Leicester All Scar Kill Team – Easter carnage

Posted in 40k, Gaming events with tags , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2014 by Mik Calow

BLYesterday was the first (hopefully of many more to come) Leicester AllScars Kill Team event. We had 14 players facing 6 rounds (one for each mission in the official dataslate) down at Tabletop Tyrants.

Even though everyone’s lists had been made available via the website actually seeing them on the tables was awe-inspiring. My personal favourite (no bias, they just happened to be painted in black and gold) was Edd Quick’s Four Juggers of the Apocalypse Chaos Deamon team – a quartet of juggernaut mounted bloodletters.

With my list and models in hand I looked at the fixtures, I would be facing a good mixture of opponents:

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  • Rnd 1 Lee’s Jetbike Eldar – I’d faced his Imperial Guard in the Crusaders, but not his Eldar yet.
  • Rnd 2 Alasdhair’s Aspect Eldar – hadn’t played Alasdhair at all but had seen his excellently painted chaos marines.
  • Rnd 3 David’s Sternguard – I’d yet to face David or Sternguard on the table but we both had 5 man teams.
  • Rnd 4 Simon’s Salamanders – was hoping he’d brought his ork bikers for a “rumble” but looked forward to playing against him for a first time.
  • Rnd 5 Jon’s Space Wolf PMC – Would they prove deadlier than his Tau?
  • Rnd 6 John’s Crimson Slaughter – I’d missed playing John in our first tournament due to illness, so another first.

 

So how did the rounds go,

CAM00758 CAM00759Round 1 v Lee – His shuriken cannon was visciously tearing at my bikes so I focused a fair bit of fire at it and thankfully took it out, I also managed to take his Scorpion Exarch out using the Hammer of Wrath as one of the bikes charged in. Unfortunately despite needing 6′s to damage me my saving throws sucked and by turn 5 he’d wiped me out.

 

 

 

CAM00760Round 2 v Alasdhair, despite a lucky shot taking his Fire Dragon Exarch out it only took 2 turns for his remaining fusion armed Dragons to reduce my bikes to lumps of molten slag.

 

 

 

 

 

CAM00761CAM00762 CAM00763Round 3  v David, rolled Crystal Body for my champions Gift this time making him T7! But this didn’t stop me failing armour saves once again. Still managed to take his leader out first go though and a couple of my guys even survived dangerous terrain tests to surge into assaults, but at the end of turn 4 David had taken me out.

 

CAM00764Round 4 v Simon. We both rolled the Leader trait that would give us an extra VP for destroying the others leader in a challenge an visions of a vicious hand-to-hand battle came to mind. Only to be shattered as his leader failed its armour save to my very first shot of the game.

For once my guys were actually passing armour saves, I even managed to shoot down the landspeeder. With the variable game length roll on the mission ending the battle I was victorious!

Yes you heard it right folks, a victory for my Black Legion.

 

CAM00766 CAM00767Round 5 v Jon. His heavily converted PMC space wolves (see his blog for details) certainly looked mean, especially the huge thunderwolf.

The slavering beast chewed through a pair of my bikes before claiming the objective hill.

I managed to shoot down its smaller cousin and thanks yet again to opponents failing dice rolls I managed to drop his leader in turn 3, just before that darn dog tore my remaining forces apart like chew toys.

Round 6 v John, I didn’t manage to get any pictures during this one, it was that brief! Draznicht’s melta armed troops were tearing through my men like paper. The only redeeming moment came when Jaxxon (my leader) rode forward and took the Slaughters champion out with his Combi-Melta. Unfortunately it was too little too late and another turn 2 loss.

The final results were tallied and the overall winner, and deservedly so, was Alasdhair, having won all 6 of his games convincingly. The winner of the short story competition we had linked to the event was Edd, as voted by the members ourselves.

In hindsight the Mark of Nurgle was a touch of overkill and would have been better replaced by Mark of Tzeentch, thus giving me an invulnerable save which (albeit a 6) could have maybe prevented a few melta-deaths. Also taking soulblaze on Chibbs proved pointless, of the 6 opponents I faced only Jon had multi-wound models.

However, I really liked the format of Kill Team and the way you could play several games in a single afternoon. It reminded me of Necromunda somewhat and I have many fond memories of that game.

So with a victory finally under my belt I turn my attention to our next event – the 2014 Leicester Allscars Tournament, beginning next month. The draw has already been made for the first round and I shall be facing Joe, I’ve suffered at his hands during the Crusaders campaign, so I shall have to see what I can come up with to try and get a win out of this one.

Time for a surgical strike

Posted in 40k, Gaming events with tags , , , , , , , on April 11, 2014 by Mik Calow

BLThis weekend see’s the Leicester AllScars Easter Kill Team event.

We shall be descending upon Tabletop Tyrants (our regular home) to play a 6 30 minute round tourney, using each of the 6 missions from the Kill Team Dataslate. We have also run a literary competition beside it, requiring a short (500 word max) story about your respective Kill Team.

As always I have taken my SAMCRO based Black Legion chaos space marines, and while I toyed with taking a team based solely upon the chosen mini’s from the Dark Vengeance boxed set, I just couldn’t “break character” and chose my team based upon the biker gang I centre most of my army selections from.

Lord Morrow stalked from his shuttle to the bridge of the Ruinous Bounty. Only one of the cult members dared approach him mid route, the crumpled remains of his mangled corpse deterring further interruptions. It was obvious that his meeting with the Warmaster had not gone well.

Taking his seat upon the command deck he thumbed the comm channel “Jaxxon, attend me, now!” and closed the channel without waiting for a confirmation. The Warmaster had indeed been displeased with the failed conquest of Vordrast and Morrow was genuinely surprised to have left the Black Star Fortress alive. His warband needed a victory to restore morale; open warfare hadn’t suited their fighting style so it was time to get back to basics.

Jaxxon strode onto the bridge, with his helmet off revealing his face which could probably still have passed as a loyalist marine as it was yet to show any signs of the corruption of chaos. That didn’t mean that he was a rookie though, no, he was Morrow’s right hand and many had expected him to take command if the older warrior had been slain by Abandon.

“Jaxx, choose a crew and take a cruise” commanded Morrow, “let the Men of Mayhem restore the faith with the blood of our enemies” and dismissed his lieutenant with a wave.

Jaxx headed for the vehicle bays, already mentally selecting his men as he walked. Opie was a must, his hit’n’run tactics would be perfect for a strike team especially coupled with the devastation of his rides meltagun. Chibbs was also a guaranteed choice, his hatred of everyone manifesting by imbuing his weapons with soulfire. Tiggs would also be an excellent choice with his flamer-equipped bike burning their foes. His final choice would be Jooz; the youngster had an excellent knack for being able to target enemies despite their cover.

Happy with his crew, he used the nearest wall comm to summon his chosen men to the maintenance bay. He knew they wouldn’t trust the cult adepts to make the final checks on their rides before Otto the warpsmith could give them a final blessing before they were deployed.

Once the prayers had ended and the sacrifices made, the bay filled with the roar of finely tuned engines as the Reaper Crew rode out.

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Fast Attack (200pts)

Chaos Bikers (200pts)

4x Chaos Biker (80pts), Flamer (5pts), Mark of Nurgle (30pts), Meltagun (10pts), Veteran of the Long War (5pts)

  • Chaos Biker Champion (70pts)

Combi-melta (10pts), Gift of Mutation (10pts), Melta Bombs (5pts), Power Weapon (15pts)

Name Unit Type WS BS S T W I A LD Save Pg
Chaos Biker Bike 4 4 4 6 1 4 1 8 3+ 37
Chaos Biker Champion Bike (Character) 4 4 4 6 1 4 2 9 3+ 37
  • Gift of Mutation:

Specialists

Hit & Run – Opie

Soul Blaze – Chibbs

Ignore Cover – Jooz

Having looked at several of the other submitted lists and the missions ahead this could be very interesting. It will be the first time playing Kill Team and playing to a time limit (other than the stores own opening times) so I have no idea just how things will pan out – hopefully with at least 1 (or more) wins to finally break my streak.

D&DEnc 17 – Scourge of the Sword Coast – Session 8

Posted in D & D Next, D&D, Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2014 by Mik Calow

dnd_products_dndacc_sundering3_pic3_enWe only had my table this week at Tabletop Tyrants as most players on the second table had real-life commitments to deal with. I had a full team once again.

  • Sunyi – Mal, dragonborn cleric (Light domain).
  • Adam – Gedrick Gladomain, high elf ranger.
  • Tanis – Langar ‘Lan’ Shadowweaver, wood elf rogue.
  • Oliver – Kaemri, dragonborn rogue.
  • Heather – Fudwick, gnome barbarian.
  • Tilly – Harrold ‘the halfpint’ Hopson, halfling rogue.

Having spent a short rest to prepare themselves the heroes decided to let the rogues scout the best approach to the castle proper. With the steepness of the hill the only practical approach would be the main path but they hugged the  hillside were able to see that the main wall was patrolled by a pair of orcs while another pair were stationed on the arched gateway. Returning to their comrades they decide to try and hug the eastern wall and sneak in through the collapsed section.

The plan worked reasonably well, with Fudwick even managing to guide his mount over the rubble into the courtyard, that is until Gedrick cam across last. Misplacing his feet and tumbling down the loose stones to the path below and alerting the pair of orcs on the archway. They threw javelins at him but missed and blew an alarm on their horn.

The rest of the heroes spotted a handful of orcs rushing out of the ramshackle tents in the courtyard and cutting a slash in the back of the nearest large tent managed to sneak inside before being seen. The orcs rushed to the opening and began pursuing Gedrick who led them back down the hill towards the campsite. Once there he tried to distract them with his prestidigitation created images but they ignored them and skewered him with javelins (out of 5 shots I scored 3 hits and a crit, giving him 25 damage!) before he made it to the woods beyond and once again used his cantrip to make the sounds of an approaching sizable force. The orcs began to return to the castle.

Meanwhile back in the courtyard Kaemri used his skills to sniper an orc sentry, the bolt going through the beast throat and pinning it into place where it stood so that it still looked to be on guard. The heroes then use their ranged attacks to take out the pair or patrolling orcs on the curtain wall with quiet ease. Leaving Fudwicks mount in the tent they then head through what looked to have been an armoury, taking the remaining halberd, short swords, longsword and flail before ambushing the pair of orcs on the arch. They propped the dead orcs up against the wall to make them appear still at their posts. As they did so they heard grunting noises coming from the door at the far end. Preparing their weapons, Fudwick pulled the door open and the heroes let loose, quickly slaughtering the large orc and his quartet of pigs within the room.

By now the remaining orcs that had chased Gedrick were approaching the castle and the heroes on the archway peppered them with missile fire easily taking them out before they even got within range of returning fire. Gedrick collected up the spent ammunition and returned it to his comrades as they met up back in the courtyard.

They quickly decide to head into the northern buildings, through the defaced entry hall and into what looked to be a communal eating area. A search amongst the build up of refuse revealed a trapdoor in the floor and after checking it wasnt trapped the heroes descended.

The trapdoor led onto a narrow steeply descending staircase, beyond which they could see it opened into a chamber apparently lit by firelight. Kaemri peeked cautiously into the chamber and discovered the sleeping forms of a pair of the larger orcs. Using his stealth he snuck forward and killed them without waking them. The rest of the party joined him in the room as they planned their next move.

There were there darkened corridors leading out of the room, east, south and west, and the trio of rogues decided to scout one each, Lan heading east, Kaemri south, and Halfpint (accompanied by Fudwick) west.

players-harpshield-dungeons

Halfpint and Kaemri used a lit oil soaked rag in an empty potion bottle as a temporary light source while Lan used one of his candles. The elf skulked along the darkened corridor passing an opening to his right before his path turned north and ended in a door. It took him a couple of attempts but he managed to unlock it and passed into the room beyond. A thick central pillar dominated the room with a large coil of rope around it but nothing else caught his attention so he returned to the south opening. This led down to another door.

Kaemri glided down the south tunnel finding a door a short ways in. He couldn’t find any traps on it and pulled it open. The smell that assaulted him was horrible, fetid and decayed refuse as well as a hacked elven corpse. Even after he had pushed the door closed he felt nauseated. Continuing south he came to a junction, the way south blocked by an orc built barricade but another corridor led eastward. Rather than clamber over the barricade he turned east soon finding a pair of double doors to his right. A brief examination revealed dim sunlight and the smell of fresh air and water (which thankfully cleared his head of the previous stench), but he continued down the corridor until it ended in a door.

The halfling and gnome headed west but the corridor soon turned south, eventually opening into a chamber whose western half had been made into a pair of cells complete with shackles and manacles chained to the walls. Both cells were open and empty. Two exits led from the chamber, a corridor leading east and a stairway descending south. The pair of heroes took the stairs and found themselves in a largish chamber with several broken and empty crates, barrels and boxes. Another set of stairs led up and out to the east but as they searched through the debris they discovered a movable section of the western wall. Once they had convinced themselves it wasnt trapped they pushed through into a narrow corridor which led into a hidden chamber.

The chamber has several niches and alcoves lining its walls and a stairway leading up to the north but it was choked with rubble. Nothing of note took the heroes attention so they took the passage at the far end to the north and discovered another chamber. This one certainly had something worth looking at, at its center sat a large open chest filled with shining coins and a crystal decanter sitting proudly on their top. Halfpint and Fudwick cautiously checked for any sign of traps and finding none they examined the loot. The decanter was labeled “Healing” and looked to contain the equivalent of about four potions worth of liquid while the chest was filled with silver and copper coins. Just to be safe the pair searched the room for any hidden compartments and found another sliding wall panel leading north.

gold-catPassing through they found a larger chamber, this one had a pair of smaller closed chests, a trio of display stands holding a suit of chainmail, a warhammer and a shield, a trio of large clay urns and a wooden bench with a life-sized golden statuette of a cat sitting on it.

Opening the first chest the diminutive heroes found electrum and silver coins, the second chest yielded gold coins and an abundance of red gems which Fudwick identified as Bloodstones.

Turning their attention to the statuette they checked for traps,careful not to actually touch the bench or cat. Satisfied that there were none, Fudwick picked it up to appraise it…..

pouncing-tiger

… the statuette shattered as the cat sprang forth, growing as it did so into a large snarling tiger!

Halfpint and Fudwick quickly grabbed their weapons…..

 

 

And as they rolled for initiative I ended the session (we had overrun by about 15 minutes anyway but what a cliffhanger). It was quite coincidental that both of our female players (both playing male small race characters) chose to head off together, will it spell their doom?  A really fun session with some great moments and excellent player interaction, I really liked their idea to use the burning rags as small light sources for sneaking around rather than the very bright coins with a light spell on them, certainly shows they’re thinking tactically.

So next week we’ll begin with the pouncing tiger, I had pre-rolled initiatives for all the monster left in the castle and comparing  it to the rolls Tilly and Heather made (and I noted down) it’s certainly going to be a bloody beginning :-)

D&DEnc 17 – Scourge of the Sword Coast – Session 7

Posted in D & D Next, D&D, Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2014 by Mik Calow

dnd_products_dndacc_sundering3_pic3_enAnother full table this week for me down at Tabletop Tyrants

  • Sunyi – Mal, dragonborn cleric (Light domain).
  • Adam – Gedrick Gladomain, high elf ranger.
  • Tanis – Langar ‘Lan’ Shadowweaver, wood elf rogue.
  • Oliver – Kaemri, dragonborn rogue.
  • Heather – Fudwick, gnome barbarian.
  • Tilly – Harrold ‘the halfpint’ Hopson, halfling rogue.

After a brief recap we picked up at the point we left it last week and a call for initiative…

The remaining orcs of the camp, led by a large built specimen, each grasped their wicked axes eagerly. Halfpint considered charging through the throng to attack the leader but (wisely) decided just to spring at the nearest orc, stabbing with his blades before neatly sidestepping away.

A pair of orcs tried to hack at Kaemri, the first missed while the second almost gutted the dragonborn (a crit which reduced the pc to 1 hp!), while the rest engaged the rest of the party (apart from Lan who was still up a tree providing covering fire).

The fight was vicious, and despite the rogues using their cunning actions to disengage their opponents were quick to follow and gave no respite in their brutal assaults. By the time the heroes had slain the last of the dozen orcs both rogues and Fudwicks mount had been knocked unconscious (twice in Halfpints case) and had to rely on Mal’s healing spells and their potions to survive. As they began to catch their breath they realised that a quartet of more orcs were approaching from the northern camp, possibly to investigate the noise of combat. Still weakened, Halfpint led Fudwicks healed horse into the cover of trees while the rest of the party ducked into the tents of the orc camp so as to ambush the newcomers.

Fudwick used his illusion to produce an image of an elven wizard with a pile of gold. Two of the orcs immediately headed for it but the other two seemed to sense something was a little off. Both the dragonborns let loose with their breath weapons, quickly  destroying the two fooled by the illusion, while Gedrick and Fudwick charged the others.

The party slew one of the orcs and knocked the last one out, wanting to interrogate it regards the other camp and castles defenses. Kaemri proved decidedly adept at the task with Gedrick translating the orcs foul tongue. While this went on Lan descended his perch and had a search amongst the orcs belongings finding a few caches of coins.

The orc revealed that only four more orcs remained at the other camp, probably still sleeping, but many were in the castle under the command of the White One, along with his magician Sezibul and her pet Lutha who the orcs described as a great lumbering beast. Once they realised the orc had nothing else to add they put the beast down permanently.

Kaemri and Lan, using the base of the hill for as much cover from prying eyes as possible, snuck across to the other encampment finding two tents occupied by a pair of sleeping orcs each while the remaining two were empty. Kaemri was able touse his assassination skills to quickly and quietly despatch the sleeping orcs. The pair of rogues then searched the camp finding a small chest of coins and stone ring marked with dwarven symbols, before returning to their companions and preparing to head up and investigate the castle ruins themselves.

First off, my apologies for the lateness of this post. Unfortunately a couple of days of being under the weather, followed by yesterday being out at my hometown’s Star Trek First Contact Day event meant I had neither the time nor impetus to do a write-up, but better late than never.

While it didn’t seem like we’d got through a lot this week the session still took a little over the usual two hours. The main fight took longer than expected mainly due to my having good dice rolls and the players having difficulty in hitting back (for a change).

I didn’t use a battlemat after all this session, mainly because I hadn’t had time to prepare one, but I think the theatre of the mind style we’ve been using is working well with the group.

D&DEnc 17 – Scourge of the Sword Coast – Session 6

Posted in D & D Next, D&D, Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2014 by Mik Calow

dnd_products_dndacc_sundering3_pic3_enA full table this week for me down at Tabletop Tyrants, while our 2nd table was missing a body. 

  • Sunyi – Mal, dragonborn cleric (Light domain).
  • Adam – Gedrick Gladomain, high elf ranger.
  • Tanis – Langar ‘Lan’ Shadowweaver, wood elf rogue.
  • Oliver – Kaemri, dragonborn rogue.
  • Heather – Fudwick, gnome barbarian.
  • Tilly – Harrold ‘the halfpint’ Hopson, halfling rogue.

Meeting up with Darfin Floshin the party begin heading north along the trade road, passing the few refugees still heading in to Daggerford. After a couple of hours travel they notice smoke coming from a farm building about half a mile off to the west, and despite Floshin insisting that it wasnt their business the heroes decide to investigate.

Rdr_tumbleweed_barnThey approach to find a large barn with a stack of hay bails out front that have been set alight. Fudwick and Gedrick both identify recent tracks in the area as belonging to Gnolls and being only a couple of hours old.

Lan and Kaemri approach the barn, its door slightly ajar, brushing aside the cloud of buzzing insects to peer inside. Even with the poorly lit interior they could see the four bodies hanging from the rafters and once they were sure nothing lurked within the whole group entered.

The bodies looked to be a farmer and his family (wife and two teenage daughters) and all showed signs of being brutally hacked with bladed weapons before being left dangling on their ropes. Halfpint and Kaemri climbed up and cut them loose while Gedrick looked for further clues within the barn. He found a concealed trap door and called the others over. The rogues determined that it wasnt trapped and Fudwick tugged it open, as he did so he noticed movement within and dropped the lid back down, stepping back and holding his morning star at the ready. Cautiously they re-opened the trapdoor and revealed a small boy of three-four years old cowering in the shallow cubby hole. After assuring him they were here to help the discover his name is Bruce and he had been playing hide and seek with his sisters while their parents bailed the hay when the dog-men had attacked. They asked if he had any other family nearby and he told them he had an aunt and uncle on another farm about five miles away. The heroes wanted to take him there but Floshin insisted that they couldn’t spare the time and instead offered to take the boy to his estate and arrange transport for him from there. They agreed on the compromise and Mal said a prayer while they used the burning hay to cremate the corpses.

Carrying on back up the road they come across what looks like a group of large dogs lurking in the bushes ahead, they quickly realise that it’s a gnoll ambush and despite approaching with caution the gnolls open fire with their bows. One arrow strikes true at Floshin but is stopped by a magical barrier before it pierces the elf lord. Bruce isnt lucky enough to have such protection though and an arrow strikes through his little frame, he’s dead before he hits the floor. The heroes rapidly close with the gnolls as Lan provides covering fire from a vantage point up a tree. Fudwick, angered that the enemy had dared try and shoot his pony, charged his mount forward and leaped off at the last-minute to stab his helmet spike into a foe. The gnolls fought with such ferocity that even as they died they struck out at their slayers, but the heroes were angry over the death of Bruce and quickly stood triumphant.

Not wanting to leave the boy’s body with gnolls, Floshin took it with him vowing to see it returned to his family as originally planned. When they reached the point where Floshin needed to separate he offered the heroes a map of the ruins of Harpshield Castle and advised them to check that out first. Taking Bruce’s remains he bid them farewell and good fortune.

The heroes continued up the trade road until the light began to fade then chose a camp site off the road where they could still keep an eye out for trouble. Gedrick and Lan volunteered to split the watch, needing only minimal sleep thanks to their elven blood, with Gedrick taking first watch.

It was barely an hour after his companions had settled down that Gedrick spotted a handful of figures walking south along the road. As they got closer he could hear them speaking orcish and identified them as an orc patrol. Quietly he roused his allies, but the orcs hadn’t noticed them and passed on by. The heroes decided to leave the orcs be and settled back down, the rest of the night proving uneventful.

1308150081440_fNext morning they continued north and as they neared the end of the woods that would give way to the hill upon which Harpshield stood they spied a lone orc stood facing a tree unaware of their approach. As the others advanced with caution Gedrick strode forward and greeted the orc in orcish, this obviously surprised it as it turned to see the newcomer while still relieving itself (Gedrick managed to step back before getting “splashed”) and began screaming “Argh! Elf!” but before its shouts could alert any others nearby Kaemri surged forward and smashed the orc in the head with his warhammer, knocking its head clear off its shoulders (using his assassinate ability and scoring enough damage to kill it outright, twice!).

The party spied the tents of an orc camp through the trees and Fudwick used his illusion cantrip to recreate the scene of the sentry’s demise on the far side of the camp and distract the handful of orcs milling around. This allowed Kaemri and Lan to kill another pair before they realised what was happening. As the remaining orcs grabbed weapons, the heroes charged into the camp.

And that was where we left it for the evening, time having defeated us once again but we’ll begin the next session with the initiative rolls. With attacks on the orcs being such a surprise (and the resulting damage being enough to easily kill in one go) they didn’t get a chance to use their Relentless ability, and earlier I had forgotten the gnolls blood frenzy until the third one died. Oh well it didn’t alter the fun of the session and to me that’s the main goal.

Looking forward to next week I think I might have a tactical map for the orc camp, re-using one of my pre-drawn ones from another campaign (or maybe digging out my wilderness dungeon tiles set, we’ll see), before they continue on to the castle ruins themselves.

A journey through the Edge of the Empire – Session 5

Posted in Edge of the Empire, Star Wars with tags , , , , , , , on March 23, 2014 by Mik Calow

beyond-the-rimSleep was slow coming and quick to depart, like most of my dates last time I was on Coruscant, ha. As we gathered our gear to move on we noticed we weren’t the only early risers.

Looking out from the open bridge we could see a pair of long-necked beasts coming across the lake pulling small boats behind them. The boats looked to be loaded with old battle droids, the kind that would have crewed this tub in its day and a bald man who looked like the image of Captain Harsol from the holo recording. As the beasts reached the edge of the lake and walked out the boats settled on them like some sort of howdah, neat trick. We took the opportunity to get back down to ground level while they approached but tried not to look threatening.

It was a tense moment as Harsol regarded our trooper armour, as he made up his mind whether we were Imperials or not. Thankfully IT-3PO clunked forward and greeted him which seemed to put him a little more at ease and he told his droids to lower their weapons.

HarsolWith IT’s help we explained what we were doing there and Harsol invited us to his camp. I got the feeling that the invite was with  or without our compliance, but they didn’t take our weapons so if it all went to frell I’d shoot Harsol first. Clambering back into the boats he told us the beasts were called reevos and they pulled us northward up the lake.

We saw signs of several other large creatures moving in the water but none to match the size of the reevos. A splash from the shore caught our attention and we saw more of the tree octopi dragging fish from the water and into the overhanging trees. Just seeing those things again made my skin crawl.

Eventually we make shore and there’s a group waiting to take he reevos to wherever they keep the beasts, I’m sure glad I wouldn’t have to clear their poodoo! Harsol led us up a short climb to the Retreat as they called their camp. It was set back into a natural alcove of the cliffs beyond with a serviceable palisade constructed from local trees and salvaged ship parts guarding the entrance with a pair of sentry towers flanking the gateway. As we entered I noticed several more of the old battle droids manning the towers, though they looked to have been patched up so often they were more spare parts than original.

We were attracting quite a crowd and at first we thought it was because of our armour but when we heard someone call out “Harsol, why aint they dead yet? Gone soft?” we shared a few nervous glances. Harsol responded with “Maybe things are changing for the better, we’ll see. Fetch Kratala and we’ll find out” and led us into a large central chamber which was obviously a communal meeting hall of sorts.

It boiled down to Harsol had made a deal with Reom’s dad Repok back in the day and IT-3PO was supposed to lead the Twi’lek here. Obviously it had taken longer than planned and in an effort to remain hidden, especially from the empire, Harsol had taken violent steps to ensure that visitors didn’t reveal their location. While the “grown ups” talked my mind began to wander and I’ll admit I was beginning to wonder what anyone would want with the carcass of the scrapped ship when she entered the room.

KratalaThe white-haired Arkanian woman from the holo recording, though she now sported a custom cyber-eye strode forward to stand beside Harsol. Talk turns to how heavy the imperial presence on the rim is and we answer as truthfully as we can and then offer to use our ships to help get the survivors off planet, even seeing them safely to Reom and IsoTech if they liked. At this Harsol and the woman (obviously this Kratala he’d mentioned) said this was best discussed in private and the rest of the people filed out returning to their daily chores.

Kratala was a cybernetics specialist and had refused to work with the burgeoning empire, her friend Harsol had aided her escape but it resulted in them being chased by imperial forces and crashing here before they could link up with Repok’s people. Kratala was keen for us to take her and her team off-planet but Harsol became a little agitated and asked to think it over a day or so. We were given quarters and allowed to stay within the retreat for now.

Next day Kratala offers to show us her work, and gives us a tour, including the Nexus cages. More of the savage big-mouthed cats. We realise that the trio of enhanced cats must have been her work and she freely admits it. While we talk with her we offer to take her to Reom once again but also offer to take her elsewhere if she prefers, but she seems happy enough to stick with her original plan and go to IsoTech and continue her work. In addition to whatever Reom had offered us she says as a mark of her gratitude if we ever need any cybernetics we can come to her.

Whatever she was going to say next is lost as the whole camp is deafened by the deep rumble of a starship passing overhead. From the lines it’s an Imperial scout but we can’t make out any details. It moves on and looks to land close to where our ships are. As the sound of its engines disappear the high-pitched whine of repulsors takes its place and panic hits the compound. Battle droids man the palisade and sentry towers as the other survivors run to take cover in the buildings.

Harsol comes rushing out in an old style combat vest and a bandolier of grenades, and begins shout at us, blaming us for the Imperials appearance. “No, no. It’s my fault. I shouldnt have brought you here, I should have just killed you like the rest” and begins waving his blaster towards us in a shaking hand.

Maybe it was the adrenaline, maybe the fact that I’d missed breakfast, but I wasnt happy to have this nut wave a gun at me so I whipped my blaster up and shot him (on stun setting, he could still be valuable) to shut him up. Quickly we tied him up, shared his grenades out and join the defenders. As we do Kratala comes rushing out holding a datapad and a blast pistol and runs to the Nexu cage. Putting her hand on the latch she cries out “Its us or them, I’ll not serve the Empire!”. Una quickly convinces her that we wont let that happen but freeing the Nexu would likely kill her friends as well. So she agrees to let us try to deal with it first.

We are able to make out several small probe droids approaching while hearing the approach of a number of speeder bikes, at the thought of stealing one of those Una rigs one of the grenades to a detonator under a stack of chopped trees. The probe droids arrive and T’su and myself lead the battle droids in shooting them down, with only one heavily damaged one escaping before the others are blown to bits, though worryingly we realise that several of the battle droids hadn’t fired a shot, despite pulling their triggers.

isb-scoutWe can’t spend further pondering this as the speeder bikes arrive, 5 ridden by imperial scouts in black armour and another with an officer wearing the uniform of the ISB.

The officer says his name is Ossnan and he wants to speak to whoever is in charge, not us sprawl rats. We tell him that the compounds leaders have been injured during the probes attacks and we’re left in charge.

“No matter,” he says, “all we want is the Sa Nalaor survivors. You may leave in peace.” this guy oozes smarminess like a Gamorrean sweats. Thankfully they’ve parked nice and close to the hidden grenade and Una triggers the blast. Shrapnel, splintered wood and bits of the nearest speeder bike fly everywhere, taking down 2 of the scouts, another bike and knocking Ossnan senseless.

T’su and myself open fire with our rifles but the scouts armour is the equal of our own and it takes several shots to take them down, during which one of the imperial troops scores a good shot on me, almost taking off the battlements. However, by the end of it we’re the ones left standing, and with 3 shiny speeder bikes too. I take the helmet from the scout that shot me, adding it to my growing collection.

Kratala helps us convince the others to come with us and we begin the arduous journey through the jungle. Una taps into the imperial communications and we’re able to discover they’re from the ISB scout ship Deep Dark. We realise there should be another 5 troopers and a pilot, most likely guarding our ships against our escape, and I get another of my rare ideas.

Donning the scout helmet I race ahead on my bike, skidding to a halt before the guarding scouts. With all the guile I can muster I tell them that comms are down and Ossnan needs reinforcements quickly. There’s not time to waste and I lead them back through the jungle. The morons follow without question and once we reach the area of the tree octopi I hit the accelerator and leave them behind.

While I’m doing this T’su boards the Deep Dark and attempts to sneak up on the pilot, but realising that trooper armour isnt made for stealth he changes his mind a simply charges aboard to gank the flyer.

Regrouping with Una we use the bikes to ferry people more quickly to the ships and spread amongst the three before taking off and heading for rendezvous on Ryein. There we decide that most of the survivors want to go their own way so we let them take the Deep Dark and the Krayt Fang, while Kratala and her team stay with us and we refuel ready to continue on to Raxus and IsoTech.

Another great session ended, and several new options available to us to spend our xp on. With my scoundrel taking more and more of a combat role I decided to take a second specialization as a Mercenary, giving me access to several more class skills including Ranged-Heavy which I improved to aid my shooting with my rifle. I was also able to take Toughened, improving my wound threshold a little. While I was doing this I realised I had the Side Step talent and had totally forgotten to use it during the fight with the scouts – doh!

A journey through the Edge of the Empire – Session 4

Posted in Edge of the Empire, Star Wars with tags , , , , , , , on March 23, 2014 by Mik Calow

beyond-the-rimUna got a call from an old acquaintance, some Twi’lek named Reom that was head of IsoTech, apparently he had a job that our little band may be interested in.  Well, we felt that the shine had gone from hanging with the underground movement on Ryloth, and besides he said the magic words – it would pay well, so it was off to meet him at the Wheel.

The Wheel, independent space station out on the mid-rim, I’d never been before but to be fair once we approached I wasnt impressed. After landing in one of the many hangers we quickly made our way to IsoTech’s offices where we found Reom waiting for us. He told us of a an old salvagers legend, an old Separatists ship, the Sa Nalaor, which disappeared at the close of the Clone Wars out at the edge of the Rim while fleeing Imperial pursuit, supposedly with some secret technology on board. He may have given us more details, but to honest his droning voice was causing me to drift off, I was never a fan of fairy tales.

Turns out his people had recovered a hyperspace message from apparently from the ship and with it the co-ordinates of the ship itself. Reom wanted us to take his droid, IT-3PO, and find the ship and bring our findings back to his base on Raxus Prime, offering 10,000 creds and if any of the tech remained he would be happy to increase that threefold. 30,000 creds would keep us flying for some while so we agreed.

As we had a few hours before the droid was meant to be delivered to our hanger we took the opportunity to stock up on supplies and try to dig up more info on our destination. We must have dug a little to hard as a Rodian gang decided to kidnap the droid just before it got delivered. As they tried to flee on a cargo floater Una tapped into the local systems and cordoned off the area and issued an alert to warn the locals to clear the way. T’su and me, we took a direct approach, shooting to disable the floater before moving in to rescue the droid. The would be thieves had a ship docked nearby too, a YT-2400 named Nightflyer, so we decided to take it with us as a back up. Una and T’su on the Krayt with me on the Flyer. Una rigged up a slave connection to help with the astrogation and we plotted our hyperspace jump to Cholganna, choosing to follow the Sa Nalaor’s flight plan and make the trip in two jumps.

Despite a false start and a couple of hiccups we eventually came out of hyperspace and all frell broke loose. Shutting off the alarms we find we’re in some sort of nebula with some pretty hefty meteoroids looming close. Luck’s with us though and we soon work our way past the worst of it and find the planet Cholganna.

Una deciphers enough of the pods data to narrow the search down and we soon landing in a barely big enough clearing before we set off towards some of the wreckage we’ve detected along the path of river. Being a city boy I’m not too happy about the hot sweaty jungle but thankfully my armour keeps the temperature bearable and the insects out, same for T’su but Una wasnt so lucky.

We finally reach what looks to be an escape pod, the words “34 Besh” stencilled on the sides, half sank in a slimy pond. There’s a ragged open hatch but a swarm of fat green bugs buzz angrily around it. We decide although Una’s probably best to examine whats left of the pod she’s most at risk. Then I have an idea (it doesn’t happen often), I give T’su and Una one of my spare capacitor cartridges from my rifle and they jury rig it to act as a stun grenade. I climb up on the pod, not easy with a coating of slime clinging to the shell and the bugs that keep dive bombing me but thanks to my armour all they can do is annoy me, getting my close up look I see they have nasty stingers which definitely would have got through Una’s padded clothing. Anyway, I prime the grenade but just as I toss it in to the opening it slips out of my hand and starts heading to the pond. I try to make a dive for it and though I failed to catch it I do manage to divert it back into the hatch as I fall off the pod myself. There’s a satisfying crump as the grenade blows and the bugs are caught in the blast which is enough to overcome their tiny forms. Una is then able to get in and recover a little more data including a holo recording of a message featuring Captain Harsol before the ship went down and the ships trajectory. Adding this to the info from our scans we continue up river to what should be ships final resting place but as the river itself is heading in a huge loop we decide to cut straight through the jungle.

Oh boy was that a mistake. We get ambushed by furry tree climbing octopi, one of which tried to drag me up into the canopy before we took them out, thankfully their hides don’t prove resistant to continued blaster fire and we finally make it to the crash site, but its the rear of the ship. Turns out scrabbling around cargo holds makes me the best climber of the three of us so I “volunteer” to go investigate. The climbs hard but not impossible and once I reach the torn opening in the hull I signal the others. I start to search for anything recoverable but am interrupted by a low growl. Turning I find a large cat with a mouth full of teeth crouching in a “ready to pounce” pose. As I fight it Una and T’su provide covering fire but Una’s shot hits some left over fuel cells and the resulting explosion drops me deeper into the hull but thankfully scared the cat thing off. Once I recover my wits I find what looks like an ammo store, though only a few old grenades, a bowcaster and a med-pack remain.

I head back to the others and we head onwards, covering several more klicks before finding the main hull.

Sa Nalaor wreck

We enter through the lower decks where the side of the ships been ripped open during the crash and make our way upwards, finding our way eventually to the bridge. Despite the whole place being covered in over growing vines and moss its clear that several pieces of equipment have been removed deliberately, though we do find a holo-projector that’s still semi-functional. Its playback shows the last few minutes on the bridge before the crash with Captain Harsol pulling a woman to the deck in an effort to protect her before it cuts off.

We’re prevented from exploring further as a trio of those cat things enter through the broken view screen, but these are slightly different. One has its claws plated and crackling with energy, the second has metal teeth and the third has its tail armoured and tipped with a club – as if these things were vicious enough someone has been cybernetically enhancing them!

Using the remaining equipment banks we kept the beasts from swarming us and with a well placed grenade toss blew the floor out from under the one with the shiny teeth. T’su was able to maneuver the clawed one so that Una could drop that one through a hole in the wreck too and that just left the club-tailed one. We eventually were able to defeat it and tossed its corpse to join its fellows below. By now we were all exhausted and so secured ourselves what was left of the bridge for a very tense night full of strange noises and not a lot of sleep.

Munificent bridge

Wow. Another great session, though to be honest this one took place some time ago and I have been lax in getting it written up. We have since played the next session and I’m hoping to have that written up shortly. Although I have kept the battle action brief the fight against the cyber-cats was a lot harder than it sounds and almost proved too much for us, but that just made victory all the sweeter eventually. My character had to use 2 stimpacks during the fight just to stay active (I do like how repeated use of them reduces their effectiveness too, a great little quirk).

My thanks as usual to our GM Liam, and fellow players and kind hosts Anna and Chris.

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