Nationals 2017 Rundown

So, at the weekend just gone, I took I Love the Corps to the Student Roleplaying and Wargaming Nationals for the fourth time in a row.

Looking on How Far I Have Come…

Back in 2014, after spending about six months turning my scrappy little ruleset into something much bigger, I decided to jump in with both feet forward, and test the game in the best way possible, running games for two groups of between 4 and six randomly selected people I didn’t know. Those people were crazy enough that they wanted to buy the game. This was when the thoughts of releasing it officially first came to mind. One of these players suggested Kickstarter, and that was how THAT came about. And last year I got to turn up to the Nationals, knowing my Kickstarter was on the way, and this year, I got to turn up with a fully Kickstarted game, with all the art produced, and graphic design in progress. Turning up to GM to help out the Nationals hosting teams and getting in cheeky testing at the same time has turned into getting cheeky promo.

NEXT YEAR though, next year, I can come with an actually printable game. And then maybe after next year, I’ll start cheekily promoting Is it a Plane…?

2017 Overview

  • I encountered many past players from previous years who were very excited about how far ILtC has come.
  • Had a few people who are definitive about buying the game when its released.
  • There were also a fair few people there who have backed the game, and I haven’t seen since they have done so, so that was great. Also, I seem to be beginning to be recognised.
  • I had quite a few people I did not know ask me either ‘weren’t you at Conpulsion?’, ‘weren’t you at the Expo last year?’ and ‘aren’t you running at the Expo this year?’ This was great, to show that if nothing else, my face to face promo work has not been wasted, and that the product will at least have some pre-existing UK recognition upon its release.
  • I had the balls to run in Indy, despite the fact that the game is a few months from release. My players did not seem to mind.
  • I had two groups, one was six players, the other three players, and both games went GLORIOUSLY!
  • EVERY PLAYER took their character pack. For those who do not GM, this might not seem much, but I know some who will be jealous of this. This is an incredibly positive sign of game enjoyment. I have a usually good success rate with this, but I have never seen every player take one before.
  • This means that every player also has a business card. WOOT!
  • One of my Saturday players asked for a bunch of business cards so she could spread the game to her friends.
  • My three Sunday players all remained for about ten minutes after the game, talking positively about the game itself and the system, and eagerly ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ at the art folder.
  • Quite a few of my players seemed interested in turning up to play at the UK Games Expo, or at least telling other friends that are already going or live in Birmingham to do so. Good sign.
  • I also had a good time socially. Friday night was a bit quiet in terms of seeing many people I knew and spent a lot of it with a good friend of mine, but on Saturday I got in touch with quite a lot of people I only ever see at the Nationals, and also had a lot of fun random chats with new people. I even ended up talking to a guy who is following on the same path I have taken, and we had a lot of chat about RPG Kickstarters, indie game production and so on.

And now, for the highlights of my two games. Both were runs of my new ‘Just the Wind’ scenario. Just the Wind follows Zephyr squad, a team of drop-commandos. All they have is a mission to rescue a Corps scientist so classified they don’t even have a name, following a tracker signal to locate her, with absolutely zero intel beyond ‘rebels took her, she’s on a low-life rocky planet with low-g’, having to very much improv on the fly from there.

Saturday (6 player game)

  • I was talking about how people can use the brief details on the front sheet to decide what they want to play. ‘For example, you might pick the Sarge when you see the name Volokov, if you want to try a Russian accent.’  A player immediately took the sheet, and did a fabulous Russian accent.
  • The hilariously varied descriptions of exiting the dropship, ranging from falling out trying to grab tools, sighing and simply jumping two feet first, getting pushed by the Sarge and trying to jump more impressively than everyone else.
  • When the players learned that when attacking some guards on a wall, you should probably check if people can see them before you start killing them.
  • The medic, Whirlwind, who, not really equipped for close combat murder, tried to throttle a gunner into unconscious, failed horribly, and then IMMEDIATELY started Freaking Out, because they nearly screwed the mission in the opening salvo. The Sharpshooter on the squad had to put the poor rebel down with a silenced shot as they struggled.
  • When three of the commando squad are entirely out in the open when an unsuspecting patrol (all of their shots were silenced, and three had come down from above to either move or raid the bodies). Fortunately, Tempest gave them a telepathic heads up, and Hurricane blasted four of the five in the patrol down in one attack.
  • Getting to do a hostage situation! (They succeeded, hostage lived.)
  • Putting down the rebel guard of the hostage with Gust’s unseen patrol drone.
  • The patrol drone, known as Fido, having a dog’s bark. After the successful kill, receiving a ‘Good boy!’ from Gust.
  • The telepathic Tempest almost immediately stopping the hostage’s ‘poor defenceless’ act with a decent use of telepathy and calling their bluff.
  • Creeping the player’s out with the hostage’s entirely arsey change of character.
  • Seemingly trapping the players as rebel dropships descend to collect their hostage. I started a new narrative scene, with them in a small room, presenting the challenge of finding the supposed secret tunnel to escape in time… only for Gust to IMMEDIATELY solve the problem with quick uses of Sentry Duty and x-ray vision, and a plasma charge. Good work, that player.
  • The amusement of the players as they hear the disgruntled response of the distracted tripwired rebel, before they untangle themselves and walk right into a laser trip mine.
  • Going from gung-ho action with a vague stealth overtone to tense horror almost instantly as the players find themselves one abreast in pitch black carved tunnels.
  • The ‘oh god’ reaction when they find the claw marks.
  • The ‘oh god oh god’ reaction when they find the heat traces on those claw marks show that whatever made them is not very far ahead at all…
  • When Tempest asks the hostage about the claw marks and creatures, she claims she knows nothing, and he knows she is lying.
  • Using a mobile explosive as a better scout than the spy drone.
  • When the squad are not entirely sure if the two entirely still aliens in the tunnel they can see ahead can see them or not…
  • Many minutes of tense discussion as the aliens move absolutely nowhere, and the squad decides to slow back off. The moment of dread when they realise there are two more aliens behind and they are trapped.
  • Calling the aliens’ bluff, as Breezes puts a knife to the hostages forward, and the aliens freeze, after suddenly moving forward.
  • … the aliens then move as the Feral, Hurricane, cuts loose with laser fire.
  • When Hurricane’s sudden, loud screech in a tight tunnel causes the Mind Games Horror and causes psychological effects to several squad members…
  • Killing two aliens with some well prepared Mobile Plasma Charges, as one is planted in the Breach created by a laser wound, blasting one into chunks, and the other latches over an enemy’s eye, causing me to make the players laugh as I described it thrashing around clutching its face in the background as half of its face melted off. Win.
  • When the Sarge (Tempest) decides its time to die, and really makes that possible by utterly failing to choke an alien with a tripwire as pieces get torn out of his chest.
  • When Whirlwind saves the Sarge by getting in the way, squealing as the alien lunges at her, closing her eyes, punching it in the face, and knocking it backwards. The ‘Get Down!’ Aspect at work.
  • The Tempest continues to try and get himself killed when he leaps on the alien and tries to put his flare gun in its face, has his arm grappled, and the flare shoots up the tunnel.
  • ‘Chris, can the flare fly out the tunnel and signal the dropship?’ You can’t say no to that.
  • Giving the Cold and Calculated Defining Trait bonus to Hurricane for lying down in a packed tunnel, lying under the legs of several marines and aiming for the flailing legs of the pinned enemy. Of course, he hit the creature’s crotch.
  • When the two twins who don’t do direct combat at all team together with assault rifle and patrol drone to blast an alien so much in the face that it can’t alter and armour its facial features fast enough.
  • When Breeze shocks the scientist into unconsciousness, and is rather surprised to see her briefly change form to a familiar alien one before changing back…
  • When Whirlwind and Breeze, with the hostage, leap out the tunnel for the dropship… and Whirlwind is struck and grabbed by another alien, plunging down the ravine.
  • A player Glory Points for the hostage to fall into the ship.
  • The Sarge dives after his medic.
  • Everyone else piles in the dropship. The pilot declares ‘never leave a man behind.’ The ship dives down the ravine too.
  • Roll credits. (Blatant movie sequel set-up.)

Sunday (3 player game)

  • Whirlwind, the medic so Eager to Please that they manage to salute boot polish across their face in the opening scene.
  • Playing the Sarge as the Friendly, doing the Russian accent, grumbling and swearing a lot, and immediately seeing the love for their Sarge from the players.
  • The entirely contrasting dropship jump which was actually by the book!
  • Gust’s player naming the three drones after the Three Musketeers. Genius.
  • Players once again not checking that the guards on the wall can be seen by other Rebels before they put themselves in dangerous positions… (and from here, the comparisons to Game A utterly end, hehe).
  • When Hurricane, the character designed for sniping, moves themselves into a position quite close the enemy, doesn’t have enough Freakin’ Ninja, and despite not being seen, can’t take a shot without being seen, and is therefore dramatically stuck!
  • Whirlwind rescues Hurricane with some well-placed dart pistol shots.
  • Then the guards who can see the guards on the wall are about to act… but with a turret operator killed, Gust ceases control of it and turns it on the approaching guards.
  • Firing a twin-linked minigun turret. Not the most stealthy move.
  • When a patrol comes running, and the medic decides that the best idea is to drop in front of the rebels and open fire with a machine pistol. This is also completely fluffs the prepared Covering Fire of Gust, as Whirlwind gets completely in the way.
  • It’s then Hurricane’s turn to rescue with Whirlwind with some well placed shots… but there is still one rebel left. Proper military firefight ensures as Hurricane’s position is torn to pieces as his enemies fire back as he downs them, and then the remaining rebel gets some shots on Hurricane, before they’re brought down.
  • The hostage is rescued by a patrol drone positioned on the ceiling taking down the rebel card, already removing them from their cell, due to the not so stealthy commando approach. Then the drone urges the hostage forward, using the drone’s speakers.
  • Whirlwind madly leaps across the ravine carrying the rescued hostage… and that is when the players note the approaching enemy dropships.
  • Cut to an exciting ensuing narrative scene COMPLETELY DIFFERENT to the tense tunnel exploration of the previous day.
  • Since the rebels only got 1 Success Level to spot the fleeing commandos, but know enemies are near due to the whole massive amounts of gunfire situation, the narrative scene involved the squad split up entirely (on purpose) to try and throw off the enemy, ranging across the cliff edge, using rocks for cover, as five dropships flew overhead, searchlights close on the marine’s positions.
  • When Whirlwind is caught, with the hostages, between several enemy patrols and the lights of two different dropships, and the only option is for the other marines to attack the dropships to create a distraction. Unfortunately, Gusts’s rocket from the rocket pistol misses.
  • I gave the Sarge a Glory Point (giving money to charity) to HELP THE PLAYERS, just because taking down a dropship with an EMP rifle when you can’t roll dice is damn impressive. I then immediately used the Glory Point to have him take down another dropship before a third blew him up with a rocket. Rest in peace, Tempest.
  • Giving psych effects for a group of rebels appearing from absolutely nowhere behind Whirlwind… I mean, the only option was for them to leap the ravine, and they didn’t have paracoils or propulsion boots…
  • When shooting down ten enemy rebels with your armour piercing silenced battle rifle is still not enough. Shooting a dropship right in front of you with a dropship is not enough. And you just have to spend a Glory Point to end the scene by having your dropship turn up.
  • Of course, the dropship was destroyed. In the chaos, the players jumped into the ravine, and without a way out, deployed their paracoils.
  • Cue a final narrative scene as the marines find a cavern partially hidden by a small waterfall and head inside. They can’t reach their cruiser, and their dropship is out. And the spy drone spots six pursuing rebels… with wings? They then land, change form, and disappear…
  • Whirlwind and Gust rig a trap using electric darts and water, spending a Glory Point to complete it just in time, as they fry four approaching aliens instantly.
  • Hurricane then smells the two far larger ones on the ceiling, already in the cavern before the trap was rigged.
  • Whirlwind takes an enemy down, and then decides to remove a tooth as a trophy… as the flesh heals around the scalpel, and he takes a scything blade through the stomach. As he dies, he blasts it with an electrical dart in the face.
  • Hurricane manages to repel a similar surprise attack, blowing his enemies head apart a second time.
  • Gust and Hurricane live, getting the hostage back to base… and then I reveal at the end that she was one of those same shapeshifting aliens all along.
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Convention Visits 2017: ConPulsion

So on the weekend past, I was at ConPulsion in Edinburgh, Scotland’s largest tabletop gaming con.

Reflections on ConPulsion 2016 and Worries for 2017

I went to ConPulsion last year, and though I had decided to return again, I was not entirely sure if it would be a repeat thing. Conpulsion was massively useful to me last year, but mainly due to a panel I ended up attending (rather by accident) and meeting Scott, one of the artists who helped me early on with both I Love the Corps art, and advice on art directing. Though I enjoyed one of the games I ran, I felt the other was not so great, and didn’t get the other two games I had booked, and was left with large periods of time with little to do, due to no sign-ups for sheets I put out last minute and there not being a huge amount of other things I wanted to do that had space. So it was hit and miss, leaving me a bit apprehensive for this year. My apprehension was enhanced a few days before when I saw the programme, and that one of my 4 games I had booked wasn’t present. However, at least I noticed beforehand this time. Not wanting to be left without anything to do again, I decided to sign up to play a game in the slot I had free and hoped the rest would go well. It so turns out that it did.

ConPulsion 2017- the General Experience

When I first got to ConPulsion, I was near to the start of the queue and got signed up quickly. A good sign of improved organisation. Other signs of that over the weekend included being given free water at my gaming table, and receiving free cake not once, but twice! I also left my table plaque (made by one of my groups, which says ‘Chris Dean- GM. Abandon all hope’) on the Saturday, but it was kept for me at the sign up table. And of the three games I had, I got one with five players and two with 6… so yeah, other than missing a slot, it all went well on the organisation front. I also didn’t have the problem of the previous year of struggling to fill time. Two more friends of mine attended this year, and lots of people I met last year appeared at convenient times, and I easily filled time via an arranged lunch meet up with fellow brummie and game designer, Simon Burley and otherwise randomly bumping into people who remembered me from last year. Also filled some time with game demos of ‘In a Bind’ and ‘Wreck and Ruin’ and chatting a lot to their lovely creators. I was certainly not bored across the weekend and fully attend to return next year.

Good work ConPulsion, good work. Now, onto the games themselves.

Game 1- I Love the Corps: Sweet Dreams

I ran one of my Jurisdiction squad Missions. This was the half X-com, half Halo, ‘raid the alien spaceship’ scenario. Of the five players, two were old friends, one of which I haven’t seen for six years. Neither have played ‘I Love the Corps’ before. Joe was raving a lot about it afterwards, including what he wants to GM for me in the future, and Phil seemed to certainly enjoy it as well, being very creative with his Sensitive powers, and playing the controversial mercy of the character well, without breaking any rules. The other three players were entirely new to the game and myself. They dived into their characters beautifully, matching the write-ups really well. It was a very character-acting heavy game, with lots of overly gung-ho heroism which resulted in two suitably impressive deaths, and an equally impressive rescue that prevented a third death. Only thing close to a criticism I got was being asked if it was more normally so deadly, to which I gave the honest answer that it can be fairly easily scaled, and I tend to ham it up for certain one shots, which the player seemed satisfied with.

Highlights:

  • The combination of the work of a crazy Aug with an axe and telekinesis to pry open the enhanced chassis of an alien robot drone.
  • The fact that three of five marines ended up attached to said drone.
  • The balls of the Sarge resulting in grappling to the robot with grapple gun in one hand, firing assault rifle in the other, just as the robot is firing lasers right at him.
  • The nonchalant shrugging off of a laser to the chest by Judge.
  • When Bailiff realises even the Black Hole Gun can’t take down a robot with one blast… and then is saved by an AI Guided Plasma Launcher.
  • The most amazing EMP grenade throw ever (via Glory Point), taking down ten robotic soldiers at once.
  • The look on Verdict’s players face as the EMP grenade he throws at the mysterious alien deactivates after it lands.
  • Getting to describe the thoughts of an intelligent but nonverbal alien to the Sensitive in the form of glimpses of memories that are bits of dialogue and description from earlier in the game.
  • The look of remorse of the player of Arbiter as he is powerless to stop the alien being killed by his more unthinking order following fellows.
  • The plasma launcher being used to blast said (plasma) grenade to kill said alien.
  • The dramatic flare gun blinding of a three hundred foot high robot guardian… alas, I rolled a 6, which is even with the -4 penalty, was still enough for the Sarge to get struck and killed by a torrent of lasers.
  • Verdict launching himself at the blinded robot eye and cut his way into the robot head.
  • Using telekinesis to throw robotic drones into the plasma stream, and teamwork to knock the giant guardian into it… with Verdict still inside.
  • The overloaded Black Hole Gun being thrown into the plasma generator to implode the ship.
  • Arbiter lying prone, with no ability total to oppose being pulled into the plasma stream… cue Inquisitor flying his mech in, with dramatic timing.

Game 2- I Love the Corps: Search and Rescue

The second Jurisdiction squad mission, the affair involving the mysterious Drogan observer and the crashed human spaceship in the jungle of deadly horrors. Three of the six players all played together in a game in 2016 (the one I actually thought went well, so guess I was right!), and this game was prebooked before the event itself. Four of the six were teenagers too, and one of them was another old friend of mine who had yet to play the game. So a very different group dynamic. I was a little worried at first, just because the Sarge was so much more animated than the rest to begin with and seemed to be leading a little too much, but as they all got into it, there was more discussion of their actions, and it became more of a team effort. Then the Sarge did a very stupid thing and got in horrid peril, causing the others to frantically try and save him. My worries were assuaged, and the game also finished a few minutes before the scheduled time, and paced incredibly well. Again, it seemed well received, and four of the players in particular spoke to me about it later in the weekend, and were very complimentary about the system and I’ve had many promises for more returning players next year. Having a younger player determined to GM it when its released was particularly flattering.

Highlights:

  • Whilst everyone else was scrabbling down a hole dug through fallen trees made by Verdict’s axe, Arbiter was serenely floating down and entirely showing off.
  • The only time someone has ever successfully mind read the Drogan and learned anything about the mysterious alien ‘ally’…
  • The first time players have ever reached the first airlock and decided to keep digging!
  • Actually saving the first survivor by digging parallel to their location, and shooting through the hull with a railgun.
  • When you first enter a crashed spaceship, what do you do when you hear a weird clicking sound coming from the vertical shaft that was the corridor and find a survivor screaming ‘it’s coming!’? You stick your head through the hole leading into the corridor, of course! Slow golf clap everyone for the Sarge, and his very horror movie action!
  • Of course, the Sarge got dragged through the hole. Certain traditions have to be stuck to.
  • Repeated attempts by the other players to save the Sarge, including throwing grenades and firing various kinds of weapons that had no chance of beating the immense Freakin’ Ninja of the alien, and it kept using their negative Success Levels to leap further and further up the shaft, eventually depositing the Sarge in the room.
  • The Glory Point spent to stop the railgun shell shot straight up the shaft from hitting the nuclear reactor…
  • Verdict, scrambling up to the room above where the Sarge was taken, slipping, nearly falling, then throwing himself across and into the room to the rescue… only for the Sarge to Glory Point to rescue himself, after many beats of tussling with the creature.
  • After all the problems the Sarge had, the grin on Inquisitor’s player’s face as he slapped an alien aside during its surprise attack, and his AI Guided Plasma Launcher effortlessly disintegrated it.
  • The final team-up moment as four of the team rappelled, floated and climbed down the ship, making loads of noise to attract the last beast, as the two brainiacs got to engineering, turned on the lights and cameras and lit up the creature, as Bailiff easily killed it, and others blasted it to bits.
  • All the squad survived, and found two more survivors… unfortunately no-one was watching the first survivor… who escaped out to the jungle alone and got himself killed.

Game 3- Is It a Plane!?- Good Guy City Adventures- Christmas Special

So, this is the first time I have mentioned my next game in the works on this blog… suiting, as this was the FIRST PUBLIC PLAYTEST! In short, its a super hero game where instead of rolling dice, you draw panels to dictate your actions in the story. All players get the same amount of time to draw their actions, and can draw as many panels as they want.

I was already nervous, as it was the first public game. Nervousness increased when I realised I had forgotten my panels (laminated card cut into various sizes for reuse.) Oops. However, I bought post-it notes, which did just fine. In fact, due to having a long table, and having to lift up the pages to show players and see them clearly myself, the post-its worked better than my usual panels would have done. This got us into discussions about how the panels could work, and I plan to try out velcro to attach the cards I have made, having had similar suggestions.

The game went down a storm, and people were asking how and where they could buy it, surprised I had made it myself, much as first happened with ILTC when I first took it to a con a few years back. All the players seemed to really want to play the game again, and one even said they wanted to GM it. A very good sign for my future as one man game team PSYCHIC CACTUS GAMES!

Highlights:

  • Seeing a character with movement-based abilities largely dealing with situations through well illustrated dramatic close ups and uses of punctuation!
  • Waking up the sleeping giant robot by using Super-Boxing’s power to take weapons from his box head, by producing a megaphone.
  • Knocking out the giant robot by building an ever-increasing wall of lego bricks as it falls.
  • Dropping said wall of lego on the character on the head at the time, who then escaped with dramatic LASER EYE CLOSE UP.
  • Using the ability to create ‘super cars’ to create flying cars to hold up buildings and laser wielding rovers.
  • Using long stretchy arms to pull the giant robot’s foot onto another villain.
  • Revealing the invisible villain by blowing Christmas card glitter onto them.
  • Forcing me to make the master villain sing by featuring him in a panel with musical notes.
  • Using the glass from the windows of a city street to create a giant Glass Man.
  • Using the giant glass man to cap a volcanic eruption.
  • Dedicating several pages of panels to give Christmas presents, decorations, foods and greetings to the villain to show him the meaning of Christmas.

 

 

 

I Love the Corps: Geek Retreat 1

So, yesterday, I did my first of what will be (mostly) once a month visits to Geek Retreat on the 1st Sunday of every month (when I am free, which is most months this year). I turned up a little later than intended, but not late in terms of the event start time. Three intended players were already there, and in not too long, two more players turned up. Considering the event had only been advertised online this week, and for several days with the event day wrong… not half bad. Five characters out of six were played, and being that one player really foolishly, pointlessly but gloriously killed themselves about halfway through, it meant I had a spare character to chuck at them. I wouldn’t ever say a game went perfectly, BUT, it did go exceptionally well. Considering the short amount of time to advertise, the two month gap since I was last at the cafe and the fact that this was the first attempt to do a promo and an RP session on a 1st Sunday at the venue, I couldn’t have asked for better.

So, two of the players (David and Chad) had played once before, and were very firm about playing again when I last saw them and kept to their word. I did discover, however, that ILTC was Chad’s first RPG. This isn’t a first for me, but it is always a pleasure to have the game you created be someones’s formative RPG experience, especially when I had no idea at the time. This says something for both the accessibility of the game and his knack for picking up the RP basics. David is clearly more experienced and really got into some very massively creative uses of the rules, which was great to test me and the system. Chad meanwhile generally opts for ‘gung ho’ as his play mode, which works fantastically. Though he suffered a relatively early character death from an awful roll combined with an unfortunately penalty and a highly risk manoeuvre, he took it with grace and a grin on his face. He then adopted the spare medic character, and pulled off some utterly insane moves that not only saved the Sarge’s life repeatedly, but turned him into a drugged up living weapon/mount. (This will be explained more when I get to the game highlights. Bear with me.)

Next we have James, who I have spoken to at GR twice before, and has specifically approached me with his (highly enthusiastic) intent to play the game. He decided to let me pick the character; due to his level of excitement to play the game, and his general presence at the table from the get go, I threw the Sarge at him… because apparently only children ever want to pick the Sarge. He embraced the role wholeheartedly and really played to his brief. He’s adamant that he’s going to play at the UK Games Expo on Sunday, which being that he is volunteering the rest of the weekend, is a great privilege for me to hear.

Then we have Sam and Trevor, who were both new to the game. Sam really dug her heels into the game and was the exceptionally kickass murder-monster that all women who play ILTC seem to become (okay, not all, but most tend to go for the most aggressive characters). She had some cracking plans and some fantastic descriptions and stole the show many times. She was telling me that she has been telling friends outside of Birmingham about the game, and was insistent to get me some more players from further afield at the UK Games Expo, so here’s hoping I can get at least some of those last spaces filled by a good bit of word of mouth.

Trevor seemed to also have a good time, and was very much into embracing the style side of the game in everything he did. He did, before the game was entirely over, express that he likely wouldn’t play again. He only had experience of Pathfinder, and I didn’t take it as a knock; they are utterly different kinds of game, and sci-fi is not everyone’s thing. At the end of the day, when you design something, not everyone will like it.

However, I then finished the game, and he changed his mind. It turned out that his misgivings seemed largely just because he felt his thunder had been a little stole, which wasn’t the fault of him, me, the game or anything else, just a case you get sometimes in any game, when a player plans to do an amazing thing… and somebody else gets in first. (There WERE  a lot of Glory Points flying around, which is a sign of solid cinematic RP all round.) But, he got to save everyone’s ass at the end, and then spoke with me about his other finer moments, and this seemed to turn him around. So extra victory there I think. They say they’ll all be back next month, and I don’t doubt it. Several character concepts for a campaign were already forming as I was on my way out…

Also, an honourable mention for the gent whose name I did not catch, who insisted on spectating, and was clearly having a blast. He sat and listened to the whole game and was very complimentary. (I think he felt too tired to play effectively, but not complaining at having an audience.)

And finally, time for some spoiler free…

GAME HIGHLIGHTS

  • A Glory Point being used to remote operate a drone, killing 14 different rebels with one single ability total. And then the sniper finished the last two.
  • When all the rebels were dead, but the knife specialist wanted to describe finishing one off as they were staggering backwards, just for cool.
  • Taking a rebel by surprise… and decapitating him with a vibro-knife.
  • When a Glory Point was used to blow out the plasma engines of four rebel dropships (which I gave a Disadvantage for Rebels where you can ignore armour with a +3SL shot, which in this case was used to blow an engine per +3SL, due to the sniper’s Eagle Eyed/Sharpshooter combo and aimed shots) as ‘rock you like a hurricane’ randomly played in the background at the perfect time. Their callsign was Hurricane, by the way.
  • Remote operating an aerial recon drone through three dropwires to drop three rebels to their deaths.
  • Rolling to throw a plasma charge, a close (not thrown) weapon, with no total, a -2 penalty… and rolling a 3. And accidentally disintegrating themselves in mid-air.
  • A Glory Point being used for dramatic editing to explain a rocket failing to hit three exposed marines due to throwing a knife at it…
  • The crazy Sergeant standing in a doorway, wildly firing at a bunch of 20 rebels, and somehow not getting shot. Only to then take a chunk of flying masonry to the back of the head that damn near killed him. Oops.
  • The medic leaping down onto the Sarge’s shoulders (with paracoils) and slamming syringes through the sealant foam covering the hole in his contact armour, stopping him being Compromised by injecting drugs directly into his brain.
  • The medic essentially being the Sarge’s jockey, using Drop and Give Me Fifty and Get Down! (which lets you use DGMF to save others from attack) to constantly move him into cover away from gunfire.
  • Remote operating a spy drone on the Sarge’s shoulder to grab a chemical grenade, leaping through air with it and triggering it mid-air.
  • Kinda feeling sorry for the rebels as they get shot at by a druggle-addled berserk Sarge, tear gassed, blasted from above by a drone, and then shot THROUGH THE WALLS by a Sharpshooter sniper with an armour piercing battle rifle.
  • The medic riding the Sarge like a sledge at the last rebel.
  • Swinging the Sarge wildly to defend from attack.
  • A marine was facing off against a rebel, realising the rebel was more than a standard rebel, as their fingers pressed against the marine’s visor, turned into claws, and started to push through to the skin. AT THAT VERY MOMENT, this chorus played… “What if I say you’re not like the others, what if I say you’re not just another one…” as Pretender by Foo Fighters plays (in real time, again at random).
  • The Sarge trying to get a high enough Sentry Duty to deliberately turn Psychic… they didn’t, of course. But they did get some HANDY PLOT HINTS via mind probe.
  • Saving a marine by shooting a rebel in the dick.
  • The drug-enthused Sarge, hopped on adrenaline leaping through the air with the medic, landing in a Glory Pointed ‘conveniently appearing dropship.’
  • The knife specialist, describing calmly sitting down on the dropship, as three enemies board. They play ‘Bodies’ through their helmet, as each number is called, and a knife hits and knocks a rebel out of the ship.