Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The Ace of Spades Campaign - Raid on Sterling part 01

This adventure involves the defence of the Sterling Colony, a small farming community on Caliburnus 1 (Breuse) in the Saga star-sector. Bandits have been raiding the colony, intent on destroying everything the colonists have worked for. The colony's leader and founder, Alfred Sterling, has sent his son, Mearc, to recruit mercenaries or guards to protect the colony and teach its people how to defend themselves. No one on Breuse would take the job, so Mearc Sterling was forced to look elsewhere. He had contacts - old college friends - in the Phoenix star-sector, so he headed for Eriel 1a (Achamandra). Finding a group who'll help him is the colonists' last hope. They approached the Interstellar Police Agency about it, but the Patrol considered it a planetary dispute, out of their jurisdiction.
Background - the Real Story
The "bandits" who are raiding Sterling Colony are actually corporate mercenaries working for Hoag-Warner GmbH, a large mining manufacturing cartel based on Sol 3 (Terra). H-W is a huge multi stellar corporation, infamous for its shady business practices and brutal competition crushing. It has more than once put small, independent companies out of business - often buying them out and selling the parts for a tidy profit, leaving the company's executives on skid row.
Hoag-Warner has discovered that the colony is sitting on a vast deposit of several valuable ores; iridium, osmium and platinum. To get their hands on the ore, the corporation attempted to buy out the colony. When the farmers refused to sell, H-W sent corporate mercenaries disguised as bandits to "persuade" the colonists to reconsider. They hoped that if they destroyed some crops and frightened the women and children, the colonists would give in. Maybe even at a reduced price.
But the plan backfired. Whilst some of the Sterling Colony Council have advised selling out, the majority, led by Alfred Sterling, wants to stick it out. The council first tried to hire mercenaries on Breuse (a planet practically swarming with independent mercenary companies who use the world for high-G training), but couldn't afford the kind of money the mercs wanted. And nobody was interested in a percentage of a cash crop that might be burned to the ground the next week. Desperate and determined, Mearc Sterling and two other colonists were sent as a delegation to Achamandra to recruit some less expensive help.
The largest of 20 moons orbiting the huge gas giant, Ivanhoe, in the Eriel star system, the Earth-like world of Achamandra is the capital planet of the United Federation of Planets in the Phoenix star-sector. In addition to the sector government, it is the sector headquarters of the Interstellar Police Agency and many other governmental and private organisations, including the embassies of foreign powers. The financial and political hub of the UFP for many neighbouring star-sectors, Achamandra is the home of numerous banking and investment firms and the influential Achamandra stock exchange, as well as the home offices of major interstellar corporations such as the Matsai Corporation. A household name throughout the UFP, Matsai is the largest Federation-based corporation, and it manufactures everything; if it doesn't, it owns a subsidiary that does. Matsai specialises in the production of fusion power plants, energy weapons and advanced electronics, all designed to AL:11 standards!
The starport city of Cassandra on Achamandra in the Phoenix star-sector.

Achamandra is a notable cultural centre of the Federation, boasting several famous universities and scientific institutes. The largest, with over one million students, is the prestigious University of Achamandra, which attracts brilliant scholars from throughout the UFP and beyond. Each year millions of visitors, human and alien, flock to the moon to enjoy the sights and atmosphere of the vibrant UFP capital. Noted tourist attractions include the orbiting Senate Opera House, the undersea Federation Gallery of the Arts, the vast Museum of Interstellar History and the heavily guarded Precursor collection, and the 2,000 acre Xenological Gardens whose many environmental bubbles house exotic plant and animal specimens from hundreds of alien worlds. Just looking up provides a spectacular view of the huge gas giant that Achamandra orbits.
Despite being somewhat crowded, the world itself is clean and well-managed - the show-piece of the UFP. All planetary industry is either in orbit or underground; weather control satellites and a carefully balanced ecosystem maintain a perfect climate year round. There are no roads or auto-mobiles - efficient rapid transit via moving side-walks and  magnetic levitation railway tunnels link every city on the moon into one cohesive metropolis. Life on Achamandra is fast-paced and cosmopolitan; aliens and para-humans attract little attention and no prejudice from residents, and the better hotel chains, such as the Stellar Embassy, can cater to nearly any conceivable race and provide rooms tailored for any atmosphere or gravity requirements. The standard of living on Achamandra is among the highest in the sector; with its rich and famous citizens, the world is a trend setter in the Federation's fashion and entertainment industries. This is where the story begins.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Introduction to The Ace of Spades Campaign

I am almost ready to start my The Ace of Spades Campaign but before I begin I want to give you an introduction to the campaign, giving a bit more information on the setting and what rules I'll be using.
The Rules
Bounty Hunter Julia Frostorm of The Ace of Spades
This campaign will be based upon the N.E.W. sci-fi role-playing game by EN Publishing. What I love about this system is that it is geared for games masters to create their own settings. This was important to me because I had a specific setting in mind when I decided to start this campaign. A lot of the background material comes from the setting for the old Fantasy Games Unlimited sci-fi RPG - Space Opera. However, I will also be adding elements from GURPS Space and of course, N.E.W. itself.
N.E.W. has various options for game play. My campaign will be using the cinematic rules. What this means is that the heroes (and only the heroes) will be larger than life and have a greater survival  chance than other NPCs. In game terms, most of  the PCs will gain a bonus LUC die and have increased HEALTH stats. Celeste, being an android, sadly, does not benefit from these rules. I will also be adding many of the new rules from the downloads section of the WOIN website that don't appear in the official rulebook.
The theme of the campaign will be space opera - science fiction with added fantastical elements such as psionics and laser swords. It is the type of setting found in Star Wars. The default Advancement Level (known as Tech Level in some game systems) for my campaign is AL:9, with AL:10 and very occasionally, AL:11 on more advanced worlds. So that means advanced Faster Than Light (FTL) travel, galactic exploration, thousands of colonies, transporters, instant FTL communication between the most advanced core worlds but less frequent in the outer worlds. Regarding FTL travel, ships use hyperdrives. Hyperdive relies on the concept of an alternate space where dimensions, distance, and time work differently. A vessel slips into this alternate space (named as hyperspace), travels to its destination, and then slips out again into normal space. All weapons found in the N.E.W. rulebook are available - projectile and energy being equally popular. Androids and robots are common and androids are accepted as being equal to humans, but robots are classed as second class citizens. Aliens exist in many forms and the most commonly encountered aliens were covered in my post, The Setting of The Ace of Spades part 2 (see here).
The default starting point for characters in N.E.W. is when they are at rank grade 5 but for my campaign, I increased that to rank grade 6. The reason why, is that I wanted the crew to have already spent time together before the campaign begins. Which also explains why I am not starting the campaign just after Kimberley Wells has recruited her crew. That would have been an obvious starting point but I wanted them to have had time to settle in, to know one another's abilities, strengths and weaknesses. So with that in mind, the crew have been working together for two years. I figured that was long enough for them to gel and to have a few adventures already to explain why they are all at rank grade 6. In addition, I gave each character bonus experience points so that they could increase certain attributes and skills. They are an experienced crew but not excessively so and against tough opposition they will struggle.
I want my campaign to be very narrative based to make it easier to read. Rules explanations will be kept to a minimum wherever possible and when they are required I'll type them in blue to help distinguish them from the story.
The Setting
Nurse Gwendoline Papillion of The Ace of Spades
In my campaign, the two major star-faring powers, the United Federation of Planets and the Azuriach Imperium, are on the brink of an interstellar war. This could have been the focus of my campaign but instead, it is something that will be going on in the background. My campaign will focus on the all female crew of the scout ship, The Ace of Spades. I have already posted full backgrounds on the 13 crew members. Being independent explorers means they can go almost anywhere and get involved in a wide variety of adventures. If you have read their backgrounds you can see there are many adventure threads just waiting to be explored further. For example, who was behind the space pirate attack that killed the male members of the original The Ace of Spades? Kimberley hired bounty hunter Julia Frostorm to help her find the answers. What is the story about Celeste's missing 21 years and why does she believe it is her mission to protect Kimberley at all costs? Is she really a Forerunner android? How long will Jeanette remain undercover as she keeps tabs on Celeste and when will BRINT swoop in to take Celeste back? Then there are members of the crew who are not beyond breaking the law. Kimberley is a smuggler, Rebecca is a cat burglar and Sharuna is a computer hacker. Any of them could have run-ins with the authorities. Plus, as assassins and bounty hunters, Celeste and Julia have made a lot of enemies in the past. Any of them or more likely, their colleagues, could come looking for revenge. Finally, there is Gwendoline, whose insatiable curiosity can lead her into all kinds of trouble. One thing is for sure, I won't be short of plot lines.
My starting point for the campaign is the year 2567. The crew of The Ace of Spades are resting on Achamandra (Eriel 1a), the UFP capital planet of the Phoenix star-sector far out in the rim worlds of the galaxy, when the campaign begins. I deliberately began the campaign as far away from the Terran star-sector as I could, whilst still remaining in UFP territory. This crew are independent explorers and have spent the past two years on exploration missions and are now taking a well earned break on Achamandra.
The opening scenario of the campaign is one that appeared in the GURPS Space Adventures supplement called Raid on Sterling. I have never played it before but upon reading it I quickly decided it would make an ideal starter scenario for my N.E.W. campaign. I made a few changes to it and converted it to the N.E.W. rules system. It is just the kind of mission that Kimberley would undertake and it ought to give all of the crew a chance to shine. I can't wait to get started.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Doctor Who Exterminate! Batrep 01 - A Meeting of Metal part 2

In N.E.W. the combat sequence is split into four steps.
  1. Make attribute checks - if appropriate - for access to the ambush turn. This is usually an AGI Stealth or CHA Bluffing opposed check against the target. Those who succeed take one action. All actions in the ambush turn occur simultaneously.
  2. Everyone rolls INITIATIVE. On a tie, compare AGILITY, and if still tied, have each roll LUCK and the highest wins.
  3. All combatants then act in order from highest INITIATIVE to lowest. Each character may take two actions unless otherwise noted. An action is a move, an attack or a regular action. You can move twice, attack twice or move and attack or any other combination.
  4. Once everyone has acted, return to step 3 and repeat until the combat ends.
Both sides were aware of each other so the ambush turn was ignored. Rolling for INITIATIVE the results were -
  1. Dalek Leader on 29
  2. Cyber Leader on 22
  3. Cyber Patrol A on 21
  4. Dalek Patrol A  on 20
  5. Cyber Patrol B on 19
  6. Dalek Patrol B on 17
  7. Cyber Patrol C on 16
To simplify matters I rolled for each Patrol rather than for each individual. Because the Leaders had much higher INITIATIVE scores I rolled separately for them. Remember, this INITIATIVE Sequence is fixed for the entirety of the combat and doesn't change from turn to turn.

Dalek Leader. Moves forward 4" to take cover behind the control panel. He fires his Disintegrator Rifle on ion setting at the Cyber Leader. The range is 21", so he'll take a -1d6 penalty to hit. Ranged weapons have different range increments and each one beyond the first incurs a cumulative -1d6 penalty to hit the target. The Disintegrator Rifle's range increment is 15". He has an attack score of 6d6, which is reduced to 5d6 for the range penalty. He rolls a 20, which easily beats the Cyber Leader's Ranged Defence score of 14, so he hits. Damage is 4d6+3 plus an extra +2d6 for the Cyberman's vulnerability to ion damage. I roll a total of 30 points of damage, which is reduced to 20 because the Cybermen have a SOAK value of 10, which absorbs 10 points of damage. The Cyber Leader loses 20 points of HEALTH from his total of 30. A telling hit that signifies the Daleks' intent.
Cyber Leader and Cyber Patrol A. They advance 6" and then advance 6" again to take cover behind the generator. Characters who move twice in a turn are considered to be hustling. Note that the Cyber Leader is second from the left in the jogging pose.
Dalek Patrol A. They all move forward 6" and Dalek 01 captures a Vortex Node, which is placed beneath him. For his second action, Dalek 01 fires his Disintegrator Rifle on ion setting at Cyberman 05 in Cyber Patrol B. The range is 20" so he'll suffer a -1d6 penalty to hit but he has a base 6d6 to hit so that's no big deal. One of the cool things about combat in N.E.W. is that you can trade your to hit dice on a 2 to 1 ratio in order to do more damage. This is a very important concept and to quote the rule-book, "the concept of buying effects with your attack dice is fundamental to the combat system of N.E.W. Without "buying" extra damage dice or desired effects, a successful attack will tend to do little damage. High damage, therefore, is achieved by a large attack dice pool being partially spent on damage and effects." So, I spend a further 2d6 from his 5d6 (remember he lost a d6 because of the range penalty) to hit, bringing it down to 3d6, which should be enough to defeat the Cyberman's Ranged Defence score of 10. I score a 13 - a hit! Damage is base 4d6+3, plus +1d6 for the extra damage plus +2d6 for the Cyberman's vulnerability to ion damage, giving me a total of 7d6+3 to roll. I score 28, of which 10 points are SOAKED and 18 points are reduced from the Cyberman's HEALTH of 28, leaving him on 10 HEALTH. Ouch!
Dalek 02 attempts to take out the badly wounded Cyberman and fires his Disintegrator Rifle on disintegrate setting at him. Using the same tactics as Dalek 01, he rolls 3d6 to hit and scores a 12. This hits for 4d6+3 damage plus the extra +1d6 for the damage bonus. I roll 24 points of damage, of which 10 is SOAKED but the remaining 14 is more than enough to totally disintegrate the Cyberman. I should have removed the dead Cyberman from the board because there is nothing left of him but for dramatic purposes I'm leaving the corpse where it fell.
Dalek 03 fires his Disintegrator Rifle on electricity setting at Cyberman 06 from the same group but he only rolls an 8 to hit, which does not beat or equal the Cyberman's Ranged Defence score of 10, so he misses.
Cyber Patrol B. The depleted patrol advances 6" and Cyberman 04 captures the second of the four Vortex Nodes. Cyberman 04 fires his Laser Implant at Dalek 01 (the one with the first Vortex Node). The range is 14", so he'll suffer a -1d6 range penalty to hit because Laser Implants have a range increment of 10". His attack dice are 5d6 and that is reduced to 4d6 because of the range penalty. However, he gains a +2d6 bonus for the Cybermen's Hive Mind exploit (grants a +1d6 bonus to all attribute checks for each additional Cyberman within 30' (6" on the game board) up to a maximum of +3d6). He trades this in to do an extra +1d6 damage if he hits. He rolls 4d6 and scores a 13, which beats the Dalek's Ranged Defence score of 11. A Laser Implant normally does 2d6+3 heat damage, but with his extra die of damage he rolls 3d6+3 and scores a 16. The Daleks all have a SOAK value of 12, so Dalek 01 suffers 4 points of HEALTH damage. Not much, but it's a start.
Cyberman 06 does exactly the same. He rolls a 12 to hit and rolls 18 for damage, which cause a further 6 points of HEALTH damage.
Cyberman 07 goes through the same process and rolls a 17 to hit and a 17 for damage. Dalek 01 takes a further 5 points of damage to his Health, bringing it down from a starting total of 30 to 15.
Dalek Patrol B. All advance 6" and Dalek 04 captures the third Vortex Node. For his second action, Dalek 04 fires his Disintegrator Rifle on ion setting at Cyberman 03, who is clearly visible and in the open at the side of the generator. The range is 10", which is less than the Rifle's range increment of 15", so there will be no range penalty to hit this time. With 6d6 attack dice he trades 2d6 for an extra +1d6 damage if he hits. Rolling 4d6, he scores a 12, beating the Cyberman's Ranged Defence score of 10. On ion setting, he rolls a total of 7d6+3 for damage. He scores a massive 32, of which 22 bypasses the Cyberman's SOAK. This leaves Cyberman 03 with 6 HEALTH left out of 28. Not good for him!
Dalek 05 administers the coup de grace by firing his Disintegrator Rifle on disintegrate setting, using the same modifiers as Dalek 04. He hits with a 4d6 roll of 13 and rolls 5d6+3 for damage, scoring 18, which is more than enough to reduce Cyberman 03's HEALTH to less than 0. The Daleks score their second kill of the game.
Dalek 06 has no viable target so does nothing for his second action.
Cyber Patrol C. All four Cybermen advance 6" and Cyberman 09 captures the fourth Vortex Node. Both sides are now in possession of two Vortex Nodes. For their second action, the four Cybermen advance a further 6", bringing them in cover and concealment behind the container unit.
Dalek Leader. He remains in place and fires his Disintegrator Rifle (still on ion setting) at Cyberman 01 at the left side of the generator, who is not in cover from the Dalek Leader. The range is 13", so there will be no range penalty this time. With 6d6 attack dice, the Dalek leader trades in 2d6 for an extra +1d6 damage. Sadly, he rolls an 8 to hit, so his first shot goes wide. However, his second shot hits with a roll of 13. He rolls 7d6+3 for damage and scores 29. The Cyberman's Durasteel armour SOAKS 10 points but that still leaves 19 points of damage to subtract from his HEALTH of 28. With just 9 HEALTH left, he'll be an easy target for another Dalek.
Cyber Leader and Cyber Patrol A. The Cybermen know that their best tactic to defeating the Daleks is to engage them in melee combat so they make a double move to charge against Dalek Patrol A, as they all gang up on Dalek 03. Note that to move and attack a target with the same action is not possible unless the attacker has the Charge exploit. Moving and attacking are normally considered to be two separate actions.
Dalek Patrol A. Dalek 01 fires his Disintegrator Rifle (still on ion setting) at Cyberman 04 (the one with the Vortex Node) in Cyber Patrol B. With the Cyberman being at close range, Dalek 01 trades 2d6 from his 6d6 attack dice to score an extra +1d6 damage. A roll of 12 beats the Cyberman's lowly Ranged Defence score of 10 and hits, doing a total of 7d6+3 damage. Rolling 29 for damage, Cyberman 04 suffers 19 Health damage, bringing him down to 9 HEALTH.
For his second action, Dalek 01 shifts his attack to Cyberman 06. Remember, after being damaged once by an energy attack, Cybermen become immune to that damage type for the rest of the game, as per their Adaptive Force-field exploit. That is why it was pointless Dalek 01 firing on ion setting at Cyberman 04 again. However, he only rolls a 9 to hit, so his shot misses.
Dalek 02 also fires twice at Cyber Patrol B with his Disintegrator Rifle still on disintegrate setting. He first targets the badly wounded Cyberman 04. He trades 2d6 from his 6d6 attack dice to gain a +1d6 damage bonus. His 4d6 attack roll results in a 13, a hit. Rolling 5d6+3 for damage, he scores a 22, which after the 10 for the Cyberman's SOAK is subtracted, is a 12, which is more than enough to reduce Cyberman 04 to 0 HEALTH. Three Cybermen have been killed so far.
He switches his second attack to Cyberman 06, who Dalek 01 had failed to hit. Using the same tactics and modifiers as his first shot, he rolls an 11 to hit, followed by 22 points of damage, of which 12 are removed from Cyberman 06's HEALTH of 28, with the other 10 points being SOAKED.
Things get interesting now as Dalek 03 is being attacked by three Cybermen. He could move away but that would cost him an action, so he stays put. He now has two options - make a brawling attack with his plunger arm or make a ranged attack (despite being in melee combat) with his Disintegrator Rifle. Sensibly, he chooses to fire his Disintegrator Rifle at point blank range on electricity setting against the Cyber Leader, who has already been wounded. He trades 2d6 from his 6d6 attack dice to score an extra +1d6 damage. However, this time he must roll against the Cyber Leader's Melee Defence, which is 18. He only manages to score a 14, so his first shot misses. He fires again, but this time he does not trade any of his attack dice for extra damage. Rolling 6d6 to hit, he scores a 21, which is more than enough to beat the Cyber Leader's Melee Defence score of 18. He rolls 5d6+3 for electrical damage and scores a 24, of which 10 is SOAKED, but 14 is more than enough to kill the Cyber Leader.
However, the Cyber Leader has an interesting exploit called Transfer Data, which basically allows him to swap bodies with any other Cyberman within 30' of him when he is reduced to 0 HEALTH. So Cyberman 02 now becomes the new Cyber Leader and uses his improved stats in place of his own. Very sneaky and very useful!
Cyber Patrol B. The two remaining Cybermen from this squad advance 6" and Cyberman 06 captures the Vortex Node his dead colleague had dropped. For his second action, Cyberman 06 fires his Laser Implant at Dalek 01. The range is now 10", so does not incur a range penalty to hit. He has 5d6 attack dice but gains an extra +1d6 for the Hive Mind exploit and a further +1d6 bonus because Dalek 01 did not move this turn. Stationery targets are a lot easier to hit then moving targets! With 7d6 attack dice, he trades 4d6 for +2d6 extra damage. Rolling 3d6 attack dice he scores a 12, which beats the Dalek's ranged Defence score of 11. He now rolls 4d6+3 for his damage and scores a 20. 12 points are SOAKED by the Dalek's armour but the remaining 8 are subtracted from his HEALTH, bringing it down from 15 to 7.
Cyberman 07 realises if he can repeat that attack, he can kill Dalek 01. And sure enough he does. He rolls an 11 to hit (only just hits) and another 20 for damage which takes the Dalek's HEALTH score down to -1.
When a Dalek is reduced to 0 HEALTH, its Self-Destruct exploit takes effect and everyone within 6" of the downed Dalek takes 6d6 Heat damage. I only roll once and apply the result to all affected targets. My roll totals 20 points of damage. The Dalek Leader, Dalek 02 and Dalek 03 all take 8 points of damage after their armour SOAKS 12. It also does 10 points of damage, after the Cybermen's SOAK score of 10 is taken into consideration on the new Cyber Leader and Cyberman 01, which unfortunately, was enough to kill Cyberman 01. Definitely a case of good news and bad news for the Cybermen.
Dalek Patrol B. All three Daleks move 6" towards Dalek Patrol A. Dalek 04, who has the Vortex Node, fires his Disintegrator Rifle on ion setting at the new Cyber Leader. He suffers a -2d6 penalty for firing into a melee. He does not trade any attack dice for extra damage. Rolling 4d6 he scores an 18, which hits for 6d6+3 damage. He rolls a 22 and reduces the Cyber Leader's HEALTH by 12, bringing it down to 18.
Dalek 05 fires his Disintegrator Rifle on disintegrate setting at Cyberman 07, who is holding one of the Vortex Nodes. There is no modifier for range so he trades 2d6 attack dice for an extra die of damage. Rolling 4d6 he scores a 15, which hits for 5d6+3 points of damage. Rolling 24, the Cyberman SOAKS 10 and suffers 14 points of HEALTH damage, reducing him to 14.
Dalek 06 decides to finish off Cyberman 06 and fires his Disintegrator Rifle on electricity setting at the wounded Cyberman. He also trades 2d6 attack dice for an extra die of damage. He rolls a 15 to hit and does 6d6+3 damage. I roll a total of 27, which is more than enough to kill Cyberman 06. The Cybermen are taking quite a beating.
Cyber Patrol C. All four Cybermen move twice to get within melee range of Dalek Patrol B.
Dalek Leader. He moves 6" and captures the Vortex Node dropped by Dalek 01.
For his second action, he fires his Disintegrator Rifle on ion setting at Cyberman 07. He does not suffer any range modifier as the Cyberman is within 15" of him, so he trades 2d6 attack die to score an extra die of damage if he hits. He rolls 4d6 and scores a 14, which is a hit. His damage is 7d6+3 and I roll 25 for him. The 15 points of HEALTH damage takes Cyberman 06 down to -1 HEALTH and kills him.
Cyber Leader. He melee attacks Dalek 03 and gains +3d6 bonus to hit for the Hive Mind exploit. Although there were four Cybermen within 6" of him he is limited to a maximum +3d6 bonus granted by the exploit. With a whopping 9d6 attack dice he trades 6d6 for an extra +3d6 damage. He rolls 3d6 and scores a 14 against the Dalek's Melee Defence score of 11. His Nanite Injection attack does a base 1d6+7 damage which is increased to 4d6+7 damage. I roll a 25, of which 12 is SOAKED, reducing the Dalek's HEALTH from 22 to 9. Another hit like that would easily kill the Dalek so the Cyber Leader melee attacks again, using the same tactics. He rolls a 12 to hit and a 23 for damage, which kills the Dalek and causes him to explode. The 6d6 explosion results in 21 points of damage and affects a lot of models. The Dalek Leader and Daleks 02, 04, 05 and 06 all suffer 9 points of HEALTH damage as their Dalekenium armour absorbs 12 points of damage. Cybermen 08, 09, 10 and 11 suffer 11 points of HEALTH damage as their Durasteel armour absorbs 10 points of damage. However, the Cyber Leader takes no damage because of his Adaptive Force-field exploit. Having already taken heat damage earlier in the game (when Dalek 01 blew up), he is now immune to all heat damage for the rest of the game.
Dalek Patrol A. Dalek 02 advances 6" twice, which is enough to enable him to capture the Vortex Node dropped by the Cybermen in Cyber Patrol A, which has been totally wiped out. The Daleks now possess three of the four Vortex Nodes.
Dalek Patrol B. Dalek 04 fires his Disintegrator Rifle on ion setting at Cyberman 08. As usual, he trades 2d6 of his 6d6 attack dice for a +1d6 bonus damage. His roll of 15 beats the Cyberman's Melee Defence score of 14. Rolling 7d6+3 for damage he scores 29 and the 19 points of HEALTH damage is more than enough to kill the Mondasian Cyberman. For his second action, he fires at Cyberman 09, who is holding a Vortex Node. Using the same tactics as before he rolls a 14 to hit, which is only just sufficient to hit. The 28 points of damage he rolls kills the badly wounded Cyberman.
Dalek 05 fires his Disintegrator Rifle on disintegrate setting at Cyberman 10. He also trades 2d6 of his 6d6 attack for a bonus damage die and his roll of 15 is a hit. He scores a 19 from his 5d6+3 damage roll. However, 9 points of HEALTH damage is not quite enough to kill this Cyberman. He is down to 8 HEALTH. So Dalek 05 switches his attack to Cyberman 11, knowing that Cyberman 10 would be immune to a second hit from a disintegrate attack, due to the Cybermen's Adaptive Force-field exploit. Using the same tactics as before he manages to roll a 16 to hit and scores 18 points of damage of which 10 is SOAKED. Cyberman 11 is now reduced down to 9 HEALTH.
Dalek 06 realised he could kill both remaining Cybermen with one successful attack on each of them. With his Disintegrator rifle still on electricity setting he traded 2d6 from his 6d6 attack dice to increase his damage die by +1d6. He fired at Cyberman 10 and rolled a 14 to hit, which only just succeeded against the Cyberman's Melee Defence score of 14. He rolled 6d6+3 for damage and scored a 28, which very easily killed the Cyberman. For his second action, he fires his Disintegrator Rifle at Cyberman 11 and repeats the same tactics as before. A 4d6 roll of 14 hits and his damage score is 25. After 10 points are SOAKED, the remaining 15 damage points kills Cyberman 11.
Dalek Leader. He spends his first action by switching his Disintegrator Rifle from ion setting to cryo setting. With only the Cyber Leader remaining, he fires his Disintegrator Rifle at him. Rather predictably he trades 2d6 of his 6d6 attack die for a bonus die of damage. Rolling 4d6, he scores a 16, which beats the Cyber Leader's Ranged Defence score of 14. It's a hit. He rolls 5d6+3 for ice damage and scores 21. After the Cyber Leader SOAKS 10 points, the remaining 11 damage takes him down to -5 HEALTH and he dies. It's game over!
That was brutal! The Daleks were the clear winners with their ranged attacks proving decisive. They held three of the four Vortex Nodes and would have collected the fourth if I continued playing TURN 4.

CONCLUSION. That did appear to be an easy victory for the Daleks who, it has to be said, are far tougher opponents than the Cybermen in N.E.W. One on one, a Dalek is far superior to a Cyberman. However, the Cybermen's greatest strength lies in their numbers. When the Cyber Leader launched his melee attack against Dalek 03, with four other Cybermen within 6" of him, he was devastating. What really hampered the Cybermen was not being able to close in for melee combat quickly enough. Their Laser Implants lacked the hitting power of the Dalek's Disintegrator Rifles in range, damage and type of damage. The variable settings of the Daleks' Disintegrator made a big difference to the outcome. For the most part, the Daleks were happy to allow the Cybermen to come to them whilst they hardly moved at all. I wonder what would have happened if the Cybermen held their ground whilst the Daleks advanced? I suspect it might have been a lot closer. I also reckon that if I'd added three more Cybermen, one to each Patrol, the outcome would have been a lot closer.
I feel that in N.E.W. the Cybermen ought to outnumber the Daleks by at least two to one to stand a fighting chance of victory. With 12 Cybermen against 7 Daleks, the odds favoured the Daleks. Still, it was an interesting and worthwhile exercise and I learned a lot from it. Would I do things differently if I played it again? Absolutely! I would certainly increase the number of Cybermen so that they have a minimum two to one advantage in numbers. I learned that the hard way from this encounter.
Incidentally, the five Daleks who survived all sustained damage. The Dalek Leader was down to 17 HEALTH from 34. Dalek 02 was down to 13 HEALTH from 30 and Daleks 04, 05 and 06 were all down to 21 HEALTH from 30. Another round of combat would most likely have seen off the Dalek Leader and Dalek 02.

The prime purpose of this batrep was to show you how combat works using the WOIN rules for the N.E.W. role-playing game. In that respect, I feel it worked very well. I certainly covered the basics of combat but there was stuff that I left out. For example, I didn't cover critical hits at all because anyone who received a critical hit was usually killed that turn anyway, so they had no effect on the outcome. Also, and this is an important point, neither race had any LUCK stats and LUCK can have a huge impact in any combat situation. It can be used to improve a character's chance to hit, to do more damage, to reduce an opponent's chance to hit, to absorb damage, to give a character an extra action per turn plus other options.

Finally, I was asked how did this game compare to to the official Exterminate! rules it was based on? Well, when I played it first time round with the Exterminate! rules by Warlord Games, the Daleks still won but by a much narrower margin. The two card decks used by opposing players in Exterminate! offer a greater set of randomness to the game than mere dice rolling, which both games do share in common. Of the two, I'd say N.E.W. feels more realistic and relies a lot more on tactics. Because of the card decks, Exterminate! is more unpredictable. Both games were great fun to play but they offer very different experiences. However, I can say that Exterminate! will not get played nearly as much as N.E.W., which has whetted my appetite for many more games.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Doctor Who Exterminate! Batrep 01 - A Meeting of Metal part 1

Before I begin my The Ace of Spades campaign I wanted to show an introductory batrep to explain how the combat rules work in N.E.W. This will be a very rules heavy post, which is deliberate. Future batreps will barely mention the rules unless appropriate.
So for this batrep I have taken the introductory scenario, A Meeting of Metal from the Warlord Games Doctor Who skirmish game, Exterminate! This involves a small force of Cybermen taking on a smaller force of Daleks as they search a derelict starship for Vortex Nodes. I converted the stats for the Cybermen and Daleks to the N.E.W. rules by basing them on the Assimilator and Exterminator races respectively found in the sci-fi bestiary that is free to download from the EN Publishing website. I made a few slight modifications to their stats to make them more closely resemble Cybermen and Daleks. I also came up with separate stats for a Cyberman Leader and a Dalek Leader. Here are their stats.

Medium very rare sentient mechanoids (5d6)
STR: 10 (4d6), AGI: 4 (2d6), END: 10 (4d6), INT: 4 (2d6), LOG: 4 (2d6), WIL: 4 (2d6), CHA: 2 (1d6), LUC: 0 (0d6), REP: 7 (3d6)
HEALTH: 28, SOAK: 10 (Durasteel),  
VULNERABLE: Electricity 1d6, Ion 2d6
IMMUNE to Charm, Cheer, Fear, Pain and Poison
INITIATIVE: 5d6, PERCEPTION: 2d6 (Scanning 5d6)
SPEED: 6, CLIMB: 3, JUMP: 8'/10', CARRY: 200lb (Max lift 500lb)
Brawling: 5d6 (1d6+7 Piercing damage; Nanite Injection) 
Laser Implant 5d6 (2d6+3 Heat damage; Range: 10)
Integrated Scanner and Laser Implant
Brawling: 6 (3d6), Computers: 8 (3d6), Engineering: 8 (3d6), Pistols: 6 (3d6), Scanning: 6 (3d6), Tactics: 6 (3d6)
Adaptive Force-field. A Cyberman can only be damaged by each energy type once. Once it has been damaged by a particular energy type (cold, electricity, heat, etc.) its force-field adapts, rendering it immune to that damage type. This applies on a "per encounter" basis; the immunity is not permanent.
Assimilate. Every time a Cyberman damages a target with an unarmed attack, it injects nanites, which makes the victim Agreeable [14]. When the victim reaches the final stage of the Autonomy track, the condition becomes permanent, and the victim becomes a Cyberman. It takes major medical science to cure somebody of this.
Feint. Gain +1d6 bonus for a melee attack roll made in the same turn.
Hive Mind. Cybermen operate more efficiently when in groups. Every additional Cyberman beyond the first within 30' grants +1d6 to all attribute checks, to a maximum of +3d6.
Integrated Scanner. Cybermen have scanners integrated into their circuitry.

Medium very rare sentient mechanoids (6d6)
STR: 10 (4d6), AGI: 6 (3d6), END: 10 (4d6), INT: 6 (3d6), LOG: 6 (3d6), WIL: 6 (3d6), CHA: 3 (2d6), LUC: 0 (0d6), REP: 7 (3d6)
HEALTH: 28, SOAK: 10 (Durasteel),
VULNERABLE: Electricity 1d6, Ion 2d6
IMMUNE to Charm, Cheer, Fear, Pain and Poison
INITIATIVE: 6d6, PERCEPTION: 3d6 (Scanning 6d6)
SPEED: 7, CLIMB: 4, JUMP: 12'/10', CARRY: 200lb (Max lift 500lb)
Brawling: 6d6 (1d6+7 Piercing damage, Nanite Injection) 
Laser Implant 6d6 (2d6+3 Heat damage; Range: 10)
Integrated Scanner and Laser Implant
Brawling: 8 (3d6), Computers: 10 (4d6), Engineering: 10 (4d6), Pistols: 8 (3d6), Scanning: 8 (3d6), Tactics: 10 (4d6)
As above for Cybermen, plus Transfer Data. Whenever the Cyber Leader is reduced to 0 or negative HEALTH, it automatically transfers its attributes, skills and other stats to the closest Cyberman within 30' of it and that Cyberman then becomes the new Cyber Leader.

Medium rare sentient mechanoids (6d6) 
STR: 6 (3d6), AGI: 6 (3d6), END: 20 (5d6), INT: 8 (3d6), LOG: 8 (3d6), WIL: 8 (3d6), CHA: 3 (2d6),  
LUC: 0 (0d6), REP: 10 (4d6)
HEALTH: 30, SOAK: 12 (Dalekenium), VULNERABLE: Electricity 1d6, Ion 2d6
IMMUNE to Charm, Cheer, Fear and Poison
INITIATIVE: 5d6, PERCEPTION: 3d6 (Scanning 6d6)
SPEED: 6 (Hover), CARRY: 260lb (Max lift 300lb)
Brawling: 3d6 (1d6+3 Blunt damage) 
Disintegrator Rifle 6d6 (4d6+3 Disintegration damage; Range: 15)
Disintegrator Rifle and Integrated Scanner
Computers: 8 (3d6), Intimidation: 8 (3d6), Rifles: 6 (3d6), Scanning: 8 (3d6), Tactics: 3 (2d6) 
Aim. Gain +1d6 bonus for a ranged attack roll made in the same turn.
Damage Modes. A Dalek can spend one action to change its attack from disintegration to any one of cryo, electricity, heat or ion damage. It can change to another damage type or back to disintegration with a further action.
Disintegrate. A target reduced to 0 HEALTH by a Dalek's disintegration attack is completely and permanently destroyed. No trace of the target remains.
Disintegration Ecstasy. When a Dalek disintegrates a living creature, it heals 2d6 HEALTH immediately.
Integrated Scanner. Daleks have scanners integrated into their audio/visual sensors. This means that they are always considered to be using a scanner.
Self-destruct. A Dalek reduced to 0 HEALTH explodes, doing 6d6 Heat damage to all within 30'.

Medium rare sentient mechanoids (7d6)
STR: 7 (3d6), AGI: 7 (3d6), END: 20 (5d6), INT: 10 (4d6), LOG: 10 (4d6), WIL: 10 (4d6), CHA: 4 (2d6), LUC: 0 (0d6), REP: 10 (4d6)
HEALTH: 34, SOAK: 12 (Dalekenium), VULNERABLE: Electricity 1d6, Ion 2d6
IMMUNE to Charm, Cheer, Fear and Poison
INITIATIVE: 7d6, PERCEPTION: 4d6 (Scanning 7d6)
SPEED: 6 (Hover), CARRY: 290lb (Max lift 330lb)
Brawling: 3d6 (1d6+3 Blunt damage) 
Disintegrator Rifle 6d6 (4d6+3 Disintegration damage; Range: 15)
Disintegrator Rifle and Integrated Scanner
Computers: 10 (4d6), Foresight: 2 (1d6), Intimidation: 10 (4d6), Rifles: 8 (3d6), Scanning: 9 (3d6), Tactics: 10 (4d6) 
As above for Daleks.

For those of you unfamiliar with N.E.W. the stats shown above will mean little to you. To simplify matters for you I'll go through the main strengths and weaknesses of the two forces.
Cybermen Strengths. In a word, numbers. Their Hive Mind exploit gives them a huge advantage, providing they stick together. Also, they are much better than Daleks in melee combat. The Cyber Leader's Transfer Data exploit means he can potentially outlast all of the other Cybermen in a game.
Cybermen Weaknesses. A very poor Ranged Defence score and a lower SOAK value than the Daleks means they'll take a lot of hits and a lot of damage from Daleks' ranged attacks. They need to get in close as quickly as possible. Also, their Laser Implants do a lot less damage than a Dalek Disintegrator Rifle.
Dalek Strengths. Ranged attacks. Against low defences they'll hit more than they'll miss and Disintegrator Rifles do a fearsome amount of damage, especially on electricity or ion settings due to the Cybermen being vulnerable to these types of damage.
Dalek Weaknesses. Very poor in melee combat. They have low Melee Defence scores and can't do enough brawling damage to penetrate a Cyberman's SOAK value unless they can increase their base damage score. They'll want to avoid melee combat at all costs. Their Self-destruct exploit can be as damaging to them as to their enemies, depending on how closely grouped they are.

A derelict space freighter carrying a valuable cargo has been infiltrated by small raiding parties of Cybermen and Daleks. The cargo consists of four rare crystals imbued with Vortex Energy, enabling their possessors to bend the very power of the Time Vortex to their own ends. The Cybermen want them to advance their experiments in time travel. The Daleks need the crystals to perfect their ultimate temporal weapon.
Capture the most Vortex Nodes. A figure only has to move over a Vortex Node counter to collect it but a figure may only hold one Vortex Node at a time. Note that it normally costs one action to pick up an object but to keep things simple for this introductory game, I'm classing it as a free action. The game lasts for six turns or until one side is wiped out if this occurs sooner.
The game was played on a 3' square gaming mat provided with the Exterminate! boxed set, with the two forces lined up 6" from opposite edges. Four Vortex Node counters were placed no closer than 8" to each other in the centre of the board.
The Cybermen force consisted of a Cyber Leader and 11 Cybermen split into three groups of four. On the left flank was Patrol C made up of Cybermen 08 to 11. In the centre was Patrol A made up of the Cyber Leader and Cybermen 01 to 03. On the right flank was Patrol B made up of Cybermen 04 to 07.
The Dalek force consisted of a Dalek Leader and two Dalek Patrols (A and B) made up of three Daleks each. The Dalek Leader took the left flank. Dalek Patrol A is in the centre with Daleks 01 to 03 and Dalek Patrol B is off to the right with Daleks 04 to 06.

The batrep will take place in part 2, which I'll post very soon.