“Ah, Ms McDonald, how are you?”
“Not good. They’ve got my daughter. They say they’ll kill her if I don’t hand over the cargo. I have… sources who traced the call to a drugstore downtown.”
“You want me to get her back?”
“Yes. Don’t involve the police. As you’ve seen, they own the police.”
This is a Raid encounter as per page 46. The kidnappers are holding the missing girl in the City Centre (5, 10 and 4 rolled for random location) and the opposition at the time of attack is a single NPC, #11 on the Criminal tables – female basic, Rep 4, Stunning x 2, Brawler, machine pistol, profession transporter and (die roll) no body armour. Hmm, interesting, might be worth recruiting that one – mind you, she is more likely to recruit Arion, which would be equally entertaining. I get the option of the day part and opt for daytime. The local law level is 4 (I’m using New Hope City’s law levels as a template). Arion is expecting trouble so is wearing body armour under a duster and carrying a backup BAP and a knife as well as his main weapon, in case a New York reload is required.
Arion goes to the downtown drugstore and drops off a couple of spiders from the repair swarm to check things out. Soon, he is looking at a view of the upstairs flat in his Augmented Reality visor., where a young girl is at play, albeit chained to a radiator and guarded by a stunningly beautiful woman in her mid-twenties. Surreptitiously, he checks the body armour under his coat, the pistols in shoulder holsters underneath it, and the knife in his boot. Adjusting his AR visor and taking a deep breath, he crosses the street.
Arion needs to resolve three PEFs before entering the target building, and a third one once inside. You’ve seen that before so I’ll cut to the chase and tell you he gets nothing on the first two, but the third is a group of three Exotics, an entertainer and two bounty hunters, numbers 5, 7 and 8 on the NPC table on p. 73. The leader is one of the bounty hunters, Rep 5. This group exchanges pleasantries with Arion but then leaves.
The street is unusually quiet for this time of day, but Arion’s nerves make every noise sound like an ambush. A passing group greets him and he returns the favour before entering the drugstore.
One of the things that is different about Fringe Space is activation; unlike the usual 1d6 per side with figures needing to roll less than their Rep to activate and doubles meaning a draw, in Fringe Space you roll 1d6 at the point of contact, with 4-6 meaning the player is active, and then the sides alternate moves after that, which I take to mean that the winner goes first each turn.
I decide that having observed the situation, and not being the sort to gun people down in cold blood in front of a child, as Arion breaks in there will be an In Sight test (the kidnapper might fire instinctively, or make a move that makes Arion do so), followed by a Talk the Talk, and then if necessary a Draw. Arion rolls a 4 for activation, so I assume he will wait until he his surveillance spider tells him his opponent is distracted, and then go in.
Arion climbs to the first floor, readies his weapon, and kicks in the door.
We go to In Sight, which is a draw, so as the moving side Arion loses. Looking at the Grunt actions on p. 25, my hopes of recruiting a hot sidekick are at least temporarily shattered as she opens fire with the machine pistol, rolling 662 for her three shots – adding her Rep of 4 gives her 10, 10 and 6; the 6 misses but a 10 always hits, so two rolls for damage: 1, 4 vs Arion’s effective Rep of 6 (5 basic, +1 for body armour). Both of those are Duck Back results. Gunshots have now been heard and I determine the police will arrive in 6 turns, on turn 7.
The kidnapper must’ve heard Arion coming; she’s waiting as he comes through the door and opens up with a burst from a machine pistol. Arion ducks back around the door jamb, wondering how thick the walls are and whether they’ll stop a machine pistol round.
Arion fires from cover – it seems reasonable she is in cover as well at this point, though. This triggers another In Sight and the kidnapper again sprays Arion with hot lead, hitting once and getting a 6 for damage – Obviously Dead. Arion breaks out the Star Power dice and rolls 51314, keeping all the dice and reducing the damage to nothing. Arion now returns fire, but misses because of the -1 Rep when firing a BAP.
Arion sticks one eye and a gun barrel around the corner and fires twice, but his aim is hurried and he misses, while his opponent again sprays him with MP fire. “Man,” Arion thinks to himself, “I have to get me one of those.”
Arion again peeks around the door jamb, wins the In Sight and fires, but misses again. This triggers a Received Fire test for the kidnapper, who rolls 62 vs Rep 4 and passes 1d6 – as she is the last character her side has on the table (the hostage is more of an objective marker, I figure), she Leaves the Table. Arion is now in possession of the field of battle and the hostage; he picks her up and leaves with her in tow.
The kidnapper seems to be more interested in keeping him suppressed than actually killing him, so Arion decides she is waiting for something and refuses to be suppressed. He fires again, and a gravsled pulls up; the kidnapper rolls out of the window into it, and it lifts out of sight at full throttle. Checking around, he quickly satisfies himself there is no other opposition, and moves up to the girl.
“Hi,” he says, kneeling next to her and holstering his gun, “My name is Arion – your mother sent me to get you. Would you like me to take you to her?” The girl nods, as one of Arion’s spider’s unlimbers a tiny cutting torch and slices through the chain.
“Okay then, let’s go.”
Arion gains another increasing Rep d6 for causing the kidnapper to flee. Let’s resolve the police investigation now as well: Roll 1d6 vs law level (4) to see if they investigate – a 1, so they do. Arion is called in to the police station for questioning, he scores 3 successes to the investigator’s 2 (see page 41) and is released.
It’s clear that Fringe Space can be played indefinitely without any table, terrain or figures. At the moment that suits me very well, although the writeups are not as interesting as if I had some photos to upload – the detailed pictures the game generates in my mind’s eye are not showing up in the blog!
It’s also clear that it plays much faster than previous THW games I’ve tried.
Finally, under the revised damage rules, machine pistols are more dangerous than in those earlier games – of the weapons which don’t reduce effective Rep when rolling to hit, the MP has the highest rate of fire, and now that weapon calibre doesn’t affect damage rolls any more, that gives it quite an edge.