Character Sketches – Elen and Morion

So we’re playing 13th Age, and I have the privilege of playing with people who enjoy exploring different types of characters. There are several of us playing what is flavored as two people, though mechanically we were able to represent it as just one. I’m playing characters inspired by Ladyhawke. Here is my imagining of Elen and Morion, a couple in love, cursed to be separated al the time. In the day Morion is a dark elf, and Elen is a hawk. At night, Elen is a high elf and Morion is a black fox. The words are their first conversation.

Star Trek: Frontlines – Episode 5: Attack on DS9

A Star Trek: Adventures actual play account

Today’s Lesson: Don’t look like you’re enjoying killing the players too much. Really, I don’t think this was a huge problem, but I do feel like I was trying a bit to hard to cause actual damage, which may have been a bit discouraging. You want the players ot think that the task is difficult, but not impossible. They are the heroes, after all. How do you acheive this balance? I haven’t quite figured that out. I’m more of a lets make the story interesting and lead to the villains inevitable demise. Crunching numbers to make battles even are not so much my thing. So today’s report is a bit more just commentary about the system, since we really only had the one major battle in defense of Deep Space Nine.

deep space nine

Since I knew I wanted to throw all the Klingons at them, I gave the players another ship, a Nebula class called the Shiloh, as well as full use of their fighters, which we haven’t had a chance to use yet. Collins and Nos’grom moved to the Shiloh, Takis and Mooch stayed on the Kidd, and Shon took control of the fighters.

I had the players help me find the rules about how many actions each ship gets in combat. We decided rather than go back and forth after each action, each ship would be allowed to take its full range of actions before allowing the initiative to pass to the next player. Otherwise I think the battles would drag on far too much.

Also, for the purposes of this game, the fighters all acted on the same turn, but counted as four scale 2 ships. This may be giving them more credit than they should get, but the book does allow Federation fighters to be counted as a scale 2 ship. I think this gave a good feeling of the amount of firepower they had, but I’m not sure it gives credence to their manuevering. I may have to look into that a bit more. They are harder for large ships to hit, however. I will have to have a chance to fight back with some Cardassian fighters at some point.

It began with a K’vort and two B’rel class birds of prey up against the Kidd (Akira), Shiloh (Nebula) and the fighters. I fired some shots and cloaked a B’rel, waiting to see if they would do their now famous ‘fire torpedoes in the general area of the cloacked vessel’ maneuver. There was some discussion about who to name it after, since I had though it was Collins’ idea, but apparently I was mistaken. They didn’t go there this time however, and made quick work of the other B’rel. The K’vort took a little longer to take down, and I got a few good hits in against the Shiloh.

Once they had built up enough momentum, however, those ships and the two additional Klingons I brought in were shot down fairly easily. The fighters managed to bring down one of the B’rels.

I got started late, traffic and bad weather kept me from getting there on time. So we only had time for the battle. I am getting a bit more comfortable with the rules I think, though I still forget a lot of them, and have to look up stuff all the time. I need to make a custom cheat sheet for myself I think, so I don’t have to flip around in the books so much.

Join us next time, as the team gets sent off on an away mission that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

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Star Trek: Frontlines – Episode 4: Refugees

A Star Trek: Adventures actual play

Today’s Lesson: Starship combat is complicated. And apparently I didn’t even use the full amount of actions I could have taken. Though I think I need to read more about that to be sure. One of the players claims that each ship has as many actions each round as their scale . . . but, well that would take an eternity. It took quite some time as it was. There was a new player that joined us as ship’s doctor, but who didn’t get a chance to do anything and left early because the others were so engrossed in the combat. well, half of the others. It seems I will never be able to engage all of this group with this game, though I have had more luck at conventions.

I started this episode in the middle of the action. The USS Kidd was assigned to help two transports full of Federation refugees fleeing from territory that the Klingons were now claiming as their own. Their warp engines had been damaged, and they were hiding in a nebula in the Lembatta cluster, hoping to make repairs before the Klingons could find them again. The Kidd arrived, headed into the Nebula – and the captain and XO began to argue about how to address the Klingons.

Commander Collins, having extensive experience with Klingons (ie. he has a Klingon girlfriend) strongly suggested a strong demand for the Klingons to leave Federation space. Several others on the bridge agreed, but the Captain, a Denublian who prefers to reason with his enemies (unless their female Romulans, then he just annoys them) instead led with a request to be allowed to rescue the transport ships. The Klingons answered with disrupter fire.

One of the K’Vort cruisers managed to find the Kidd in the nebula and fired at them, while the massive Negh’var began firing at the transports. They both missed, but Captain Takis was no longer amused. They began to concentrate fire on the K’Vort that had fired on them. There was another K’Vort somewhere in the nebula, but it was having trouble locating the Kidd.

K'Vort Class cruisers

To bolster their defenses, Takis order Nos’grom, the science officer, to fire two probes that would give off signals that would immitate other Federation ships, and hopefully distract one or more of the Klingon birds of prey. The Negh’var however, decided to come after the Kidd, and got several good hits in (disrupter cannons have 11 damage dice guys!). The Engineering crew, bolstered by the quick actions of the Doctor and the scans of the Nos’grom, managed to keep on top of repairs, and bring the shields back up quickly.

The Klingons did not have the same luck. One of the K’vorts was disabled quickly by the Kidd, and the Negh’var was distracted by the possibility of more than one Akira class ship arriving in defense of the transports. The transports managed to get their engines repaired and they and the Kidd hauled it out of the nebula and back into uncontested Federation space.

The Kidd took on some of the injured or dead passangers from the transports, and Captain Takis’s wife, the head counsellor for the ship did her best to help them calm down as they were patched up. She noticed right away that some of the crew was acting very strange. They were demanding back the body of one of their population, just known as Smith. Will, a Vulcan who was acting very un-Vulcan like, was getting in the face of any officer who came on board to demand Smith back. Lt. jg Mooch, probably destined to forever stay a jg, tried to get a bribe out of the refugees in exchange for the immediate return of the body, but since Nos’grom wasn’t playing along, Smith refused.

Nos’grom studied the body and discovered he had swallowed an isolinear rod. It was damaged, but she managed to pull of distorted recordings of the Klingon high council. Rather than allow Smith to have the information back, Takis denied all knowledge of the rod, and turned it in to Commader Sisko when they reached DS9. Collins managed to get to spar with Lt. Worf and held his own, Nos’grom hung out with Lt. Dax, and Shon played spring ball and beat Doctor Bashir.

Join us next week for the next episode, and enjoy momtoast.com which has other rpg goodies, art, and other geeky pursuits.

Babylon 5 (through end of season 4)

This series was so delightful! It had so many delightful things going on – I will try to exalt over them without giving things away to those who may not have had a chance to watch yet.

  1. Pay offs: There were a great many of these. I have two favorites, but I can’t really give either away without a lot of explanation. After all, it took about two seasons to get to them. But really, being able to watch two Centauri’s visions of the future come true in such satisfying ways, ways that were not what you expected but completely fit in and completed story arcs, was amazing.
  2. Character changes: Rather than simply kill characters off, as many shows do now in an attempt to be real and gritty, this show took the hard road. It turned trusted characters into villains. And it did it in completely convincing and realistic ways. The conflicts it produces between characters that used to be friends or allies drives the story forward and still comes to a great conclusion.
  3. The final episode of season 4: Ok, I’m not sure if this was created because JMS knew the network had messed him up or what, but I like to think it is. It’s basically a wide overarching look at what happens after the events of the show, filled with humor, satire, drama, and a great stick it at the end.

Over all this show was a great surprise. Though at first I was worried about having to compare it to Star Trek: DS9, and the not so great CGI graphics, there were many things that were just so unique and good. The aliens, in costume, makeup and acting, were superb. The story branches off so differently that DS9 that I had stopped comparing them after half a season. It holds its own, even twenty years later. So if you haven’t watched Babylon 5, I say you should.

Now I just have to decide if I want to watch the 5th season. JMS had five seasons planned, was forced to squish it into four, and then was given a fifth season anyway. So . . . we shall see.

Star Trek: Frontlines – Episode 3: Marie Celestial

A Star Trek: Adventures actual play

Today’s Lesson: Give the players what they want. When you don’t, it’s torture. It’s torture for you, torture for them, and people can even start to get upset. Granted, I had a bad day yesterday when we played this mission. I was still bent on doing a string of intrigue stories leading them into the Dominion War. Really, though, it seems they really just wanted to start blowing things up. Sigh. I have a feeling this is going to be very boring for me. Especially since we don’t have stats yet for a lot of the Dominion stuff. Ah well, I will see if they are interested in taking part in the Klingon War that happened before. We have a LOT of stats for Klingons.

We begin with the crew of the USS Kidd on a mission to escort Partha, an Orion informant for Starfleet, back to Libertalia station, an independent, unaligned station between the borders. They are to see she arrives safely, and await the information she is gathering there. The Kidd has no trouble escorting her towards the station, but rather than roll in and scatter the slimy roaches Partha is there to meet, she takes the smuggler’s ship that the Kidd had impounded last time, and they part ways. The smuggling ship carried a tracking device encoded to send messages back to the Kidd.

As they continue along the border to wait from a safe distance, they pick up an uncloaked Romulan Warbird, floating just inside Federation space. As the Neutral Zone has been very quiet lately, this is an odd discovery. The Kidd comes along to investigate.

Romulan D'Deridex warbird

They find the ship is in perfect working order, but there are no life signs on board. Considering a warbird of this size can carry 2,000 people, this is a disturbing discovery. The crew beams over a tricorder to get some more readings at a safe distance. They find that there are plenty of bodies still there, but nothing in the air or wrong with the ship that would cause the deaths of so many. To prevent further trouble from arizing, the Kidd uses its tractor beam to start pushing the ship back into the Neutral Zone.

Just as they begin to do this, another Romulan ship decloaks, demanding to know what the Federation is doing with their ship, and why everyone is dead. Quick and open sharing of the information they had discovered disarms the Romulan Commander, Modex, who requests they be given a moment to assess the situation, if the Kidd is willing to stick around. The Captain agreed, and they allowed the Romulans to study their data as well as scan the ship of dead. In exchange for some more information about the possible desease that killed all the Romulans aboard, the Captain lets the Romulans know about the smuggling ship that it seems met with this derelict ship not long ago. The Kidd then moves away, leaving the Romulans to deal with their dead.

As they start moving off, the signal coming from the smuggling ship changes to the call for help. The Kidd makes an impresive entrance, dropping out of warp as close to the Libertalia Station as they dare, to find a furball of a fight happening around the smuggling vessel. Klingons, Romulans, Ferengi and other ships are buzzing around, trying to win the prize.

The Kidd target locks as many ships as it can, and broadcasts an announcement that it is claiming the ship as its own. Most of the ships scatter. The Romulans try to lay claim, but the Captain quickly shuts them down. Finally, after a discussion with the Klingons, who are fairly civil considering the current tension between the two governments, they let the Captain know that this ship was known to be smuggling weapons from the Romulans into Klingon space. Partha confirms this once they get her back on the ship, and they head back to Starbase 234 with the information.