Arion: Dances With Xeogs

"Jack, I hear you’re going out into the barrio again. Are you sure that’s wise?"

"Hey, what can I tell you, I’m a businessman and that’s where the business is today. But, just to show you I do listen sometimes, we can go out before dark."

The second month of the bodyguard contract (December) finds Arion, Dmitri and Jack out in the daytime in the lower income area; Cori is staying home, as Rep 5s often do in Chillin’ encounters. I’ve already diced up the rest of the mission background last time. This means Law Level 2 is in force and there are two PEFs on the board to start with. The encounter will be a success if all three of the player tactical group survive without being arrested or suffering a result of Bleeder or worse.

ENCOUNTER

Turn 1

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Arion, Dmitri and their patron, the smuggler Jack Rattenbury (Rep 5, BAP) saunter onto the board. PEFs don’t activate, but watch the one at the top right of the picture.

Turn 2

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Arion’s group continues across the board. One PEF stays where it is, chatting to the turn counter die, while the other emerges – Arion has LOS and it resolves as three Xeog Bounty Hunters. Since I want to see some combat this game, I overrule the dice and decide that these have been hired by JR’s competitor (also a Xeog) to take him out. I roll In Sight tests, and only then discover everyone is out of range, even after the Xeogs fast move forwards.

Turn 3

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Arion and company take cover where they can – a building doorway. This is well worth it as it means the Xeogs have to roll at least a 9 to hit them – mind you, with Rep 5, they do that a lot. The Xeogs fast move up to the corner and open fire (red dice show the number of passes for the In Sight test), but this means the unarmed Rep 3 Xeog falls behind and is now on his own. I mean really, what was he thinking coming out with two heavily armed Rep 5 bounty hunters? Must be a noob.

Turn 4

A lull in the fighting. Everyone checks their weapons and scans around for more hostiles. No more PEFs though.

Turn 5

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The remaining PEF decides to come and meet the PC group so starts moving around the buildings. The Rep 5 Xeogs break cover and trigger another In Sight test as they run across the street to the opposite corner; this results in an exchange of shots. Arion misses them (Dmitri and JR are still out of range) but between them the Xeogs get three OD headshots on Arion. It takes all his Star Power and bonus dice to survive, and even then he is Out Of the Fight.

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The Xeogs carry on through their received fire test and make it to the other corner.

Turn 6

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The Xeogs decide to remedy their tactical error by having one dodge back across the street while the other provides covering fire. Dmitri hits the one running, though, and she’s down, stunned and a bleeder. JR mans up and comes forward to the door, but misses everything. The Rep 3 Xeog continues to move around the buildings – my thinking is that while she has no gun, if she can get close enough she make a melee attack. Meanwhile, the last PEF resolves as three Zhuh-Zhuh dropouts. For some reason, all the dropouts in my game seem to be Zhuh-Zhuh, and vice versa.

Turn 7

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The Xeogs shoot JR, killing him outright. I guess any future smuggler employers will be a different character. Dmitri returns fire and with some amazing dice rolls shoots both Xeogs in the head, killing them instantly.

Game over, man.

“Cori? Yeah, it’s Dmitri. Do me a favour would you, bring the gravsled around to 919 Lakeside and pick us up… and hurry, Arion’s hurt pretty bad. Oh, and you’ll need a body bag for Rattenbury…”

AFTERMATH

That is a definite loss for the home team. No pay for Arion this month, and –5 Fame, but fortunately neither he nor Dmitri lose any skills. Dmitri drags Arion’s bleeding carcase back to the apartment, where Coriander heals him and prescribes one month of bed rest, so we miss January. Neither December nor January had any involuntary encounters.

Is there a warrant out for their arrest? I think not. If I read the rules correctly, with no LWC on the board to call the police and no police on the board to call for backup, there’s no evidence of what actually happened.

REFLECTIONS

THW games always punish poor tactics, and in this case I made a bad call for the Xeogs. In turn 5, I think it would have worked better if one of the Rep 5s stayed on the corner to pin down the player tactical group, while the other went around the back and through the buildings to catch them in a crossfire. I seem to be taking more decisions for the NPCs in 5150: NB than a THW game usually requires.

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