Thursday, February 19, 2009

Grath Attack

Big uglies; Barnes and Noble

We played some 5150 again this week, making it three weeks in a row now, and had some more fun. Actually, the games were a lot more one-sided, but we still had a good time. I've got a small-scale campaign side project in the works, and to get a little familiar with 5150's Adventurer Campaign rules. I brought along some Grath, and the opposition was picked at the last minute by Andy, using Foundry figs with Free Company stats.

Eamon's Angels

We rolled for armor off the charts, and as you might guess, the ladies ended up not wearing anything. In an odd twist, Father McSweeney rolled up Shimmer armor, which is closest to Dune's force field belts. Unfortunately, it's not that great at stopping steel-jacketed bullets.

Game One:

Jibes and Insults are hurled

Our first game we rolled randomly for was the 'standoff' scenario. I can truly say that this was the absolute fastest miniatures game I have ever played in. Really. On the first half of the first turn, Andy's mercs had the initiative. Per the scenario rules, you can opt to try to "talk the talk" and see if you can basically back the other side down from the conflict, and everyone walks away with their egos, and body parts, intact. Well, he made his rolls, and voila! the game was over, instantly...just like that. Yup, fastest game ever.

Two Grath, by the names of Barnes and Noble, had been causing trouble for some time now among the local haunts and night clubs on Serrex, a dirt ball of a moon best known for an above average spaceport, and a below average clientele. Other than a few [devastating] barroom brawls, and near constant public intoxication, they hadn't done anything worse than anyone else present; they just do it better.

Father Eamon McSweeney and his Angels, troubled girls rescued from a hard life, were on Serrex to find more wayward souls to recruit into their forgiven ranks. Word came over the wire about the Grath thugs, and Eamon thought they warranted a further look, he was known for his hunches.

A dilapidated fountain in an abandoned park had been serving as Barnes and Noble's personal urinal for some time. Father Eamon and his retinue of young women set out at once, armed to the teeth. They met the Grath and a verbal exchange took place. Truth be told, the Grath were too intoxicated to stand, let alone fight. Had they been more sober, they would have at least fired a salvo of assault rifle lead in Eamon's direction.

Father McSweeney spoke crisply, "You boys ever been down-planet?" He referred to Pembroke Colony, the well-to-do planet that Serrex swiftly orbited. It was a pristine, upscale planet, made so by sending their trash 'skyward' to Serrex.

Barnes: "Eh? Piss off..."
Noble: "Whatsit to ya, meat?"

Eamon: "I said, you boys ever been down-planet?"

Barnes: [indiscriminate vomiting]
Noble: "Yeah, we shuttle as we likes." The larger of the two Grath jerked his thumb to a clearing in the trees where a small Type2 craft lay under a fiber weave camouflage net.

One of the Angels slipped away from the oblivious duo and got a closer look at the craft. She scanned its markings and started uploading the idents to the security net. It came back quickly that this craft had been reported in Pembroke Colony airspace five times in the last month, all five flights being unregistered of course. She returned to the group and exchanged a knowing glance with Eamon.

Eamon's posture relaxed markedly, his tone changed too as he spoke again to the Grath, one of which was asleep by this time. "Fine, fine, you boys be careful, there's been reports of muggers after dark in these parts." With that, they left the two to wallow in their debauchery. As they walked back to town, Eamon informed the girls to radio ahead and get their own shuttle prepped and to be ready to track the
shuttle next time it lifts off.

Game Two:

We got some dusting in store for youse...

It turns out young girls had turned up missing on Pembroke Colony, and as Father McSweeney had surmised, Barnes and Noble had something to do with it. The demand for blue collar work on Pembroke Colony was the largest in the sector, in fact, over eighty percent of its citizens worked in service industry jobs, supplying the wealthy with a ready workforce.

Barnes and Noble worked with a small-time indentured servitude ring, "recruiting" new hired help for some of the more affluent communities nestled high atop their gleaming skyscrapers. Those abducted would be press-ganged into a five or ten year work contract with one of the many clerical or cleaning services. The two Grath get a cut of each new recruit they bring in.

Avon calling

The fighting was fierce, with Grath assault rifles turning Eamon's [non-armored] Angels into clouds of fine red mist. A lot of those shots occurred after making in-sight checks too. On the flip side of the coin, Barnes and Noble were, as they say in game terms, dead 'ard. Small arms fire bounced off their thick hides, and they didn't flinch.

We played the 'raid' scenario, with one Grath, Noble, hidden in a building, the other, Barnes, was in cover behind a generator. The objective of the raid, a college freshman (shown above) also started the game hidden in one of the building. Being the canny player that I am, I put the hostage in a building near Barnes, and hid Noble on the opposite side of the board.

It kinda was a slaughter, but Eamon will be back, and now that he knows what he's up against, he's going to call in some favors and bring a SWAT team with him, or at least a rocket launcher. In the overall scheme of things, a third battle is set up nicely, and the size of the conflict is going to scale up accordingly as well. What was going to be just a short, one-off game can now feasibly be a three part scenario.

There's two things I have said in the past which make 5150 stand out for me. First, is the games focus on scenario and story, and eschew points values. Fights aren't always fair, and balance is usually an abstract at best. There will be times where it is almost futile for one side to win...or even come close to a dignified loss. This beautifully illustrates the second point however, you don't play a 5150 game to just start and finish it. You play it as but one component of an overall package, which is much bigger than a single game.

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