NO LIMITS: A TYLAN ARMAK ADVENTURE - SEASON 1, EPISODE 3
We return again, with yet another system to try. This time it is a game of my own making but built on the shoulders of giants. I’ve hacked together my own Star Wars brew of John Harper’s “World of Dungeons 1979” and mixed lots material from Zach Wolf’s excellent “Star Worlds: Streets of Mos Eisley Playset.”. I’m not ready to share this hack widely yet but I’m beginning to playtest it here!
Chaos Factor: 5
No Limits Encounter: Chillin (friendly), PEFs: 3
Expected Scene: Tylan and SK are trying to find a starship to get off of New Hope. Scene Setup: Scene unchanged
Tylan is at the starport ship dealer looking to buy at a ship to get off world. I’ll use the encounter’s 3 PEFs as 3 different ship dealers. To simplify things, each dealer will have a particular ship for offer which I’ve picked at random: 3-Z Light Freighter, VCX-100, and a YT-2000. For each vessel I asked a Mythic Odds question “is the ship used?”
3-Z Light Freighter: Exceptional Yes! Quite used - 20000
VCX-100: Used? Yes - 38750
YT-2000: Used? Exceptional No! Brand new - 150000.
The 3-Z is a decent ship for that price (it is a licensed modified design of CEC’s popular YT-1300 made by Nova-Drive.) and also the cheapest, so Tylan chooses to resolve that encounter first. Tylan would always try to bargain as well.
Roll+Perception: 2d6+1: [3, 1]+1 = 5. Failure. The first cost that jumped into my mind is that someone else comes along and offers more money for it. How much? Mythic Stat Check (10000): PC More +10% - 11000. Tylan will have to up his bid now to buy the ship.
Will the shop owner accept 15000? Odds Question (CF: 5, Somewhat likely): Yes (36).
Can the Rodian counter offer? Odds Question (CF: 5, 50/50): No (53)
“20000 Credits? For that hunk of Junk?”
“Mr. Armak… she’s hardly junk, very shipworthy and compatible with most CEC YT-series parts to boot.”
A Rodian interrupts Tylan and the Dealer.
“I’ve been looking for a 3-Z for a while, I’ll pay you 1000 more than whatever this scum is offering you.”
Tylan sighs. “Fine, 15000 pal.” and looks at the Rodian expecting the worst but the Rodian shakes his head and walks off.
Expected Scene: Tylan sells his airspeeder. Scene Setup: Scene unchanged
Does Tylan find a buyer for his airspeeder? Odds Question (CF: 5, 50/50): Yes (37)
Tylan sells his air speeder for 4000 credits and buys a pair of used Speeder Bikes for 2000 credits. The speeder bikes will fit into the cargo hold better and are better suited for the future mission types.
SK and Tylan are riding on a pair of speeder bikes.
“I miss my air speeder” says Tylan over the hum of the speeder’s replusorlift engine.
“These are more practical for our ship, Sir. Have you thought of a name for the ship yet? I could research the history..”
Tylan cuts off SK “She’s the Lucky Hand.”
The two pull into the spaceport and head to their landing bay.
Do they encounter trouble at the spaceport? Odds Question (CF: 5, 50/50): Yes (34)
No Limits Encounter: 1d6:  Robbery ( not pickpocket), at  night. (1d3+2)-(1d3): (2+2)-() = 1 robber,  non-lethal weapon, blaster but set to Stun
It is the Rodian who really wanted the 3-Z earlier.
5 Vitality, Blaster Pistol, Vibrodagger, Light Armor
Two quick blasts streak towards a surprised SK & Tylan.
This is a Roll+Dexterity saving throw.
Are there any crates nearby? Odds Question (CF: 5, Somewhat likely): Yes (57)
Tylan will leap from his speeder in hopes of rolling behind a crate. SK rolls with Advantage due to his Disciplined ability. Tylan: 2d6+1: [6, 3]+1 = 10
SK: 3d6dl1+1: [5, 4d, 5]+1 = 11
SK senses the sizzle of the blaster and alerts Tylan. Together they’ve taken position behind some durasteel crates while their speeders slow to halt nearby.
“Ok, well I don’t like getting shoot at. It makes me angry.” shouts Tylan.
“I’m taken your ship, sleemo!”
“Over my droid’s already lifeless body, you are.”
Tylan uses both legs and kicks the durasteel crate in-front of SK towards the sound of the voice in hopes of knocking him over, pinning him, or just generally catching him off-guard. It is Dangerous as it exposes SK, Tylan rolls with Disadvantage but on a success can deal 3x damage.
3d6dh1+1: [5d, 3, 1]+1 = 5. Failure
“I hate it went you do that” notes SK as he scrambles into firing position. The Rodian fires two shots at SK “Die, Metalhead Scum!”
SK will attempt to Dodge, 2d6+1: [3, 5]+1 = 9. Problem. SK have damage coming at him from the Rodman’s blaster pistol (minus SK’s armor) 1d6-2: 1-2 = -1. The bolts merely graze SK. It gives SK enough time to close to melee range. Where he uses the butt of his blaster rifle plus his Brutal ability to throttle the Rodian on his head. 2d6: [4, 5] = 9. The Rodian is taken out.
“Just like I planned it.” notes Tylan as he walks over to look over the Rodian.
Found Credits worth: 2d6100: [1, 3]100 = 400
Tylan strips the Rodian of his Blaster Pistol, Vibrodagger, Light Armor
“We’re robbing him?” asks SK.
“No, he was robbing us. Let’s get these speeders loaded before anyone comes to find out what those blaster bolts were for.”
Did anyone at the spaceport hear the blaster bolts? Odds Question (CF: 5, Likely): Yes (55) Event: NPC positive “Ambush A representative”
The Rodian had called in backup but they arrived later than he anticipated.
(1d3+2)-(1d3): (1+2)-() = 1 PEF. 1d6:  = 4, non-lethal again.
“Sir, the speeders are secured, shall we…” SK stops as he notices a blaster pressed into Tylan’s head.
Again, SK & Tylan are ambushed. SK’s already blown his ability for this scene I figure… I’ve not quite worked out how those should work.
“Is that the fuel-hand? We’ve been waiting to be topped off so we can get out here.” jokes Tylan as he tries to maneuver his body between his assailants view and where Navik’s body lies on the ground.
3d6dl1+1: [4d, 4, 6]+1 = 11
“No you kriffing laserbrain, my partner. Told me to meet him at his ship here.”
“This ship is registered to us.” notes SK.
“Stuff it, Metalhead. We’re going to wait here until my partner shows up so we can settle this.”
SK notices some hoses nearby that he hopes will release a cloud of smoke if he can pierce them. He can take advantage of his Athletics skill to re-roll a dice/bump a result:
2d6+1: [4, 6]+1 = 11 Success
SK’s foot extends out and slams down on a near-by auxiliary stabilizer booster hose which vents a field of smoke up into the partner’s face.
Tylan will try to bring the legs out from under his assailant
2d6+1: [2, 6]+1 = 9 Problem. He does it, but the blaster goes off and fires an errant shot at SK. 1d6-2: 2-2 = 0. SK is lucky droid.
The partner regains control of their blaster and rolls to fire a shot directly up at Tylan:
2d6+1: [1, 2]+1 = 4. 1d6-1: 1-1 = 0.
The bolt is absorbed by Tylan’s blast vest and SK reaches down to grab the partner and thrust them into the air.
2d6+1: [4, 4]+1 = 9 Problem. The continued use of blaster fire has attracted the attention of spaceport authorities.
Spaceport authorities reach the landing bay: [x] [ ] [ ] [ ]
Tylan knocks the blaster out of the assailants hand as SK is holding them up. “We don’t really have time to talk this out, so my friend here is going to give you some time to rethink your life.”
SK wants to open up a Durasteel crate and jam the partner in there.
2d6+1: [4, 5]+1 = 10
SK tries to interface with the crate to lock it down
2d6+1: [5, 5]+1 = 11
SK finds a crate that has plenty of room for the Rodian and seals it shut.
“Sir, I don’t think he’ll survive very long in there without air.”
“The authorities can help with that, we need to take off. Now.”
They board the ship and take off without clearance. That’ll raise their profile in this system… further. For now SK & Tylan are off New Hope and headed elsewhere for adventure.
Overall, I’m really happy with this playtest result. Continuing to use No Limits for the encounter setup feels good and pulpy while the usual fun of complications a PbTA game throws at you helped keep the story moving. I will continue to merge the entire story details back into my Adventure Crafter setup as I think it is helpful to have for the bigger picture. So far I’ve got a pissed off Rodian locked in a Durasteel crate to add to our Characters list. Plot wise, I think Tylan’s going to have to figure out how to pay off the debt for buying this ship. This may mark a transition point where we move from the galaxy of 5150 to the Star Wars one.
Tylan and SK’s characters have been ported over to yet another system, they must be feeling a bit like a Earthman forced to listen to Vogon poetry.
Attributes: Dexterity +1, Perception +1, Strength +1, Technical +1, The Force 0
Vitality: 11 (+1 armor)
Skills: Blasters, Streetwise
Abilities: Cunning, Dangerous
Hero Points: 1
Equipment: Light Weapon (Knife) 1d6, Blaster Pistol 1d6, Light armor
Gear: Quality Clothes, Comlink, Medpac x4, Utility Belt, Datapad
Attributes: Dexterity +1, Perception +0, Strength +2, Technical +1, The Force 0
Vitality: 12 (+2 armor)
Skills: Athletics, Computers
Abilities: Automaton, Brutal, Disciplined
Hero Points: 1
Equipment: Light Stun Weapon 1d6, Blaster Carbine 1d6+1, Heavy armor (no speed restriction)
Gear: Comlink, Medpac x4, Tool Kit, Imperial System Interfacer
“Lucky Hand”, Nova-Design 3-Z Light Frieghter
100 Vitality, +1 Armor, Hiding Spots, Hyperspace, Blaster Cannon Turrents (2d6x2 - fire arc: forward, above, rear, below) (Source: Stock ships, page 34-45)
Speeder Bike (x2)
10 Vitality, Fast, Dangerous, Land Vehicle
NO LIMITS: A TYLAN ARMAK ADVENTURE - SEASON 1, EPISODE 2
A little departure during these pandemic times. I’m going to use HeroQuest 2, QuestWorlds SRD, and the Adventure Crafter to continue our story.
Turning Point #1
- Plotline: Retaliation for the Singing Competition
- Type: new
- Crescendo (the Adventure or Plotline gets off to a fiery start)
- Taking chances (a Character acts in a very risky way)
- Travel setting (takes place in a traveling vehicle)
- Character steps down (Basira)
Looking at the Plotpoints, it feels natural that we have to resolve a conflict directed at Basira (and Tylan/SK) for the fallout of the singing competition - someone wants her out of the picture but this will also be where the PCs part ways with Basira. I have no idea if that means the party shake hands and walks away, the party completely botch the job of protecting her and/or perhaps she dies.
Tylan, SK, and Basira are in Tylan’s speeder heading back into the heart of New Hope City.
“You really knocked their space boots off back there.”
“Yeah, sure… I’d like to be taken straight home if that’s alright Mr. Armak.”
“Sir, my sensors indicate we are being followed.”
Is the party being followed by more than one vehicle? Odds Question (CF: 5, 50/50): Yes (49)
Mythic Stat Check (2): Strong +50% - 4
Tylan punches the accelerator down to the floor while adjusting the rear camera display. “Damn looks we have a few new friends, SK. Analyze the traffic into New Hope and find us some options for losing them.”
This feels a Scored Contest, where the first side to accumulate 5 resolution points (RP) wins. First though we’ll do a Rolled Agument using SK’s intrinsic abilities to use a computer (18) to see if that can enhance Tylan’s ability in his contest. In the Long Contest Tylan will use his Quick Reflexes ability (16) to put some distance between them and their pursuers. Success means advancing the clock forward while failure might mean the clock does not advance or -RS modifiers due to something like vehicle damage or congestion.
SK Rolled Augment:
SK 1d20:  Success vs. Resistance 1d20:  Failure. Minor Victory - Tylan gets a plus +6
Tylan 1d20:  Success vs. Resistance 1d20:  = 15 Failure. Minor Victory, worth 2 RP (2-0)
One of the heads-up-displays in Tylan’s speeder shifts to an real-time updating map of the traffic routes into New Hope. SK has highlighted several routing options and Tylan chooses one that sends him into the heart of the New Hope’s industrial district. Pulling a hard right, Tylan loops around a industrial exhaust vent that periodically shoots flames into the air. One of Tylan’s pursers fails to make the turn and their speeder smokes out of view.
Tylan 1d20:  Success vs. Resistance 1d20:  Success. Marginal Victory, worth 1 RP. (3-0)
“So, Basira are you sure you wanna head straight home because I know a great bar around here.” says Tylan as he slams on the brakes and mashes the Z-Axis controls downwards.
Basira, bracing herself against the sides of the speeder “What? How can you be thinking about having a drink right now?”
“I’ve completed my calculations and the odds of us surviving this encounter if Tylan is drunk are roughly the same as they are right now when he is sober, Ms. Basira.”
Tylan 1d20:  Success vs. Resistance 1d20:  Success. Marginal Victory, worth 1 RP. (4-0)
“I tell you, the droid knows his stuff.” and with that Tylan leans out the window and pops off a few shots with his blaster hoping to eliminate one or more of the speeders chasing him and not an innocent bystander.
Tylan 1d20:  Failure vs. Resistance 1d20:  Success. NPC Minor Victory, worth 2 RP. (4-2)
“Perhaps you would like me to do shooting sir while you keep your hands on the controls?” wonders SK.
“Yes, please!” shouts Tylan realizing that one of stray blaster bolts nearly hit a public transit sailbarge.
SK 1d20:  Success vs. Resistance 1d20:  Critical Success. NPC Minor Victory, worth 2 points (4-4)
The remaining speeders in chase have closed the gaps and blaster fire rips from open canopies into the rear of Tylan’s speeder. Basira is screaming for Tylan to “Do Something!” while one of SK’s arm moves swiftly from one geometric pose to another to send a return blaster volley to each opposing vehicle. Tylan does the only thing that makes sense to him, skid the speeder into a 180 degree turn and merge into the oncoming cross traffic.
Tylan 1d20:  Success vs. Resistance 1d20:  Success. Marginal Victory (5-4)
The remaining pursuit vehicles are lost in the ensuing chaos but Tylan’s barrow victory is short lived as his speeder is slammed into by an oncoming speeder. The party is spiraling out of control and headed down to surface much to fast.
Are the authorities aware of this chase? Odds Question (CF: 5, Likely): Yes (22) Event: Move toward a thread “Decrease Misfortune”.
A pair of New Hope Police cruisers descending down towards Tylan’s speeder as SK and Tylan feverishly punch buttons and turn knobs attempting to regain control. SK points out a nearby warehouse they could potentially hide in if they can regain control.
Tylan’s Nerves of Steel are probably more in play here than Quick Reflexes:
Tylan 1d20:  Success vs. Resistance 1d20:  = 20 Fumble.
Tylan pulls a lever down and suddenly the speeder is under control again. Pulling down to street level they easily duck into the warehouse SK had identified which is thankfully abandoned.
“We’ll probably need to get off-world, won’t we SK?”
“That seems likely, sir but I can run the odds if you like.”
“No need. How’s our guest?”
Is Basira still conscious? Odds Question (CF: 5, Unlikely): No (37)
“She passed out in the tailspin, sir.”
The pair wait out the prying eyes of New Hope City law enforcement. SK punches in a mostly direct route to Basira’s residence while Tylan powers up the speeder. When they arrive, Tylan draws his weapon and SK carries Basira to the turbolift.
Are there additional goons waiting to ambush the party? Odds Question (CF: 5, 50/50): No (75)
Arriving at Basira’s door they waive her limp hand over the ident-reader and the door unlocks. Tylan pushes it open and assess the situation while SK runs a sensors check.
“No hostiles, Sir.”
Basira stirs and SK gently sits her down on a nearby piece of furniture.
“I am also surprised by this fact every day, Ms. Basira.” notes SK.
“Well, thank you. I’ll transfer the credits to your account of course.”
“Oh, sure. You know, SK and I are headed off-world if you’d like to escape things for a while?”
“I do better on my own Tylan but, thank you. Good luck, though.”
This was an expirement in using HeroQuest 2 and the new QuestWorld SRD. I quite liked the system and I think it lends itself to solo play nicely. The opposing d20 rolls help work out the swinginess of the d20 and there’s not much in the way of meta-currency to track in order to leverage your traits. The new SRD seems to update some of the rules from the older game but in general it feels like the material in SRD clarifies parts of HQ2 that might have been ambigious. That said, the play examplaes in the original HQ2 book are very good and I frequently returned to them to understand the ins and outs. As always when playing a new system, I probably fouled something up.
Here’s I how envisioned Tylan’s character using the QuestWorlds SRD:
- Roguishly Charming 1M
- Private Investigator 1M
- Locate Person +1
- Avoid Pursuers +1
- Know Underworld (Relationship?) +1
- Human 13
- Brawling +2
- Fire Blaster +5
- Quick Reflexes +3
- Nerves of Steel +3
- SK-17, Loyal KX-Series Security Droid (Sidekick) 18
- Always Combat Ready +1
- Boosted Strength +1
- Bad Tempered 17
- Fatalistic 13
- Selfish 13
- Hero points: 2
NO LIMITS: A TYLAN ARMAK ADVENTURE - SEASON 1, EPISODE 1
I’ve created a Star character using the rules in Two Hour Wargames’ 5150 No Limits:
- Tylan Armak: Rep 5 Star Investigator, Quick Reflexes, Nerves of Steel. BAP-2, P-1, Melee, SBA. Lifetime Rep: 0.
I figure Tylan used to be primarily a New Hope City Private Investigator but is looking to acquire a spaceship and venture out into new lines of work. I also created a Grunt Robot to be Tylan’s partner by using the robot rules in another THW product, Future Tales:
- SK-17 Rep 3 Grunt Robot (Medium, Humanoid, Two-legged, Exceptional Interaction), Hard as Nails. BAP-2, Melee, EXO (Quick Reflexes, Resilient). Lifetime Rep: 0.
As the game goes on I’ll likely mix in a bit of THW’s Private Investigator Sci-Fi rule toolkit, New Hope City PI, as necessary.
At the beginning of this I intend to leave lots of game notes in the italicized blockquote sections to help teach me (and you) the system. I might dial back the detail on these sections once it becomes more familiar.
April, Year 1, New Hope
We start the month by rolling 1d6 for an Involuntary Encounter.
1d6  gives us Chillin’ (with a Friend). A Chillin encounter suggests to me we are looking for a job. 5150 No Limits strongly encourages us to start out on New Hope, a system part of the Gaea Prime Hegemony but not under direct Gaea Prime control. Things run pretty fast and loose on New Hope, a Class 2 planet located in the 3rd of the Nine Rings that make up the 5150 universe.
To start the Chillin Encounter we need a location (“The Stubborn Luck Tavern”), time of day (Night), and the number of Possible Enemy Forces or PEFs (3). 5150 allows to ignore or resolve as many PEFs as we like. There’s a complete set of rules for rolling up PEFs (number of NPCs, species, weapons, Reps, friend/foe, etc) but it feels slightly meta-gamey to know all that upfront before I decide how to deal with them. Perhaps if in the fiction I was actively scouting the area, sure. So for now I’m just going to assume in the story I’m scanning the tavern for threats and I’ll note the number of NPCs, races, and profession. I can figure out the rest as needed. Worth noting that everyone in a Chillin’ Encounter starts out as a “Friend” per RAW
Where are we exactly? New Hope, Class 2, Ring 3, Outside Space Port, Law Level 2
“Wait outside, SK… I’ll let you know if I see any single Droids looking for a good time.”
“Sir, for the 473rd time, I do not have a pleasure circuit.”
Tylan Armak scoffed and walked into the Stubborn Luck Tavern on a surprisingly clear evening for New Hope City’s densely packed populace. The Stubborn Luck was like most taverns near popular spaceports and filled with the usual assortment of the galaxy’s finest. Tylan assessed the tavern’s patrons for potential work and… trouble.
- 1, Basic Shaker
- 3, Zhuh-Zhuh Joe - Labor, Basic Mover, Basic Shaker
- 1, Basic Joe - Service
Tyler noticed Basira, a local celebrity, sitting at the bar alone. While many preferred alien singers, Basira’s jazzy human tones were considered retrochic nowadays. Tyler grabbed a stool next to her.
Chillin’ says I can spend a PEF to get a Job Offer encounter and having read the Job Offer rules I realize now I’ve done this somewhat backwards. Oh well. Looking at the Employer table I roll 1d6 to see the type of Job and get 3: Escort. An Escort job has a base pay of 1 Increasing Rep d6 and +3 bonus because the employer in this case is a Shaker. The job details are that we need to escorting Basira somewhere. 5150 No Limits doesn’t give much more guidance than that, so I’m going to pull in the Travel Scene rules from Future Space, another THW product. Basira needs to be escorted from an Urban area to a Rural area using her own ground transportation. I figure Tylan takes whatever work he can get. He prefers to dig up dirt and solve mysteries but is content to do whatever odd work falls into his lap to pay the bills.
“Saw you singing at the Fat Bantha last week, I liked your cover of Figrin D’an’s earlier work.”
“Yeah? Not many D’an connoisseurs in the 3rd ring.”
“I figure that giant forehead knows more about music than I do.”
“Indeed. Say, I didn’t catch your name.”
“Tylan. Tylan Armak.” He slides Basira his ident card.
Basira eyes the card and looks into Tylan’s eyes. “You know, I’m short a security detail for a private gig next week. Don’t expect trouble but anytime I travel out of the City I prefer to have some friendly faces.”
“We can help with that.”
“I’ve got a security Droid as a partner… they can handle themself just fine for this sorta work.” Tyler and Basira then exchange job details.
April, Year 1, Rural New Hope
Escort Encounter at Night, 3 PEFs. We’re suppose to roll 1d3 before resolving each PEF and see if the result is equal or less than the number of PEFs but uh 3 = 3 means we are going to have a Confrontation out of the gate.
Type? Wrong place, wrong time. How many? 2 Who are they? Leader Basic Shaker Rep 3, Zhuh-Zhuh Joe Labor Rep 3. Packing? “Unarmed” (non-lethal melee weapons.)
This is an interesting result. I’ve decided to play this out as “it’s a trap.” Basira thought she was being invited to a private event to perform her music but instead she’s been invited a singing competition — for her life. Yes, I’m going to run the combat rules but instead of harmful blows, they are trading notes. Had they been packing ranged or lethal weapons I think I would’ve played it straight but this seems too hilarious to pass up.
- NPCs have Advantage and are Active. They’ll “charge into Melee” or singing for their lives as the case may be. Basira rolls
2d6: [2, 3] passing 2d6 and the duet rolls
2d6: [6, 2],
2d6: [1, 5] - each passing 1d6. Passing 1d6 more, Basira now rolls
1d6:  and the NPCs are now “Out of the Fight”.
Tyler, SK, and Basira arrive at huge estate well outside of New Hope City. Basira’s credentials grant her access at the security gate and they take their landspeeder up to the main house. A valet takes their speeder and they walk up the main steps into the house where inoffensive background music is heard.
“Swanky, Basira. Oh look, poppers!” notes Tylan as he wonders off after a serv-o-robot with a plate of hors d’oeuvres.
“Tylan will be back ma’am after he has injested nutrients. Shall we inquire about your dressing room?” asks SK.
“What in the…” Basira is staring at a placard near the entertainment stage: “SINGING COMPETITION: TONIGHT’S STARS: BASIRA, TSUBASA & HAERAN, & SEBASTIAN BALE.”
“Basira! So good of you to make it.”
Tylan walks back to the group thrusting a grease covered hand towards Basira’s host “Tylan, Tylan Armak. Nice party.”
“Zhen Noxar, a… pleasure Mr. Armak.” says the party host as he wipes his hands on a handkerchief.
“What’s all this, Zhen? I though I was hired to perform tonight?”
“Oh, but you were my dear. You’ll be fabulous!”
Tylan pulls SK aside “Perhaps we should look for a discreet escape route? What do your scanners make of this place?”
A 1000 ways to handle this but I want to try the Challenge rules so this is an Easy Challenge, giving a +1 to SK’s rep (now 4) if SK succeeds we can easily avoid dealing with any of the remaining PEFs but otherwise we’ll have to deal with them. SK rolls
2d6: [1, 3], passing 2. SK has found us a way out.
“Sir, I identified an exit before we walked into this gathering. We can leave unnoticed using the south wing which will place us directly in the speeder parking garage.”
“Mrmph… that’s great!” says a munching Tyler who turns to see Basira and a pair of singers take the stage. “Oh, the show is beginning. What would you call that, SK? A threesome?”
“I believe Ms. Basira would call that awkward, Sir.”
Tsubasa & Haeran start by singing an old standard in a pedestrian manner. Next, Basira takes down the house with one of her “Headcase”. After the applause dies down, Basira makes her way to Tylan & SK.
“We’re leaving.” says a dejected Basira.
“Hey, that was great. Really, it was something else.” notes Tylan. “Even, SK was moved.”
“I have not moved at all, Sir.”
“We should though, let’s use that exit plan SK.”
We’re only in the first half of the month here, so no need to calculate the Lifetime Rep yet. Tylan receives +4 D6 for completing the Escort gig. Easy money. He’ll have to share some of that at the end of month for grunt pay with SK but so far, so good.
- Tylan Armak: Rep 5 Star Investigator, Quick Reflexes, Nerves of Steel. BAP-2, P-1, Melee, SBA. Increasing Rep D6: +4. Decreasing Rep D6: 0. Lifetime Rep: 0.
- SK-17 Rep 3 Grunt Robot (Medium, Humanoid, Two-legged, Exceptional Interaction), Hard as Nails. BAP-2, Melee, EXO (Quick Reflexes, Resilient). Increasing Rep D6: 0 Decreasing Rep D6: 0. Lifetime Rep: 0.
I find I have very little time for solo play during these pandemic times. Everyone is at home and it seems everything requires constant attention. I remembered 5150 No Limits being fast to play, requiring very little bookkeeping, and having an adequate default setting. This was fun, I don’t usually use the built-in game settings but not having to do all the world building is massive time saver. Once I got setup I think I managed to play this entire set of encounters in around 45 minutes which I think I can get down to around 30 minutes now that I’m familiar with the book again.
As always, it is possible I’ve completely botched a rule or perhaps done something by GM-fiat that someone else might disagree with. Remember, the beauty of solo games is you can play it your way!
Oberon, Episode 3
LABIINES, STARPORT - CRESCENT MOON BAR, WEEK 3, Y29 ABY
Previous session: Meet with our Contact (Senta)
World Event: Sudden restriction on movement, unless you can find a way to avoid it
Person of Interest - NPC response to PC’s asking for more: Offers more, but at a later time
Illona and Angelika sit across from Senta, a humanoid with dark eyes and a scar across his face. They are in the Crescent Moon, one of several bars at the Labiines on-world starport.
Senta drums his fingers on the metal table they are sharing. “I will pay you an additional 50% for the creatures given your troubles but I don’t have the credits on me just now. I could get you the money in five weeks.”
“Five weeks… and do you have another job for us?”
Mission: Join Expedition (Roll on Patron: Soldier)
“I’ve got a group looking for transport onto Atinve.”
“One way or round trip?”
“One way. They’ve got a fair bit of gear they need to bring and your ship is a good match for their supplies.”
“Atinve is restricting visitors right now, some sort of civil war is brewing.”
“What’s the payout?”
“They’ll pay the standard steerage passage fees for 8 of them, plus the bulk cargo rate for 7 tons of equipment. That includes a Grav Vehicle, btw.”
“Sure, we’ve got room for that. So 108KCr…”
“They’re also paying 500Cr per day necessary to help them get gear on-world.”
Illona’s users her Liason-4 2d6+4 to negotiate a higher fee: [4, 4]+4 = 12. What’s the effect? Well if we go off the goods purchase table in the Cepheus SRD that’s a 160% increase. Seems extreme for this scenario so let’s cut it in half (80%) and round down slightly.
“Tell them we’ll take the job for 190KCr, plus the daily retainer fee. Getting into a restricted zone is not going to be a cakewalk. I need extra to cover any … additional fees… we might incur getting dirtside.”
“Ok, I’ll make it happen. Make sure you are ready to depart in two days.”
LABIINES, STARPORT - OBERON, WEEK 3, Y29 ABY
Starport Event A ship has limped into port this week with damage and crew casualties.
“We’re being hailed by another ship” notes Oliver from the bridge.
Ulrich ducks his head in “Let’s hear it.”
“This is the Oberon, how may we help you?”
Number of dead passengers: (1d4: )
Number of injured passengers: (1d6: )
Are any of the dead passengers members of the contracted expedition? Mythic Fate Check: 50/50 (9) - No
Are any of the injured passengers members of the contracted expedition? Fate Check: 50/50 (18) - Yes (Exceptional)
Why was the ship damaged/passengers hurt? Mythic Description Meaning: Dimly Warlike
“Aye. This is the captain of the Tides of Fortune. I have some passengers that are transferring over to your ship. I have three that will need assistance though, they were badly inured when pirates boarded our vessel.”
“Transmit your docking bay info and we’ll send a party over. Oberon out.”
Dieter (Athletics-2, Grav-Vehicle-1) and Ulrich (Medicine-3) head over with the Air Raft to assess how many they can bring back safely or would need immediate triage. I think we’ll just resolve all these med checks and successfully moving folks without hurting them worst a Plan: succeed (2d6+2: [2, 6]+2 = 10) and there was a good consequence. Suggested consequence: Find a useful or valuable piece of kit
Ulrich shakes hands with Eryk Edvard, captain of the expedition team “It was no bother, we were glad to lend a hand.”
Eryk and another expedition team member lift a case off the back of the Air Raft. “There’s a couple of spare base kits for this mission and we’d like to give you one as thanks for your trouble. Keeping us out of med center and off the radar was a big help to us.”
I felt the need to go outside of the base Solo mechanics in this session to understand the nature of the “ship limping into port.” Maybe a few “tell me more” rolls would’ve covered it but in my head it was just faster to resolve this with Mythic. I think this is one of the most underrated parts of the Mythic Gamemaster Emulator tools: quickly plugging holes in a system in a way that feels like it is fair.
At the top I pulled in Sine Nomine’s Person of Interest to get a bit more detail about our contact (I did that out of this session so the notes are elsewhere) but I also used to determine their reaction to when our PCs asked for more money because the resolution table was right in front of me. I’m extremely lazy like that.
Also I made some GM fiat decision on intreperting the “world event” in that I decided it applied to the next world we would visit for the next job. It added tension to a mission I didn’t really have much in mind for and I think it is a good example of not holding yourself to strongly to “rules-as-written” when playing solo. Just do what makes sense or feels right.
Oberon, Episode 2
JUMPSPACE, CEQU TO LABIINES, WEEK 2, Y29 ABY
Leaving Cequ: No ship encounter
Crew Reaction: 2d6: [1, 1] = 2 - Argument with another PC. Oliver and Illona are still going at it. Illona will use her Liaison-4 in place of Leadership at a -2 penalty to settle this. 8+ 2d6+2: [3, 4]+2 = 9
Onboard Event: Fuel pump fails — reactor put on stand-by, something ingested during fuel scooping? Dieter uses his Repair-2 on the fuel pump. (2d6+2: [5, 3]+2 = 10)
Arriving Labiines: Military - Mercenary Cruiser 800, Warn you of an unidentified ship in this system
Starport Encounter: Meet one of your contacts.
“It is not right, Illona. We don’t have a right to sell these beasts!”
“Oliver, listen up. I am not going to debate this with you. The cargo is the job and we deliver. We do not acquire feelings for the cargo. Now you get back in the pilot’s chair and bring us into port. If you cannot do that I will maroon your ass on the next asteroid.”
Oliver starts to open his mouth and thinks better of it.
ARRIVING AT LABIINES, WEEK 2, Y29 ABY
The Oberon exits jumpspace with a shudder. Oliver looks over at the systems panel and sees the fuel pump indicator light flashing red. The stars come to a halt outside the viewport.
Oliver opens the ship’s intercom “Dieter, can you see to the fuel pump?”
While Dieter is working on the fuel pump the Oberon is hailed by the LSS Baldrin. “Far Trader, prepare for scan… Scan complete. Are you having trouble with your maneuver drive? Do you require assistance?”
“We’re good, Baldwin, our mechanic is working on it.”
“Ok. We would not recommend loitering long. We’ve had reports of an unidentified ship harassing merchants in our system. Please report any sightings at the nearest starport.”
Dieter works (1d6:  = 1 hour) fast and in an hour the Oberon is on the move again.
After getting clearance to land in port on Labiines, Illona takes Angelika with her. “Let’s go settle the deal. Oliver and Dieter take some well earned leave. You’ve earned it, no one in my crew should be kidnapped but know that we’ll always come for one of us in need. Dieter that was a quick repair and I appreciate it.”
I was kinda surprised that Cepheus Light didn’t have much guidance on starship repair. I did not need a complicated system but a little something would have been helpful. Thankfully the Cepheus Engine SRD did have some repair guidance and it did not seem onerous at all. I might have to pull that bit into the Cepheus Light SRD text to save me some lookup time in the future.
I really love how smoothly the Solo turn sequence flows and bounces storylines off the crew as well as the subsector.
Oberon, Episode 1
CEQU, WEEK 1, Y29 ABY
The ship’s pilot, Oliver Detlef is missing on the planet of Cequ.
“No luck?” asks Angelika.
“Not a soul has seen him in town but I don’t think the locals really want to help us.” Havlik explains. The water sprays up into the air a bit as Dieter pulls up in an air-raft.
Dieter brings the vehicle to a stop and says “I’ve got a lead. A merchant tells me they saw Oliver mixed up with some locals at a bar the night before. These folks are some sort of religious group here that worship the beasts we are being paid to transport offworld. I’m told they’ve got compound out west of here.”
“Gear up then, let’s go get our boy.” says Havlik.
“Wait.” says Illona as she steps down from the Oberon’s starship ramp. “There’s no need for that. We’ve got credits and we’ve got brains. Let’s use them.”
Oliver is being held in an underground bunker attached to the compound used by the animal worshiping religious cult. Our crew has combat capabilities but not much in the way of stealth. We could use our Recon skills and determine the forces at the compound to tilt the firefight into the group’s favor but we could also choose a less lethal route: negotiations. Illona has Liaison-4 and Carousing-3. Let’s see if we can buy/barter our crew member back. So the Plan is to send Illona and support team over in the air raft and find a plan that works to both sides’ needs. Let’s say +1 for Illona’s Liaison skill and +1 for the credits the team can spend. It is a solid plan but dangerous because negotiations could fail and a firefight breaks out.
- Resolve Plan: The Plan succeed (2d6+2: [4, 5]+2 = 11) and there was a bad consequence. Suggested consequence: The task takes four times longer than planned How much are we talking? 1-2 (1000), 3-4 (10000), 5-6 (100000). 1d6:  = 4. Working off that 4x consequence - let’s say the amount of credits we had to spend is 1d6+4: +4 = 8 * 10000: 80000Cr.
Cequ Starport, Week 1, Y29 ABY
Roll for Starport Encounter: Fire alarm keeps going off — everyone is jumpy and nervous. Tell me More Situation roll: We’re good. False alarms then.
Law Level Check (Cequ’s is 6) 7+ 2d6: [1, 6] = 7 - no issues
“80000 credits?!” shouts Ulrich as he works to finish up a medical check on Oliver.
“It could’ve been much worse, Ulrich. 80000 is nothing for one of the best pilots in the sector.” says Illona. “Plus it was worth it to see how put out Ange and Hav were at not being able to blow up everything in sight.”
“You’re good to go, Oliver.” Ulrich turns away and packs up his medkit.
“Those folks said our cargo is an endangered species on this planet.” says Oliver.
“Sounds like our price for delivery just went way up then.” says Illona.
I can’t imagine the entire crew being okay with profiting off an endangered species. Seems like an appropriate time to do what Solo calls an In-Game Reaction Roll 8+ on 2d6: [2, 4] = 6. Someone in the crew has a bad reaction to Illona’s plan: Stubborn - A choice has been made and the PC does not like it. Naturally it seems like Oliver would object. Oliver’s homeworld was an agricultural planet where he gained some skill at handling Animals. Additionally Oliver could’ve been perusaded by his captors that they were just doing the right thing (and they may be!)
Oliver shakes his head in disagreement “…or the deal is off and we can leave these creatures with people who will take care of them. Who are we even dealing with, Illona? Why do they need these creatures?”
“We don’t ask, Oliver. That’s the deal, it has always been. We take the job and we don’t ask questions.”
“That’s a load of Lakshmi and you know it, Illona. You get to ask the questions and we’re left in the dark.” Oliver storms off to his crew quarters.
A fire alarm rings out outside the Oberon. Angelika instinctively readies her weapon but quickly returns it. It is the 4th time the alarm has gone off in the last hour. The crew finishes their departure checks and Illona slides into the pilot seat to lay in the next course.
Starting a new Traveller campaign in a homemade subsector. Trying to keep it simple and play “Rules as Written” using Cepheus Light, Solo, and various other tools as needed. I rolled up a crew of 6 - one of the largest groups I’ve ever tried to run. I kept going because it was one of those odd times the dice were generally in my favor and not a single character died in Traveller’s famously lethal character creation. Some background oracle-type rolls determined which system we started in and I used Solo’s “In Media Res” oracle to give our group an initial problem to solve. My nature is to heavily hack and alter any system I come across but I’m going to fight that tooth-and-nail this time and just play things as close to out-of-the-box as possible. I’m also starting relatively small for me - rather than generate the entire 4x4 sector - I’ve generated just one subsector. I’ll share out the sector map and character profiles as things start to progress further.
For the ship, I’m borrowing the Far Trader Oberon from Paul Elliott’s solo Traveller campaign “Into the Neutral Zone”. I’m coming around on the concept of using as much pre-made material as possible but I frankly can’t imagine using the Third Imperium setting as-is so for now I’ll stick to using a custom subsector.
LETS PLAY: THE CALYPSO COMPENDIUM - A NARRATIVE SOLO GAME
The Calypso Compendium, written by Tam H., is a mashup of Powered by the Apocalypse mechanics with Lady Blackbird style character generation. In addition it provides a number of tools commonly found in other solo roleplaying toolkits (or “gamemaster emulators”, oracles, etc.)
Tam has written a number of games, many are written with the solo player in mind. One of the more fantastical tools is the Player Emulator with Tags - which flips soloing an RPG on its head; what if we emulated the players instead of the GM?
Naturally, when I stumbled upon a game Tam had written that mashed up two of my favorite narrative role playing games I figured it was worth a look.
While there’s no art in the book, it is exceptionally laid out and easy to read. The items in the table of contents are bookmarked to their appropriate places which is always a nice touch. Looking through the table of contents we can see there are the general rules of the game, several pre-built scenarios, what appear to be general guidelines for building characters, a tips section, some oracles, a bit on narrative structures, and closing with some optional rules.
For this Let’s Play, I think I’ll go with the Starfarer scenario (page 25) as it most closely matches the theme of this site:
“Explore the universe in search of: adventure • refuge • mystery • revenge • power • wealth”
The entire rulebook is 69 pages but it reads very quickly thanks to the text having plenty of breathing room on the page. Additionally a lof of those pages are setting material that can be skimmed or skipped if you aren’t interested in that setting. The core rules are only 4 pages so there’s very little time investment if you want to just get the gist of the system.
Having read the General Rules (Pages 4-7), I picked my scenario and I’m going to frame the rest of the review in the context of that because such a narrative game demands a bit more context for the way the rules work.
This is the “why are we playing this?” summary of your game, they are different for each scenario but are rather formulaic so it easy to create you own. For Starfarer we get:
Challenge yourself; ask difficult questions. Fill the hero’s life with risk and adventure. Play to find out what happens.
“Play to find out what happens” is an Apocalypse World mantra, a reminder that the game’s narrative should be reacting to player’s actions. The game world’s lore should be comprised of what the player has improvisationally created from the fiction being driven from the Dramatic Moves (or GM Moves in a group game.) The game narrative should also be the result of the compromises the player has been forced to make as a result of the outcomes of their moves. We are reminded to challenge ourselves and lean into the game’s narrative more assertively. In addition we are given a nudge to fill our story with “risk and adventure.” This is the way (of the Starfarer.)
Again, these are different per-Scenario but these are prompts to keep you on-track with the game’s Agenda. For Starfarer we get:
- Seek out the exotic and strange but interject the familiar.
- Be a fan of the main character, but make him prove he deserves the role.
- Nobody has plot immunity; nothing is safe.
- Build the world and mythos as you go.
- Be honest, even when it hurts; follow the fiction where it leads.
These are both reminds about the game’s structure but also how to emulate our chosen genre. For instance “seek out the exotic but interject the familiar” might seem contradictory but this is a common sci-fi genre trope. How many times in Star Wars do you see a bizarre looking alien lifeform doing something very common place in our own world: gambling, having a drink, etc. We can relate to them even if we don’t understand how they “work”.
This is character creation, it is built off the format used in Lady Blackbird. To start you build a sentence about yourself using some canned choices:
I am a war hero • secretly gifted • an orphan • the Chosen One • the sole survivor • the lost heir. I am in debt • unjustly exiled • an outlaw • on the run • barely staying afloat • on the hunt.
Rather than pick, I note there are six choices for each, so let’s bring out our friend the d6. I roll a 2 and 3.
I am secretly gifted and an outlaw.
Your Character will have several Traits and underneath each trait your character will have several Tags. What are these? Calypso gives us this:
Choose four Traits and 16 Tags split between those Traits; these are the things the hero is good at or that are part of him. If a Trait is in brackets you may take it more than once, specifying a new aspect each time.
Okay, that could use some further detail if you’ve never played Lady Blackbird. In Lady Blackbird Traits are fairly general descriptions of your character. “Wizard” might be too general for your game but “Wizard of Flame” is probably about right. Calypso does lean into the very broad traits (So, in our example, Wizard would be just fine.) I believe this is because in solo play, you can throw out about 50% of RPG rules that are effectively only there to help differentiate two or more players in a group so that each person can have their spotlight moments. If you’ve played Over the Edge, Fate, or Risus - then Traits should be really natural to you as Aspects or Cliches. You are a “Soldier”. Traits in game design commonly replace things such as Attributes (Strength, Dexterity, etc.) - they are not a 1:1 replacement, but a grouping of those attributes into a genre relevant label. If I’m Solider - than I’ve been basic training and I’m as strong as I need to be for that task. I don’t have to be a body builder though, maybe I’m more agile. This all comes out in the narrative.
While Traits are general, Tags can be highly specific. Tags might be skills, spells, powers, edges and feats from other games. A “Solider” trait might have “Fast” and “Guns” as tags so that I know fictionally what I can emphasize further in play.
Let’s build the shell of our character then. Generally, you start with four traits. The Starfarer scenario tells me that one of my traits must be “Future Human.” I’m not sure if this means I’m evolving into a Human or I’m a Human in the Future. I think for now I’m just to call this “Human” and assume that players/npcs would have a “Species” trait by default. Skipping over to page 27, I look through the traits to see what might help tell the story of my sentence. I choose Criminal to represent the “outlaw” part - it is on the nose but it’ll do. I think I’ll change it to Smuggler. “Off-Worlder” might also worked nicely if you wanted a more subtle outlaw feel. Secretly gifted seems it requires a Trait and the game does encourage to consider holding your starting traits in reserve. I think I’ll do that and let the play tell me what my secret gift is. Likewise I’ll hold 4 tags in reserve to use with that trait or others based on what emerges in play. You don’t have to balance tags (4 tags per trait) but it feels ideal leave roughly a quarter of the tags in reserve to assign later. I don’t see a clear weapons option under Criminal and decide to add “Blasters” as a tag.
Traits & Tags:
Now I choose two Keys that “show what I value” - these are the primary way to earn “experience points (XP)”. It is not defined as a term anywhere but each Key also has a “buyoff” condition. Lady Blackbird tells us that “If the buyoff condition occurs, you have the option of removing the Key.” In the Advancement section we are told buying off a key nets us 10xp.
- The Key of the Daredevil - Hit this key when you take a risk that you don’t have to. BUYOFF: play it safe.
- The Key of the Goal - You have a specific, long term goal. when you try for it. BUYOFF: achieve, give up on, or refuse it. We’ll say my Goal is to “Own my own starship.”
Next, I choose two Secrets that “give me power or special abilities.”
- The Secret of the Hidden Ace - You always have an ace up your sleeve. If you need a small item on your person, a useful friend nearby, or a trick prepared yesterday, you have it, but roll a d6; on a 4+ it betrays you later.
- The Secret of Luck - You’re lucky, but you always seem to need to be. If you choose, add an extra d6 to a roll and drop the lowest die, but gain a Condition like unconscious, smitten or blind after the roll is resolved.
Next, I choose two ingrained Conditions that “hamper or otherwise define me.” I’m given a table, on page 7, that I could roll randomly on. I do feel my choices so far have influenced what these should be:
Finally, I start out with what appears to be a temporary condition. There are, I’m sensing a theme here btw, six conditions to choose from. Rolling a 2 I get:
Let’s give our new friend a name: “Horo Delste”
This is story setup stuff, your opening scene. Rolling a 2: I hit the bar.
Next I roll up my choice of a Habitat or Ship. Habitat seems to make more sense, and I roll a 1 and 3. “Arcology.” These are densely packed towers of residencies/businesses/etc.
I’m told that “I stumble over an Enigma and maybe a Person.” To roll up an Engima, I roll three times on Table 3.18:
- Where: High Place
- Danger: Attacked
- Function: Alter
Arcologies are high places, so maybe it is being attacked. Maybe I’m higher up in the Arcology and on my way to the lower levels. Perhaps while I’m at the bar? On the way to the bar? Let’s get a more detail by rolling up an attacker(s). A “superhuman” who’s motive is to “prove worthy of an honor.” Rolling the final two “Beginning” details I get a crime in progress and someone is being called out. Now I’m suppose to make a Dramatic Move and make things “go south, fast.” I think I have an idea about how this story starts now and it is a little different than my original assumptions.
Sidebar: “called out” has a few meanings but I’m going to say that the superhuman is confronting one’s misdeeds/behavior.
I roll on the Dramatic Moves Table 2.3 and get “Tempt or provoke a reaction.” To get an idea of what the Complication might be I roll one of those and get “You are forced to compromise your morals or ethics.”
I also wonder, does Horo know the “superhuman”? Let’s do an Oracle Move. Rolling 2d6, I get a 3 (2,1): No, and. In this case I think this a Strong No - Horo definitely does not know them so much so that what happens next is that Horo is simply caught up in some bigger than him.
We see a human, putting on a vest and then placing a blaster into their holster. They adjust a belt on their pants. They look out the window from the room they are in see a vast clutter of what appear to be living quarters and businesses co-mingled together - 1000s of balconies, windows, reaching into the sky and even some more levels down below. It is night but the are plenty of exterior lights giving every surface an orangish glow. A comlink bleeps and the human answers.
“Meet me at the Stubborn Sarlaac. I have work for you.”
“On my way.” and Horo steps into a turbolift heading upwards.
A fish-like alien sits across the table from Horo.
“So what’s the hustle, Zini?”
“I need you to make you good on your last job. The one you… botched. My bosses aren’t happy.”
“Hey, I ran into complications! Teracom was going to impound the ship. It was either the ship or the goods and the ship was worth more.”
“All the same, you cost them credits. Here’s the details on the job.”
Zini slides over a datastick but before their hand makes it across the table the room shakes. Explosion. Horo and several others run to windows. Horo looks down and sees smoke rising from the lower levels. Another explosion shakes the room. Horo turns back to the table.
Oracle Move: Has Zini fled? 2d6+3: [2, 3]+3 = 8. Yes, but. Zini has fled but in the confusion they’ve left their datapad. A valuable asset to a smuggler like Horo. Of course he could return it. I think this is our Dramatic Move - Horo can choose to return the datapad to Sini or keep it for himself. The risk is twofold - it is possible that Zini could use some help escaping whatever disaster is unfolding in the Arcology and should Zini survive, he’s going to want this back. Horo can risk stealing the pad and using the information but Zini may retaliate. Horo can also risk avoiding helping Zini but would have to live with the moral consequences.
Zini is gone but there’s a datapad and the Job datastick on the table. Horo grabs both and throws them into his satchel.
Oracle Move: Does Zini leave higher up? 2d6: [1, 1] = 2 No, and interrupt the scene. 2d6: [6, 3] = 9 “Show off-screen badness.” I’ll start a 6-tick clock called “structure collapse.” it already has 1 tick marked.
We cut to a hand pulling an explosive out of a bag. Pulling back we see a gang of woman, leather jackets, brightly colored pants. Spikey hair and chains. Parts of their bodies appear to be electronically augmented. They are placing the explosives on what seem to be massive structural beams. Charges set, they hop on to speeder bikes and zoom off. The four pillars in the scene then slowly turn into a fade back to Horo who’s running to a turbolift.
The Crumbling Tower
Oracle Move: Are the lifts still working? 2d6: [1, 3] = 4 No, but. I’m unsure what the but is and I don’t see a random table that’s useful in the Compendium. I pull out my Story Cubes and roll up a few. Bizarrely enough a space door is one of them - the elevator I presume. There’s several others but a phone/radio and a person on a rope stand out.
Horo mashes the buttons nothing happens. The scene around him is a mixture of emotions. Some people continue about their business, others seem to be hurrying along. Those looking to leave this level are on their comlinks hastily making plans. Horo takes a moment to think about if he could call anyone. He remembers he also some gear in his satchel. He’d come into the possession of a grappling spike launcher some time ago: A device that launched a stream of liquid which solidified into tough yet lightweight cable. Having always used this device to go upwards Horo is quite sure how it’ll work heading down but decides to give it a shot as he’s quite self-assured he’ll figure it out.
I think using this gadget is done via my Ace Secret so I have to roll 1d6: 1 = 1 - no complications if I read the rules correctly. Strive Move: Horo will grapple his way down a level. The risk he’ll take harm from falling. The modifier is built from his Smuggler Trait (+1) and his Gear tag (+1). I think his Reckless Condition is (+1) but I’d said his temporary Afraid condition is (-1) so - we’re left a +2. 2d6+2: [1, 4]+2 = 7. Success at a cost. Daredevil Key +1 XP. There’s a couple ways to go but, I think this is the most fun…
Horo latches the hook onto a nearby bar and attaches the restraining clip to himself. He leaps over the edge aiming to head down to the next level but misses and heads down several levels. It works mostly as he expected but as he comes to land on his feet, he sees Zini standing nearby.
Oracle Move: Is Zini alone? 2d6: [6, 2] = 8 Yes, and. I think I need a motive here. 3d6: [2, 5, 4] = 11 “achieve power”. Well Zini probably wants that datapad back.
“Horo! We should leave this tower, I have a bad feeling about this. Hey, did you happen to see my datapad back there? I left it in the confusion.”
Horo is stone faced “Ahh, no. I… like you I think we need to get out of here.”
Oracle Move: Does Zini have family that should be saved? 2d6: [1, 3] = 4. No, but. It is a droid. It is always a droid.
“Shame. I should go back for it. Look, I need you to head to my loft and get my droid. Then we’ll find our way down.”
“The turbolifts are broken though. I’m guessing the ramps are packed with people. We should just go.”
Strive Move: Horo is trying to persuade Zini into leaving. Smuggler+fast-talk (+2). The risk is Zini pulls him into finding the missing datapad and they are stuck in this disaster scenario - and maybe realizes Horo is pulling a fast one on him so far. 2d6+2: [6, 6]+2 = 14. Homerun. Zini is afraid for his life. In fact, let’s use this to shift the “afraid” condition off Horo and over to Zini as losing a condition is one of the benefits from a 10+.
“Ok, you’re right. My droid probably has a good backup of the data anyway. We need to get my droid.” Zini turns and starts walking toward his loft. Horo follows and the two collect AR-D4, an astromech droid. It beeps with a devoted and willful tone.
This strikes me as a time for a lull in the action so we should make a Dramatic Move. 2d6: [2, 4] Promise future pain or inflict harm as promised. Complication: 2d6: [6, 3] Something breaks. I’m going to mark a tick on our “structure collapse” clock. (2/6)
We wipe up to the scene of the original explosions. There are raging fires and groups of people clearly in trouble. Some emergency personnel types are trying to put out the blaze but with little effect. Part of a floor gives way and the camera rocks a bit as things become more unstable. We slowly iris wipe to Horo’s face as the shaking of the disruption below reaches their level. The ramps leading downward have become a mass of people, creatures, belongings. It is slow moving. Occasionally a speeder-taxi rises up through the scaffolding to this level and grabs a few people before heading back down.
Oracle Move: Can the Grapple Hook hold two people? 2d6-2: [2, 5]-2 = 5 No, but.
Horo eyes a nearby turbolift its door is slightly ajar. Maybe there’s a service ladder inside. Horo eyes then turn to the the astromech.
“Zini, that thing have the rocket mod?”
Oracle Move: Did Zini spring for the rocket booster mod? 2d6+3: [2, 6]+2 = 10. Yes.
“Yes, of course. I spared no expense on this little bugger.”
“I think we need to force this door open and try to climb down - trying to get through that mess will take forever.” Horo motions to the mass exodus.
“Okay, if we can make it down half-way, I have a transport in the garage there.”
Strive Move: Horo wants to pry the doors open. Human+Assured+Stubborn - Horo isn’t a body builder but he’s unlikely to just give up if the thing is jammed a bit. Zini could theoretically help as well I just think helps justify a +3. 2d6+3: [6, 3]+3 = 12. Let’s take +2 forward.
The door opens with surprisingly little effort.
Oracle Move: Is there a service ladder? 2d6+1: [4, 2]+1 = 7 Yes, and. It is a decent ladder and the shaft is unobstructed down to the Zini’s garage level.
Peering down into the lift, Horo is relieved to see a ladder and a shaft not filled with debris, fire, or smoke. He motions to Zini to climb down with him. Zini instructions the astro mech to follow.
Oracle Move: Does the astromech have enough fuel to make it down? 2d6: [5, 2] = 7. Yes, and. More than enough.
The three make their way down to the garage level.
Dramatic Move 2d6: [4, 1]: Use the hero’s Traits, Conditions, or Secrets against them. This isn’t just any garage level. Half-way up is where starships can pull in and dock. There are many starships - nothing fancy but plenty that Horo could steal in the confusion and call his “own.” To ratchet up the urgency of making some hard choices about keeping the datapad, stealing a ship, etc I’m going to mark another tick on our “structure collapse” clock. (3/6) Oracle Move: Is this level “stable”? 2d6: [5, 6] = 11. Yes.
The garage level is not tainted by disaster yet. There are families boarding ships and several already in mid-air pulling out. Zini points down a corridor. “This way, my friend.” Beep, boop. The astromech has touched down and follows along. Horo starts to walk in line but the sight of all these starships has his mind spinning. Surely some of these must be… available.
Reaching Zini’s ship we see the astromech maneuver itself towards a door and as the doors slide open we wipe to a field that has looks of hastily made landing strip. A bunch of dart-shaped starships are being boarded by the same gang of women from earlier. The ships are stylized with a matte black paint job and glowing pink chromed lines. They begin to lift off and form up into groups heading towards orbit it seems. We wipe up and Holo is moving a hovering repulsor palette from a storage unit over to Zini’s ship. It has a couple of crates on it.
Dramatic Move: 2d6: [1, 6]. Take something or someone away. I need an Actor here: 2d6 People Table: [3, 6] Alien. 3d6: [1, 1, 4] “protect home.” 3d6: [4, 5, 3] “find the truth”. I’m encourage to get the Temperament of an actor. Emotion 2d6: [2, 2] apathetic. Target 2d6: [4, 4] wealth. Degree 2d6: [1, 1] traces. Meh, not an entirely useful result - I think perhaps she can’t be bribed?
Walking up to Horo is a Hilak Security Bureau official. “Stop, we need to scan those materials.” Horo stares at the official. He’s not entirely sure what’s in Zini’s crates but is caught holding the bag all the same.
“Um, I’m just trying to get out here, Mam. A friend is giving me a passage and he wanted these bits out of storage before we left. Do you have a ride out?” Horo does his best to make his eyes sparkle. “We’d be happy to give you a lift.”
Strive Move: I think Horo wants to charm this person. I’m not immediately clear that his charms will be effective. The risk is she detains him for being obstructionist. Human+Attractive (+2) and +2 forward. 2d6+4: [1, 1]+4 = 6. Earn 1 Failure Currency. That failed stupendously.
“Sir, I’m going to ask you to remove your hands from the goods and I’m going to scan them now.”
Oracle Move: Are the goods contraband? 2d6+2: [4, 1]+2 = 7. Yes, and the are explosive in nature.
Horo removes his hands from the crate. Mentally he works out an escape route and the timing to get to his blaster. The scanner beeps and the Security official pulls her weapon on Horo.
“Hands up and no games.”
Strive Move: Horo pulls his blaster and attempts to shoot official. Smuggler+Blaster +2. Reckless -1. 2d6+1: [3, 3]+1 = 7. Success at a cost. Interrupt scene with a Dramatic Move: 2d6: [3, 1] Put someone in a compromising, bad, or high-stakes position. Complication 2d6: [1, 1] You suffer harm. I’m going to mark another tick on our “structure collapse” clock. (4/6)
Horo is fast and shoots the official first. She crumples down to the ground. The blaster noise is loud on this level and Horo has failed to account for the official’s partner coming to her rescue. A blaster rings out and Horo is grazed in the right leg. It burns and Horo takes cover behind the crates.
Horo Harm track moves to “grazed”. Strive Move: Horo wants to use the crates as cover. The risk is Horo is shot again in the open. Smuggler+Evade+2, -1 grazed. 2d6+1: [2, 4]+1 = 7. Success at cost. 2d6: [1, 3] Reveal an unexpected danger. 2d6: [5, 2] Something you did yesterday comes back to bite you.
“HORO! You sleeze.” shouts a voice. Horo glances up. Damn. The Security Official’s partner was Horo’s girlfriend 14 galactic standard hours ago.
Quirks Table: carrying a child
Horo got her pregnant but didn’t want to take responsibility and left last’s night date in hurry.
“This is officer Chasidy Wyse, I need backup and assistance. We have an Officer down.” Chasidy moves her attention back to Horo. “Drop the blaster, Horo. You can do the right thing, for once.”
Oracle Move: Does Zini go looking for Horo? 2d6+1: [5, 3]+1 = 9. Yes, and. Zini probably heard the blaster fire, so he’s come prepared.
Three quick auto-blaster shots ring out.
Strive Move: Zini fires on Chasidy. The risk is this fails, and the backup arrives instantly. I didn’t really roll up traits but, I imagine they can handle themselves with a blaster. 2d6+2: [4, 2]+2 = 8. Success at cost. Chasidy is pinned down but backup is starting to arrive.
Horo and Zini position themselves close enough to hear each other.
“We’re about to be outgunned Zini and what the heck is in these crates? The security official went ballistic when she scanned them.”
“What the hell did we need an entire crate of thermal detonators for?”
“Your job, kid. We were hired to take down the Dirtgirls compound.”
Dirtgirls. Horo sighs. A gang of cybernetic ladies who’ve been terrorizing the corporations setting up the arcologies.
“Zini, we’re going to need a distraction to get out of this garage and… this looks like a crate full of distractions.”
Strive Move: Horo wants to persuade Zini to use a handful of detonators to cause a distraction so they can escape. It is reckless because if it fails it could… literally blow up in their face. Smuggler+Fast-talk but -reckless. 2d6+1: [2, 2]+1 = 5. I’m going to mark another tick on our “structure collapse” clock. I figure these failed rolls are just time ticking down. (5/6)
“No way, kid. That’s the sorta dumb thinking of yours that’s get us a botched job.” Zini pulls out his comlink.
“I need you to jam communications in this area, AR-D4.”
Dramatic Move: 2d6: [4, 6]: Offer a hard bargain or an ugly choice.
“Attention: stand down. This is the Hilak Security Bureau. We have you surrounded.”
Oracle Move: Is Zini the “live to fight another day” type? 2d6: [6, 4] = 10
“Kid, I got connections - we’re gonna get out of this.” Zini moves to his blaster down and raise his hands.
Horo thinks on it. If that droid has managed to jam comms maybe Horo can still shoot his way out of here. There’s only what 3-5 of them at most?
Hidden Ace Secret: Horo has a smoke grenade. 1d6: . The item betrays me. Perhaps the smoke doesn’t last as long as Horo thinks it will. It is a 4 tick click “smokey room” but it is half-full already. Each turn it ticks.
Horo drops a smoke grenade and makes a run for it. There’s still plenty of ships to steal. Including Zini’s.
Strive Move: Horo wants to run for it. The risk is he unable to make a clean escape. Smuggler+Evade+Smokey -grazed (leg). 2d6+2: [1, 2]+2 = 5. Harm+. Advance smokey room (3/4)
Horo tries to move but in the smoke he’s having trouble seeing and failed to take into account a barrier that he runs smack into. Blaster fire rings out through the smoke and catches Horo in the shoulder.
Harm track: bruised Strive Move: Smuggler+Evade+Smokey -grazed (leg). 2d6+2: [5, 6]+2 = 13. +2 forward. Advance smokey room (4/4) - the smoke clears.
Horo picks himself and again tries to run for it. This time he manages to break away and darts behind some starships. He’s being pursued by (1d6: 1) official. Horo can make out the shape of Zini’s ship down the garage. He pulls out the grapple hook, it is a mostly clear shot to the ship… maybe he can pull himself towards it, perhaps taking a blow but still getting himself inside before the official can close on him. His grazed leg is starting to cramp up now.
Strive Move: Horo wants to grapple pull himself towards the starship’s ramp. He’ll risk being hit by something along the way or even misjuding how fast or slow the grapple will pull him at this distance. Smuggler+Gear, -1 reckless, +2 forward. 2d6+3: [5, 4]+4 = 13. Horo slams a stimpak into his shoulder to reduce the Harm condition track from bruised to grazed. (I think I’ve missed some Reckless Key XP along the way. Oh well.)
Horo attaches the grapple to his blaster and shoots at the ramp. It attaches and Horo slides across the smooth surface of the garage towards the ramp. He runs up the ramp. Blaster fire rings out behind him.
Strive Move: Horo wants to pilot the ship out of the garage. There’s going to be a bit of traffic so he’ll need his reflexes to do this smoothly. He’s also being shot at. The risk is perhaps the ship takes harm from the blaster fire or Horo even runs into another ship trying to get out of here. Pilot+Reflexes. 2d6+2: [1, 5]+2 = 8. Complication 2d6: A path is closed or barred.
The ship pulls off the ground, ramp closing. The astromech beeps and bleeps. “No, Zini got caught. Just you and me bud.” The astromech is too dutiful to leave Zini behind though and works their way off to the NavComp to interface with it. The ship’s computers power down but Horo switches things over to manual.
Strive Move: Horo wants to blast the astromech. The risk is he’ll take his eyes off piloting for too long and hit something or maybe his blaster fire misses and shots something critical. Or perhaps our structural integrity is finally at its end. Smuggler+Blaster +2, -1 reckless. 2d6+1: [3, 2]+1 = 6. Reckless Key + 1 XP
Turning around Horo pops a shot off at the astromech. It misses. Just then a massive explosion from underneath him - Horo can still feel it ripple inside the air even though he’s not on the ground. The astromech is whirling forward with a stunning attachment pointing out towards him. Meanwhile, chaos in the air as ships are dodging left and right.
Strive Move: Horo wants to punch it, and get out of this structure. The risk for sure this time is he’ll run the ship into a piece of falling build or another ship. It is pretty chaotic in the sky. Pilot+Reflexes 2d6+2, -1 reckless: [5, 5]+1 = 11. +2 Forward. Reckless Key + 1 XP
Horo jams the throttle forward and as the ship lurches forward, the astromech slides backwards. Horo dodges ships and pieces of the building and find himself in the atmosphere. He turns around to shoot the droid for sure this taking his aim.
Strive Move: Smuggler+Blaster, +2 forward (no reckless, as he took time to aim at least.) 2d6+4: [3, 3]+4 = 10.
The droid squeals as the top of the astromech’s dome is sheered with a blaster. It shivers and shuts down. Horo turns back to bring up the NavComp but as he does so
Dramatic Move: Reveal an unexpected danger.
A squadron of dart shaped starships is actively pursuing him.
The Dirtgirls Ride
“Probably should’ve gotten the droid to work out the jump sequence first.” Horo drops his head to the console and bangs it on their a few times. We wipe to a pair of fingers drumming alongside the steering controls of the interior of a starship. Loud electronic rock music is playing in the background and as we pull back we see Horo’s ship slowly be lined up in the crosshairs of the ship’s onboard targeting controls.
I could play this forever but I think this enough flavor for a review. An immensely fun system that indeed drives narrative play even without a dense set of moves or playbooks. The Scenarios do a bit of that heavy lifting by reminding of you of the necessary tone. The random dramatic moves, complications, and motives are pretty good story engines on their own. I do think you’ll still need some outside tools, such as Story Cubes, random setting tables, etc to make sense of things - but the Compendium is fairly close to a standalone solo toolkit.
- This might have been a fun game to try an experiment with “Secret Clocks” but I can only juggle so much new stuff a time.
LETS PLAY: M-SPACE - D100 MYTHRAS-DERIVED SPACE OPERA
M-Space, written by Clarence Redd and published by FrostByte Books, is pitched as “d100 Roleplaying in the Far Future”. Let’s build a character and solo play a random space encounter to see how it works.
M-Space is a d100 system based on Mythras Imperative from The Design Mechanism. Mythras itself is derived from previous work on RuneQuest and Basic Roleplaying. The base game resolution mechanic is rolling your skill value or less on a d100. Mythras/RuneQuest have a reputation for particularly flavorful and deadly combat but I believe we’ll find M-Space provides some different levels of flavor in terms of how this might work within a fantastical “Space Opera” atmosphere. It is also immediately clear from M-Space’s Table of Contents that this is a “toolkit” RPG book. You’ve got “Alien Creation”, “Starship Design”, and “World Building” to give you a flavor of what we’re getting into.
At their core M-Space characters have characteristics, attributes, and skills.
The are seven core characteristics: Strength, Constitution, Size, Dexterity, Intelligence, Power, and Charisma. M-Space defines several ways to assign your characteristics: Roll and assign in order, Roll and assign the numbers as you see fit, Roll a dice pool and pull the necessary dice together per characteristics to assign values as you see fit, and a Point-based build. Of course, it also notes that a Gamemaster (GM) may derive their own methods for character creation. This seems like an obvious thing to point out, but you’d be amazed on how “rules as written” is treated as dogma by some folks in the roleplaying community whom, I guess, don’t enjoy having fun.
For the purposes of reviewing this product, I’ll just go with “roll and assign in order” as my method. Additionally, let’s give our character a name. Using Donjon’s Space “Terran Male Names” random generator we get: Teve Arner.
Teve’s characteristics after rolling:
- (STR) Strength, 13
- (CON) Constitution, 10
- (SIZ) Size, 15
- (DEX) Dexterity, 12
- (INT) Intelligence, 14
- (POW) Power, 9
- (CHA) Charisma, 14
While there are great explanations of how to use these characteristics in the game, it is not clear what a “good” or “bad” number is. Most stats were rolled with
3d6 so the 10 and 9 stand out as average/below-average skills for sure. I’m not interested in power gaming but I do think the cool thing about randomly rolled stats is that they make up a story about who your character is for you. Teve’s (CON) health/hardiness and (POW) soul/spirit appear to be, meh.
Now we get a bunch of attributes that are generally derived from your characteristics.
- Action Points: 2 (M-Space notes that everyone gets 2 and that this deviates from Mythras)
- Damage Modifier: STR+SIZ gives us a 28, which on the Damage Modifier table (pg. 12) provides us with +1d2
- Experience Modifier: Our CHA score of 14 grants us a +1 experience modifier
- Healing Rate: Our CON of 10 grants us a natural healing rate of 2 hit points recovered per day/week/month depending on the nature of the injuries
- Hit Points: Our CON+SIZ of 25 assigns us a Hit Points per location table on pg. 14. M-Space takes this time to note we can also choose to play without Hit Locations.
- Luck Points: Our POW of 9 grants us 2 luck points that can be spent to reroll the dice, mitigate narrative nastiness or gain an edge. These refresh every game session.
- Power Points: Our POW of 9 can be spent on utilizing psionic powers - this seems unlikely for our character though
- Movement Rate: As we are a standard human, we get a 6 meter movement rate
We are told that there are Standard Skills and Professional Skills. Further, at character creation we are told a novice character gets 100 points to assign to skill pertaining to the Culture they grew up in, 100 points relevant to our Career skills, and an additional 150 points to “round out” our character. We are told that Professional skills must either by obtained at character creation or via a “teacher.”
Skills build upon your characteristics, so Athletics starts with a base of your STR+DEX. Remember, this is a d100 roll under game, so out of the gate Teve can succeed on an Athletics check 25% of the time. The book provides paragraph length descriptions for every skill and clear explanations of how they will typically apply in play. In a few cases there is some guidance that a general skill requires a specialization but the character sheet doesn’t seem to align. Navigate/Navigation stands out as an example.
Now we can use our first batch of 100 skill points to build out Teve’s profile. M-Space says there are three basic cultures: Orbit, Rural, and Urban. We get some notes about what each culture represents and then a list of Standard and Professional skills characters may use their first 100 points on. It is noted that a character should only select three of the Professional skills at this time. Still this gives your character the first real chance to build out their backstory.
Not knowing which culture applies to Teve, I roll a 1d3 (1 Orbit, 2 Rural, 3 Urban) and get a 2, Rural. The rural section notes I can take a relevant combat style from a combat style package but provides very little guidance as to what this might be given that every setting is different. Some examples would’ve been handy but I did find that Clarence had posted a few over on the Basic Roleplaying forum. I don’t mind doing the creative work but I do find not understanding the terminology makes it hard to do so.
I decide that Teve is going to be Luke Skywalker-esque type kid (without the Force powers.) Teve knows his way around fixing droids and the moisture evaporators around his Uncle’s farm. Teve doesn’t really understand or care about farming though. He’s excited when he gets to pilot his Uncle’s speeder into town for parts or supplies. Since barbarians are common out in the rural parts, Teve knows how to handle a common blaster.
- Standard Skills
- Athletics 10
- Endurance 10
- Drive 10
- Locale 10
- Perception 20
- Ride 10
- Professional Skills
- Combat Style [Blaster] 20
- Mechanics 10
Similar to cultures we are given 100 points to spend on a package of pre-selected skills from a career. The careers are very general and you’ll have to use your imagination to fit them to your setting but there’s plenty of variety to allow you to flavor them to your needs.
Teve seems like he’s a “Colonist” so we’ll continue building out our skills with that in mind:
- Standard Skills
- Professional Skills
- Commerce 20
- Mechanics 10
- Navigation 10
- Pilot 30
Finally we can apply 150 points to the skills we’ve already picked up. After that, here’s where all of our skills stand (including the ones we chose not to spend any points on):
- Standard Skills
- Athletics 60
- Boating 23
- Brawn 28
- Conceal 21
- Customs 28
- Dance 26
- Deceit 28
- Drive 51
- Endurance 45
- Evade 24
- First Aid 26
- Influence 28
- Insight 23
- Locale 48
- Native Tongue 68
- Perception 63
- Ride 31
- Sing 23
- Stealth 16
- Swim 23
- Willpower 18
- Professional Skills
- Acrobatics 25
- Acting 28
- Art 23
- Astrogation 28
- Bureaucracy 28
- Commerce 43
- Comms 28
- Computers 28
- Courtesy 28
- Craft 26
- Culture 28
- Demolitions 23
- Disguise 28
- Electronics 26
- Engineering 28
- Forgery 26
- Gambling 23
- Knowledge 28
- Language 28
- Lockpicking 24
- Mechanics 76
- Medicine 23
- Musicianship 26
- Navigation 33
- Oratory 23
- Pilot 66
- Politics 28
- Research 23
- Science 28
- Seamanship 24
- Seduction 28
- Sensors 23
- Sleight 26
- Streetwise 23
- Survival 19
- Teach 28
- Track 24
- Combat Styles
- Combat Style [Blaster] 60
Passions are a way to mechanically represent plot hooks for your character. They remind me of “backgrounds”, “cliches”, “aspects” or other similar freeform narrative attribute concepts you’ve seen in other games. Beginning characters may have up to 3 and there’s a descending bonus applied to each + a base score derived from two attributes which you can map your passion’s focus (“person or family”, “concept or ideal”, etc) to. Teve’s passions:
- Desire to leave planet 63 - Teve desperately wants to get off world. He’s seen the starships leaving the big starport in town and daydreams about what it is like to traverse the galaxy
- But, Mom! 53 - I want to fly my landspeeder through the canyon - Much like the kid who’d rather play video games than clean their room, Teve isn’t terribly interested in doing the family farming work.
Like most modern games, M-Space isn’t terribly interested in having you track Equipment all that closely. Still some guidance is given for starting credits, a weapon, career tools, clothing, etc.
- Clothing that generally protects Teve from the harsh heat of the desert planet he lives on
- 5000 Credits
- A Blaster (Damage: 1d8, Range: 10/30/120, Fire rate: 1, Load: 3)
- Droid caller keyed to the farm’s droids
- Macrobinoculars used to survey the moisture farm
- Laser Torch (1d6 damage when used as a weapon but mostly used for repair work)
- Fusion Tools - M-Space’s idea of a general droid/machine repair kit
And with that, we’re done. Teve is ready to grumble about the daily list of farm hand chores. To get this party started I’m going to use Sine Nomine’s Sixteen Stars: Creating Places of Perilous Adventure random adventure generator. Teve’s probably in setting most similar to a “Colonial Outpost”. I roll up some starting details but not too much as I prefer as many “unknown unknowns” as possible.
Teve gripped the controls of his land speeder and kept his eyes on the horizon. While Teve’s onboard sensors occasionally blared a collision alarm he knew Erryne’s Canyon like the back of his hand and there wasn’t much need for electronics to guide his choices.
“I’ve got you this time” barked a voice over Teve’s comlink
Starting In Media Res as they say, this seemed like a good time to explore M-Space’s “Extended Conflict” rules. We’ve got ourselves a Driving Chase here and we’ll contest the driving skills of local landspeeder racer Johnne Clezal vs. Teve. Each starts with a conflict pool of either their DEX or the average of their vehicle’s Speed+Handling. I’m doing to assume that similar to US Stock Car Racing that the stats of the vehicles aren’t terribly interesting, it is the driver’s own skill that matters so we’ll build pools from each character’s DEX. Teve gets a pool of 12 and Johnne has a pool of 7. Johnne’s Drive Skill is a 46 while Teve’s is a 51. Teve’s pool is higher and so he has the initiative. As a note, I rolled Johnne’s stats randomly, used M-Space’s opponent rating guidance for his driving skill and did a Mythic Stat Check on that number to derive the final value.
Teve laughs “You always say that!”, the first critical maneuverer comes up as Teve has to bank hard right around a rock pillar.
Teve rolls an 80, a failure while Johnne rolls a 37, a success. Teve takes 1d6  damage to his conflict pool reducing it by half to 6. This triggers the all conflict checks are made at a Hard difficulty rule for Teve. Not looking good! Teve has the option to withdraw at this point but decides to press his luck.
Teve kills the accelerator and slams on the controls to bank around the pillar but his timing is off today and he scrapes the edge of his vehicle against the canyon walls. Johnne pulls ahead and is in the lead.
“Didn’t know we were eating wall for lunch, Teve!” jokes Johnne.
Shaking off the dust, Teve pushes harder on his accelerator and dials a few knobs hoping to eek out just enough additional engine performance to make the difference.
This time Teve rolls a 21+20(hard), while Johnne rolls a 79. Johnne will take 1d6  damage to his conflict pool reducing it to a value of 5 - not halved yet.
Teve’s adjustments pay off and he pulls even with Johnne’s speeder.
“Yeah, yeah, should I save a spot for you at the cliff buffet too, Johnne?”
“Not necessary, Teve” boast Johnne as the two hit a steep drop-off in the canyon that can trip up even the most seasoned of racers.
Teve rolls a 20+20(hard), while Johnne rolls a 98 - nearly a fumble. 1d6  points are taken from Johnne’s conflict pool which reduces it to less than half to 1. Johnne has the option to withdraw so we’ll ask Mythic: Does Johnne withdraw from the conflict? Chaos factor is 4, and the odds are… 50/50, and a Yes would favor Teve. Mythic tells us that Johnne withdraws.
As the two speeders leap over the cliff, Johnne’s spins out wildly. We see Johnne slam his fist against the controls of his speeder as Teve pulls away.
“Yaaaaawhoo! Hey, refreshments are on me Johnne - let’s grab some real food.” says Teve who waits for Johnne to gather himself and make it out of the canyon. The two head over to the local space cafe, The Last Asteroid.
I don’t know what type of place The Last Asteroid is exactly, so we’ll use the Cantina Creation rules in “Wretched Hives of Scum and Villainy” from West End Games to piece together some background. Additionally I roll a 12 on the “Cantina Encounter Table” and get “A Barroom brawl suddenly breaks out”.
Teve and Johnne share a beverage and some food in the dim lights of The Last Asteroid. A crowd has gathered around a set of Holo-Game stations and they are actively cheering on some sort of contest. Suddenly loud shouting and pushing breaks out from within the crowd.
“THAT’S MY CRED STICK CHUMP!” gruffly shouts a Krunni -a native humanoid alien with thin tentacles dangling from its face.
The sound of glass breaking rings out through the bar. Teve stumbles underneath the table he was eating at as Johnne stands tall to try peer into the crowd to assess the harm.
“Yeah?! Are you gonna cheat your way into stealing it from me like you just stole that game?” responds another person that Teve can’t no longer see. Teve places his hand near his blaster.
“Johnne, Johnne! Get down man.” warns Teve.
“Don’t get so jumpy, fights are always breaking out in here.”
Teve looks behind him to remind himself of the distance to the exit. A loud thud snaps Teve’s focus back to in front of him, even he can’t see what’s there. More scuffling sounds and then more glass breaks.
“The only stealing going around on here is what your people take from mine!” the same gruff alien from before retors.
Teve wonders if this is a mining dispute. Ever since the Numa Industrial Corporation had set up a mining operation on Corva, the local Krunnis had taken offense to the encroachment of the mines on what they see as their own land. In the last week several terrorist incidents at the Numa mine have brought this conflict to a head.
“Johnne, we need to get out of here… I’ve got bad feeling about this” as Teve pops his head over his table.
Fate Check: Does Johnne feel the urgency to leave? Chaos 4, Odds 50/50, Yes favors Teve: Yes.
“Alright, let’s get out of here.” Johnne backs up to Teve. The two make their way to the door.
Fate Check: Is the exit clear? Chaos 4, Odds 50/50, Yes favors Teve: No it is not. Adventure Crafter: Action Theme Plotpoint: “Heavily guarded”. Well, then. This oddly enough ties into an antagonist I had rolled up from Sixteen Stars.
“ATTENTION: THIS IS THE CORVA SECURITY FORCES. SURRENDER YOUR WEAPONS AND STAND DOWN.” blares a Corvian security official from outside.
“Damn, what are we caught up in, Teve?” hisses Johnne who doesn’t look quite as confident as he did moments ago. Teve looks around and trying to asses if there’s another way out. Corva had taken a bit of a no-nonsense policing policy of late in attempt to snuff out any sort of civil conflict over the mines.
Feels like a perception check, Teve rolls a 63… his perception is a 63. Lucky. Not having a detailed map of this place, I roll some story cubes. A set of crates stands out to me and feels equivalent to Teve’s roll… it is something, but it is barely useful.
“Johnne, we can hide in those…” Teve motions to some durasteel crates with some foodstuff sacks lying round them.
Does Johnne want to hide? This could be a Fate Check as Johnne is a GM NPC, but let’s try out M-Space’s opposed roll. This feels like Teve’s Influence (28) vs. Johnne’s Willpower (36). Additionally, we can use M-Space’s Passions to represent how badly Teve doesn’t want to get caught and jeopardize his “Desire to leave planet 63”. 1/5 of that would be 13 (rounded up). This brings’ Teve’s Influence up to 41. Teve rolls a 56 and Johnne a 7. Johnne’s not hiding.
“Teve, we did nothing wrong - let’s just walk out of here with our hands up.”
Teve pauses for a moment. His instincts are to run, to ensure that nothing gets in the way of his chances to get off of this burnt rock. Maybe Johnne’s right, the security folks will rough them up a bit but probably let them be on their way. Teve reluctantly joins Johnne and they begin to make their way to the front door.
Fate Check: Do Johnne and Teve make it to the front door without being caught up in the barroom brawl? No. There are a million ways I could determine who is roping them into this brawl, but I decide to use M-Space’s Alien Creation tables to pull out a few inspirational ideas. I end up getting an alien with a hammer-shaped upper body wearing a coarse woolen cloak who is Fast and prefers to Grapple their opponents with a pair of tentacles tails they have. M-Space combat seems… pretty detailed compared to what I’m used to, so I’ll probably mess up a rule or two here.
Rolling initiative: Teve 23, Alien 22, Johnne 16
Fwhap - a tail slaps against a nearby load-bearing post near Teve. Teve turns to see a fiesty Zorga’s tail whip back towards their body, he readies his blaster and sets it to stun. The Alien tries to outmaneuver their foes.
Outmaneuver is a series of opposed Evade skills. The Alien’s Evade is 60 and rolls a 32, Teve’s Evade is 24 and he miraculously rolls a 14, Johnne’s Evade is a 38 and he rolls a 37. The powers that be are with our heroes.
Johnne charges at the Alien and the Alien counterattacks with his tail.
The Alien rolls a 95 against his Combat Style [Tail Attack] of 60. Johnne rolls Evade (38) and gets a 98. Both are failures. New Turn.
Teve carefully aims his blaster at the Alien while the Alien readies a dagger pulled from his cloak. Johnne having closed the distance between him and the Alien attempts to punch the Alien in the face.
Rolling Combat Style [Fist] 60, Johnne rolls a 17. The Alien rolling Evade (60) rolls an 81. This is 1 level of success difference so I think this means Johnne selects a special effect. He’ll pick “Choose Location” so he can target the Alien’s head (which has 4 hit points). Johnne rolls 1d3+1d2 and the Alien takes 3 points of damage to the head.
The Alien is shaken and Teve choose this moment to rip a blaster shot off at them but before doing so yells to Johnne to duck.
Teve’s rolls a 24 against his Combat Style [Blaster] 60+20 (aiming) and the Alien moves to take cover behind a nearby table. The Alien rolls a 99 against his Evade 60. Earning Teve 2 special effects. Teve will choose Pin Down and Duck Back for his effects. Stun damage works a little differently - CON+SIZ/2 forms a conflict pool rather than using hit location. The Alien’s Stun Pool is 14. Teve rolls an 8 on a 1d8 and reduces the stun pool to 6. Pin Down is resolved as a Willpower skill test. The Alien rolls an 89 against their Willpower of 30 and are now pinned down. Teve meanwhile Ducks Back to the nearby cover of a table.
Fate Check: Does the Alien withdraw from this battle? Yes.
Pinned down, facing two foes and feeling a bit dazed from Johnne’s punch the Alien crawls away. Teve and Johnne make their way for the door and hope the Corvian Security Forces treat them kindly.
This is probably enough of playthrough to get a feel for things. Combat required an extensive amount of page turning to determine what happened. Everything else was rather straightforward. Overall, enjoyable and I think the hiccups with understanding combat would be resolved with regularly experience with the system.
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