The Final Invasion of Fel Duran

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Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:18 am

Re: The Final Invasion of Fel Duran

Postby Thendoctor » Fri Feb 08, 2019 7:05 pm

Session Eleven Write Up:

Session eleven ended up having less material in it than I expected. This worked out this in the end because I was ill that evening and so very fatigued, and we had to change gaming venues for the week meaning someone left their character sheet at the old place and had to go get it. Regardless the later start time had us ending a time we normally would, so everything worked out alright. Thankfully I also got enough sleep to sweat out my sickness so bonus there, Papa Nurgle may be kind, but not the best for a day to day life.

Well it probably wasn’t less material so much as we worked through the Threatening Task much more quickly than I expected. Along with the subsequent combat with ‘Mob Squad’ and Winston.

Mechanically I felt that the Threatening Task that I used for “defeating a tank” went over very well with the group. I went through a succinct explanation, and we got to work on it quickly. The group grasped the concepts solidly and we worked through the Five Steps in Three Rounds. The only real issue that we encountered was I forgot if the group gets any kind of bonus for having access to more than one Keyword from the roll results (we were using the critical chart table in the book). That was on me, I thought I had noted it in my summary of Threatening Tasks, but I did not and I did not want to spend five minutes or so reading silently at the table to look it up.

It is something I have on my list of things to make sure to not before the next session so we all know what will happen. The next time I plan on using a Threatening Task is in session thirteen anyways, so it is not too soon in the future thankfully. For posterity’s sake I will post the Threatening Task Steps I used in the night’s session here:

1 Survival: To track the tank
2 Awareness: To notice something to make drop on it
3 Stealth: To sneak up to the weak point
4 Ballistic or Weapon Skill: To break the weak point
5 Athletics: To escape the calamity

The DN was the typical Tier + One, so Difficulty Number Three. Which admittedly the Player Characters had an issue or two getting to that three nearly all the steps. There was not a failure during the process however, so I do not fear increasing the difficulty in the future or purposefully introducing outside complications to the overall Steps in session thirteen. Well, maybe not session thirteen, but certainly in an arc two I will not mind messing around further with such as the idea I have for a banishing ritual. The less said about that for now the better.

Honestly they went over so smoothly that I likely could have used Threatening Tasks earlier, for things like getting in to Exiles’ Point in session three and ten, but I wanted to refrain from introducing side mechancis too early to the group. Arnie’s player brought up that I likely could have used it earlier, so I mention it here.

The second major part of the session, and one I consider more important to the overall narrative was Winston’s gambit against Squad Firefox. This was the result of the actions that occurred back in session five, when everything went a bit bellended after the player characters attempted to teach Winston a lesson and went a little too far. For a while they didn’t even hear from Winston until he came back in session nine after Aidan was promoted to commander, and most recently in session ten when he was called in for his testimony concerning the court martial case for the entire situation that had developed. Winston had admittedly made his decision in that time to attempt to murder Firefox some time ago, namely when he regained conscious back at ‘The Cruicible’ facility which is the name of the STC that exists on the planet that the Dark Mago is attempting to take possession off after winning the war.

Winston had a very strong plan, good numbers, and a decently buffed statblock. I had him stated as being a Veteran template Astra Militarum trooper, gave him Devotees as an ability, and had four Elite Astra Militarum Troopers as his eponymous ‘Mob Squad’. The plan was solid enough, the squad would drop Arnie with a couple grenades and sustained fire so he would not drop the entire lot in a single turn, Winston would attempt to kill Aidan as was his purview.

The issues with this plan came from multiple fronts. While I wrote out a strategy I did forget a few things. I did not remember to use a Fear and Corruption test at the opening of the encounter. I did follow up the Corruption test afterwards, but the Fear Test was only going to be DN1 about attacking fellow Imperials. They likely would have passed, but still it may have helped. A second issue is that I was not sure how to use the critical effect the grenade enacted on Arnie during the initial round should go, I interpreted +1d6 Wounds as an extra die of damage. I was incorrect in that manner, and if I was not then Arnie likely would have died from the amount of damage I could have done to him at the time. The last point was that two Campaign Cards the player characters had for the session saved them entirely through the whole thing. One of them removed Winston’s initial successful melee attack against Aidan, something that likely would have dropped him immediately, and the second gave everyone an extra wound, which kept Arnie going after the initial surprise round attack.

As usual after the players got a turn it was all over. Arnie used every last reload he had to wipe all of Winston’s Devotees and ‘Mob Squad’ in a series of Multi-attacks with devastating damage results, and then Aidan sufficiently ran Winston through with his chainsword, and such was the end of Sergeant Winston along with four jerk-wad corporals of the regiment including Arnie’s old enemy in Virgil. The recently appointed Colonel-Commissar Cole Genevere believed their case with a solid Persuasion test and actually fact checking the issue and that was all the situation required.

Briefly the session’s thought for the day was “Silence and perseverance are the highest virtues”. This fit well enough only truly in the form of Winston’s attempt on Squad Firefox in the fact that he was never intending on giving up and he was very quiet with his attempt waiting until the Threatening Task ended.

The Stinger of the session revealed that the daemon that took over Wynchell, who I call Thistle but that has not been revealed to the players yet, has survived their removal from their host. Unfortunately the Dark Magos captured them for some experimentation, as you do when you are in such a position. Dark Mechanicum members are fun that way after all. Thistle has greater desires for Fel Duran, and a larger part to play in arc two as well, so I did not want to let the players off so easily thinking they could rid real-space of such a creature by simply destroying its host.

Session twelve is upon us, and in it we will learn of the grim fate of Fel Nathaniel and what became of him after he was taken by the arch-enemy back in session eight. This will be a catalyst for a decent amount of development in Fel Jacqueline’s court as well as being the climax of what I consider to be Aidan’s mini-arc. He looks up to Fel Nathaniel greatly, and Nathaniel saw in him the makings of a great leader, but the Dark Magos cares little for the dreams of organics. There is yet a greater part to be played for Jacqueline, Firefox, and who will come in to play during arc 2 in the grand scheme of things, but such enlightenment willrequire sacrifice as all great and terrible things must.

Posts: 90
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:18 am

Re: The Final Invasion of Fel Duran

Postby Thendoctor » Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:55 pm

Session Twelve Write Up:

Session twelve’s write up is not delayed due to me not getting it done, the session happened later in the week than we all intended. The first issue was that a player was called in to work for an evening that we originally intended on using, we tried rescheduling for the next day. Which seemed like it was going to work out, but it happened to be Valentine’s Day which another player had obligations for that they had forgotten about. We rescheduled then for Friday, which is when I would normally have the write up done. Thankfully, Friday stuck and we had a pretty long session at that, I did not personally think the material I had written up would take so long, but we became embroiled in some out of character talk and some inter-personal scenes took longer than expected which was perfectly fine with me. I would rather roleplay than worry about rolling some dice.

On a mechanical note I looked in to the situation that arose from last session in relation to what happens when you find out your list of Keywords for determining who can attempt to lead a step of a Threatening Task for a Round and you get multiple Keywords that a lead can use. We were hesitant to call out anything specific so I left the situation very light and just did not have any result getting the single keyword was enough and the Difficulty Number for the steps were all low that any feasible bonus would not matter. To note though, the answer was that if you have extra keywords they each give you a bonus die to the step’s attempt, but repititions to not keep giving you a bonus. You get one bonus per extra Keyword on your list, as far as I can determine at least.

The session’s thought for the day was “Only in death does duty end”, and it was as fitting as it could have been. The miletone session’s thoughts for the days were planned out well before the rest of the sessions got names. This was always going to be the session where the enemy’s forces attempted to assassinate the Fel, and Jaq was always going to be put in the situation we will learn about in the stinger of session thirteen. The main difference ended up being that I had not decided who the assassin would be for some time. At first I had just intended on Ubel having created some strange thing in order to send after a target, but I started wondering what I could do that was not a random monster attack. Eventually I came upon the idea of using Nathaniel, as I had for some time wanted the party’s commander to get kidnapped by the enemy forces and interrogated. I eventually figured that the commander was a Fel, and that fit in with the idea even better, beause it would be a matter of family so a bit more fitting in terms of hurting as I made sure to note that Fel Jacqueline and Nathaniel were on good terms for some time. It was only happenstance that Fel Nathaniel and Sergeant Aidan had such a strong relationship, admittedly the npc was played by Nathan Fillion so he was hard not to like. It merely helped slot in to putting Aidan’s character through a crucible of his own in a similar manner to Cecilia having to deal with the revelations of the ‘Wolves of Remus’ and their relation to the Cole family. Honestly it would have been harder to make it work much better at the end of the day. I am quite pleased with how it ended up coming together at the table.

After some inter-personal scenes the player characters were informed of their next assignment. Just the three of them, who were involved in the whole court-martial situation, were called to perform a duty for an aid of the Inquisitor on the planet that had them spared. This is a note which I honestly find much more useful than I could have realized. There are five personnel in Firefox, but only three of them (the main player characters) were involved in the court-martial offence. Therefore I only have to focus on the three main players for any extra narrative situations involving the Inquisition, which lets me remove the issues I had been having with having the two extra non-player characters taking hits or worse dishing them out. Now, that does not mean that I will not have them be part of the story, just not Inquisitorial related business, which the players have not even informed the two non-player characters about their benefactors at this point so it is a bit moot right now. Regardless, they were informed that they were to report to an aide to try to find an enemy scout to be capture, alive, for interrogation later. The interrogator was a character that Aidan’s player mentioned offhand, but apparently was a player character from an older game that Arnie’s player was in command of which was a nice callback on the realization. The narrative situation was completely different, but it was good to have the player at hand to get the npcs personality and look at hand. The Interrogator told them the relevant information and sent the team off to retrieve the enemy scout. Honestly, in my notes I just left the situation very open with asking the players, “How do you want to go about doing this?”. I did not care at all about the nitty gritty of the situation about finding the scout, I just wanted the scout found and to see if they accidentally killed them or not. I could have handled it with a Threatening Task, but it was recommended they not be used too often and only for important things. This was not important to me one way or the other, I just left it at a few opposed skill checks and it turned in to a chase with opposed Athletics. Once Arnie beat the scout unconscious it was all over for them and eventually the Interrogator discerned that the scout had notes on the nature of an upcoming attack on the Fel of the planet.

Once the player characters found out the nature of the attack they quickly tried to make their way to the scene of the scuffle before their planetary governor was assassinated. Which, well they did not narratively because where is the fun in them intervening in the situation. The entire assassination was being handled with npcs so I felt it was fine to move it along at the pace I desired to move it before the player characters had a chance to intervene in the story pacing. When the characters arrived they came upon a scene of the assassin with a power blade in their governor’s chest. It was then revealed that the assassin as the cybernetically converted Fel Nathaniel much to the party’s dread. He pleaded with them to stop him, obviously not in control of his actions, and then because Arnie has a heavy bolter the situation was handled as if it were nothing. I do wonder why Chrono gladiators have such low Shock for the amount of Soak they have, but that is a mystery for a later date. Once Nathaniel was dealt with Cecilia quickly went to stabilize Jacqueline, though she did not regain consciousness and Ubel revealed a parting gift from Nathaniel in the form of an explosive device planted in his carcass. The PCs just stayed away from the device, I rolled a 3 on a 1d3 for how long it would take to blow, so they had time to just not be near the blast radius as boring as that was. Afterwards the characters were dismissed back to the regiment to await their next assignment, but the aftermath of the situation was still solidifying for Aidan.

Obviously this isn’t the end of Aidan’s mini-arc yet. Killing Nathaniel was merely the climax. The player of Aidan has said this has steeled his resolve in the situation making him wholeheartedly invested in bringing an end to the invasion no matter the cost under his new Inquisitorial masters. As to whether that will translate in to him appearing in arc two I do not know, none of us do right now. I have made a point to the players that I only want one character reoccurring in to the next arc if that. Arnie has stated that he will not be present in arc two, the player wants to try out psykers, so that is one. Cecilia and now Aidan’s players have both stated interest in coming back for arc two, so this is something they will have to come to terms with. Regardless there are four sessions left in this arc, and I am not through trying to have Moira convince Aidan there is a brighter path for him, not one of servitude, and Cecilia has stated that they empathize with Aidan’s pain of losing a father figure. The players know not to set their minds on one path, so Aidan’s future is still in flux. We’ll have to see.

Session Thirteen will see the 32nd, and by extension the War Council, responsing to the assassination attempt in kind by attempting to assassinate the Lord General of the 103rd Punitive Expeditionary Fleet. We have seen this character before at the table speaking with the Iron Warrior space marine Harrell. They have a noted history with Fel Duran, and we will have to see how Firefox pulls it off…if they can. I plan on bringing back the Threatening Task mechanic to this session and opening it to the players.

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