The Arioniad – Scenes 23 and 24

Posted: 27 March 2010 in Arioniad
The story seems to be reaching a natural end; I’m happy with it, and see no need to prolong it with a hunt for more clues, so I’ll move straight to the Final Scene. Since the Star’s mission was to find an artefact, we find the Big Bad wherever the object is; that’s my choice, so I’ll pick something I have “scenery for” – namely the Demonworld maps mentioned in an earlier post.
In addition to his group (himself and Dmitri), Arion may spend local recruiting points (i.e. his Rep – 4) to buy more characters from the Local Authorities list. Why not; they’re only one point each. I roll 2d6 on the local authorities table (p. 20) and get a 9; 1-3 officers with modern weapons, Rep 4 and no star power. That’ll be one of them, then. Next I roll an 8; more of the same. Another one. Next a 12, giving me one Rep 3 rookie. Finally a 9 for more officers, and there can be only one because I only have one RP left. So in total, three Rep 4 and one Rep 3 enforcers. Because I have just been watching The Penguins of Madagascar I mentally tag them as Skipper, Rico, Kowalski and Private (he’s the Rep 3 one, obviously).

There is a thunderclap, and four armed men suddenly appear at Arion’s back. He turns around, and starts to open his mouth to ask obvious questions; but the leader of the group nods to Coriander, and says brusquely: “We’re telepaths. She’s a telepath. We can teleport. You work it out.”

Arion closes his mouth and draws his pistol.

How many are there in the opposition? I roll 1d6 + Big Bad’s Rep (12)… actually I don’t because that’s going to generate the maximum score of 11+ whatever I do. The King Beast and company have twice the total Rep of Arion’s group, which has five Rep 4 and two Rep 3 for a total of 26; evildoers to the tune of 52 Rep, this is going to sting a bit. The King Beast accounts for 12 of that. I decide it wouldn’t be a proper finale without Schrodinger, the Shaman; he has Rep 6, taking the bad guys to 18. Rolling on the King Beast table on p. 19, I get a 2 – another King Beast, why not. Then a 6 – 1d6 warriors, 5 of them at Rep 4 each; the Gimirri have come out to play. That takes us up to 50 Rep on their side. Next a 6; more warriors, three of them, but I’ll only take one as that is when they first exceed the target Rep. Total: Two king beasts, one shaman, and six warriors, total 54 Rep.

Arion and his compadres move onto the table to find Schrodinger at a ruined altar atop a small knoll. He holds a fist-sized green emerald aloft; he is flanked by a Dinobastis of prodigious size, and a group of half a dozen Gimirri with their trademark long knives form a professional-looking defensive perimeter around him.

“The Gimirri go after those things with knives?” says Dmitri. “They’re tougher than I thought.”

Schrodinger turns towards them, throws his head back, and laughs.

“Excellent! You’ve brought a sacrifice for my beauties, or should I say a snack? Behold the Eye of the Cat; as prophesied in the Green Book of the Gimirri, I am now the Master of Two Beasts!” The Gimirri make a ritual gesture with their knives, and move to place themselves between Schrodinger and the adventurers.

“You are honoured, Arion, Dmitri! You have a place in history forever now! For you shall be the first to fall before the new order! Kill them, my beauties, and feast on the fallen!” He gestures the Dinobastis forward.

Fig. 1: Just after setup.

Fig. 1 shows the scene at the end of setup. The bad guys took an In Sight test, passed 1d6 on the Military table, and would have fired except they have no guns. Schrodinger passed 2d6, and would have fired using attack magic, except he has no line of sight to our heroes. The beast passes 2d6 (it’s hard not to, with Rep 12) and charges. I’m using one hex = 1″ for this game, but a fast-moving, charging King Beast moves 48″. It surges into melee against Skipper; I’ll spare you the grisly details, but it passed 6 more dice than he did, so Skipper is Out Of the Fight. That makes everyone else take a Crisis test; Arion chooses to pass 2d6 and carries on, Rico and Kowalski pass 1d6 but because they are not alone they carry one, Dmitri and Coriander both Duck Back so run into the nearest cover – a group of trees directly behind the giant cat, which as you can see is proxied by a stapler. Fig. 2 shows the situation at the end of the initial In Sight tests and subsequent carnage.

Fig. 2: Skipper falls to the mighty stapler... errm, sorry, King Beast.

Turn 1 proper now begins. Schrodinger activates first, and another Gimirri and a second beast enter the table; the beast marches to the sound of the gums, as it were. Dmitri and Coriander take an In Sight test, he would shoot but has no gun, and she halts in place. Sensible girl. Arion and the local LEOs open fire, because I reasoned that this would force a crisis test which might make the beast flee; but I forgot it would automatically pass 2d6 with Rep 12, and it charges. Fortunately for the figures I lost track of that in the excitement, so it continued to worry Skipper’s remains. Private now enters the board and moves up to his colleagues; that forces an In Sight test for the new beast, which charges, passes a frightening number of melee dice, and Private goes OOF. Arion, Rico and Kowalski take a crisis test for seeing Private munched, shift position and open fire; what with all the dice, they manage to score two hits, but the Dinobastis has Star Power 6 and shrugs them off. However, it rolls a number of sixes and loses some Star Power dice; we’re wearing it down. Just as well, actually, because if we had wounded it, it would have passed 2d6 on its crisis test and gone Ferocious. Damn, these things are tough.

Schrodinger and the Gimirri feel no need to move off their nice, safe knoll and are taking bets on how long the intruders will last.

Dmitri and Coriander activate next, and fast move to the next little copse. I figure if I can sneak them around behind Schrodinger and use the Challenge mechanic to get the Eye of the Cat off him, I can turn the Dinobastis on the Gimirri. A long shot, but we’re running out of options fast. Arion and the LEOs fire at the beast, scoring a couple of hits, but it uses Star Power to soak them up, albeit losing some more dice to sixes as it goes. The beast takes a crisis test for being shot at and charges into melee, passing 8d6 more than its opponents – and in LTL those successes apply equally against all enemies in the melee. Rico and Kowalski go Out Of the Fight. Arion saves against numerous painful cuts thanks to his Star Power. Fig. 3 shows the situation as Arion stares down two Dinobastis, the second one represented by a handy clock.

Fig. 3: "Bein' big is only gonna buy you time, slug bait."

Turn 2, and things are already looking pretty bad. Both Dinobastis claw at Arion and he goes down, not even Star Power can save him this time. Dmitri and Coriander see which way the wind is blowing and fast move towards the nearest table edge.

Turn 3, and while the Dinobastis tuck in to psi-cop on the bone, Dmitri and Coriander slip off the table and into the surrounding jungle, hoping that there will still be enough of Arion left for the ship’s autodoc to heal up by the time they can sneak back to recover him.

“Game over, man!” wails Dmitri. “Game over!”

Fig. 4: "All right then, we'll call it a draw."

But wait… the Big Bad now takes his Final Revenge! Since the Big Bad has Rep 12, he automatically passes 2d6 on the Final Revenge table, and automatically scores 12+ on the Vengeance Is Mine table, both on p.57. Arion suffers a crippling injury, and recovers at -2 Rep; his Rep is now 2.

After all that I feel Arion deserves to roll for advancement (p. 16). I roll 1d6 for Rep and Star Power; a roll of 2 for Rep fails to exceed even his current measly level, and so there is no improvement. Likewise for Star Power. He can also roll to advance any skill used during the adventure; I make that First Aid (roll of 6), Melee (3) and Shooting (2) – Arion’s First Aid increases to 5, and his Melee to 3. I think we’ll hang on to Coriander and promote her to Love Interest for the next session, if and when that happens.

Interior, day: The sick bay aboard the Dolphin.

“He’s awake,” says Coriander. Dmitri wanders over and sits on the end of the bed. “How are you doing?” he asks.

“I’ve been better,” Arion admits, from inside an improbably large set of casts and bandages. “But you should see the other guy. I don’t suppose you managed to take down Schrodinger or get the Eye back?” Shaken heads and downcast glances are answer enough.

“Well then, I suppose Schrodinger gets his seat on the Council. We’ll have to do something about that. Just as soon as I get out of these bandages…”

And there we shall leave Arion and company for the moment. Lessons learned: We’re going to need bigger guns… and, I really have to learn how to use this camera properly.

  1. David says:

    Wow! Thanks for the wrap-up (in Arion’s case, literally!) of the story. That was a fun read, and the final scene was tense while I hoped Arion et al would pull something out of the bag!

    What was the significance of the Big Bad taking his ‘Final Revenge’ roll? Is that how Arion looses Rep and suffers and injury?

  2. andyslack says:

    Thanks – glad you enjoyed it. It was tense, and sometimes funny, to play, too. You can lose Rep in two ways in LTL; either as a result of being wounded, or in the Big Bad’s final revenge – this is a short scene which somtimes occurs after the big showdown, a kind of sting in the tail which the main enemy manages to pull off after the story proper has finished – like the obligatory scene at the end of the X-Files which reveals that somehow or other the Big Bad will continue his depradations. The effect ranges from nothing at all to crippling injury for the Star, depending on how many dice the Big Bad passes on his revenge table (p. 57). Since the Big Bad is a King Beast, he is guaranteed to score the worst result – to do otherwise, he would have to roll more than 12 on an ordinary six-sided die. Another lesson learned: Don’t mess around with King Beasts – nuke ’em from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure. 🙂

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