, but instead decided to perform their own EVA through what was left of the Delta Spar.

Past a few bulkheads, Petty Officer Owlicious found a Gravitation Propulsion Manned Maneuverability Unit, which I like to call a Grav Ski-Doo.  She mounted it while everyone else connected tether lines, and away they flew through the airless void of twisted metal through what had once been the Delta Spar.  While en route to the Inner Ring, a pair of soldiers having lunch on an exposed beam felt it would be funny to snipe at them.

The return fire from Lt. Five's heavy machine gun make short work of the soldiers, but the recoil in zero G almost smashed the whole party into the incredibly sharp, twisted wreckage - but - yanno - TPKs are just part of the adventure, right?  Well, Petty Officer Owlicious' piloting skills saved the day - but I would have other chances.

While Spaceman XC-OM was using his blowtorch to open up the Inner Ring airlock, the party noticed a sizable enemy fleet battling their own defenses, and saw that a large troop transport was approaching.  Lt. McMannus began to hack the Transport's Wi-Fi in order to take control of the ship.  Regretfully, the ship's crew noticed and fighter squadron was dispatched to bombard the party's position.

Lots of shrapnel later, and Lt. Five's colon was exposed to the vacuum of space and decided to take a little EVA of it's own.  The party busted into the Ring proper, carrying the poor Lt. Five, and got him to Infirmary 34, where a Happy Brand Med-Bot-1000 cheerfully stitched the officer up.

Eventually they made it to the hub and Petty Officer Owlicious hot-wired a fork lift and the party raced off to   Hangar 18.  They went to the control room and found Drago there.  Drago was a big, muscular, mean, cigar smoking vat born Skorpios soldier ready to stomp the PCs into tomorrow evening.

However, much like that scene in Indiana Jones, they all opened fire, shredding him to pieces.  In the control room, they could see down into the hangar.  Twenty soldiers were inside, all around the Reprieve.  They were operating a laser drill, trying to carefully bore their way into the players ride.

Hatching a plan, they secretly contacted the crew of the Reprieve, left Spaceman XC-OM in the control room to coordinate, boarded the forklift, and charged the twenty soldiers.

It was a bloody and short battle, aided by the fact that the crew of the ship ignited their thrusters, charring many of the soldiers to cinders.  However, in order to pull it off, the safety clamps had to be removed and the hanger doors open.  The crew of the ship decided to leave without securing their wayward scouts.  Luckily, the party engaged the forklift's magnet, which slammed and locked it against the outside of the Reprieve.

Spaceman XC-OM tried valiantly to jump from the control room to the ship before it left.  Regretfully, he missed, was hit by the backwash from the engines, and was slammed into the hangar wall, shattering into a million pieces.

So, imagine this - a slightly damaged an wobbly experimental spacecraft racing through the area where two naval fleets are trying to pummel one another, dodging rockets, explosions, shrapnel from blown up spacecraft, and an occasional screaming, spaceshipless fighter pilot on fire.  And image a forklift magnetized to the side of that spacecraft, with five screaming scouts hanging on for dear life, hoping that their tethers are not shredded by the G forces.

That kind of thing makes players really nervous. :)

Eventually they got inside the ship, where Lt. Mcmanus beat the first Lieutenant he saw down to zero hit point.  Then the ship's marines forced the scouts into jump seats, and the Reprieve rode out of Dodge of a metadimensional spike.

In the end, I had killed one character and reduced everyone else to 1 hit point, or had hit them so hard they needed Lazarus patches to stay alive.  So, all in all, a good little short intro adventure, to get the players used to what will be happening on a weekly basis.  Nine people want to play now, so I'll try to accommodate.  Fun - no?

- Ark


  1. Sounds like it was as much fun for you as for the players... and therefore a fantastic game!

    1. Dave - Thanks - yup - it's been a really fun game so far. :)

      - Ark