Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Vagrant - a 5150 campaign

Following my playtest review of Fringe Space, I decided to continue Winston's adventures as a campaign using rules from Fringe Space and 5150 Urban Renewal.

The idea is to play an open-ended campaign. Every six months (campaign turns) I will evaluate Winston's situation to decide if the campaign should go on. Of course, if Winston dies along the way, the campaign is over.
The Vagrant crew
The campaign is named after Winston's ship, a trader class vessel. The ship crew consists of Winston, acting as captain of the ship, Pingh and Tanya (42 years old Basic female, Rep 3, Initiative, Poser, Resilient). Axor just hangs by while on the ship.

The campaign will start where my last report left: Winston and friends are at New Hope City, with a data stick full of stolen corporate information.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Battle for Zorpel: Salvage

This is report #7 on the Battle for Zorpel.

In this mission, the human soldiers must salvage some electronics left in a ruined area overgrown with vegetation. A robot patrol spotted them and moved in to destroy the equipment or kill any soldiers.

The humans are Igor (grunt), James (level 1 Scout), Karl (grunt) and Leon (grunt). There are two regular robots, one riflebot and one assault robot.
Board setup for the mission.
The humans went first and reached their objective right away. The robots approached, trying to attack their objective [I rolled to choose if they would attack the humans (1-4) or focus on their objective (5-6), the result was a 5]. Meanwhile, Igor was positioned to cover the approach of other robots.

A robot grunt entered Igor's field of view. He fired but missed, then the robot took him out of action. In the nearby woods, while Karl retrieved the salvage, Leon fired at the robots. One of them was destroyed, the other bailed out [this happened during a firefight turn].
Igor is taken out of the fight by the approaching skelebot.
The riflebot moved back into the woods, but Karl snap fired at it, knocking it down. Meanwhile, the other robots advanced and fire at their second objective.
One robot out of action, another knocked down.
Having completed their mission, the soldiers moved out, dragging Igor with them.

This was a victory for the human soldiers, made easier by the random assignment of map edges for the forces. The campaign progress is back to zero (from -2 in the previous game).

Igor was seriously wounded and it will take 10 campaign days to recover.

The next mission will be a standard military mission after 4 campaign days, so Igor will not be available.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Tunnels and Trolls Classic Solos

As a backer of the Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls crowdfunding, I also received the Adventurers Compendium (in PDF format.) It is a compilation of 10 solo adventures (and some GM adventures too), originally published from 1978 to the early 80's. Looking for a quick RPG fix, I decided to try some of them (being fully aware that many of them are brutal.)

To keep to "old school" traditions, I rolled a character (although Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls does have an option for point-buy character creation.) Thus was born Brelok, the rogue. From his attributes, we can see that Brelok is quite frail and not really charming; an odd, twitchy man hiding in the shadows and stealing what he needs:

Brelok (level 1 human rogue)
STR 6, CON 17, DEX 4, SPD 14
IQ 12, WIZ 5, LK 13, CHR 4
Personal adds: +3
Talents: lock-picking, stealth
Items: high quality dagger (2d6+4), 20x caltrops, leather armor (3 hits), lock picks, basic delver's package, 6gp.

(Note: personal adds are a bonus added during combat by the character. For those curious about this game, there is a free short version of the rules.)

The wannabe warrior
And off went Brelok for a stroll in the wilds, only to be captured by barbarians, stripped of his possessions and put to a trial to determine if he is the reincarnation of a legendary king. That is how the mini solo adventure "Kingmaker" starts. It did not last very long: in the first trial, Brelok was crushed in combat against a much tougher opponent.

After such a quick career, Brelok went to the Abyss, a solo adventure for dead characters, included in the Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls book. Not that he fared much better there, being dragged to hell by a demonic creature right away.

The smuggler
In a parallel dimension, Brelok II tried to smuggle drugs into the city of Gull, in the solo adventure "Golden Dust, Red Death". Not only did he make a good job of it, but he gained 2000gp and 1000 adventure points. 

With these gains, Brelok II raised STR to 8, DEX to 7, SPD to 17, LK to 15. These changes increased his personal adds to +8. He also purchased a high quality shortsword (3d6+4) and a suit of brigandine (8 hits, -2 DEX).

After these upgrades, Brelok II went to another shopping session at the Great Bazaar of Khazan, starting "A Sworded Adventure". He got mugged but got 200 adventure points in the process, more than enough to raise LK to 16 (add 1 to his personal adds.)

Enjoying his good luck so far, Brelok II traveled to a distant fishing village, in "Seven Ayes." There he found his doom in a tavern filled with weird and ugly folk (and I cannot add more without giving out spoilers.)

I am still amazed at how open and rules-light Tunnels and Trolls is, compared to other "old-school" RPGs. Looking at its 1st edition reprint, the same core ideas present in the Deluxe edition are already there. This alone makes it inviting for narrative play and solo play. The vast amount of solo adventures is good, too.

The mini solo adventures that I tried can be really brutal. I am convinced that if a given adventure is recommended for characters up to, say, level 4, then a level 4 character is required -- preferably a warrior with a lot of personal adds.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sci-fi settlements

I created a few, simple sci-fi settlement buildings in 15mm scale to use in miniature games. Here is a link to the PDF file with uncolored and colored versions.
Low-resolution preview of the colored version
The buildings can be assembled as fold-flat or permanent structures. Not as simple as Toposolitario's Ikubes but still very handy. Each building is 75mm x 75mm x 30mm.

Here is a picture of a test build, along with some miniatures (15mm at eye level.)

"On the count of three..."

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Battle for Zorpel: Liberation?

This is report #6 on the Battle for Zorpel.

This was part of an offensive action to take back a settlement invaded by the skelebots. As they were losing ground, the robots started destroying equipment and infrastructure. The colonist team must shut down the power generators [by contacting the green and blue buildings] before the skelebots could damage them [by suppressing the blue and yellow buildings.]
Board setup, with randomly generated terrain, objectives and starting edges.
The human team consists of: Ford - level 1 rifleman (1 Grenade), Harry - level 2 heavy (Ammo pack, Dodge), Igor - level 0 grunt, James - level 0 grunt.

The skelebots include a leader - level 2 commander (+1 Morale, Counter move), 2 advanced skelebots - level 1 Assault (+1 Brawl) and 2 skelebot grunts.

[Note: I was reading the class advancement tables in Five Core like the ones in D&D, e.g. level and benefit, and only now I figured they were probably meant to be used with random rolls. Still, I will keep using them the wrong way on this campaign.]

The skelebots started shooting at the nearest building. Ford ran to the blue building while Harry covered him from the ruins. The new recruits rushed to the green building. They managed to shut down both generators before they could be damaged.

One of the advanced skelebots charged Ford but was suppressed by Harry. He, in turn, was taken down by the skelebot leader. The other skelebots moved around the buildings and shot Ford and the recruits down.
A couple of turns and the game was nearly over!
Igor and James recovered and ran away, dodging the enemy fire. Ford and and Harry were captured by the skelebots.

A victory for the skelebots, 9 points vs. 5 points. This was a priority mission, and failing at it caused a greater impact on the war effort. Current campaign progress is at -2. The next mission will be a standard military mission. James gained experience, becoming a scout.

In hindsight, it was a bad idea to put the more experienced soldiers in risk. Originally, the plan was to use their grenade and ammo pack to suppress or even destroy some of the robots. However, I rolled a scurry turn and decided to try and run for the objectives instead.