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SPACE OPERA RPG: Brutal Carnage
Raymond Long's blog: 2016-May-22
Gaming > SPACE OPERA Campaign

I'm playing in a SPACE OPERA campaign, and today's session involved some of the most hellacious combat action I've seen at the gaming table in many a long year.
LAST SESSION
We crew the "peaceful civilian cargo transport" (really a Q-ship) Widowmaker. Not our choice of name - she was called that when we bought her. She should have 30 techs on her crew, but we only had one, Rose Sang, a MekPurr (cat-woman). On a routine stop at a mining planet to buy iridium ingots (which we sell at a ridiculous profit elsewhere), we advertised jobs for an engineer, two technicians and a medic. We only got one application, for the medic position. My character, psychic commando Enrique Blasco, interviewed Shan'eel, a female of some little-known anthropoid race, in a bar. Yes, in a bar, that's how professional we are. During the interview two males sauntered over and asked if they overheard aright that we were looking for techs. Bananas was a Pithecine (ape-man) with a giant spanner (yes, okay, a monkey wrench), and Mouse was a Human.
Enrique used his psychic Truthtell ability to gauge the truth of their answers to questions like, "If you sign on for a year, will you stay for the full year of your contract?" The GM rolled in secret, and told me that they seemed to be telling the truth.
We hired all three and set out on a mission for a secretive race, the IRSOL. During the flight, an explosion destroyed a console on our bridge. We dropped out of hyperspace with no working engines and no power to the ship's weapons.
It turns out that hiring people who saunter up to you in a bar isn't that clever.
Our characters rushed to don sealed armour suits and arm themselves. A vessel docked at our port airlock. The five of us who could get there rushed down to repel boarders, taking positions of cover.
The airlock opened and a grenade came out and landed near one of our co-captains, Sed "the Mad" Hipper (pronounced Zet). Sed's response was to charge forward into the airlock with his vibro-sabre in his good hand and a fusion pistol (which he had no skill with) in his off-hand.
"Kamizake" Ka'Shaarn, a Saurian (lizard-man), switched his DALLY-gun to grenade launcher mode and tried to shoot a grenade into the back of the airlock. He rolled a 2 on D20 (you need to roll low), so the grenade placement was perfect. It took out three of the six boarders in there, left another severely injured, and miraculously didn't even scratch Sed the Mad.
TODAY'S SESSION
My character Enrique moved to where he could see into the airlock and shot with his blast rifle. I rolled a 20: crit-fail. I rolled D6 for the effect, and it was a jam. Enrique slung his rifle and drew his blast pistol. Then the boat bay doors opened, exposing us to vacuum.
It was a good job we'd all taken the time to put on sealed suits.
Enrique, Ka'Shaarn and our only non-traitorous tech, Rose Sang, failed our rolls to hang on. We were sucked out toward the pirate shuttle whose chin-mounted heavy machine guns were pointed right into the boat bay. Rose Sang managed to grab onto the shuttle. Enrique used his psychic teleport power to teleport himself onto Widowmaker's bridge.
Our chief medic Dr. Algernon McKay used his psychic Lifescan ability to detect lifeforms within range. He reported ten beings aboard the vessel docked at our port lock, six on the shuttle, and five approaching our starboard airlock. Clearly, it was time for some serious killing.
The greatest glory of the session must belong to Ka'Shaarn. Flying toward the shuttle's cockpit, he switched his DALLY-gun to 10mm cone rifle mode and rapid-fired toward the shuttle's front screen, hoping to slow his own movement with recoil. The screen was armoured, but lucky penetration rolls meant that two of the rounds in his burst penetrated it. The screen crazed, and then when a massize armoured lizard hit it he went straight through into the cockpit, which was already vacced down. He kicked the pilot and by fluke rolled a head hit with crit-damage. This broke the pilot's neck and shattered his suit visor. Goodbye pirate pilot.
Behind the pilot, five vac-suited pirates rushed to unstrap themselves and grab their weapons. Ka'Shaarn flipped his DALLY-gun back to grenade launcher and aimed a grenade for the back wall. Another good hit roll meant almost perfect placement. Scratch four pirates. One pirate took only a hand wound, but this gave him a massive penalty to shoot his two-handed weapon. Ka'Shaarn finished him with ease.
Rose Sang, our tech, launched herself at Widowmaker. But Dr. McKay closed the boat bay door, and Rose splatted on its outside. At least she didn't get crunched in the jaws of the door.
My character Enrique appeared (he'd teleported) on Widowmaker's bridge with some forward momentum, and crashed into the back of the unoccupied middle seat. Mouse was in the left-hand seat, and in the corner was the walker-suit of our engineer, a Mertun (squid-being). The Mertun's tank was cracked and leaking as if hit by a giant spanner.
My other character, co-captain Obidan Smith (yes, Captain Smith, like the Titanic), rushed toward the bridge with a blast rifle. Smith spotted a mine attached to the wall by the bridge door and shot at it from the far end of the short corridor. He missed.
On the bridge Enrique, from his position on the floor, fired a single aimed shot at Mouse. I rolled a headshot, which was fortunate as Mouse wore armour but no helmet. I rolled crit head damage, which took off Mouse's nose, one eye and half his jaw. Mouse roll a crit-success on his roll to stay conscious, but he wasn't in a state to do much but scream and flail about.
Smith fired another shot at the mine, hit it and got a lucky armour penetration roll. The mine detonated. Smith tried to dodge behind the bulkhead and I rolled a 1: crit-success. The shrapnel from the mine blew harmlessly past.
On the bridge, Enrique got to his feet and whirled to face the Pithecine-sized suit of exoskeleton armour coming up behind him wielding a giant spanner. Enrique fired full auto, ten shots. Enrique has maximum skill in blasters, so hitting was no problem, but a blast pistol is unlikely to penetrate exo-armour.
I scored seven hits out of ten, and by amazingly flukey penetration rolls five of them got through. Bananas suffered crit-wounds to the gut and head. Dr. McKay's player remarked, "That was some tidy shooting."
The Mertun's walker got to its feet and finished Mouse off with a flame pistol. This was an unfortunate choice of weapon, because now we can't use Mouse's thumbprint to activate his money card. We'd like to get back the money we paid him (along with everything else in his account).
Our two Blarad (bear-people) characters came out of the lift. If they'd done that with the mine still intact, it would have shredded them. They started manhandling Bananas, who was alive but unconscious.
Sed the Mad reported that the internal door of our starboard airlock was opening. Smith shouted "Everybody to the starboard lock!" and got in the lift with the two Blarad. Sed was down there, and mounted a sterling repelling action against the two Pithecines and three Humans debouching from the airlock. Dr. McKay got there fast and made two lucky rolls with his psychic Stun power, putting two of the pirates to sleep. When the pirates returned fire, one rolled a 20: crit-fail. He rolled D6 for the effect, and his blast rifle exploded.
Then Smith and the two Blarad arrived, but there wasn't much killing left to do. We were about to counterboard the vessel docked to our port lock, but it disengaged and started to fly away.
Aboard the shuttle Ka'Shaarn, with maximum ship weapon skill but no piloting skills, managed to work out the basics of attitude control. He pushed the shuttle to its starboard, our port. When he had a clear shot with the shuttle's chin-mounted HMGs, he opened up on the pirate ship's forward screen. He managed to rupture it before he rolled a crit-fail and his guns overheated.
Power to Widowmaker's weapons was still down, but torpedoes are self-powering. Enrique got to the torpedo bay. Widowmaker is a Q-ship, so as well as anti-fighter torpedoes (legal), we had six anti-ship torpedoes (not legal). Enrique, with maximum skill in starship weapons, launched an anti-ship torpedo at the fleeing pirate vessel and scored a direct hit. That single torpedo inflicted more damage points than the ship could sustain, and it was wiped out.
The show was over. We got Rose Sang inside and down to med bay, slapped the surviving captives into the brig, and started counting up the lovely shiny weapons and armour they'd been so kind as to gift to us.
We took remarkably little damage. That was the result of using the right abilities at the right times and of a lot of lucky rolls, especially armour penetration rolls exactly when we needed them most. I went into the session expecting to lose at least two characters, and maybe the ship. The inside of Widowmaker is now pretty torn up, with stray shots and grenades and that mine, but such damage is a badge of honour.
We are now adrift in deep space without a working engine, but that's not too bad. People have come back from worse.
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Reply: 2017-Feb-18
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Reply: 2017-Jun-22
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