"So, what do we want to do this month?" asks Arion.
"The law firm," says Coriander, firmly.
"I’m with her. The dealer says we interviewed well but we’re not quite what he’s after, and the trader’s only enemies right now are the cops. Since they pay the same, we may as well stay legal while we can."
"Whaddya mean, while we can?"
February sees Arion back on form and doing a security job for a law firm. I decide that this means protecting a witness at a safe house, largely because I fancy a change of map. The safe house is outside the city (gasp!) which gives it Law Level 2, and the encounter occurs Late in the day, in fair weather.
The encounter will be successful if the player tactical group survives without being arrested or suffering a wound result worse than Stun.
I also fancy a change from random PEFs. This far out of town, I’ll start with one PEF which will automatically resolve as gangers, hired by a rival law firm to eliminate a key witness. (Just what kind of law firms are these, anyway?)
Here’s the setup at the start of turn 1. Battlemat: The Caravanserai from Cry Havoc Fan. Figures: eM4. Figures on white poker chips are on the roof. Black dice show the limit of Arion’s vision at night at 2” per hex. (Memo: Buy NVGs.)
Arion hears something over by the palm tree and walks to the roof edge to investigate. Meanwhile, the PEF splits.
A busy turn! The PEFs resolve as three Gangers and three Hishen, and rush for the nearest window. As Arion is looking that way, this triggers an In Sight test and shots are exchanged. Arion is shot in the head (again) but uses his Star Power to avoid an untimely death. Cori runs to the window and burst-fires her assault rifle at the oncoming Hishen hordes, missing them all because they fast-moved, but outgunning them and forcing the Hishen to duck back.
Those who can’t get into the nearest cover (around the corner) fall prone at the end of their move instead.
Arion’s team fail to activate. The Hishen regroup around the corner, and the Basic gangers use their activation to climb in through the window.
Arion is awake again and kills one ganger with a well-placed shot from his Big A$$ Pistol. Coriander is back in business too, steps back out of melee range, and drops the other two Basics with a short burst – both are now bleeders, and went Out Of the Fight when they tried to heal themselves, so I removed them before the next picture.
Dmitri grabs the witness and runs towards the “stables”, where the gravsled is parked. This would have triggered an In Sight test so they were fast-moving to spoil the enemy’s aim, but the opposition was all down by the time they came into view.
The Hishen are not impressed and spend the turn wondering what to do next.
The Hishen decide their bravery rule is enough of a help, and burst around the corner, guns blazing. A lucky shot Knocks Down Arion and stuns him. Again. Muttering “If you want something doing, you have to do it yourself,” Coriander hoofs it over to the stairs and goes up onto the roof.
Meanwhile, Dmitri and the witness are still fast-moving towards the gravsled.
Nobody activates on 7, but on 8 the Hishen swarm up the walls and through the window. Our Heroes fail to activate and spend the turn doing… well, whatever tactical groups do when they don’t activate.
Arion, who is the only one who can fly the gravsled, runs across the roof towards the stables trapdoor, trusting Cori to cover him.
The Hishen barrel out of Building 4 into the courtyard, where Cori has taken cover on the roof and sighted in on their exit point. Trusting to Hishen Bravery (their Rep goes up for some tests when they are in groups), they sprint out – Cori shoots them up, and although she misses, they Duck Back into the nearest cover, which is another building.
In a moment of pure comedy, a PEF emerges from Building 4. Both sides, uncertain whether they might be LWC who will call the police, hold their fire. The PEF resolves as four Dropouts.
The following turn, the Dropouts wander into Building 3, blissfully unaware of the firefight erupting behind them as the Hishen burst from cover again (hey, it worked last time) and charge the stables. Arion leapfrogs Coriander and kills one outright, and the other two Duck Back – in different directions, as they must move towards the closest cover.
Coriander moves to the trapdoor and opens it, clearing the way down into the stables.
Cori fast moves up to the gravsled, and as she gains LOS on the Hishen at the corner, kills it outright. While she provides covering fire, Arion moves back to the trapdoor under cover, and Dmitri and the witness move into the back seat of the gravsled (a flying sedan for rules purposes).
Arion makes it to the gravsled and climbs in on turn 14, and spends turn 15 turning it on.
On turn 16, Arion guns the gravsled out of the stables, intending to fly over the remaining Hishen and off the board. This triggers another In Sight, Coriander hoses the well down with autofire, and the Hishen hiding behind it runs for his life into Building 6. Sensibly, the dropouts stay put in Building 3.
Another successful mission. Arion gets +2 Items, +5 Fame and a Rep increase (to Rep 6), but the others get a measly +1 Item and fail to improve. We do get an Involuntary Encounter this month (February) – someone will try to rob us using the Robbery Encounter. More of that next time.
- I should’ve parked the gravsled closer to the building we were holed up in. Running the length of the stables to get to it could have gone badly wrong.
- It’s often worth fast moving even if you don’t get any extra distance, because it makes you harder to hit.
- I’ve been wary of letting the group split up, wanting to keep them within the 4” unit integrity distance of the Star, but actually at Rep 4 they are capable of behaving sensibly. The use of fire and movement along the stable roof worked very well.
- Still getting the hang of the new camera, sometimes the pictures are blurry even when my Star hasn’t been shot in the head. Also having trouble with using MS Paint to add captions, but nothing a little practice won’t fix. You’ll just have to put up with it while I learn.
- Being a Rep 3 ganger (as four of them were) sucks.
- I’m comfortable enough with the rules now to throttle back from my NB binge – however, playing 2-3 times per week for a month gave me confidence in my understanding of the rules and meant I learned them more quickly. I shall return to a more sedate once per week or so now.