I have nothing to review this week, so you get a bonus episode of the Arioniad. The involuntary encounter for October is: We’re being robbed!
Since there is a perfectly good robbery encounter on p. 132, I use that, replacing the LWC target with Arion and company, and Jim Bob Joe with a group of three Basic criminals. There are two PEFs, both placed in section 4 by the dice. There are buildings in sections 1, 2, 3, 7, 8 and 9; the gentlemen’s club with an ATM outside, where we have stopped to take out some cash, is in section 2. The First Contact table doesn’t seem applicable unless Arion is the robber, so I ignore it. Reading the encounter description, it looks like nothing happens until the robber activates, when he will close to 2" from the player group and demand money with menaces. I can’t see my little band handing them over without a fight, so it’s time to try the combat rules, and we’ll proceed directly to the In Sight test.
Start of Turn 1: “There we were, just minding our own business…”
Arion rolls Rep d6: 5, 2, 3, 5, 4 and passes 2d6. Coriander passes 4d6, Dmitri none (ouch). I now determine the criminals by rolling 2d6 for each on the Ganger table, getting 5, 9 and 5. The 9 translates to a Ganger with Rep 3 and a pistol, who gets 2 successes, while the two fives are both Rep 4s with pistols, and get 2 and 3 successes respectively.
The gangers brandish their weapons at our heroes, and demand money, expecting their Pep challenge to cow us into submission. Since their highest Pep is 3, that would be unlikely anyway, but using the Star’s Free Will power I overrule that, and we draw and Snap Fire. The gangers are already weapons drawn, so just fire normally. The firing sequence is Coriander first, then one Rep 4 ganger, then Arion and the other gangers simultaneously.
Coriander hauls out her assault rifle from inside her duster, stock folded, intending to donate one round to each ganger. If I read the table on p. 41 correctly, because the gangers are all outgunned, they Duck Back. It took me a while to find what that means; the definition is on p. 43. The gangers move towards the nearest cover, in this case the door of the gentlemen’s club, which takes them right past the crew, and are unable to return fire.
Meanwhile, Cori fires. She rolls 1d6 + Rep for each round, getting scores of 10, 8 and 7. As she is snap firing and they are moving, only the 10 hits. Ganger 1 (Rep 4) is gutshot and gets a result of Bleeder. Ganger 2 (Rep 3) and ganger 3 (Rep 4) were both missed, but now take a Received Fire test and a Man Down test. Even with the leader dice, they both continue to duck back, barging into the club, and can no longer see the Dolphin’s crew or be seen by them.
PEF1: Splits, spawning PEF 3.
PEF2: Moves to the closest section with a building – that could be 1 or 8, so I select at random – 8.
End of Turn 1: “Call that a gun? Now THIS is a gun!”
Activation: Gangers and PEF1, PEF3, PEF2, Arion. No extra PEFs from activation.
The gangers fire from cover; the leader scores a 9, hitting Cori twice (she looks the most dangerous). He rolls a 2 and a 6 for hit location; head, Obviously Dead, and chest, Obviously Dead. However, as a Rep 5 co-star, Cori has 3 Star Power, and now looks like a good time to use it. For the first hit, she rolls 5, 3, 2: 2 successes and reduces the OD result to Bleeder. For the second hit, she rolls 3, 1, 3: 3 successes, and reduces the OD result to Stunned ("miss a turn"). Coriander is officially Not Feeling Well and belatedly decides to go prone.
Somewhat aggrieved that his buddies left him behind, the downed ganger tries first aid on himself; you’ll see how that works in detail shortly, but meanwhile he’s back in the fight.
The Rep 3 ganger has a choice of two targets with BAPs and decides to shoot each once. He scores 5 and 8, missing both.
PEF1 moves towards section 8 and its building. PEF2 enters the building in section 8. PEF3 splits, spawning PEF4.
Arion and Dmitri take a Man Down test and Received Fire test, and thanks to Arion’s leader die, both carry on. Each fires twice, Arion taking the lead ganger and Dmitri the other. Arion scores a 10 and a 6, hitting the leader’s gun arm and knocking him down. That worthy now takes a Recover From Knock Down test and passes 2d6, so is stunned. Meanwhile, Dmitri hits his opponent in the head, killing him instantly. The lead ganger now takes another Man Down test, passes 2d6, and is no worse off.
End of Turn 2: “Do you suppose if we shot all the PEFs they’d stop breeding like that?”
Activation: Arion, PEF1, PEF3; PEF2, PEF4; ganger. Arion goes first. Another PEF appears in section 5 due to the activation dice.
Arion decides to retrieve wounded; he moves to Coriander, picks her up, and then moves 6" towards cover, in this case the corner of the building, while snap firing at the surviving ganger. As he is moving, snap firing, carrying his injured girlfriend, and generally distracted, he misses. Dmitri falls back with a fast move, covering them, and fires twice into the doorway, again missing both times. He reaches the building corner. (Note that I declared fast move here purely to reduce his chances of being hit, he could easily have reached the corner without doing so.)
PEF1 enters the building in section 8. It’s at this point I realise I should have resolved the PEFs a couple of turns ago. So: PEF1 is a lone Basic member of the Criminal Element (no. 7 on the generator), contact type B. PEF2 is three Zhuh-Zhuh dropouts (nos. 11, 6 and 10 on the generator), contact type B. PEF3 is five Hishen criminals (9, 8, 6, 6, 8), contact type A. PEF4 is one basic dropout (8), contact type B. So, given a choice, the Hishen would exchange pleasantries, and everyone else would go to a people challenge. Since the lead is already flying, I think the time for those is over.
The Zhuh-Zhuh come back out of the building again.
The ganger in the club fires twice at Dmitri, but also misses as his target was fast moving. The one in the road fast moves into the club, where he can be heard remonstrating with his colleague about the proper etiquette for dealing with wounded friends. Dmitri takes a Received Fire test and ducks back around the corner.
End of Turn 3: “I don’t like the way those Hishen are looking at Cori. They’re slavers. Everyone knows They Want Our Women!”
Activation: Hishen; gangers; dropouts and Zhuh Zhuh; Arion and Criminal.
The Hishen move towards the player group. The gangers stick their heads around the corner intending to shoot at Dmitri, but since he has ducked back there’s nothing to see. The dropout tries to split, can’t, and so moves towards the closest building – most sensible thing he could do. The criminal stays put.
Meanwhile, Arion spends the whole turn applying first aid to Coriander. He has Savvy 5, and rolls 5d6 looking for successes; 1, 2, 3, 4, 4 = 3 successes. He can only count one success, so there is no point applying bonus dice. Coriander rolls 1d6 vs Rep (5) and gets a 1, also one success. These count as pass 2d6, so Coriander is back in the fight at full capacity, and not a little cross.
End of Turn 4: “Marines! WE – ARE – LEAVING!”
Activation: Arion and criminal. All others fail to activate.
The criminal stays put. I think about the art of the possible, and conclude that there’s not much to be gained by staying to fight, and quite a bit to lose. So we break off by fast-moving directly off-board.
Arion and Dmitri look at each other, at the still-bleeding Coriander, and a bunch of Hishen moving up to them.
"Time to go," says Arion. Dmitri covers the Hishen while they back off down the alley.
I suppose I should’ve decided what success looked like before starting. We’re survival motivated, and we did survive. However, Cori was a bleeder, and any encounter in which your girlfriend comes that close to getting their head blown off feels like a loss. So, Dmitri has a successful encounter and rolls to improve his Rep from 4 to 5; 3, he fails. Arion and Coriander have a failed encounter, but roll 3 and 2 respectively so don’t lose any points (had either rolled a 1, they would have lost one point from a random stat). However, because Arion failed, his Fame is back down to zero again.
Looking at the PEF resolution tables, being outnumbered in the rough parts of town after dark is a bad idea. Being alone is even more so.
Even for an involuntary encounter, it would be best to work out what the encounter objective is to start with.
Things to Check
How do I determine the profession of a Criminal Element? I know I’ve done this before but can’t remember where it is in the rulebook.