So, this Monday, and Sunday last week, I ran some games at the local Manaleak shop. It’s a decent gaming space, with no need to pay or book to run games (though I came along for their Sunday Fun Day and RPG night, respectively, and made sure they knew I was coming). Whereas most gaming shops seem to struggle for space, and don’t seem particularly welcoming (especially if there is a game going on, and people stop to stare at you as you walk in) this was a much more open, welcoming environment, and both the staff and the gamer/customers there were very friendly. It was a relaxed atmosphere, and fun to run games in.
Since I had lots of unused character sheets printed off for the incredibly quiet Strategy, I decided to run some more Missions one-shots.
For the Sunday game, I had three players, and two of them were not only new to role play, but also very much on the quiet and nervous side. The other players seemed to have some RP experience, but I think because the other two were new to it and a little awkward, none of them really leapt into it to begin with. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!
The squad was Verdict (axe-wielding space barbarian), Inquisitor (charismatic mech pilot) and Arbiter (multi-discipline Sensitive), whilst I handled the Sarge. I used my usual tricks to establish the narrative and characters, but since no-one wanted to describe their own character, let alone do character dialogue, I decided to try and throw them into the action instead. This was a good choice. The player of Inquisitor helped when the rest of the squad jumped via drop-wire out of the dropship, whilst he ordered the pilot to land (for the safety of his charge, Arbiter)… on a collapsed jungle canopy. The joy of relying on Friendlies who do not have dice rolls! The players suddenly started to get into as soon as they nearly crashed and died. Two characters had to leap out of the ship, whilst the other had to avoid said crashing ship.
Now, originally, in this story, they have a Drogan escort to add some tension to the mission, whilst they explore a Drogan jungle or a crashed human spaceship for survivors. However, in this case, the Drogan became the direct antagonist of the piece, which worked, since I didn’t have time to do the full story (due to an impending Magic draft the others were playing in). Now, this Drogan was rather infuriated about one of the marines not only crashing their getaway, but also crashing ANOTHER human ship on Drogan territory. Suddenly, the players actually started role-playing once the alien started ranting, and Verdict decided to try and punch him. That didn’t work so well. Inquisitor and Verdict at least tried to deal with him non-lethally, but the humongous, encounter suited alien wasn’t going down in a fist-fight. However, though they couldn’t hurt them, there was a character with 5 Powerhouse and another with insanely high Grease Monkey for mech piloting. They used their success levels to disarm him of his plasma launcher (could choice), knock him backwards, smash him down through a tree trunk and then pin him under more trunks. Then Verdict dropped in an incendiary grenade. This hurt the Drogan, but also freed him from his prison… so Inquisitor used a Glory Point to disintegrate him with his own plasma launcher.
This was just a short taster session, but good enough that the two players new to role play immediately asked if they could play again (even though Arbiter didn’t get to a whole lot due to being grappled onto by Inquisitor for most of the action scene). Arbiter’s player, Keith, did return the following night, and got to shine as Verdict instead…
For the Monday game, I had four players, plus a spectator for the end half. Though I had the Return of Keith, the other three players were experienced role players. Whereas I struggled to get people to get into the narrative and character moments to start with in the previous game, I had no problem with this group. They were very appreciative of the descriptive documentary style I used to speed events on, narrate events and give characters little character establishing asides as ‘interviews.’ I had Arbiter, Inquisitor and Verdict once again, joined by the first female version of Bailiff I have seen. (I write the characters as best as I can to be gender neutral when using pregenerated characters, so you can pick the gender you are either comfortable playing or you feel works for that character). Once again, I played the fruitloop Sarge, Hauser.
The game went down really well. Inquisitor and Arbiter had a fun, slightly crazy father-son relationship, Verdict praised the sun as much as possible, and Bailiff quipped at every possible opportunity. And there lots of suitably crazy antics for Jurisdiction squad.
Since I only had 2 hours to do a decent game, I was once again went for the simple but effective ‘Routine’ prison train scenario. Though nobody looked towards the front of the train, no-one was able to prevent the train crashing, and most marines received (non-lethal) injuries when the train derailed, Arbiter was aware of movement outside, and we had a perfectly horror movie moment when Inquisitor refused to acknowledge Arbiter’s concerns just before the train then derailed. Verdict ended up (due to dancing to music to pass the time, then the train crashing) with his axe through one of the stasis pods. Verdict detached a S.L.U.D.G.E machine (established by the narrative to be formerly attached to the wall), dragging it over to try and block the breached pod, whilst Inquisitor, Arbiter in tow, ended up in the mutant carriage, trying to fix the problem, whilst most of the characters were unable to see anyone outside, since only Arbiter saw any movement. But everyone’s attention was alerted when a sniper fired at Arbiter’s face, though the reinforced window saved him. Meanwhile, the Friendly Sarge was left dramatically alone in the Psychic carriage…
Arbiter empathically sensed two people outside heading for the Mutant carriage, and two heading for the Psychic carriage. The players started preparing abilities for the approaching Hostiles, then Bailiff opened the door out of the carriage, opening fire on the nearest two rebels with prepared Collateral Damage. Though Neutralised, being in ballistic resistant armour, they survived with severe injury and flattened against the side of the carriage for cover. Bailiff then got to carry on firing with new abilities, and though the cover protected the previous targets, the two rebels approaching the back door of the other carriage had no cover. She breached the helmet of one of them, exposing them to the vacuum and injured the other. The sniper shot at Bailiff, but was unable to make much of a dent against Bailiff’s armour with the Hardened Shell upgrade. She goes on a quest to safe the Sarge, after the remaining rebel in the second team staggers aboard his carriage, leaving the others to deal with the other two rebels and the sniper.
Verdict exits the train through the hole created by tearing the vending machine out of the wall, dragging the machine with him. He sets it up as cover, ducking down behind it when the rebels scouts and sniper inevitably attack him. Arbiter spends a lot of time trying to empathically pinpoint the sniper, but is struggling to do so. Inquisitor meanwhile is infuriated by the attacks on the life of his charge. He ends up using his AI controlled plasma launcher to blast through the wall at the rebels, but though their cover disintegrates, the blast doesn’t harm them, and they just move further down the train to avoid being struck. Arbiter uses his telekinesis to pin them down to the floor. Then Verdict uses the low gravity to toss the vending machine at them…
Bailiff goes on a solo mission to save the Sarge, opening up the door into the next carriage. The Sarge, despite being a Friendly with no dice rolls, is in a bitter firefight stalemate, since he has cover to protect him and the enemy has penalties from being Compromised and Neutralised. Bailiff decides to go into close combat… with no Powerhouse score. This means she only got the benefit of a dice roll… and rolled a 1. Even with a penalty, the Hostile had a high enough ability total to toss Bailiff out of the carriage, where they bounced away due to the low-g. The rebel closed the door again, and started to release the coolant pumping into the pods to awaken the psychics. Baliff redirected her momentum, bouncing back to the carriage, shooting the rebel dead. The Sarge however, was very much panicking that the rebels were about to be released.
Ridiculous spending of Glory Points occurred, for the shot-up S.L.U.D.G.E (Synthetic Liquid Universal Dietary Extract) machine to spew out S.LU.D.G.E into the vacuum as it tumbled through the air. These pieces of SLUDGE froze, freezing into spears (which I termed ‘sludgicles’, which riddled the two Hostiles, before the vending machine crushed them. Inquisitor picks up a sludgicle, impaling it through the visor of a rebel, before activating his Mech THRUSTERS (an upgrade) and launching off to aid the Sarge and Bailiff with their technical problem. Meanwhile, Verdict had just removed his only cover…
Bailiff Glory Points for a massive Collateral Damage total for as many Success Levels as possible to increase the Blast area of an EMP grenade to try and take out the stasis pods, in order to lock them. This takes out 6 of the 8 pods. The Sarge and Bailiff continue to panic, since the awakened psychics, even if locked in their pods, could still interfere with their minds. They are just about to knock each other unconscious (to give the psychics no conscious minds to detect) when Inquisitor flies in. He spends a Glory Point to find a convenient release for emergency coolant, to refreeze the psychics. Hooray! That just leaves the sniper…
Verdict is shot repeatedly. But due to being a sitting duck, takes the Shock and Awe Horror, and starts Losing It. He strides ahead at the sniper. Arbiter, having located the sniper empathically, uses his telekinesis to throw Verdict at the sniper. Verdict, unaware of what is about to happen, and Losing It, is readying his plasma grenade to throw, as the Sensitive throws HIM. He ends up punching his plasma grenade into the snipers mouth, as they are both disintegrated by glorious plasma fire.