Saturday, January 16, 2016

Fringe Space: a short playtest review

This is my first adventure using Fringe Space, a "lite RPG" from Two Hour Wargames. Essentially, you control a small band of characters going from planet to planet in the 5150 universe, doing legal and illegal jobs.

As in 5150 Urban Renewal, your goal is to gain enough during your career to be able to have good life once you retire. Indeed, Fringe Space is like a toolbox with bits from Urban Renewal, New Hope City: PI, and Larger than Life. There are nice ideas to move the campaign forward and combat, when it happens, is a lot more abstract than in other miniature games.

Using the character creation system I rolled my main character and added two companions. Winston is an investigative reporter selling holo-vids about corporations (projects, conflicts etc.) to Gaea Prime networks. He also performs smuggling and information theft jobs for select customers. Pingh is his assistant, operating the holo-vid equipment and Axor plays bodyguard for both of them. Actually, he is somehow indebted with Pingh... good luck prying into a Grath's personal matters. All of the three carry big-*** pistols and wear body armor.

Winston (center), Pingh and Axor
Winston - Rep 5 star (25 years old Basic male)
Investigative reporter (Mercenary / social standing 3)
Charismatic, Coward, Resilient
Home world: 3rd ring, 5th sector, class 1 planet, law level 4
Family ties: 24 year old female sister
BAP, Body armor

Pingh - Rep 3 grunt (32 years old Hishen male)
Initiative, Brawler, Slight
BAP, Body armor

Axor - Rep 4 grunt (33 years old Grath)
Brawler, Brick wall, Initiative
BAP, Body armor

Information Brokering

Winston was on a settlement on the Groff planet, on the 5th sector of the 4th ring -- the outskirts of Gaea Prime domain. He arranged a lunch meeting with an information dealer at a restaurant in a mid-level neighborhood -- alone. On his way, using the public transportation system, he met Alys [basic female, 25 year-old, rep 4, resilient, brawler, poser], a medical tech operator. He got her comlink ID in case he might need to hire someone with medical knowledge.
[I rolled for the two possible enemy forces (PEFs) on the way to the encounter; the first was this NPC, and Winston succeeded at a Talk the Talk test. The second one was nothing.]

Dane was already waiting at the restaurant. He kept shifting in his chair and glancing around while they ate lunch and arranged the meeting. It would happen the next day, on a warehouse in the slums. Winston agreed.
[The third PEF resolved as a contact, thus becoming the dealer Winston wanted to meet. Again, he succeeded at the Talk the Talk test, and I rolled for the details of the deal meeting.]

The whole team went to the meeting, and Dane was there with a couple of bodyguards too. He held a small black box with both hands. "Let's keep this simple." Winston handed an unmarked credit stick to one of the bodyguards, then grabbed the black box with the other. The large man slotted the stick on a portable holo-comp and nodded, and Dane let go of the box.
[I rolled for the company that Dane had with him. Winston succeeded at the Deal, buying the information he wanted. This added 4 positive Rep dice for the campaign month. Unfortunately, I rolled all Rep dice but did not increase Winston's rep.]

Winston and team boarded their ship, the Vagrant, and flew out to sector 1 of the 4th ring. Their plan was to jump to the 3rd ring, where the buyer of the information was. During their flight, they encountered a Hishen cutter patrolling the sector, and then a Star Navy cutter. Neither ship found reason to board them, and so the trip was without surprises.
[In this second campaign turn, I did not have an encounter, so I just had to resolve three sector PEFs, which did not result in any incidents.]

The Vagrant arrived at sector 1 of ring 3. They met a Xeog independent trader, and then a Gaea Prime heavy freighter. In both cases, they just hailed and moved on, not caring to learn more about each others' business.
[This was the third campaign turn. Again, I chose not to have an encounter and instead just resolve PEFs for movement.]

Winston finally arrived at New Hope City, to meet his contact. They arranged a meeting in an apartment building at the low end district, during the day. Pingh took the time to meet someone in Little Hisha, but let Axor acting as Winston's bodyguard. There was no trouble on the way, but his contact was not there... Winston was worried: first, because his contact had never missed a meeting before. Second, because he was counting on this job to pay some debts.
[This turn, I chose to have a Chillin' encounter to meet the buyer of the information. However, the third PEF did not result in a contact, so he was not there.]

These were the four initial campaign turns for a test session of Fringe Space. I intend to have a second part of this post, in which I will try the ship and character combat systems. For now, I can say that the Charismatic attribute is very handy to prevent unwanted attention -- as it gives a good edge in Talk the Talk tests.


Fitz-Badger said...

Interesting report.

Ed TheTHWguy said...

You'll see that like Urban Renewal and Larger Than Life, you're not quite sure what will happen next. Thanks for posting.