Fri. Dec 9th, 2022

Resuming where we started puts the PCs about to conduct a counter-boarding operation against the vargr corsair following the disastrous attempt by the pirates to seize the Miss Adventure. Rather than using the normal corsair deckplan (which I found online), I’m going to use the below:

I also did some review of the characters whose Enemy this is and observed that both have 3-5 as the number. This means to me that there are 3-5 (4, actually) “Named” bad guys among the vargr who are truly relevant to this encounter. The rest are basically mooks (and thus, are equipped accordingly.) However, I want this boarding action to be memorable so the 4 remaining bad guys really should put up a fight. At least more of one than the dude that Ella wasted straight away.

Upon entering the airlock, PCs are immediately in that area with the lifepods. Right away, I see a problem: coming in from the left (as the PCs will), if they turn left again, the bridge is right there! So I’m going to have some counter-boarding measures in place – four popup turrets that will activate and fire Tangler rounds (UT155) at PCs. These will be … let’s say 40mm, so anyone hit must win a ST or Escape contest vs ST 24 (or 26 with two impacts, 28 with three, and so on.) Further, since the bad guys have all of the internal cameras, they’ll be able to do popup shots from concealment (I’m totally going to have some smuggler’s compartments throughout the ship where dudes can pop out of nowhere and shoot PCs in the back.) Some of the hostiles are also going to be using real ammo – in last week’s session, the PCs deployed HEMP rounds (UT155) against my guys with great effect … so I’m going to do the same. Just with the big guys, of course, but a single hit by one of those round could legitimately ruin a PCs day (or life.)

I do wonder if I can play with gravity during this action? Like, suddenly it goes to 10Gs … something to research, I suppose.

Simultaneously, Eddy will be outside the Miss Adventure and observe a boarding shuttle nearby. This is about when the vargr hostiles have been given the order to withdraw, so he could potentially run afoul of them and of it. That said, Jim the drone is on attack approach so that boarding shuttle may be crippled … hmm. Will need stats for that, I suppose. The Ahab-class boarding cutter in Spaceships 4 (p22) is pretty darned close – about 5 feet too short and not quite enough seats (total of 8 plus pilot where the pic I have has the seats at 16 plus pilot) – but for my needs, good enough. Uses Piloting (Aerospace) … hmm. Do any of the PCs even have that skill? Doesn’t look that way…

Ideally, I will be able to add a ‘ticking clock’ to this. The corsair will likely break free of the Adventure while the PCs are in the process of boarding with a clear intent on engaging and destroying the PC ship … although I probably will have a flight of Imperium fighters (Rampart-class, I think) burning toward the engagement zone.

Granted, once the four Major foes are downed, the rest of the vargr are going to start surrendering … it’s just a matter of how many the PCs have to kill to get to that point. I think that, if the PCs kill three of the Major Bad Guys, the survivor is likely to surrender which leaves the option open for Ella and/or Sae to not buy off the Enemy (or buy it off if they so desire with that survivor having had more than enough.)

And speaking of Ella, her player has expressed to me a desire to possibly retire the character principally because she (the player) utterly loathes being in charge, so depending upon her feedback to me, I may also manipulate events so Ella is grievously injured in the boarding action and must sit out the rest of the adventure (likely in the medical bay on the Resolute which the PCs will go to after this mess is over.) That way, the player can run Lee or Armin (probably Armin) for the ground ops stuff.

Anyway, once the boarding action is over, presuming the PCs aren’t thoroughly fraked up or even straight up dead (which seems unlikely since they can burn CPs to turn a mortal injury into a flesh wound), the matter of what to do with the corsair comes up. Obviously, the PCs don’t have enough people to properly crew it, not with a bunch of captured vargr prisoners, but with the Imperium fighters now swarming over them and the Resolute coming into view thanks to the planet’s rotation – it is in a geosynchronous orbit over Quopist’s single major city, Tel Bollin – the Imperium will start getting involved. PCs can get the Adventure and the Dzarukh moving via prize crews – honestly, I don’t think it would be that hard for someone to pilot the corsair into proper position – at which point the Resolute will tractor them. The Resolute is significantly larger than either ship – the Adventure and Dzarukh are 400 dTons, the Resolute is 60,000 – and some of the crew will be taken aboard the Imperium ship (this is especially the case if there are critical injuries that need proper medical attention.) The greeting officer (notably wearing a Scout uniform instead of regular navy) will demand identification which he inputs into the system; soon after, a request comes down for Ella (maybe, this presumes she’s not injured; if she is hurt, then replace Ella with Sae for specific reasons) and Haank to accompany him to the commander.

The commander is Angela Krin, who Haank knows from University though he knew her under a far different name; he knew her as Elana Shankarr Muudashir, the heir to Duchess Delphine of Mora, but she will promptly introduce herself using her pseudonym with a sharp look to Haank that is clearly an attempt to convey the message ‘don’t you dare dispute me on this.’ The nature of Haank’s relationship with her in the past is something I’m going to leave up to the player. Regardless, the commander is also wearing a Scout uniform and may potentially reveal that she & her entire crew are IISS who have been temporarily seconded here. (This would explain why Sae is summoned if Ella is unavailable.) Note that the other PCs (like Eddy) may also learn this from chatting.

As stated elsewhere, this adventure is part of Tempest Feud so Krin has orders to not allow anyone to breach the quarantine. Further, she wants the corsair under her command – her intent is put a prize crew aboard her, then park the ship on the other side of the planet so as to reduce the amount of space her CAP has to cover. There is legal precedent for this – the corsair violated quarantine protocols so, by law, she is authorized to seize it; however, Haank will be aware (with proper Law checks) that there is also precedent stating that, technically, this corsair is now the legal property of the count of Porozlo since it attacked a ship flying his flag and was taken by personnel in his employ in a perfectly legal act of self-defense. The corsair fired at the Adventure first, after all. As to the PCs violating the quarantine, she cannot allow that … although she may be swayed to it. Ideal solution here: the Miss Adventure remains in orbit with token crew (NPCs, possibly under command of Lee) to conduct repairs (Krin may end up allowing some of her crew to assist since they’re basically twiddling their thumbs) while PCs take one of the boarding shuttles dirtside; the corsair is legally identified as now belonging to Count Para of Porozlo but is leased for use by the Scout service for the duration of this quarantine, at which point it will be returned to him. A deft bit of negotiation could lead to this.

Dirtside the PCs go, now with a fighter escort … unless they try to run the blockade instead. Once planetside, they are expected to go to Tel Bollin, the city itself, where they may begin to start poking around and trying to locate the missing Lord Mika. Here, there are several locations that the PCs may end up at:

  • Skydove Freight – this is the obvious first spot, but it will be devastated by looters, though there is something pointing them to a cantina (remember: this was in Star Wars.)
  • At the cantina, they may encounter one of Mika’s bodyguards – this fellow is suffering from the plague and is here only because his lord and master told him to remain behind to keep a look out for people from home. He is also being badly hassled by some violent thugs strung out on tempest – this is initially intended to be a combat encounter but Eddy may end up talking them out of this somehow although the bikers may end up coming back later.
  • From the bodyguard, PCs may learn that Mika is in the “Temple Valley” which is some distance away … and they have no ship. Conveniently (as they’ll learn) there are always caravans heading out into the wilderness to bring supplies to the smaller towns and villages … all they’ve got to do is convince one such caravan to head toward the Temple Valley.

This should probably bring me to the end of the session. Ideally, I’d like to stop with the caravan setting out, then reveal to the players that an ominous shadowy figure is watching them depart…