Arion, Episode 2: Clueless

In which Arion engages in fisticuffs with the Big Bad, and I learn how melee combat works in the current edition of LTL.

-o0o-

Arion and Roger emerge from a lift into the main aisle of the store’s toy department to find Chapman, gun in hand, searching a feebly moving body on the floor.

The scene has turned into a Confrontation as per p. 59 of Larger Than Life, between Arion and Roger on one side, both Rep 5 LWC with pistols, and Richard Chapman on the other, Rep 5 with a BAP. This calls for an alley, 6″ wide and 18″ long, and I can’t be bothered to haul the figures out so I set up something very simple in Hex Map Pro. As we’re inside a building, I check p. 28 for rules on cover and concealment; nice and simple, figures are in cover and concealed if stationary, and concealed while moving. Back to p. 59, and I set up Chapman 6″ away from Arion and in LOS.

Since we have solved fewer than 4 clues (none, in fact) we begin by Talking the Talk (p. 36). I see from pp. 10-11 that Business Magnates are Movers, two circles above us lowly pilots, so Chapman is rolling 5d6 to our 3d6 (we lose two dice for his superior status). Chapman gets 44556 for no  successes (rolls of 1-3), while Arion gets 115 for two successes. Had we scored fewer successes Chapman would have used deadly force, but as it is he will try to kick our butts in melee.

The two leaders now take an In Sight test, neither counting as active. Both have Rep 5, but the ever-alert Arion has Steely Eyes which gives him +1d6 on In Sight tests, and both are concealed due to being inside a building and get -1d6 for that; so Chapman is rolling 4d6 and Arion 5d6. Arion rolls 33346 for three successes, Chapman rolls 2346 for two; Arion’s side wins the In Sight test and he goes first. After a lot of flipping backwards and forwards I decide I don’t need to roll activation dice, so Arion and Roger charge into melee, figuring an assault rap will be easier to beat than murder.

Arion and Roger will roll 2d6 vs Rep (5), while Chapman gets a third die because he is stationary in a building and therefore in cover. Arion: 12 = pass 2d6. Roger: 34 = pass 2d6. Chapman: 116 = pass 2d6. as everyone has passed the same number of d6, the two chargers move into melee and no reaction tests are taken.

Arion charges Chapman, quickly followed by Roger. Chapman ducks around the corner of a display but the two pilots skid round the corner after him and pounce on him as he scrambles to his feet. Arion’s spider jumps off his shoulder and climbs up a pile of boxes full of dolls to get a good view of the proceedings.

We now move into melee combat. There are no modifiers so everyone is simply rolling 1d6 per point of Rep. Melee attacks are resolved in turn, one on one, but the side with more figures decides who goes first; I choose Roger, because the way the rules are written it looks like you fight one opponent until one of you goes Out Of the Fight, and then the survivor faces off against the next foe. This means the board isn’t doing anything in this fight so I abandon it – that’s why you won’t see it in this port.

There are no modifiers, so Roger and Chapman each roll Rep d6, looking for successes. Roger rolls 22334 for four successes, Chapman rolls 11235 also for four successes; since they’re evenly matched, they immediately fight another round. Roger’s 13356 vs Chapman’s 12346 gives me the same result. Round three, and Roger rolls 13345 vs Chapman’s 34566; Roger has two more successes so rolls two damage dice, 34, both less than or equal to Chapman’s Rep so Chapman potentially loses two points of Rep; but he has five dice of Star Power so can roll to soak the damage. Against the first hit he rolls 12256, soaking the wound but losing one of his Star Power dice due to the 6. Against the second hit he rolls 1122, soaking it.

  • Round 4: Roger 13556, Chapman 14566. Roger rolls 4 for damage, Chapman rolls 1234 and soaks the -1 Rep.
  • Round 5: Roger 13334, Chapman 11344, Roger damage 2, Chapman soak 2235. No effect.
  • Round 6: Roger 33446, Chapman 12346, Chapman damage 3, as a Grunt Roger has no Star Power so has to take the -1 Rep and is now rolling 4d6 rather than 5d6 for melee.
  • Round 7: Roger 1346, Chapman 13334, Chapman damage 16 – Roger loses another point of Rep and is then knocked Out Of the Fight.
  • Round 8: Arion now steps in, with one of Chapman’s Star Power dice eroded. Arion 23446, Chapman 13555 – evenly matched.
  • Round 9: Arion 11256, Chapman 44566, Arion damage 135 and Chapman is facing -3 Rep. He rolls 2566 for the first hit and soaks it at the cost of losing two Star power dice; now he’s on 2d6. Against the second hit Chapman scores 14, and against the third 25; he soaks both.
  • Round 10: Arion 11234, Chapman 13345, Arion damage 6 and Chapman is OOF.

There’s a confused scuffle lasting almost a minute, with the two sides punching and kicking and throwing each other into shelves full of toys. This ends with Chapman exhausted on the floor and Arion and Roger standing over him.

“You think you’ve won, you thieves?” Chapman gasps, “Wait till my lawyers are done with you.”

“Dolphin, you get all that?” asks Arion, kicking Chapman’s BAP out of grabbing range.

“Yes, Captain,” replies the spider drone.

“Good, we might need it later. Make two anonymous calls for me: An ambulance for this guy on the floor, and the police for Chapman. Keep recording, and upload everything to secure storage.”

“Why not just call the cops and send them the recording?” Roger asks. “Or wait and explain things when they arrive.”

“My patron wanted discretion. I can always be indiscreet later.”

“Yeah, but the store security cameras…”

“Are off. I guarantee it. Chapman won’t want any footage of him shooting and pistol-whipping this guy here. That makes our footage leverage in case he tries anything.”

Having completed the Defining Moment for the Target Building, we can now find the object – or not. First I roll 2d6 and take the lower score as the difficulty factor; 4, 5 so it’s difficulty 4. Arion and the object now each roll 3d6 as per pp. 54-55; Arion gets 346 vs Rep 5 and passes d6, the object gets 233 vs Difficulty 4 and passes 3d6. Arion fails to find the object, and so doesn’t solve any clues. Bah.

Arion checks the fallen figure’s pulse and respiration before quickly searching him while Roger holds Chapman at gunpoint. He then moves on to search Chapman.

“Nothing,” he says over his shoulder to Roger. “C’mon, let’s go before store security arrives. Can you walk?”

“Hobble, maybe. What’s going on?” asks Roger.

“Haven’t a clue,” says Arion, cheerfully, hoisting Roger to his feet and supporting him as they limp away. “Fun, isn’t it?”

That’s enough for one post I think, although strictly the scene doesn’t end until Our Heroes have escaped the board through section 9. (Before I forget, I consult the Recovery Table on p. 35; anyone knocked OOF rolls 2d6 on that table against their Rep. Chapman rolls 56, passes 1d6, and returns at full Rep but gets one decreasing Rep die and thus a chance for an all-expenses-paid trip to Rep 4. Roger rolls 24, passes 2d6, and returns at full Rep.) There are rules for shooting at figures carrying wounded, so it must be possible, and there are no dice rolls required to pick someone up, so I guess it just happens if I say it does; as I often do, when I’m not clear what to do from the rules I’m using, I look in the latest edition of Chain Reaction, which I think of as the core version of the rules, to validate my assumption; p.21 of that states that Stars can always choose to recover wounded by moving into contact with them at a cost of 2″ of movement. That’ll do.

STATUS

  • Star: Arion, 5 Star Power left, 0 clues out of 8 required.
  • Grunt: Roger Houston, Rep 5 Pilot.
  • Big Bad: Richard Chapman, 2 Star Power left, one decreasing Rep die.

REFLECTIONS

Once you’re in melee, under this version of the rules you’re stuck there until the fight ends – there’s no chance to withdraw at any point. I checked on the THW forum, and the author recommends using a Man Down test for Grunts withdrawing, and agrees a physical challenge could work for Stars.

I also wondered whether it was right that in a multi-figure melee you finish with one combatant completely before the next engages, as I’ve done above, but from other forum comments it looks like I’m doing it right.

The melee took longer than I’d like in real time, if it doesn’t speed up after repeated play I’ll replace it with something simpler.

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