Thursday, November 15, 2012

SWN Faction Turns: February 3200

Due to popular demand (Kaye and Bill being popular,) I'll be adding two new new factions, a gang of psychic outlaw misandrist pirates called the Asteroid Witches and a rebellious army of androids called Steel Dawn.  I don't think either faction will like one another, but in case they start acting too chummy, giant snakes will attack everyone and make them nervous and prone to blast anything in view.

I'll add them in the future when it feels right.

Meanwhile, on February 2nd, the Redshirts game started with the Skorpios Empire attacking a secret Aquilan base in an attempt to steal or destroy the high tech spacecraft Reprieve.  The pretech research base, and the attacking fleet, are not really represented in the faction game itself, though they would be powerful assets.  I'm not going to worry about it.  I'll just say that the fleet and the base destroyed one another and that was that.  Accounting is easy when you close your eyes and wave your hands about.

So now, on with the faction game for February, 3200 CE.

Initiative is still using a d4, creating this order of play - the Almagest Rebellion, the Skorpios Empire, the Aquila Union, and the Alliance of Independent Systems.

Almagest Rebellion - The rebellion took a complete trouncing in January, and has little desire to do anything but hide and lick their wounds.  Regretfully, they don't have the resources to hide everyone.  The faction earns 2 FacCreds this turn, and with the 2 they squirreled away last turn, they have a total of 4.  It takes 3 FacCreds to purchase Stealth, and since they have two assets on the ground, one will have to remain exposed.

The rebellion uses the Buy Asset action and decides to spend the FacCreds and stealth their damaged Vanguard Cadre on Almagest.  This leaves their band of Zealots visible, with only one hit point remaining,

NEWS BLURB - On Almagest, the Talus Red Cross - and independent humanitarian group from the Alliance of Independent Systems - reported on February 5th that there was an influx of homeless children seeking shelter at the aide camps in the capital.  PXL News believes that these refugees may be remnants of indigent families that were driven out of the sewers during a violent purge last month.    The Sister Sally Saracen of the Talus Red Cross is asking for donation all across the sector due to this tragic turn of events.  Imperial Skorpios officials refused to comment on the story.

Skorpios Empire - I think I'm going to change the Tag of the Skorpios Empire from Imperialists to Eugenics Cult.  That just fits a lot better with their modus operandi.  I should have stuck with it, as it had been my first, instinctual choice.  Oh well.  So, the empire is feeling plucky since their victories on Almagest and the landing of the stealthed assets on Corvus last month and their hefty bank balance this month of ten FacCreds.  They unleash the dogs of war by selecting the Attack action this turn.

Their first military action is to use the stealthed Treachery asset to attack Corvus.  The treachery asset attacks with Cunning vs. Cunning, but does not do damage.  Instead, on a successful attack, it destroys itself, gives the user 5 additional FacCreds, and changes the ownership of the defending asset to the attacker.  The target is the union's Postech Infantry on Corvus.

The results of the combat are 10+7 vs. 4+4 - thus the empire wins.  The Treachery asset disappears, the empire's bank balance goes to 15 FacCreds, and the empire now owns the infantry.  That is a pretty devastating turn of events for the Aquila Union, who is only left with the Tripwire Cell and the Base of Influence left on Corvus.

Continuing with it's attack, Skorpios turns it's eye on Almagest.  The Zealots are in view, so the Impeiral Posttech Infantry attacks.  (In actuality, the infantry asset attacks the rebellions 'presence' on Almagest, and Almast chooses to defend with the Zealots rather than taking a direct hit to their Base of Influence and end up loosing the hit pints of the very faction itself.  A slight difference in working, but an important one.)

The results of combat are 6+8 vs. 1+3.  Yeah.  The empire wins overwhelmingly.  A d8 produces 6 points of damage, leaving them at a -5 and destroyed.  The rebels' Zealot asset is removed from play.

These events really inspire two separate news blurbs:

NEWS BLURB #1 - DATELINE CORVUS, FEBRUARY 9, 3200.  Residents fled in horror from the capital in the early morning hours as the sounds of fierce fighting erupted from the military base inside of town.  When the dust had settled, the top brass, including General Wallace McKenzie, lay dead in a bloody coup.  Witnesses report soldiers' eye glowing yellow and shooting anything in sight.  Since then, the base has been sealed off and communications blacked out.  "This yellow glow from the eyes and erratic behavior smacks of fungal mind control," Chief Research Scientist Fenrus Lucifer of BioTonics Labs on Aquila said in an interview.  "As we know, Skorpios is home to various fungi that are compatible with human DNA.  It's possible that the Empire has whipped up some sort of elixir that creates . . . fungal zombie armies.  I know that sounds a bit odd - but worse things have happened.  I have suggested to President General Muldoon that we inoculate our entire military force with a new anti-fungal vaccine we have just developed called Defungicin X-12.  BioTonics will be happy to provide the medicine at a reduced rate, of course."

NEWS BLURB #2 - The Talus Red Cross on Almagest is reporting that Skorpios Shock Troops launched a series of blistering assaults on refugee camps between the 12th and 13th of February.  Troops appeared to be targeting homeless children, and were killing them on sight.  Sister Sally Saracen of the Talus Red Cross denounced the attacks, describing them as unwarranted, shameful, and horrific.  Video smuggled out of Skorpios controlled space showed disturbing images of children wired with belts of high explosives hurling themselves at Skorpios Troops, then igniting into bright, orange fireballs.  The Skorpios Government denies any of the events took place and reports that all is calm on Almagest and that production in the rifle factories of Almagest is up sharply.

Aquila Union - This month, the union earns 5 FacCreds.  It is still in Peaceable Kingdom mode, so Aquila needs to avoid launching attacks on any other factions to gain experience points from the goal.  That doesn't stop it from getting it's war machine moving by choosing the Use Asset Ability.

On Aquila, the Postech industry asset is called to action.  The d6  roll results in a 4, indicating that an additional FacCred is earned.  The Venture Capital asset activates, and using the Postech Industry asset as leverage, rolls a d8 for a 6, indicating that another 2 FacCreds are earned, bringing the faction's bank account up to 8 FacCreds.

On Ridgway, Aquila sends its Blockade Runners to the Patton system for 2 FacCreds, with the intention of transporting the Postech Infantry asset located there to Corvus so that they can help defend the capital.

NEWS BLURB - PXL Financial News Update for February 20th, 3200.  Stocks rose for a third straight day today as investors dismissed conflicting reports from Corvus.  "We at MacBeth Trading are very bullish," said CEO Allister MacBeth.  "I whole-heartedly recommend buying into stocks from Yamato Shipyard Industries, the Maximum Defense Company, the LaserStar Weapons Combine, and BioTonics Amalgamated, home of BioTonics Labs.  This week's orders are up tremendously.  The recent downturn due to that Corvus hogwash is just that - hogwash.  Government sources tell me that it's a minor issue.  Assets are being put into play to deal with the situation, and they'll have things straightened out shortly with a minimum of fuss.  Yes, we are bullish on the future."

Alliance of Independent Systems - The Alliance again gains 4 FacCreds and decides to pump it's wealth into building a Base of Influence on Cicada by using the Expand Influence action.  Aquila tries to counter this move, and both factions roll off.  Since the Alliance is using a Surveyor crew, they get an additional roll.  So, it's d10 plus Cunning vs. d10 plus Cunning.  Aquila gets a 10 on the die, plus it's 4 for a 14.  The alliance rolls a 2, plus the 6 cunning, resulting in only an 8.  However, their reroll is an 9, giving them a 15 and a new base on Cicada with 8 hit points.  Aquila does not get to fight back.

NEWS BLURB - On February 25th, Harry Freedonia announced the creation of the School of Native Unity on Cicada.  "The Inland Relation Office is a serious threat to the well-being of the native Klakker community on Cicada," Mr. Freedonia said at a press conference.  "Governor Vidalia would get the peaceful race hooked on F-3000c like a common drug pusher.  What's next?  Offering the Klakkers blankets smeared with oozing small pox sores?  We reject this intolerable treatment and are building schools in the jungle to help educate the Klakkers about their unalienable right to free speech, to free assembly, and the right to bear arms for the defense of their well-being.  Klakkers are people too, you know?"

So that is February in the Factions game.  During that month, the players explored the Three Sister's system, discovered the Ark, destroyed the Shibboleth, unleashed GAIA the AI, followed the Ark to the Ukraine system, discovered that a lost Skorpios warship found it's way there 50 years ago and had taken over the planet, stole a Lost Skorpios patrol boat, escaped back to Three Sisters, and were in the process of hollowing out an asteroid to create Beachhead Base for the Aquila Navy to use as a privateer base to launch raids of Ukraine.  Meanwhile, the Reprieve travelled to Schwarzkopf to alert the brass back home and resupply, leaving the PCs busy mining out an asteroid and installing toilets.

- Ark


  1. Cool, although I thought the snake might be a new faction; The Serpent Society! LOL

    1. Bill - Actually . . . not a bad idea - an unseen, secret herpetological Illuminati society - something that the sector is sorely lacking! :)

      - Ark

  2. It's always a pleasure to see the faction system getting some use. I'm trying to make the new SWN merchant campaign system be equally fruitful of events.

    1. Sine - I'm enjoying it and the players are getting a kick out of it. I like the simplicity and the fact that it leaves a lot of room for - like treachery can turn out to be mind controlled zombies. :)

      One thing that keeps on stepping on my brain is the limited range of strike fleets and the like. I mean, it makes perfect sense given the stats of warships' jump drives. It kind of cuts waay back on fleets racing across the cluster pummeling one another. I keep on trying to squeeze a 2-jump out of a postech spaceship asset and failing. :) I guess that is why the the Capital Fleet is so ridiculously effective.

      Hmmm . . . merchant campaign system. Trying to wrap my head around that. Faction based? PC based? Economics game? Um . . . tell me more please. :)

      - Ark

    2. You're right that ranges are limited on a lot of assets- it's to pre-prune GM decision trees and cut down the number of choices they have to make to a manageable number. It also tends to create chokepoint systems that become obviously important focal points of activity for PCs to get involved in.

      As for the merchant campaign book, it's like Skyward Steel or Darkness Visible, except for space merchants instead of space navies or space spies. I'm doing it up while I wait for SotD art to come in.

      I'm trying to figure out why people run space trader campaigns and what it is they want to get out of them at the table. Traveller has supported this sort of thing from the very start with a commerce system that fits seamlessly with the street-level play. You spend X credits, buy Y tons of Robots, and sell them on a different world for Z profit. It's just never quite clear what you're supposed to do with that cash, or how the GM is supposed to turn that sequence of events into something interesting in play. It can be done of course, it's just not terribly organic to the operation.

      Conversely, you have Rogue Trader, which ultra-abstracts the financial aspects and makes pretty much all fiscal progress contingent upon adventure-worthy Endeavours. The GM is supported in finding stuff to do for traders with this, but the system is pretty holistic- you're playing a Rogue Trader campaign and it's not something you can just drop in to your regular interstellar freebooting without converting everything back and forth. There's no "X thrones = Y Profit Factor" conversion, and it's not going to help the crew that just wants to load on ten tons of dehydrated water to take to the local desert world on their way to take care of something else.

      So basically, I have to think about what each approach is trying to accomplish and see if there's some way to reconcile the goals. The system also needs to hand the GM adventure hooks on a platter, and do it with minimal bookkeeping. And it needs to be a drop-in system, so that PCs can just decide to do a little bit of it now and then rather than dedicate the entire campaign to it. It's an interesting set of design goals.

    3. Thanks for the info on the merchant book. I've only really run the merchant game in Star Frontiers. The players had started out as space cops and quit, deciding that they would raise the funds through trade to build their own space armada to fight the evil space aliens. It was easy to drain their money that way. :)

      You might want to take a peek the Start Frontiers Knight Hawks Campaign Book Expansion Rules. We did the trade part as an aside to regular adventures. It got pretty crunchy with loans, collateral, compound interest, etc. But what I best recall were the Tracer Implants that borrowers had to have installed, the rules for incorporating (kind of important with character deaths,_ the rules on passenger lines and bookings (wacko passengers were always fun,) mining (so much like Mass Effect) and the interest that was always generated from determining exactly what kind of cargo was being hauled in their holds.

      I think a redesign of, at least the star Frontiers economic activity, would be best handled much like the factions game - something for the ref to handle in 5 minutes between each adventure - and have it allow for lots of adventure hooks for subsequent games.

      Though, honestly, I thought you solution in the regular SWN for economics was brilliantly simple as well.

      Thanks, and I'm looking forward to seeing your solution to the merchant problem. :)

      - Ark