Thrilling Tales of Actual Gameplay!


My group meets on the 4th Tuesday of each month at the local gaming club (PAGE in Philadelphia). The party are the crew of the Earth Alliance Heavy Cruiser Marathon, a modified Hyperion with a small centrifuge section mounted on the superstructure between the main hull and the hangar.

The first session was chargen, and that was all we accomplished. Frankly, it was a pain in the ass, what with the relevant data being scattered among a hundred pages in three different books (B5, D&D PHB, D&D DMG). It would have been a lot better if the B5 book had contained all of the feat and skill descriptions it had in common with the D&D PHB. As it was, the players were constantly having to switch between books, so that even though we had 3 B5 books and several of the D&D as well, their workflow was constantly interrupted by the need to look up something else in another different place.

Still, we finished, yielding the following characters:
  • Lt. Cmdr. Chloe Drexler, ship's XO (soldier/officer)
  • Master Sgt. Daniel Forsythe, career military guy.(soldier/agent)
  • Chief Engineer Sparks (soldier/worker)
  • Chief Ordinance Officer Lance Duran (soldier)
  • Kooren, Minbari Warrior on walkabout
We also have a telepath, but that player missed out the first two sessions because of a vacation and his wedding anniversary.

The second session was the first session where they actually got to play.

Most of the characters started out in the brig. (What, you'd prefer a bar?)

The setting is in the middle of the third season, just after B5 declared independence from Earthgov after President Clark's declaration of martial law, dissolving of the Earth Senate, and bombing of civilian targets on Mars.

When the news arrived at their ship, a general announcement went out that all crew members who found themselves unwilling to continue to serve under Earthforce should contact their superior officers. Those people that stepped forward were then rounded up and thrown in a brig improvised out of a storeroom (there were 75 of them). Needless to say, the Commander, one Nelson Anchower, is a raving Clarke loyalist, Nightwatch majordomo, and martinet. He also threw the Minbari, who was travelling as a guest of Earthforce, in the brig on general principles.

All the characters except for Master Sgt. Forsythe were in the brig. The engineer immediately started working on the door mechanism, but was impeded by lack of tools (all he had was a multi-tool, and it didn't have a Torx head screwdriver). Lt. Cmdr. Drexler began to take charge of her crew. Kooren ran interference by stationing himself at the door, blocking the window with his head.

The engineer didn't make very good Technical (electronics) rolls (around a 10 or 12), and I ruled that it was taking him forever to get the thing open with the tools he had at hand (a "greenie" screwdriver jammed into the Torx sockets).

Meanwhile Master Sgt. Forsythe began laying his plans. Ian, the player, did a good job of keeping a low profile and collecting data. He examined the watch schedule, figured out when the security would be most lax, and rigged the ship's pressure doors to drop on his signal. He arranged for a portable toilet to be brought down to the cell, along with a cart of water and food packs. While supervising the installation of the portajohn and the distribution of the food and water, he slipped a note to the Lt. Cmdr., telling her to be ready two hours into the third watch.

When the time came, he showed up at the cell and released them. (I can't remember what happened with the guard.) They then split up to go rally the troops in Engineering, Weapons Control, and the bridge. Chloe and Kooren were to go and arrest Anchower in his cabin. They had to go through the corridors to get to the engineering access tunnels that run along the ship's utility spine. Once in there, they could sneak around the ship.

They asked about a system to gas the whole ship, but I was prepared for that one. There is no such thing on Earthforce ships, for the simple reason that it would go off in combat and get everybody killed.

On the way to the engineering tunnels, they ran into some other crew members. One was a bunch of the engineering crew, headed to the brig to "break out the Chief." They were surprised to find him already broken out!

The group with Master Sgt. Forsythe ran into a group of three Nightwatch goons with PPGs and shock sticks. I had expected them to try and hide while they want past, but instead they decided to ambush them. They had made a Listen roll by a goodly amount (over 20), so I ruled that they had time to get in position. Most of the group waited around a corner as Master Sgt. Forsythe walked around past them then attacked them from behind.

Shock sticks don't work very well. One of the goons was a second level Soldier with 17 HP, and he took four shock stick hits before he went down. I think there needs to be a Fort check in addition to the subdual damage, maybe with the subdual damage penalizing the Fort check. In the show, Leona Kemmer was clobbered by a single touch of the shock stick, and it wasn't even a hard strike.

I was worried about potentially doing a party kill so early on in the game, so I ruled that the goons all went for their PPGs, which (I improvised) take a round to heat up (the whirring buzz sound) before they are ready to fire.

Next was a lone Earthforce guard, also wearing a Nightwatch band. Again they made their Spot and Notice rolls by a lot, and so I ruled they had spotted him first. They shock-sticked him, too, but it took two hits this time. Of course, this guard was an Officer, so he had less HP.

Lt. Cmdr Drexler and Kooren arrived up in Officer's Qtrs. Again, they made their Spot rolls by a lot, and were in a position to ambush the guard outside the Commander's quarters. I had been playing up the fact that they were in zero gravity the whole time, and Carolyn, playing Chloe, decided to do a zero-gee bounce-around the corner maneuver to surprise the guy. She rolled a big success on her Jump skill, and took the guard completely by surprise. They then burst into the Commander's qtrs, and ordered him to surrender. Commander Anchower spluttered back that he would be "three days in the grave before he let that happen!" At this point, Kooren shot him in the leg. :roll:

They wrapped up the takeover of the ship and decided to go to Babylon 5 to find out what to do next. They had a bit of debriefing with Sheridan, who explained that the Clarke regime had ordered the majority of its forces to remain in a defensive posture around Earth to stave off an anticipated alien invasion (Clarke is a True Believer too).

Thus ended the session. I think it was fun, though I need to get a better feel for what the player want (I asked them what did they want, but they just got all wary-looking... ) I also need to get some good foils and villians in play, and give them a chance to play off of them more.

Kooren wants a meeting with Delenn next session. I'm going to have her give him a warning and a fighting staff, so that he has something less lethal to hit people with.

I'm concerned about combat. I'm really afraid that the first real combat they get into will be a total party kill.

Any way, so far so good. More news as it occurs.

Jon Acheson
Sounds like you are having fun with it and 0-g combat. Nice. I ran my players through a boot camp experience and covered 0-g combat. Its funny I didn't let them burn any skill points until after Boot. (to which they were all thankful) Jump, balance, they pumped up simply because any Hand to hand onboard was going to be 0-g, not to mention just functioning in that sort of enviornment.

As far as combat being a TOTAL party kill when you get into it, just remember to throw some cover out there. Gives them a % chance of not being hit, as well as makes for dramatic scenes. Pop up and Shoot, duck back down. Moving from doorway to doorway, or from console to console.
All the time you are making them sweat with dice rolls behind your screen, saying things like wow that one was close, just missed ya. Or man your lucky, just 1% off. When really your no where near hitting them. :twisted:

I'm glad you and the players remembered to incorporate that. We are all so used to having gravity that, for Earthforce personel at least, should have that as one of their skills/feats. (I'm new to this system, still not sure if I want to use the d20 or Traveller).
I co authored a story with my ex that dealt with a station that had variable areas of gravity due to it's construction. 0-G was a way of life and a base skill everyone had in order to maneuver in some areas.
I can hardly wait until I find a group to work with. Have to go out and put a note up in my local area and see if anyone bites.

I love hearing about other's great fun!