Well, I thought I'd take another crack at solo play and continue my ongoing pirate saga. In this installment, Ensigns Iggy and Tuck have to rescue some fellow USEF comrades. Details below.
The USEF ship Omicron is emitting a distress signal from a poorly charted region of space. It appears the Omicron had a failure during a hyperspace jump, and was dropped out of warp into a density irregularity in real space. The Kiti must warp to the region and attempt to rescue any injured crewmen, and protect the Omicron from any hostiles until a tractor ship can arrive. The region is a known pirate sector, and so deactivating the automated distress signal from the Omicron’s Science Bay should be a priority to prevent alerting pirates in the region.
1. Roll 2d6 at the start of the 2nd round and any rounds subsequently until the distress signal is deactivated. On a 5 or less, a Size 7 pirate ship warps into the region. The pirate will attempt to capture the Kiti or the Omicron.
2. The anomaly can be scanned using a Science Bay for density pockets. A Science skill check is required against the maximum distance you are attempting the scan. For each success, you may select one hex within the scanning distance to scan. Roll 2d6, and if the roll is 4 or less a density pocket has been found. Place a “nebula” marker to show this. If the roll is 5+ the location is safe to travel through and should be marked as such. If the Kiti or Omicron enters an unscanned anomaly hex, roll 2d6 for the unscanned hex before entering. If a ship enters a dense pocket, all external facing modules take 2d6 damage.
3. The pirates have mapped the anomaly out in advance and will not enter dense pockets. Any unscanned anomaly hexes they enter are considered to be safe, and they will attempt to pilot around any dense pockets between their targets.
4. Anomaly dense pockets have no effect on cannon fire or missiles.
5. At the start of round 12, a Size 10 USEF ship will arrive (it need not be played). The pirate ship will attempt recall its crew to jump out of the system, and pirates on board the Kiti or the Omicron will try to flee with the Kiti or Omicron if possible. At the first opponent phase of round 14, the pirate ship will jump out of the system and any pirates left on board the Kiti or Omicron will be considered “bottled down” to be captured by forces from the Size 10 USEF ship.
1. Prevent pirates from controlling the Omicron or the Kiti at round 14.
2. Warp out with both the Omicron and the Kiti with all Omicron hands.
Overwhelming Success Victory Conditions:
1. Destroy the pirate vessel.
That was the mission as I designed it, but this was a trial run, which turned out to be a real nail-biter.
Ensign Tuck upgrades an engine and science bot adds +1 move to pilot bot.
The Pre-Mission Kiti
The Kiti enters the system and starts to speed up and head towards the anomaly. [Note: The anomaly was some pic of a planetary nebula I printed up. In retrospect this should have been printed on an overhead or something clear, but it did the trick.] Not much happens for a bit.
The Kiti gets within range of the nebula and finds a dense pocket in the first spot scanned.
First Scan of the Anomaly
A bit more scanning happens, and I find a clear way to the Omicron. [Note: I used a target lock tile to indicate a clear spot. I need something better for this. Also, the nebula barely came into play in this game. I think I might change it a little.]
The Kiti came up alongside the Omicron. [Note: I had rolled 4 straight s for summoning the Pirate. I also screwed up a bit here as I docked inproperly for my heading. I should have turned before docking to get this facing, but it didn't end up mattering much, as that only would have taken another phase.] The Kiti successfully docked and Tuck opened the doors between the ships. Tuck, Iggy, and Scibot rushed aboard the Omicron. [Note: I randomly rolled 2d6 for each module on the Omicron (they are all external), and rolled for crewmembers, placing them at sensible locations. I got REALLY lucky with the rolls, as Life Support was undamaged, the hyperdrive was undamaged, and only the helmsman was killed. I even had an engine running...]
The Omicron - With the Kiti's Cannon Module
As the crew rushed on to the vessel, they noted the favorable condition of many modules. Their main goal was to get the science officer active, then spread out from there. The intent was to repair the vessel and make it operational, then leave the system.
Now, Tuck managed to run to the Science Officer and revive him. But then trouble arose. The crew was so excited to move to more modules for repair activities, and to revive more crew, that they forgot to turn off the distress signal [Note: I forgot all about the fact that it was going off. I realized it in a moment though...]
The Science Officer recovered and an engine was repaired. BUT NO ONE HAS SHUT OFF THE DISTRESS SIGNAL!!! [Note: You can guess what reminded me of this. The pirate roll.]
The Destroyer. Double Ugh.
As the pirate ship warps in, pilot bot - left alone on the Kiti - smacks a metal hand against a metal forehead. The Kiti crew now decide that having 2 engines and a functioning hyperdrive is "rescued enough" for the Omicron and start to hightail it back to the Kiti. The destroyer enters the system and fires a lone missile at the Omicron.
The Kiti crew abandoning the Omicron.
[Note: I took a weird strategy with the pirates. They don't really want the other ships destroyed, they want them captured. So I didn't think it would make sense to pepper the Omicron. I thought (as the pirates) it would be okay to obliterate one ship then capture the other, so the strategy was to fire one at the Omicron then concentrate on the Kiti. Not a great strategy, but meh. It ended up being exciting...]
Tuck, being the clever engineer he is, realized that there isn't much power on the Omicron (1 helm, 1 gun to be precise). So he quickly pumped, then transfered 2 power to shields hoping that the Science Officer could program REALLY quickly and got the hell off the Omicron.
Meanwhile, the pirate destroyer launched two missiles at the Kiti. [Note: For some reason I decided to jam 4 marines in to two missiles and launch. I think in retrospect I should have peppered the Kiti a bit more first, but then again, the Omicron had 51 points of hull damage, so the one missile inbound would likely destroy it...I'm not sure I played the pirates as well as I could, and that it might have affected the difficulty of the mission. Tough to say.]
The Kiti crew frantically attempt to man their stations. The pirate ship fires more missiles. [Note: the 1 marine left on the destroyer decided to run from missile bay to missile bay and fire away. I guess if everyone was dead, but the Kiti wasn't destroyed it would mean more booty for him. Again, this is some highly questionable NPC play.] Science Officer gets the Omicron hyperdrive up to 2.
Science Officer searches for his GUI manual...
Here comes ze missiles.
Iggy manages to destroy the missile inbound to the Omicron. I always set my cannon to multi-barrel upon entering a system, which was useful in this case. The boarding missiles both miss next phase, and Iggy blows all of his luck trying to destroy one. The boarding missiles miss AGAIN next phase, and Iggy manages to hit one, only to have the pilots dodge the blast. Damn.
The next phase, the first missile finally hits, throwing two marines into the life support module. Iggy fires and destroys the other missile (which missed - again). Being out of gun power, Iggy pulled out his rifle and headed towards the life support module. The pirate destroyer fired one last missile and closed with the Kiti.
Now you might be wondering, what the hell was everyone else doing? Well, Tuck was slow to get off the Omicron, and the helm power had been allowed to run out due to a brutal pilot bot roll, so Iggy had to transfer some power that way so that the ships could disengage to let Iggy fire. Then Iggy started running out of power, so the engines needed a quick pump. [Note: I might have forgot to refresh the helm power at some point here. Finally a mistake in the NPCs favour.] Pilot bot was busy being a lousy pilot, and Scibot was SLOWLY making his way to the hyperdrive and had begin to screw up his programming.
Once the ships were finally undocked, pilot bot made for the hyperdrive to help out with programming.
As for the Omicron, Science Officer got the hyperdrive fully programmed, and managed to roll the 14 he needed to warp out.
Science Officer to Kiti: "See you later, Suckers!"
One of the pirates entered the Science Bay only to get into a peek-peek firefight with Pilot Bot. This was my first opportunity to see any ship combat, and it was pretty fun. Pilot Bot basically kept overwatching on a peek, while the pirate was forced to peek out to try to push forward. There were a few phases of lousy shots, then a couple non-damaging shots by the pirate. Pirate two swung around the main engine room in an attempt to put a stop the the hyperdrive programming.
Arrgh! We've been boarded!
Now, Pirate #2 wasn't really equiped to destroy the hyperdrive, but was thinking about it when something happened. That something was the missiles from the destroyer reaching the Kiti.
The first missile had originally missed. The next phase the second missile hit the cannon module, which was vacated by Iggy as he ran for the ongoing battle - so no big deal. The first missile then caught up with the slow moving Kiti and slammed into the main engine. Now Tuck thought he was clever by putting all the engines side by side, as this gives easy access for pumping. Right? Well, it also is terribly convenient for incoming missiles when they roll . Ouch. That damaged all 3 engines, the hyperdrive and pretty much everyone on board. No bots were killed, however.
Well, that was until the following phase when Pirate #1 finally got his stuff together and picked off pilot bot. Well, pilot bot wasn't killed, but he was damaged. Leaving a clear run for pirate #1 to the hyperdrive next phase.
However, Scibot had managed to program the hyperdrive up to 5 the phase previous (which I forgot to mention). That was of course, moments before the hyperdrive was damaged. I'm not sure if I played this right, but I decided to keep programming intact. Tuck ran forward to attempt repairs.
Tuck Repairing the Hyperdrive
Well, finally the Kiti got some rolls. The first phase, Tuck reached the hyderdrive, repaired it, got out of the way, and scibot immediately ran forward and hit the "Get us the hell out of here!" button. It's a bit cheese, but that stranded the two marines and gave a victory to the good guys.
Promotions for everyone!!!
We need more testing.
The pirate took a while to spawn in, but not too long. If they hadn't spawned in, this mission would have been fairly easy, but they had about a 1/4 chance of showing up and showed up on the 5th roll.
Also, I screwed up the initial docking which was in my favour (I was able to easily pull up to the sci bay). I was also VERY lucky with the damage rolls on the Omicron, which gave me an engine, LS, and a hyperdrive with no damage even though all modules took 2d6.
Finally, the pirates could easily have destroyed the Omicron if no boarding parties were sent and missiles were just fired en masse. That would have likely crippled the Kiti (if not destroying it), but I was attempting to capture at least one ship. If both boarding missiles would have hit, they would have easily overtaken the Kiti, and if I fired any more missiles afterwards, there would have been pirate and UREF dead.
Finally, the anomaly didn't do much. I think I might need a bigger one. Of course, that would make the mission more difficult. Hmm...
All and all it was fun, and a close fight. I look forward to running this mission a couple more times before deciding if it needs tweaking.
I think this is a very intersting scenario, and if you don't mind, I'd like to borrow the idea with some little tweaks to run with my group in the very near future.
Excellent report, as well.
I imagine it really was a nail-biter for you!
Please do. Let me know how it turns out. I think I might take another stab or two at this in the near future as well, for some tweaking.
It was a great mission. Right down to the wire.