Arion, Episode 13: When the Ship Lifts

Posted: 24 February 2016 in Arioniad

“When the ship lifts, all debts are paid. No regrets.” – Robert A Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

The Arioniad, Season Two: Fringe Space

First, I need to set up Arion for 5150: Fringe Space, as each THW game uses slightly different character generation, tweaked to reflect the particular setting. I did that for most games here, but didn’t have Fringe Space at the time. Since he is a well-established character, I’m selecting appropriate results rather than dicing for them.

As usual, Arion is a male Rep 5 Star. His attributes are Ace and Steely Eyes. (He usually gets White Knight instead of Ace, but that isn’t in FS and Ace is in-character.) He is an Exotic Pilot (notice that his profession replaces the Skills in earlier 5150 games), so he uses the Mercenary reaction tables and has a Social Standing of 3. I decide he is 30 years old. His birthworld is Makaria, a class 2 planet (the most likely for someone with Ace), but he currently lives on Corinth, a class 1 planet in sector 1 of ring 3. I skip the family ties section – maybe later.

For gear, Arion has a Trader ship, a pistol, a commlink/UVB which is actually part of the ship’s repair swarm, a pistol, body armour, a smartsuit (in the sense that it can change its colours and logos), a spacesuit and several BAPs he liberated from various assailants during Season One. He can carry five items and will normally have a BAP, a knife, a commlink, his smartsuit and (if expecting trouble) his body armour.

Let’s say that Season One, Larger Than Life, all happened in January 2220, because really it was spread over no more than a week. (Wait, I hear you ask, wasn’t it 3016 in Season One? Yes, yes it was, and someday I will explain how that can be. But not today.) Since the increasing and decreasing Rep systems are essentially the same between LTL and FS, I will say Arion’s Lifetime Rep total is now 3. (I’m going to use the Lifetime Rep total as Arion’s experience point total for Savage Worlds when that comes around again, and I’ll figure something out for Stars Without Number in due course.)

Turn Sequence: February 2220

Slow and didactic this time as it’s the first run through the sequence…

Determine starting ring and sector: Corinth is in ring 3 sector 1.

Determine if on a planet: Yes, Corinth.

Check for random event (p. 59): 1d6=4 so no event this month (they occur on a roll of 1-3).

Decide whether to move and move: Yes, move to deliver Anderson’s cargo. For dramatic purposes, I’m going to say that the end of episode 12 counts as a Job Offer (Fringe Space pp. 46-47) from Anderson, who is a Mover Politician, to haul cargo (p. 53-54). I roll 2d6 on the Hauling Cargo table (p. 54) to determine the destination and get 5, 4 – this tells me I am delivering the cargo to sector 4 in ring 1. I then roll a die on the sample system map on p. 82 to find that the planet is “2/3 Indy Basic”, which means it’s a class 2 planet, law level 3, independent but populated by humans (“basics”).

Taking the job costs one decreasing Rep d6, but Arion gets 3 increasing Rep d6 on delivery and 2 more per ring traveled through, namely 2 x 2 = 4, and there’s also one decreasing Rep die per person per month in upkeep. In February I move from ring 3 sector 1 to ring 1 sector 1, in March I will move to the target planet, so the trip will take two months. The job is therefore worth 3 + 4 – 1 – 2 = 4 increasing Rep d6, more if I take on other cargoes, less if I hire crew.

Decide whether to have an encounter: I decide not to have an encounter this month; I have cargo to deliver.

Resolve PEF 1, 2 and 3: As I chose not to have an encounter, all three PEFs appear where I choose to end movement, namely ring 1 sector 1. Notice that in Fringe Space you always meet the PEF – in most other rules they can be dodged because they move (usually) or stay still (LTL) Since I’m in space I use the Sector table.

PEF 1: I roll 2d6 against the PEF Rep of 4 (they’re all Rep 4) and get 2, 1 = pass 2d6; I have run into NPCs. I roll 1d6 for how many; 2 = one less than my group, which is bumped up to the minimum encounter of one. Rolling 1d6 twice on the Who Are They table for Ring 1, I get 2, 6 – a Gaea Prime trader. I dice for the Captain’s Rep (2) and Attribute (Rage), then go to the ship-to-ship Talk the Talk table and roll Rep d6 for each captain, looking for successes (rolls of 1-3). The NPC Captain gets 34 = 1 success, Arion gets 12356 = 3 successes. As I have scored more successes I could recruit him, but firstly he looks like a liability and secondly I can’t really afford him.

PEF 2: Zhuh-Zhuh light freighter. For those not familiar with the setting, Zhuh-Zhuh are an associate species of humanity (sorry, Basics) and are apelike. This particular Zhuh-Zhuh is Rep 4 and Slow to React, and gets 2 successes to Arion’s 2; they exchange pleasantries and go their separate ways.

PEF 3: Gaea Prime light freighter. Captain is Rep 4 Drunkard, 2 successes to Arion’s 0; he doesn’t actually attack, since he is neither military nor a pirate, we now have history. I decide to name him Pollard Lush.

Roll to increase/decrease Rep: Arion ends February with two decreasing Rep dice, so rolls 2d6: 4, 5 means he doesn’t lose any Rep – just as well, he is short two crew so operating at Rep 3 already. His lifetime Rep total is now +1; +3 from January, -2 for this month.

Adjust Band size: I may hire people, they may leave the crew if I lose Rep. I decide not to as it will increase the drain on resources.

The Narrative

So much for the rules, what about the story? Well, dramatically speaking nothing much happened this month, if this were a face to face game I would cut from the end of episode 12 to the next meaningful encounter. So just a vignette, and that only because Pollard Lush may be encountered again.


Arion is spiralling in to land at his destination when a beat-up light freighter blasts off and hurtles straight through the traffic pattern, heedless of who might be coming the other way. Arion breaks hard left and the two ships miss each other by centimetres. Arion is still recovering when there is an incoming message. He accepts, to find himself staring at a bleary-eyed and moustachioed figure with a bulbous red nose and a captain’s hat that has seen better days.

“Wha’ the hell you doin’ in my way, cub? Din ya see me comin’?”

“No,” says Arion. “Perhaps if you…” but he is interrupted.

“He dinna see me,” slurs the captain over his shoulder at an unseen (and possibly imaginary) companion, before turning back to the camera. “Increble. You stay outta my way, cub, or I’ll cut you, unnerstan?” And he cuts the commlink to deny Arion a chance to reply.

Arion shakes his head and continues his descent, more alertly than before.


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