Bringing guns to an alien fight

At the end of the previous session, the players had decided that they were going to arm up and go hunting some bugs. Throughout this campaign, I think we’ve only had about 3 or 4 combats, so for the players to willingly decide to get into a fight was surprising. It was also a interesting change of pace, and a chance to try out the combat rules.

Due to the power drain affecting the Ancients site, they were also unable to bring in their battledress or energy weapons (which also included gauss weapons), so were going to be on a much more level playing field than they could have been.

First though, I introduced them to the new deck plans for the It’s a Sex Thing, which I’ve been attempting in Dungeondraft. There’s still some reworking that needs doing (especially in terms of the engine room), but I’m happy with how my new assets are working out.

It’s A Sex Thing

One issue is that Dungeondraft uses a scale of 256px per square, whereas Roll20 uses 70px, so there’s a large loss in quality when things are shrunk down. I’ve tried to make the assets work at 70px, but I might start using the 100px scaling that Foundry uses, but keeping to a 70px grid. Then at least when you zoom in on the map there’s a higher resolution. Or maybe I should use 128px as a default, so that the scaling from the original map is even.

Next up was equipping themselves from their more than adequate supply of weapons. This was slightly fiddly to do in the Roll20 sheet, since everything has to be entered to hand. I really need to get my Foundry sheets finished so we can start making use of drag and drop weapons and armour. I did take the opportunity though to ensure that everyone was aware of how combat worked – both melee and ranged, and that everyone understood the auto-fire options.

Before they head off, Zanobia checks on Teeka (who had been sedated by Alfred and Shinzaro). She seems to have thrown up everything they fed her since she came on board, so half a day is spent trying to figure out what is wrong with her. She doesn’t seem to be able to process the ship’s food – her stomach biome is completely different, and seems to be tied to the differences in her blood caused by the anti-agathic agents in her.

The visions that she had whilst the Travellers were fiddling with the brain suggest that Mother was in a lot of distress. There were feelings of being locked away at the bottom of a large pit with nothing to see or hear, probably leakage from Mother.

They hook Teeka up to a drip, and prepare to head off back to the mountain.

They take their engineer Exsa with them in the hope that they can figure out some of the machinery at the site. She has no idea how to fire a weapon, but is given a small carbine just in case she needs it.

Once inside the mountain, they notice movement ahead and it was time for initiative.

Khadashi got to fire first – getting a hit in, but most of the damage bouncing off it’s carapace. The creature was a six limbed thing, with two large arms with bony blades and a big mouth full of teeth. It had 28 hits and 10 armour, so was relatively tough. There don’t seem to be any ‘charge’ rules in Traveller, so it ran up close to Khadashi without being able to hit him.

Zanobia tried to shoot at it, and I decided to apply a bane to the attack since she was firing into a close combat situation. She still hit it though, and got a good hit, doing far more damage. Obviously hitting it from the side was avoiding most of its thick armour.

Khadashi dropped his gun and drew his cutlass, and there were some thrusts and parries but the thing is eventually dropped. Since they did so well, I decided to reward them with two more – one from deeper down the tunnel, and the other approaching from the outside.

The first comes bounding towards Zanobia, but Khadashi gets in its way and forces it into melee. The other heads for Exsa, who proceeds to empty her weapon on full auto at it. During the excitement, Khadashi gets sliced through his armour, taking his END down to zero, and then gets shot by Trennance who gets such a bad roll that a bit of friendly fire occurs. Fortunately the bullets don’t penetrate Khadashi’s cloth armour.

This was a closer fight, but the use of ranged automatic weapons against not-entirely intelligent melee creatures was always going to favour the guns.

Zanobia patches people up, and takes some samples from the creatures, then they’re ready to head inside.

Their aim is to explore the biolab with all the stasis pods where they think there may be a few more of the creatures. What they hadn’t comprehended was that there weren’t just a few pods, but many dozens, and a ‘few’ creatures was actually a couple of dozen.

Opening the room and heading inside a second time they started to grasp the magnitude of the danger. As one of the stasis pods started to open, Khadashi shot it, killing the creature inside and waking all the others. Realising that in this situation their superior firepower wasn’t going to be enough, they ran out of the room and slammed the door shut, hoping the things didn’t know how to open doors. As it happens, they didn’t.

Their next stop is one of the machinery rooms, where the previous expedition had tried to violently disable the energy drain device. Exsa has a crawl over the device, and breaks a few bits to disable it. Then they set their own explosives with mechanical timers and head back up to the surface to see if the power drain had stopped. It hadn’t.

So they went back to the brain in a jar, but there wasn’t much they could do. It seemed to be in a worse state than we they originally found it. What investigation they could do suggested that it had lost all contact with the outside world, a side effect of the damage done by the previous visitors. It was probably dying, but they didn’t want to finish it off themselves.

Getting back to their ship, they were now ready to leave and head off to meet up with the Deepnight Revelation. They put Teeka and one of the alien critters into cold sleep, and decided to make a flyby of the village to see what was happening there. It looked like there had been an attack on the place, and the villagers are in the process of burying some dead. Dropping down to talk to them, they found out that the village had been attacked by some more of the creatures, and several of the villagers had been killed.

The crew decided to try and help, and dropped off some of their weapons – shotguns and basic laser rifles which could be recharged. After that, they headed up into space and headed out to jump.

The jump-drive gave a little stutter before engaging, but they entered jump space. Exsa stated that the drive was in need of a big overhaul – they’ve been pushing it quite hard over the last couple of months, and it’s been about a year since the last overhaul. But it should all be fine.

Samuel Penn