Late October ‘12…
"I don’t like it," says Coriander, looking at the map of the police station on the wall screen in the Dolphin’s payload bay. "We’re stealing from the police to help criminals. It’s not right."
"This is the job," Dmitri shrugs. "Maybe you hadn’t realised, but the only difference between us and crooks is motivation. They do it for the money, we do it for the greater good."
"I still don’t like it," Coriander repeats. Dmitri is starting to get a little irritated now.
"What did you think the job was, Cori? This is what I was doing while you two were off snogging in the Big Dark. We need contacts to build a cell, contacts who will lie and steal and kill for us. We need them to trust us, and the way we do that is… well, things like this. You coming, or not?"
"Are you going, Arion?" she asks. He shrugs.
"It’s the job. I signed up for this, even if I didn’t know what it would mean at the time."
"Then I’m coming too. Last time I let you out on your own, you got half-eaten by a dinobastis."
"Technically, you were both with me when… OK, OK. Dmitri: How do you want to do this?"
"We take the gravsled around the back, and break in through this door. Evidence room is the first door on the right going in. We’re looking for a crate labelled THX-1138…"
Looking at the floor plan, I think the board works better with the station in sections 1-6 and the road in 7-9. I also see I’ve been playing on non-standard sized boards (not that I mind); so I decided to do this one on the official 3′ x 3′ board, and also to try out the optional rules for PEFs in buildings.
End of Turn 1: “Left side door breach, stack up!”
As a game, this was somewhat lengthy but quite straightforward; the team moved up to the exterior door, disabled the alarm (thanks to spending three items on ECM), chatted briefly to several PEFs without triggering a fight, managed with some difficulty to break into the evidence room and find the crate, and then walked out, stressed but uninjured. The mission was a complete success.
However, by the time they left the board there were over 20 PEFs on it. And I hadn’t even rolled for those in unentered parts of the building.
End of Turn 7: New PEF City
I won’t give you a blow-by-blow account, as I spent most of the session moving PEFs around, and you’ve seen how that works. Thanks to the mission’s success, Arion’s Fame improves to +5, and his number of Items to 8. Coriander and Dmitri now have 4 items each, and no longer have to roll for staying in the group. Each figure rolls for improvement, going for whatever has the best chance of improvement; Arion gets nothing, Coriander improves to Pep-3, Dmitri to Sav-3.
I don’t think I’ll use the optional PEFs in buildings rules again; I thought starting with only one PEF on the board was cheating, but Ed’s quite right, the little devils multiply like rabbits. They also spent quite a bit of time yo-yoing in and out of buildings; maybe they were unloading something. Fortunately, unless the player group starts something, the average PEF is quite happy to live and let live.
Using Hex Map Pro on the iPad is more practical than battlemats and figures, because there are other demands on the dining room table which clash with my availability for gaming. With a decent map as the background it doesn’t look too bad, either.
The team wasn’t properly equipped for the job, which cost them several turns of unproductive challenge rolls. In future, I should look at the relevant tables beforehand, see what equipment would give me bonuses, and buy it.
It’s good to be a Star, especially with bonus dice. While having the right skills, specialisations and tools gives you bonuses, there are usually no penalties for not having them. The Star’s high Rep and his bonus dice mean that he can pull the team out of a tricky situation at a dramatically appropriate moment – there’s not much that an extra five dice can’t fix.