“So, Mr Rattenbury…”
“Jack, please, Arion. Call me Jack.”
“OK then, Jack. The word is you’re looking for a bodyguard detail, usual rates. What’s the opposition?”
“There’s a competitor of mine who thinks I owe her some money. She might take the law into her own hands, you understand? I need protection for the next three months.”
“We can start right away. My associate Dmitri and I will take the first shift. What are your plans?”
“I’m going out on the town.”
Arion shrugs. “I’d advise against it, but it’s your neck and your money.”
“Yes. Yes, it is. I’ve got things to do, people to see, you know how it is…”
It’s been a while since I got access to Table Mountain, but today I managed it, and decided to pull some figures out and have at it. The battlemats are by Wydraz, the figures by eM4.
Now that I’m more comfortable with the rules, I’m bringing in a few more, specifically the legal and court case side of the campaign and vehicles. When doing this, it’s important to note that leaving the table is often counted as Resisting Arrest, which is a Major crime and can easily cost you 5 years’ hard labour, and that each outstanding crime on your rap sheet gives -1d6 on your roll to be acquitted. So, my thinking is that it’s better not to let the charges rack up, and it’s also better to go quietly unless you’ve committed another major crime. We’ll see; given that LWC encountered always call the cops, and as a White Knight Arion can’t shoot witnesses out of hand, I anticipate spending a lot of time in court.
I’ve worked back through the recent adventures and corrected the items and equipment the team should have. It also looks like I should keep track of encounter and interview results for employers, so I’ve done that too. However, I’ve decided not to track Fame and criminal charges separately; in these regards, the crew stand or fall together.
Meanwhile, tonight’s mission is to escort Jack Rattenbury through a Lower Income Residential district in the evening, using the Chillin’ encounter as a template. Before we start, Arion and Co. use some savings to get an apartment in the middle income residential district (more comfortable than the scoutship in the long term), and three webbers, to give them a nonlethal combat option – I’ve been looking at the rules for major crimes and I don’t like the look of the jail time.
This post isn’t a didactic one, but I am trying out Microsoft Paint as a way of adding captions to the photographs. See what you think.
The encounter will be successful if Arion, Dmitri and Jack survive it without being arrested or suffering any wound results of Bleeder or worse.
The boys are back in town. I’m using my old Warhammer 40K objective markers as PEFs – they’re actually some sort of bead I bought a few years back when my daughter was going through a beading phase. The big die is a turn counter; its primary purpose is to stop me getting the pictures mixed up when I write the post. Those of you with keen eyes may notice that Dmitri is facing the party’s rear; since the last Total Party Kill in ATZ, I always have somebody doing that.
All the PEFs decide to leave their buildings (they do that a lot) and are resolved as Arion has line of sight to all of them. The PEF at bottom right is the right class for the opposition, so it is Rattenbury’s competitor, with a ganger and netrunner in tow. The other PEFs are a brace of policemen and four Zhuh-Zhuh LWC. All of them get Contact Resolution B, which means the police ignore us and the others want to talk; the Xeogs want to shake us down. Yelling at us from 30 yards away doesn’t seem right, so the PEFs will start moving towards us when they next activate.
The police PEF splits, while the Zhuh-Zhuh and the Xeogs close up to chat. I have no idea what the Zhuh-Zhuh want, but if we had encountered a smuggler he would try to sell us something, so Jack ought to try selling them something. Hoofed mammals, obviously. They are not interested and we limit ourselves to exchanging pleasantries.
“It’s her,” says Jack. Arion catches her eye and holds his coat slightly open to display a webber and an eclectic range of pistols. He gestures innocently at the policeman walking their way, and his message is clear: Bring it if you want to, but there’s no way it ends well for either of us with the cops watching. With a glare, the Xeogs turn and leave.
The Xeogs have a 2d6 edge over us in the Pep challenge, but Arion manages to score a minor success and talk them out of attacking without even using his bonus dice – just as well as I had decided failure would mean they attacked us. They leave the encounter by the most direct route. The police might well have seen he is armed, but he did not draw a weapon or point one at anyone, so the only thing they could charge him with would be Disturbing the Peace, and rolling his Rep (5d6) vs the crime’s level (1d6) is unlikely to result in a conviction – and I think the cop probably knows his chances of a conviction aren’t worth the paperwork it would take to bring it to court.
Here, I put myself in Arion’s shoes for a moment: The objective of a bodyguard job is to protect the principal. Initiating violence or getting us all arrested is not the answer, although defending ourselves and Rattenbury if attacked would be within the mission scope. Since the Arioniad is essentially a roleplaying campaign rather than a skirmish wargaming one, violence is not an essential part of encounters.
Is this protection worth Rattenbury’s ill-gotten gains? Yes. Without Arion and Dmitri, he would have been alone and the Xeogs would have outnumbered him by more than 2:1, so the contact resolution roll would have shifted 3 steps to his disadvantage – that would have meant the Xeogs had a much higher chance of getting a Crisis result and converting the encounter into a Robbery one.
I decide to walk the guys off the board, because doubles on activation might cause another PEF to turn up – one with equally hostile intent and less concern about being seen by the law. However, nothing happens.
There’s no involuntary encounter this month (November), and I decide not to take on another voluntary one because I think Arion gets more money this way. However, he did succeed, so he gets 2 Items, Dmitri and Coriander get one each, and his Fame goes up by +5 to +10. Neither of the lads improves their Rep, though – I’m happy with the group’s skills mix for the moment, so I’m focusing on Rep.
I borrowed a couple of house rules from All Things Zombie for this encounter. Firstly, if an NPC starts moving, he carries on in that direction unless a later result makes him do something else. Secondly, when leaving a building, NPCs move in a random direction unless there is obviously some reason for them to go a particular way. (This is what zombies do in ATZ when they bump into walls.)