Campaign of the Month: July 2020

The Verge

1x05-A Right Mess

Central.PNG4 Apr 2405 CE

Ilik has finally been discharged from the hospital, so the entire crew can get on with it. Putting their heads together, they determine to split up, with Baefre and Ilik officially reporting Katy Borman as missing, while Anya and Rostya begin working on repairing the LFC-101, and Ephraim starts the ball rolling on dealing with space port bureaucracy. This will, hopefully, minimize the amount of time they’re stuck here on Nyx.

After getting Katy logged as missing in the planetary network, Baefre and Ilik plan on asking around, but the latter realizes that they are been surveilled, rather professionally. The two decide to split up and try to individually shake their pursuers, but both fail rather miserably, instead alerting their respective shadows that they’ve been made. Despite being split up, both Baefre and Ilik decide on identical tacts: to abandon evasion and approach the people following them. Instantly, the shadows turn and try to get away, which results in a pair of chases through the streets and alleys of Central. For a time, it looks like Ilik is going to be eluded, but his target is slowed when trying to climb over a blocked off alley which gives the psion an opportunity to draw his stunner and zap the runner; Baefre is less lucky, though initially it looks like he’s going to drop his target very early on. His target escapes after taking a shot at Baefre who wisely ducks back behind cover.

Checking the unconscious man for “pocket litter,” Ilik doesn’t find a lot beyond a firearm and what looks like an alert buzzer that has been activated. He attempts to wake the man and quickly interrogate him, but idiot tries to trip Ilik and escape, prompting the psion to stun him again. At this, Ilik decides to stick one of the audio bugs he carries in the man’s pocket, then clears out of the alley and hides at a nearby “outdoor” (though not really since this is mostly a domed or underground city) cafe so he can monitor things. A pair of electric groundcars arrive soon after, each with one man in them, and they rush to the stunned fellow. After eavesdropping briefly on the men, Ilik decides to steal one of their cars and hack its nav-system to determine where they originate. He gets some information that doesn’t quite pan out – via the bug, he hears the men report the missing groundcar and advise “Control” to pack it in.

Back at the LFC-101, Anya and Rostya are conducting repairs when the latter notes a discrepancy in the engineering section. Upon investigation, they determine that it’s a smuggler’s compartment that’s secured and decide to laser it open. Inside, they find a bunch of money in various currencies (though all that are local to the Moros system.) Convinced that this is the reason the previous crew vanished, they decided to keep it a secret for the moment, though they relate this to the rest of the crew later by everyone going out to eat at a local pub. The crew decide to stay together near the ship and focus on getting her spaceworthy so they can get off Nyx as soon as possible.

During this time, Baefre also receives word back from the local constabulary – Katy Borman’s image popped up on surveillance at the space port, right about when she withdrew a substantial amount of money from her accounts. Everyone draws the logical conclusion: she’s bolted from Nyx.

7 Apr 2405 CE

There are greenlights across the board, port authority has been paid, and ATC has given them clearance to leave. Notably, no one else has tried to take any shots at them or move against the ship, so the crew dust off, eager to put Nyx behind them. Due to the LFC-101’s less than stellar maneuver drives, it’s going to take them the better part of seven days to get back to Zernebog Radical.

9 Apr 2405 CE

Very early on the second day out from Nyx, Anya is the on-duty flight officer, having replaced Ilik who is about to go to bed, and ventures to the cargo bay to investigate some odd readings she’s detected. Above the hold, in the engineering section, Rostya is doing some maintenance but isn’t the source of the readings. They exchange some pleasantries…

And then, a massive hammer seems to hit the side of the ship. The hull rings like a gone. The LFC-101’s engine cuts off instantly, and the ship snaps into a flat spin. In the galley, Ilik is lifted away from his seat and thrown across the deck to slam against the outer door. Baefre and Ephraim, both asleep in their respective bunks, are almost thrown free despite the restraints. In Engineering, Rostya is hurled back into his consoles with brutal force. But in the hold … in the hold, Anya is thrown into the wall and bounces off of it …

And hurtles out the hole created by the hidden breaching charge that has just detonated. Into space.

Without a suit.

GM Notes

  • What? Did I just space the character of a player who had to miss a session? Why, yes, I think I did…Certainly hope the player doesn’t murder me next week when she gets in…
  • This concludes most of the “Islands in the Sky” bit that I was ripping off. In the original material, it states that after the Admin and Advocate checks, the PC can make a Persuade check to halve the final asking price; Ephraim blew this out of the water by 7 or more, so rather than say “they want Cr22K”, I decided that he convinced them that the Cr15K he thought was fair (also from source material) was good enough.
  • I also nearly spoke too soon with regards to the crew chasing something else down the rabbit hole; I was quite unprepared for Baefre and Ilik’s little expedition and chase. Managed to improvise, though, by breaking out the Pathfinder Chase cards and using the Urban ones for their respective chases. This required me to sort of guesstimate the comparative skill checks and the like since the cards are geared toward Pathfinder usage. That was relatively easy – a d20 Climb check became an Athletics (Dexterity) check, or a d20 Intimidate check became a Persuade (STR) check, and so on. Still, now I’m really tempted to make a bunch of my own cards specifically for sci-fi using those as examples.
  • Related to the above, rather than me roll for the guys being chased, I farmed that out to the two players who weren’t involved at the moment, which worked out fairly well. This chase ended up eating a lot more time than I was expecting to the point that I was actually worried they weren’t going to get off Nyx in 1×05.
  • I was slightly surprised that the characters refused to even touch the Cr100K found in the boat out of concern that it was “some crimelord’s stash” … though in retrospect, I actually understand their thinking based on what I’ve related to them in-game. That’s always the problem when operating with information that no one else has – you end up with presumptions that bite you in the ass.
  • I had each player roll Recon (INT) checks (with Bane) to notice the breaching charge, though I didn’t tell them what they were rolling. Amusingly, everyone rolled like crap so nobody noticed it, though I was quite prepared to allow Rostya (their explosives guy) to actually make the effort to disarm it.
  • On the Lothrain Free Company page, I’d already determined the ages of each ship and then I consulted the core rulebook to pre-determine the number of quirks that the LFC-101 has. This turned out to be four but, rather than use the default data there (because it’s kind of boring), I used the table located on this site. This ended up being “Archaic Computers,” “Slow Maneuver Drive,” “High Emission Drive,” and “Shaky Inertial Compensators.” The PCs have used the LFC-101 previously so they already knew about these quirks. This seemed to go over well.
  • I was strongly influenced by a scene in “Caliban’s War,” the second book of the Expanse series, with the explosive charge and the ship tumbling; I decided that each PC would be rolling a d3 with that being the amount of dice of damage they would take when the ship went into the uncontrolled tumble. I allowed the awake PCs to make an Athletics (Dexterity) check that, if successful (they all were), would reduce this die by 1 (minimum of 1d). The two PCs who were asleep were “strapped in” (see previous mention about the “shaky inertial compensators”), so they didn’t get Athletics (Dexterity) checks, but they rolled 1d3-1 (minimum 1) for the amount of damage dice to take.
  • Even if LabRat had been present, I would have tried to end on this same point…



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