The Final Invasion of Fel Duran

Thendoctor
Posts: 125
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.

Thendoctor
Posts: 125
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.

Thendoctor
Posts: 125
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:18 am

Re: The Final Invasion of Fel Duran

Postby Thendoctor » Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:11 am

Session Thirteen Write Up:

Session thirteen. I cannot say that thirteen was an inherently unlucky session, but upon looking back to the session it certainly ended on a lower note than I would have suspected after an incredibly tense situation. The session ran for quite a long time, even though it was the normal day we have the session meaning the middle of the week. We even started just on time as well, but we ran an hour and a half later than we normally would. I would not change that state of things for the sake of what happened, we ran longer than we normally would have because everyone was incredibly invested upon seeing what happened.

Mechanically speaking I made sure to not something that arose during session twelve’s course of events for further note. In session twelve the target of the assassination was the planetary governor of the planet known as Fel Jacqueline. She was stabbed in the chest and then started to make Defiance Checks to see if she died, as per the rules. The issue arose in figuring out when the first Defiance Check happened, I misremembered the rule as immediately when going down a character must make a Defiance Check. This is incorrect, you in fact only make a Defiance Check when your next Turn rolls around, and immediately make a check upon taking any subsequent damage while Unconscious. This is more because you can’t actually Soak wounds while Unconscious, but still it was something I misremembered. Narratively this did not change anything, Jacqueline was stabilized before her first Defiance Check, and subsequently I put her in the narrative state I had been intending on putting her in later on in the course of the plot. This situation was revealed as the stinger of this session, will be resolved across session fourteen, and be present through the rest of arc one and two.

Secondarily, while reading through ‘The Beginner’s Rulebook’ from the Starter Set collection and noted a particular part of the wording on the ‘Ammuntion and Reloads’ section of the rules. This wording was open enough for me to interpret it as there being a possibility of having to spend Reloads per Combat Scene in the course of a session, rather than explicitly for mechanical expenditures like Salvo or for Combat Complications that eat a Reload. I was hopeful that this was the case honestly, it would have provided an interesting gauge of just how much combat a group of characters should be getting up to in a session, or how hard a combat encounter is, but this was not the case. According to:

http://www.ulisses-us.com/forum/viewtop ... =45&t=3429

A thread I started on the Ulisses NA Forums…which you obviously know if you’re reading it here, Eric states that it was more of an open wording issue rather than intent for the mechanic itself. This is alright as well, it is not a big deal at the end of the day. Perhaps I will introduce this as a mechanic later on in arc two as I intend on the planet to start having munitions issues rather than rationing issues. The only issue with this is that depending on how many combat scenes occur in the game player characters may be overburdened with Influence Tests to acquire more Reloads up to their stated maximum or beyond. I’m not sure on the beyond thing, but it’s not something I worry about following up on at the moment honestly.

Lastly I had a more preparation related not as it comes to arc two. We have three sessions left, as of session thirteen’s completion, and so we have been mentioning and thinking about the upcoming ascension and how the narrative will change as it relates to what player characters will be present. I made a note to my players that personally I will only want one recurring character from a previous arc in the new arc. A couple of players mentioned thinking about keeping their characters around, and I will relate more to them in the next session zero, session 16.9…I do not know, about why I would like the situation to be this way. The players were fine with this and accepted it as something I was wanting and understood. For now I have continually related to them that I want them to keep their mind open to the shifting of the narrative as it relates to the character’s mindset and if they even want to be around for the next arc.

Session thirteen’s thought for the day was; “Your honour is your life. Let none dispute it.”. I felt like this related well to the overall atmosphere that was left at the end of session twelve with the assassination attempt and the death of the 32nd’s previous commander. The player characters, Aidan in particular, had taken the death hard as the character served as a stand in father figure, and Firefox began to learn that the rest of the regiment had begun to gossip about them and become wary over the strange things they were being tasked with these days. The two non-player characters I have in the group to fill out the fireteam even raised their grievances about being kept utterly in the dark and feeling like they were no longer trusted in their own squad. The main point of this session was for the player characters to serve as a reprisal squad against the forces of the Dark Magos, and the war council set them loose to assassinate the 103rd’s commander. Which turned in to an impressive grox-patty show if I do say so myself.

After some interpersonal scenes and player character/non-player character materials got sorted out it came down to what the player characters were assigned with for their next task. This was, as mentioned, an assassination mission. The War Council, currently led by the Inquisitor on the planet, requested they serve as a squad to exact swift and brutal retribution for the attempt on Fel Jacqueline’s life, and they were given the information that was available to find and kill the Lord Militant General of the 103rd.

I ended up having this become a Threatening Task at the outset of the situation because I did not exactly care about the nature of them doing reconnaissance, getting to the place, and the minutia of doing this kind of task. I just wanted to see what kind of situation they found themselves in and then I wanted to give Cecilia the chance to take a killshot. This was something in Session Zero that was stated to be a desire of the player, and they also wanted the chance to fail. Which, they did, and over the course of an hour we played out mechanically trying to kill the Lord Militant General eventually ending in the general teleporting out (after three rounds of the players failing) and Firefox getting pulled out of a no win scenario by the new 1st Sergeant put in place when Aidan was briefly commander of the 32nd.

Session thirteen’s stinger revealed what was going on with the planetary governor as she was in a coma state after her near death experience. In this vision of her mind she was revealed to be beginning to have a conversation with an average looking guardsman called Pius. This reveal was interesting in that one player knew exactly who I was mentioning, and one player remembered the name. The other player did not recognize or care one way or the other, which is fine as well. Engagement with the lore at that much depth is scattershot at best and wholly unrequired for me to feel like the player’s understand what is going on.

Session fourteen will be a downtime session, the last one before the penultimate and finale sessions of arc one. There are quite a few scenes that both I and the players want to see between themselves and npcs of the regiment. Throughout the entire session though Fel Jacqueline will be reaching a point of enlightment under the guidance of her…companion I suppose is the thing I would call him. I only worry that the amount of material that the PCs want to see in terms of seeing may outweigh how much time I would like to have for material that Jacqueline is going though. This can be cut easily enough, but I hope I have the time anyways.

Thendoctor
Posts: 125
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:18 am

Re: The Final Invasion of Fel Duran

Postby Thendoctor » Thu Feb 28, 2019 3:31 pm

Session Fourteen Write Up:

Session fourteen went off without a single hitch. It could not have flowed more smoothly given how we as a group operate. There were no timing issues, no one had to arrive much later than expected, everyone enjoyed the food provided, and we wrapped up the session in exactly the amount of time I like to use for the session. Afterwards when asking for opinions I received nothing that I inherently needed to work on, and we talked about a few higher-level things up to and including a possible fourth player in the future. This point has me a little worried for a few reasons, but we are going to discuss it before session fifteen, so we will have to see how that resolves itself. There are a lot of factors going in the way towards and against that outcome, and if one of them catches a hitch we will not bother with it.

Given that session fourteen was a downtime session there was obviously no combat or heavy mechanics to worry about. There were maybe…five tests I believe throughout the entire session, and only one involved firing a weapon at an ephemeral DN rather than an actual target. Which means here, that there is not much follow-up to be had on any mechanical issues had previously or any that came up during the game.

The only “issue”, and I use that term loosely, was the use of two campaign cards for a situation that did not directly involve a player but rather an asset that the player was controlling. I ruled in favor of the players, but I was not overly worried, I will mention it below in that it was the situation involving Arnie’s pet being in a fight.The players basically used their campaign cards, and Arnie his objective, to frontload some player character resources in order to help their chances of success in the following roll to determine the winner of the opposed skill check.

Session fourteen’s thought for the day was “Step not from the path of the Emperor”. This is truly only relevant in the sense of a situation that was going on outside of the player character’s environment of control or even awareness. The thought for the day centered around Fel Jacqueline, mentioned last session, going through a ‘vision quest’ of sorts at the behest of Saint Pius to reach a point of enlightment about what the Empeor desired her to do for her planet, at least in relation to the nature of their enemy. Usually I would refrain from having such an important thing simply happen to an npc, but I wanted to show that in the Imperium Nihilus Man lives in strange and interesting times. There is hope again, of a sort, and we know for a fact that the Emperor is acting in one way or another again on a galactic scale through various novels and short stories. It also helps to show the dispararity of power and influence in a Tier 1 game versus what I would consider to be a higher Tier of power and influce in the form of a planetary governor. No guardsman is going to randomly see a Saint acting on a galactic stage, Gaunt’s Ghosts not withsanding but they are adept people at that point in the novel certainly at least Tier 3 I would argue.

There were three major scenes that I would say had the most narrative impact on to the nature of the player characters and their interpersonal and non-player character relationships. The first scene concerned Aidan and Genevere, and the fallout of the execution of the thief that murdered a fellow guardsman over non-existant rations at the end of last session. The second involved Arnie and himself concerning something their player suggested that we do concerning the fact that Arnie will not make in to arc two, this arose from session eleven’s fallout concerning Winston and his ‘mob squad’ attack. The third involved Cecilia and Genevere and the nature of their interpersonal relationship as it related to the issues that were stated after session eight occurred.

Aidan and Genevere had a long conversation about the nature of Fel Durnian mentality as it related to Officio Prefectus regulation in terms of soldier mentality within the Commissariat’s control structures. Aidan noted that the regiment woud likely fall apart if she kept trying to rule them with fear. Genevere in turn mentioned that fear was a necessity as most Fel Durinians only cared about the nature of order when it fell in line with their own mentality and given the nature of the threats they were facing the regiment’s subconscious fears were only going to get worse. She felt she must be scarier. Both reached a more calm understanding of one another.

Arnie was meeting with the regimental chirurgeon who told them that their cybernetics were failing due to the shockwave of the grenades that he was hit with during session eleven. Given the timing of the event and how long it had not been addressed Arnie was going to die before he would have time to get any replacement or repair surgery conducted on him. Arnie was at peace with this, and I was surprised that he took the time to tell Aidan about it, I thought he would keep it to himself to spare his comrade the pain of the loss. Both decided it would be best to not tell the rest of Firefox, or the regiment about the ssue.

Cecilia and Genevere had a coming to terms conversation with one another, both acting like sisters with eachother even talking about the nature of Cecilia’s betrothal to another member of the regiment, one Fel Octavian who had recently been given the rank of Corporal as a replacement to one of those killed from Winston’s group back in session eleven. Both left much happier with each other.

After Jacqueline’s revival in to real space and the healing of her wounds she took the time to attend an awards ceremony to denote that she was indeed still alive, and to hearten the regiment. She stated that the 32nd would no longer be the honour guard of the planet, an impermanent change but a necessary one, and would instead be redesignated as a regiment exclusively assigned to special assignments at Fel Jacqueline’s behest. The situation would remain as such for the rest of the war effort until the invasion is resolved and therefore unti Jacqueline re-establishes the ‘Ruling Council’ from her War Council members. In a very meta sense, Jacqueline just needed a regiment she could throw at a specific set of propblems that would not drain the planet of their Storm Troopers while at the same time giving her a resource that wasn’t set only upon defending the planet as theoretical other threats may arise.

The awards ceremony closed, and what followed was a party being thrown by Octavia for two reasons. The first reason was to celebrate the fact that Winston was dead, Squad Chimera (their designation) were never particularly fond of the man, and so the new sergeant wanted to celebrate the promotion in a way. The second reason was to welcome the new member of the regiment to Squad Chimera in the form of a scum that came from Exile’s Point back in session four. They had been run through R.I.P. detail by Genevere at Octavia’s demand when she revealed that due to Cecilia’s actions in session four she knew about Wynchell, and in turn she wanted to by her own silence on the matter. The party scene was short, but went well enough, we resolved a ‘Nemesis’ campaign card useage by having Arnie’s pet defeat their Adversary level threat. I was a little worried that they would not succeed, but I am never one to put a situation the players are guaranteed to win down to the table. Session thirteen’s situation withstanding, but narratively the character gave them a save because they did not think the mission was worthwhile.

The penultimate session, session fifteen, is upon us, and I am by no means done putting the player characters through the fire of the first wave of the invasion efforts. On the contrary, session fifteen will be a crucible everyone in the regiment given the narrative situation I am going to…drop them in to as it were. We will have to see how the 32nd fairs in their new designation as a special assignment regiment.

Thendoctor
Posts: 125
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Re: The Final Invasion of Fel Duran

Postby Thendoctor » Thu Mar 07, 2019 10:34 am

Session Fifteen Write Up:

Session fifteen was, once again, a session that flowed very smoothly through both preparation work and through getting the group together at all. Not only did I get my preparation work early, but thankfully the player who recently got a new job did not have any time conflict with their schedule change. As I mentioned in the last post we had a discussion about whether we wanted to try to introduce a new player to the group for arc two of the game. After some thorough discussion about the nature of the situation and the rammifications of introducing a new player, along with discussing the logistics of such a thing we concluded to continue discussions with that person about getting them in the game. As such, I need to follow-up with that person about getting their ducks in a proper row to join us for the next session zero, and by extension Framework session, for them to get up to pace with the system and create a character. Hopefully, they will work out and we will get a good new player to make up for the fact we will not have non-player characters in arc two as a constant attachment to the main player character group. I will use that time I put aside in my preparation work for scenes with those non-player characters to work in the new player and really dig in to what makes them tick.

Mechanically only one situation really arose, during a Threatening Task mentioned later in this submission I incorrectly used a Complication that occurred by the lead player character during a Step. Lead characters suffer specific Complications on a Threatening Task, rather than the normal Combat or Narrative Complications. They roll on a specific table for such a thing. I did not think about it until I had resolved the Complication by the suggestion of forcing the Round the player characters were operating in to be forced forward by one. Hopefully I will remember next time, I will at least endeavor to make a specific note during the prep-work for the session.

The session’s thought for the day was “We are all a weapon in the hands of the Emperor”, and honestly this one was a bit of a hard one to place for the context of the session. At best I can fit it in to the opener of the session in which Inquisitor Li revealed that he wanted to have Firefox for some reason and Jacqueline asked why, agreeing that they were important in the grand scheme of things. Secondarily this was followed up on later in the session during the player characters’ conversation with he Inquisitor when he in no small way explained that they were tools to him. That’s really it, I suppose in an abstract way Jacqueline stands as a more direct weapon of the Emperor given her enlightment at the hands of Saint Pius, but the thought held no specific gain for me other than being a random result I rolled against a random letter generator and a random number generator for the amount of results on that list of ‘Thoughts for the Day’ I found online.

I used the pages from here: http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Thought_for_the_day

The crux of the session’s opening was seeing the results of what happened after the party, the normal stereotypical nonsense, and then having a bit of downtime for a week before the regiment was given an assignment. That assignment entailed destroying some new fortifications being built at the cistern area from session thirteen, the area where the player characters attempted to assassinate Igna, and theyn they were tasked with keeping hold of the area for the foreseeable future.

Once at the area, a shooting gallery was opened, letting the player characters have enough enemies for the heavy bolter user to not destroy all in one go. While they did have a good go of it, killing two mobs of five troops with a multi-attack, I did manage to scare them a little with a mob of twenty troops with a veteran militarum trooper at the head. As a side-note, grenades remain quite a strong tool against player characters that are hard to hit at all.

After the shooting gallery, the 103rd sprung a trap against the entire 32nd regiment. They activated a series of placed teleportation beacons they had on their person and teleported huge chunks of the area and infrastructure of the cistern to drop the regiment into the darkness below. Afterwards a newly built armoured division of the 103rd came to the fore and began to shoot the regiment indiscriminately like so much as fish in a barrel. In the hivework of the underground ‘catacombs’, as they are colloquially called, more 103rd troops began to work their way inwards and tried to kill off any stragglers. All the while Firefox was given a Threatening Task to try and stop some of the armoure division, the stakes being the difference between 2d6% losses to the regiment or 1d66%. The second result was to give the player characters the chance to be awarded a medal for surviving an encounter with such huge losses to the overall regimental forces, as a sort of participation reward. It was just something I thought of while preparing the session.

After the harrowing situation within the cistern was resolved, once the player characters worked through the Threatening Task I had planned for the armoured regiment of the planet to come and relieve the regiment along with retrieve Firefox at the behest of Inquisitor Li. This came about from a couple of older notes back in session zero prep during the Framework portion of the game where I asked the player characters about things they’d like to see.

This entire session had a few things off that list. Included were a shooting gallery, the opener of the regiment working their way in to the fortifications of the enemy, an ‘Operation: Market Garden’ situation, the trap of the 103rd had set for the regiment, and seeing an armoured division, in the obvious situation. These were the last things off that list, and I am glad that I managed to work them in to this session, so I had time to have session sixteen be more of what I had plans of for myself.

Following Firefox’s retrieval, all of them much to the chagrin of the two non-player characters, were taken to see the Lord Inquisitor on the planet currently to receive their next, and probably final, mission. It appeared that a ship had managed to make its way through the Cicatrix Maledictum, a ship captained by a scion of the family that Cecilia’s character is a part of. That ship was working its way to Fel Duran, but something had arisen on it. Apparently the Dark Magos had teleported an enemy asset onto the ship, and that asset was set upon tearing it apart and destroying it before it could come to the aid of the planet. This aid coming in the form of what would amount to enough rations to keep the planet going for years at the current population. Firefox was to be teleported onto the ship, when it came in range the next morning, and defeat the asset, save the ship, and by extension the planet. Simple enough, for Inquisitorial assets.

In the afterim the Inquisitor told the player characters to say their goodbyes if they had any, it was quite likely that they would not get the chance after it was all said and done. Aidan said goodbye to Moira and was convinced to spend the evening with her. Arnie said goodbye to one of his fellow friends named Oswald, also known as Ozzie, to which he told his friend that he was dying one way or another likely. Cecilia said goodbye to Genevere, and both of them hugged while having some severe injuries of their own.

The ultimate session of Arc One is upon the group, and in the future at least an Arc Two burdens upon a whole new situation. Can Firefox survive the attrition of the Iron Warrior Harrell? Can they save the Obsidian Spear, and in turn the entire planet from starvation after the destruction of Fel Secundus? We will have to see, but we as a group know one thing for certain. There will be loss, there will be death, there will be…only war. I am not sorry for that last line.

Thendoctor
Posts: 125
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:18 am

Re: The Final Invasion of Fel Duran

Postby Thendoctor » Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:56 am

Session Sixteen Write Up:

Session sixteen landed as well as I thought it would. We scheduled everything out, and all arrived on time. We did end a little earlier than I suspected we would, but the material I had available to the game ran out before we ended the session regardless, so thankfully the players had a good few scenes that ate up enough time for us to end at our usual early time for game nights.

Mechanically speaking there was not even a fight to be had, I never intended on the players to fight the Chaos Space Marine that was tearing its way through the Rogue Trader ship. I always had a plan about that situation, and it went off as expected. Largely because I communicated those plans to the player involved with them, which I will speak more on in later notes here. I can say honestly that I believe there were less than ten rolls thoughout the night, and I prefer it that way I feel. Sometimes I feel like a game can get a bit too bogged down in the mechanics of itself, and Wrath & Glory really tries to take strides to not trip you up as you are going through the processes of having a story play out at a table.

The Thought of the Day for Session Sixteen was: “Reach out to embrace the glories that will come”. This is poignant from an in-game sense and a meta sense from the table level. In the context of the game this was Squad Firefox’s most grueling task, the success of this mission literally meant the survival of the planet. This was due to the fact tha the Rogue Trader ship was carrying within it enough rations for the planet to sustain itself for a few years yet at current population levels after the destruction of most of their food stores. The issue being that the enemy asset, revealed in the stinger of session fifteen to be a Chaos Space Marine, was dead set on making sure those rations did not get to the planet. If Firefox failed everyone would die. In the meta sense at the table this was the ultimate session of arc one for the campaign, at the outset of starting this campaign I only asked for two arcs of play. This was meant to be a sendoff of the characters in one way or the other, only one character is going to return for arc two and the entire scope and situation of the game will change as a result.

This is one thing I truly enjoy about the nature of the Framework setup for Wrath and Glory, and I think the Tier of play really shines through in explaining just what sort of games you should be playing with certain kinds of characters. Additionally, the Tier level explains just how far reaching these games should be, which is useful to me from a planning point because it keeps me in check about what kind of situations I should be throwing at the players from a standpoint of what they should be interacting with and what is either too far above or now below their scope. Tier one is explained in the Core Rulebook as:

“Characters at Tier 1 begin play with limited resources and training. In many cases, their superiors may set them to challenges as a holding action or delaying tactic. They may not be expected to survive every encounter. The vast majority of the threats to the galaxy are more powerful than the characters who operate at this level. However, these characters may still be heroes. Their choices and actions can have huge implications for the Dark Imperium. The key focus is that the characters have finite resources, and are likely to often encounter limitations in that regard.”
- Wrath & Glory, Core Rulebook – Page 80

I made sure to always keep this in mind in relation to not only what the characters would face in combat, but in how they were interacted with socially. I only had them meet the planetary governor once for example, and I had shown scenes of the planetary governor beforehand to show them what they were doing. As a result, for the governor to even note their existence was a big deal to the players. When the player characters were spoken to by the Inquisitor that took note of them they were plainly explained that they were little more than tools, and if they were never seen again he would not lament the loss or passing. There are more important people around than the player characters, but that never meant that what the players were doing was not important. On their own scale the player characters are a bit of celebrities. They went from the most prominent squad in the regiment, including the 1st Sergeant, to outlaws that somehow survived Officio Prefectus censure in the from of the court martial. People knew them, liked or hated them, and in their own way treated them with the respect of those positions.

The session went on as expected. After having some severe nightmares, due to a daemon being released from its captivity at the end of session fifteen as well, the player characters trundled their way through to eventually make it to the Mechanicus Shrine on the planet where a teleportarium was activated so that the players could get to the Rogue Trader ship as it was nearing the planet now.

On the rogue trader ship the characters met the captain, who happened to be Cecilia’s uncle, this was decided upon after the player character told me their noble family was known for rogue trading in the Sub-Sector and beyond. I had already planned on having a Rogue Trader at all, and it was happy circumstance I could tie it in to one of the player’s backgrounds. After a very brief reunion the player characters were sent on their way with a little under four hours remaining until the ship was in orbital range of the planet.

I used the “Pitfalls” special encounter noted in the Starter Set’s adventure ‘Escape the Rok’ on page 24 of the booklet. This was well written in my opinion because it uses the Leadership skill, which a lot of us had been trying to figure out other uses for. If you’ve got the Starter Set lying around check out the adventure, the encounters in it are ripe for putting in a toolbox for a rainy day. After getting through the encounter the player characters encountered Harrell, stats provided below:

Harrell – p.430 Chaos Space Marine
Modifications: Resiliance 7+6 (Heavy Armour) +3* (Refractor Field)=16*
Speed: 6, cannot Run or Sprint
Strength: 8
Attacks: 2x Power Fist (16+2ED, Ap-3, Brutal, Unwieldy (2) - +2DN to attacks)
Talents: Dual Wild: Single Attack, one weapon trait apply, against double resilliance after
reductions, 2x total damage

The first move Harrell made after throwing an Iron Snake tech marine down a rent in the floor was to mercilessly kill both of the non-player characters I have had with the party for the last fifteen sessions. I told the players I would kill them mercilessly anyways, so it seemed fitting. Next, after giving Arnie the Martyrdom campaign card the player knew the best time to use it and activated it heroically sacrificing themselves for his squadmates, the ship, and the planet. The ship was then crashed into a city on the planet that will lead to Reload shortages in arc two, and afterwards players had a few goodbye scenes.

A new session zero is upon the group. The framework of the game will be updated and a few players, including an entirely new one, will be creating new lenses through which we can view the setting. This will all help me flesh out the notes I have for session seventeen and beyond. I have game notes all the way up to session thirty-two, but what the new player characters will bring to the table can only help me out in the long run. I will not be making a write up for this next session zerio, if it goes in to session seventeen then I will surely mention it like I did back in my first session one write up. It has been quite a ride so far, I will be excited to see how the finale of the game lands, and at that I have notes for what may yet lay beyond.

Thendoctor
Posts: 125
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:18 am

Re: The Final Invasion of Fel Duran

Postby Thendoctor » Fri Mar 29, 2019 6:22 pm

Session Seventeen Write Up:

As with Arc One it appeared that Session Zero ran longer than I suspected. Longer even than I had planned it running over it seemed like. I believe this was due to the fact we had another player at the table with us, but the act of creating characters took time as well. Three of the players were creating new characters wholesale, and Cecilia’s player was ascending their character from Tier One to Tier Two. Lots of minor things were involved in this as one might expect from gear selection to mechanical possibilities to figuring out a bit of math related to a few tables that are incongruous with eachother in the rules. Those are corrected on Facebook these days, on the Wrath & Glory proper page rather than Ulisses International at this moment. But I don’t use a pdf at the table, so the print work of run one is what I have along with printed errata from back in September. It can take a bit of time to look through what’s been addressed after all.

I won’t talk about the first session of Arc Two overall, that was purely a Framework founding session, or I took to calling it Session 0.2 because I have mentioned the possibility of playing through future arcs I wanted to make sure that the future Framework sessions would be distinguishable from one another. So Arc Three would be called Session 0.3 and so on. This session however started out with finishing up a few finer points from the previous session that I wanted a bit more information on in relation to some preliminary points along with finishing up a few deeper documents that aren’t part of the Framework but are part of what I hold important in an overall session zero situation. Those documents include the two documents that are located on the ‘Fear the Boot’ website for the Group Template.

Those are located here:

https://www.feartheboot.com/ftb/index.php/resources

While not verbose in nature I do feel like having the questionaires at the table help to focus the players a bit further on what I intend on with the overall Framework of the Arc. In turn the questions can help refine certain details in relation to how that Framework situation came together.

At the end of my questions we had four characters, as stated three new entirely and one in a new social situation.

Cecilia was now what socially amounted to a Senschal in training for her Rogue Trader uncle Cole Tyrius Alexander, her player intending on them becoming Alexander’s replacement when they retired. I was clear to mention to them that during the arc they would not have a ship, nor was there anywhere to go to. The ship had crash landed on the planet and the Ciciatrix was still too strong for overall travel in the system let alone across the sector. In future arcs, if we have future arcs, Cecilia will certainly show up at least with Alexander still in training. I have no plans on killing the npc, but I’ll make sure to ask the player if they feel that Alexander would have died or if they’d have taken an early retirement. Arc Four has in its notes that Cecilia is at least co-captaining whatever ship the both of them ended up on.

Xitram Arnie’s player created a ‘Sanctioned Psyker’ going by the name Cassius. Pyskers on Fel Duran are something generally hated and misunderstood. Being strange genetic abominations at best and at worst creatures from their folklore that have brought nothing but ruin to the planet. Even more recently with the cult known as the ‘Wolves of Remus’ being led by a psyker puts even more strain on the situation. Cecilia and the character have particular tension because Wynchell, Cecilia’s unknown brother, was both an unsanctioned psyker and the killer of their father. The distinction between sanctioned and unsanctioned psykers is valued very little on the planet. Cassius as a character is just happy to not be stuck in the area that psykers are kept on the planet, a particular addition to the Arbite fortress tower that is generally emptied by the Black Ships when they arrive. They were returned to Fel Duran for posting service, but it raises the point to me what was their actual duty for the planet intended to be. I will have to ask the player.

Wyatt Aidan’s player created a Space Marine Scout named Allistar Bower. The Scout Marine in question had been teased earlier in the arc in side scenes on the Obsidian Spear by the Tech-Marine known as Brother Polyphemus. We never saw the Scout Marine on screen because I did not want to set the player down a particular chapter choice. The player in question had later described a homebrew chapter that was present in the sector, the Scout Marine is from that chapter. I will be interested to see the transhuman personality come to the fore with the character especially since they have no innate connection to the conflict on the planet other than being created solely for war as all other Astartes.

The new player to the table created a Tempestus Scion, desiring to make something of a tank along with what I would assume a simpler character narratively to get in to the already established setting we had created in Arc One. Their character is called Cole Di Fredrick, and are therefore related to Cecilia through one tie or another. At the table they are cousins. I know very little about the character yet besides they cannot understand metaphors, and they have a severe hatred of cultists after finding a former friend of theirs had joined the Wolves of Remus after escaping death at the hands of the planet and leaving to Exiles’ Point.

Arc Two continued the naming convention of titling the sessions with Thoughts for the Day. Session Seventeen’s ‘Thought for the Day’ was “In the darkest of moments, the Emperor’s light shines brightest”, and I felt it was prudent because of the nature of the overall arc. Things on the planet are not great at the moment, a ship crash landed on the planet bringing much needed rations to the planet but also wrecking the planet’s capability to constantly produce munitions for military forces. The Dark Magos is not defeated yet and looms ever in the background after their desire of the STC.

The session amounted to very little narratively honestly. I did not intend to see much happen at the table for the evening and even still I ran out of time. I wanted to have a simple introduction to both the kind of non mechanical interactions I like at the table and something to introduce the new player to baseline mechanics within the system.

The crux of the session revolved around the apprehension of the Administratum Representative of the former Ruling Council of the planet for arms dealing to the station that was transplanted into the city’s wall at the outset of the invasion, and therefore by extension she had armed the cult forces that attacked the planet in turn. After a bit of interpersonal interaction the player characters assaulted a ruined arms factory the Prefectus was dealing from, and dealt with all the guards therein. I cut the session there for time, but next session they’ll have to deal with getting the Prefectus out of the factory and investigating the area for evidence of her wrong-doings.

Session Eighteen is upon, and therefore the first session which will have full length of the narrative. Cecilia’s choices for her own live have had consequences for the Cole family, and in the wake of the discovery of a dark secret about them the Order Famulous of the planet have taken note at the aberrant genes within the line. Thankfully on Fel Duran there is an assassin house that help the Sororitas handle such unwanted growths on the various family trees of the planet, and the ‘House of Branches’, as they are colloquially called, have never shied away from the work of pruning.

Thendoctor
Posts: 125
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:18 am

Re: The Final Invasion of Fel Duran

Postby Thendoctor » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:43 pm

Session Eighteen Write Up:

Session Eighteen went off relatively unhitched. Scheduling thankfully was not an issue, but it was brought to the attention of the table that one of the players had miscalculated some attribute BP cost at character creation and they were a bit over on what they could allow for character creation max spending. We spoke about it as a table and felt that since it was not over the species maximum rating and the rest of the math was solid (having 200 BP max) that it was a fine compromise to just allow it to stand for the time being.

If we go to another arc I will make a standing rule before session zero material Is finished that we will go through all the characters with a calculator at the end of the process before we lock in our characteristics. Exactly because this is something I do not want to have to deal with in the future, as it was incredibly frustrating in the moment to think about.

Mechanically speaking something arose in this game that bears commenting on in relation to the Adeptus Astartes species. Both I and the player in question found it rather annoying about how loose the organ descriptions were in relation to just how they should be utilized for any bonuses. The descriptions of the organs are too opent o interpretation in my opinion, and they are so open that reading them without understanding the deeper lore of Space Marines gives an incredibly incorrect idea of just what their limits actually are in the field of battle. I understand that Wrath & Glory is a game about heroes doing heroic things, but it was getting a bit ridiculous.

To address this, I am taking the time to create some firmer rules for Space Marine organs and their innate bonuses to the player character that is an Adeptus Astartes. I am just going to use Deathwatch as a baseline and try my best to modify it into the Wrath & Glory template of rules. When the player and I hammer out the finer details I will probably post them up here as well. At the end of the day, we just do not want to have to be constantly looking at the page and wondering, ‘Would that really be applicable here?’. On a more positive point, it will help to differentiate the Astartes from other more tank-like builds at the table which is what the Tempestus Scion turned in to. Of course, towards the end of the arc the Astartes, if built correctly, can outpace the Scion, but that requires a heavier investment of Attributes to get to the species max. There is a delicate balance to maintain in relation to overall gameplay of course. You cannot for example have the Astartes be so overwhelmingly amazing that there is not a reason to play one or that any solider build is pointless in the face of them. This is where of course the usefulness of talents come in to in terms of gameplay.

The astartes player comes from a homebrew chapter that focuses on different aspects of interaction and warfare than what a Tempestus Scion does, so I believe that will help not to invalidate the character as they stand. It should, hopefully, solve my problem of having to hear arguments (I use the term loosely) for every single organ attempting to be applicable for whatever situation. We will simply have to see.

The only other, very minor, mechanical point that was brought to my attention was Psychic Mastery versus the Psychiciense psychic power proper. Back in the days of Black Industries, and by extension Fantasy Flight Games, Psyniciense was a skill that was very useful to psykers. In the context of Wrath & Glory it is a full power and Psychic Mastery seems more hyper-focused on purely getting a power off the ground. I decided myself to use the skill as a very baseline level of Psynicience, and I then left the power as it stands for in depth reading of a situation. The player in question seems fine with that decision as they had been feeling that there would be no reason not to pick the power as one of their choices because it was so useful. I however have no solid plans on where that power would be required as I don’t make plans based on what players have at their disposal mechanically. I make plans based on what players have done narratively, to try to see how far they will go to pursue these things that they have shown me as important to them.

Those points out of the way brings us to discussing the session proper. Session Eighteen’s ‘Thought for the Day’ was “Seek honour as you act, and you will know no fear”, and honestly this had very little to do with anything I had going on during the session in a finite sense. In broad gestures dealing with the Hilda situation was dealing with someone who had not acted with honour, and therefore she had caused much trouble in their pursuit of material wealth. The stinger for the session reinforced the “know no fear” portion that is well known among Astartes enthusiasts as it was showing that the space marine who was around back in session sixteen had fully recovered from their fight with the chaos space marine. On further thought over the course of the session, the fact that the Cole family hid their psychicly awakened child from the authorities inciting eventually the House of Branches to begin targeting them is a matter for the quote as well, for an assassin house tends to work exclusively on inspiring fear in their targets. The jury is out on whether Cecilia pursuing her own desires in the face of her societal instruction is dishonourable or just selfish…well it is certainly selfish.

Other than that, we worked our way into the session smoothly enough picking up exactly where we left off in session seventeen with the warband having cleared out any resistance in the arms factory and being ready to confront the Adeptus Administratum representative of the planet for her accused crimes of arms dealing.

Over a quick course of events the characters arrested the person of interest, but not before a Complication triggered a possible destruction of the armaments in the factory (possibly impacting the amount of evidence they could find). Cecilia quickly acting however managed to stop the overall destructiong, but a Complication from their roll causes much of the data to be lost. Giving them a bone, I let them get access to a bit of the slush funds that Hilda had been gathering for some quick assets as this was something brought up in session zero as a desire to get more often.

Getting back to the villa the players were introduced to Inquisitor Li’s diviner oriented psyker for a quick divination of their fates (I just used my extended divination table for Dark Heresy Second Edition).

Due to some minor timing issues, eating took a bit longer than expected, I felt it prudent to cut the session a bit earlier in terms of prepared material again. Though I was closer to covering all the material I wanted, and I expect from this point forward I will be wholly getting through what I have prepared beforehand in the course of an evening. At this point we are still going around three to four hours a game-night and that is just about what I end up generally preparing. It really comes down to what I prepare for dinner that evening and how long it takes us all to be full and settle in for the game. Carousing is an important social activity though, so I do not mind it taking as long as needed.

Session Nineteen is upon the group. Cecilila’s life choices are beginning to catch up with her along with the dark secrets of the Cole family having the Emperor’s Light shone upon them. I intend on this next session to be the main brunt of the ‘House of Branches’ plans against the Coles and Cecilia as a focal point. I wouldn’t want the entire arc to be about avoiding an assassin house, so thankfully the player characters already gave me an out with a hard-narrative reason as to why they stop attacking. However, the fact will remain that someone gave the information concerning the deviancy of the Cole Family to the Order Famulous of the planet, and that will be a mystery to resolve at a later point in the arc overall.

Thendoctor
Posts: 125
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:18 am

Re: The Final Invasion of Fel Duran

Postby Thendoctor » Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:48 am

Session Nineteen Write Up:

Session Nineteen went better than I had expected it to honestly. Not given any of the content of the session itself, that was on par with expectations of previous game nights, but in relation to getting my preparations for the session completed at all. Lately I had not had the time I desired to do everything I try to do for a game session. Namely I had not had the time for the last few sessions, session zero, 17, and 18, to go over and read the pertinent parts of my preparation document over.

The document itself is large at this point, a number of pages I do not inherently want to repeat here, but large enough to be considerable in how long I have to have to work through the pertinent bits. Generally, it can take me a day of putting around while intermittently doing other activities to keep my mind fresh. Regardless, the point is that I did not have that kind of time these last few weeks for various reason. However, for session nineteen I managed to complete all the preparation I try to do and read through the document which I was very glad to have been able to complete. This is useful to me for various reasons.

First, it gives me a chance to go over all of the past session notes that I made during the game, and this allows me to reintegrate not only past events from sessions but to also help me remember what happened previously at all. I can honestly say that each time I read that document there is always something that I missed, overlooked, or did not realize the significance of until I read it that next time. Second, it allows me to read through the conversations I have with players outside of the game table about the game itself. These conversations cover a variety of topics, but largely they were about specific points about player characters or setting details surrounding said player characters. Much like with the first point there is always a new fine point noticed that I can make a deeper connection about in the game lore at the table, or reading through the conversations generally helps me come up with follow-up questions concerning details previously not thought about to which I can go back to said player with and get more information later on. Third, reading the document gives me a lot of inspiration for future sessions and even future arcs if we decide to play past arc two. Reading the document allows me to apply fresh eyes to fine narrative points that I only threw down on a page which have so far always led to new connections on my end or ideas to put to paper.

Barring those more nebulous points mechanically speaking I got with the Adeptus Astartes player and showed them the document in question. They approved of the proposed tightening of the Specie Organ List, and so I decided to post them to the Ulisses North America forums. You can view the rules here:

viewtopic.php?p=35218#p35218

As you can see the rules in question are heavily borrowed from Fantasy Flight Game’s ‘Deathwatch’ rules as I metioned I would do in the previous write-up. Even though we did not see the document in use at the table, I feel like when it comes to using the organs in question it will be a quicker process for everyone involved. Feel free to let me know on the post in question what you think of the expanded rules, and any changes you feel may be worth making to the document.

The only other note that came up mechanically that actually severely impacted the session, and now all of my preparation work for future use as well, was a fine point about Force Shields and exactly what they can do. It appears that neither I or another player had fully read or comprehended just what a Force Shield can do as it relates to Armour Penetration. Force Shields apparently do not suffer degradation at Armour Penetration, which is a fact that neither of us realized. Both I and the player were clear about having the ability to Soak Mortal Wounds, but neither of us ever picked up on the phrase just after that point about Armour Penetration. Funnily enough another player altogether who pointed out that fine point about Armour Penetration did not notice that Force Shields can Soak Mortal Wounds, but we all sorted eachother out. Now we have an even greater appreciation for the devices, as I had been partially underwhelmed with the devices myself not understanding their overall bonus. Having both not Armour Penetration degradation and Mortal Wound Soaking more than makes up for the lower amount of Resilience they had, even though that was part of an earlier misunderstanding I had as well which I’ve written about previously too.

With any mechanical discussions out of the way it brings us to the overall narrative of the night’s session. Session Nineteen’s Thought for the Day was “Zeal is its own excuse”. This I felt was prudent because the session dealt with the assassin house on the planet striking at Cecilia and her family as a wider target area. The ‘House of Branches’ as they are colloquially called is an assassin house dedicated to eradicating both errant gene-lines, generally at the behest of the Order Famulous on the planet, and the eradication of citizens who are not performing their societally defined duties. Cecilia herself fell in to both categories in that she is of a possible gene-line that produced the witch that led the cult that rose against the planet, and she had actively chosen to shrug off her duties to the planet and pursue her own goals. While she feels her own goals will help the family in the long run, it does not stop society from believing that she is deviating, which made her a target. The House acts zealously in this regard, in pursuing and eradicating their targets.

The session proper began picking up where session eighteen had left off in which the player characters had two goals. The first goal was for Cassius to discuss with Inquisitor Li about getting some more of the battle-psykers released from the holding of the planet. Fel Durinians as a whole are incredibly distrustful of the ‘Thouched’ as it were, especially now what with a cult just recently having been thrown against the planet headed by a witch. However, they do maintain the requisite level of psykers for possible deployment based on population number in accordance with Astra-Militarum regulation…whatever that nebulous plot related number is which did not matter to me in the slightest. After some terse discussions Cassius managed to Persuade Illijah to work on getting one of the two Primaris level psykers that were on the planet released under the watchful eye of an Officio Prefectus handler. The other three Player Characters were busy discussion the sort of changes they desired to introduce to RIP detail for the Astra-Militarum in the short view for a mass conscription effort on the planet.

The next important set-piece was a series of scenes that involved Cecilia having a birthday party at her familial home under the precept that it would end in an assassination attempt by the House of Branches. The scene, in highlight, included Cassius getting yelled at by Cecilia’s mother showing off their mutual hatred of the ‘Gifted’, Allistar attempting to steal lore from the Cole Library, Fredrick trying to find normally sized food in the face of bite-sized morsels, and Cecilia getting her eye shot out…again.

Session Twenty is upon the group, and this will be the first ‘Downtime’ session with the new cast of the arc. Personally, I am tentatively excited to see what vignettes both the players want to see, and I am excited about about they will react to what scenes I put in front of the players. Downtime sessions became a positive breath of fresh air from the main course of the arc materials. As with reading through prep it helps the table establish tons of little details and minor points about how the characters interact with other player characters and non-player characters along with getting the character’s mindset on certain situations. That is not to say something will not occur in the stinger that will set off the next adventure for the group, after all, the first Downtime session of arc one ended up with an entire city being destroyed…

Thendoctor
Posts: 125
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Re: The Final Invasion of Fel Duran

Postby Thendoctor » Thu Apr 18, 2019 9:33 am

Session Twenty Write Up:

Session Twenty was the first Downtime Session with this new group, and it went as well as I expected it to over the course of the evening. Downtime sessions in the past have either run longer or shorter than I intended them to, and this session ran a little shorter than I expected it to with the prep I had available at hand. In fact I had feared that I had too much prep before I really sat down to put pen to paper during my session write-up before the game evening, and so I ended up moving a few intended scenes to the next planned downtime session, which will be session twenty-five. These things happen however, and I feel like it was truly the result of having a newer group of characters. Not only that, but these newer characters were not innately connected to one another so ardently as arc one’s characters, which of course we tried to address in session zero material, but it appears that we still have a bit of work ahead on that end. This will naturally absolve itself over the course of the game, but it is something I want to make sure I address in future arcs, if we go beyond arc two of course. I at least want to address it before the next downtime session.

During session zero I proposed the creation of a house-rule in the use of a Flashback during sessions, in order to get a better understanding of certain player characters with an explanation of something that the player wants to share, or we as a table want to know, about their character in question. I decided to do this because I wanted to demonstrate that since we are in a Tier of play beyond Tier One the characters already have a history about them. They did not just pop in to existence and suddenly become important. They have already experienced a Tier One game of their own and so have a past. These flashback scenes have little to nothing to do with the current narrative situation however, even if it may give me inspiration for later events, they do not move the narrative forward in a meaningful way. As a result, I decided that the player who elects to do a Flashback scene should be rewarded at the table, and I would give them a Wrath Point when they were done. After a few sessions of this I realized that given another house-rule, which I will discuss in a later write-up, that we already had an additional way to gain Wrath in the session. However, we had no additional way to gain Glory rather than just the baseline rules. I proposed that we change the Flashback reward to a Glory Point as it signifies that the player is rewarding the whole table with something deeper about themselves, and I wanted that to be signified as a group resource.

Over the course of Arc One, and in to Arc Two, I have come to realize that at the table we had been having some issues with figuring out a few things as they relate to Rarity, DN, and Time. Namely that I do not like games to be shopping trips, I have never liked that aspect of a roleplaying game as I feel it creeps too hard on the power-gaming side of things. At the Framework discussion I made it clear I wanted no looting in the game, which we all agreed on at the time, but that in turn means that feasibly the characters have to be able to acquire new items if desired. As such we have agreed upon certain times in session where a player character can pursue trying to find new items. None of the players have inherently a large Cunning Skill, which is what I have elected to use as a designator for finding an item, and so I gave them a Trader, someone that attempts to Acquire items for them to purchase. I define the trader as Troop, Elite, or Adversary level in terms of stats for how Cunning they are at turning up an item. The one in our game, for example, is a Troop level Tier 2 NPC. She has a 6 Focus Pool for these tests. She tests against a DN predicated upon Rariy which I defined as follows:

* Common – Standard (DN3)
* Uncommon – Challenging (DN5)
* Rare – Difficult (DN7)
* Very Rare – Extreme (DN9)
* Unique – Near Impossible (DN11)

There are some finer points about how long the item may take to be available based upon how well or poorly the Trader did at the Cunning Test, but I will flesh those out in a later write-up.

As for acquiring said items we discovered that we had been doing Assets and Wealth incorrectly as it relates to Acquisition. Spending either of these gives you One Icon, and not One Bonus Dice as we had been doing. As an Optional Rule, which I had forgotten on my reading previously, you can convert Three Assets into One Wealth, and overall you can have a Wealth of Tier+3, in our case Five total Wealth.

I deciced to introduce an addendum to that Optional Rule in that if you spend One Wealth you get Three Icons in turn, as I found that conversion a bit worthless for what you get out of having a higher wealth. The boon of having a higher Wealth seems, in my interpretation, two-fold. One, you cannot steal or lose Wealth feasibly as easily as Assets. Two, Wealth factors in to using Influence to establish situational authority in certain situations because at a more baseline level Wealth seems meant to show overall social standing. In that case I would use the player character’s Wealth to modify the DN on such tests higher or lower depending on who they are trying to have authority over.

Baring those mechanical fine-points, we can get in to the overall session discussion. Session Twenty’s ‘Thought for the Day’ was “Drink deep of victory and remember the fallen”. I felt it was an applicable one because it was a moderately tame Thought for the Day in relation to some of the other examples that we have seen come out of Warhammer 40,000 fiction. Downtime sessions are not inherently meant to be something utterly severe in terms of the kinds of interactions I want to put to the table, so I try to make the session as light as I can. Secondarily this session came right after an assassination attempt at which Cecilia’s onetime maid was revealed to be an assassin of the assassin house on the planet, and they ended up getting killed as non-player characters do so it fed in to the idea of remembering those who are now gone for one reason or another.

Highlights from the session for the four player characters include:

-Cecilia: Spoke with Alexander and became set on the path of learning just why the Cole family has such a low standing in society in the face of helping discover the STC on the planet.

-Allistar: Had a discussion with Brother Polyphemus about the nature of Astartes as they relate to Humanity.

-Fredrick: Gave us a Flashback of how he originally lost his arm to his friend that joined up with the Wolves of Remus, and he found out that the Munitorum aide at the villa has a crush on him.

-Cassius: Had a dreamlike vision of his old mentor indicating that he is seemingly alive, somewhere.

Session Twenty-One is upon us, and with it brings the beginnings of deeper societal issues in the pot that is ‘Fel Duran’ as the movers and shakers feel the burden of a lack of contact with the greater Imperium to maintain the status quo they’ve known for so long. Fel Jacqueline’s plans require ‘The Obsidian Spear’ to be retrofitted to some ends, but with Fel Tertius as a whole going on civil strike there will soon be little to do for nearly 2/3 of an entire city that no longer has homes or jobs. Still looming over the planet is the ever-present threat of the Dark Magos, who will begin making moves of their own after having adjusted their plans in the wake their failure at the end of Arc One.


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