Thursday, 16 August 2012

Chapter 7 : Last Stand at TK1075A, Part 6

"Oh, and hand me the black cap, will you,
I'll be needing that."
Following chapter 6 where the party infiltrated the Slodi asteroid to rescue Una Magnusdotir Hos, the group finally face Imperial justice for the charge of piracy. In conclusion...

"Ragnar Ivaldsson Long, you have been found guilty of the charges brought by this court, and it is now my duty to pass sentence. You are an habitual criminal, who accepts arrest as an occupational hazard, and presumably accepts imprisonment in the same casual manner. We therefore feel constrained to commit you to the maximum term allowed for these offences: you will be sent to the Tarkwall prison facility on Keanou for five years."

"Ansgar Padraigson Long, you have also been found guilty of the charge of piracy, you will go to prison for four years."

House Rules #3 : Bonus Dice

When rolling up a character, each player gets 6 bonus dice. Any time a  roll is made (during character creation or play) a player may use additional dice from his pool of bonus dice and take whichever 2 dice they want from those rolled to form the random portion of the task roll. Dice used are permanently lost from the pool.  Additional dice may be awarded in play for particularly good role play, insight, planning or ideas as judged by the referee.
"Magnus Olafsson Karlseffni, you to have been found guilty of the charge of piracy, as well as being culpable for the deaths of Eric Ormson Slodi and Derek Ormson Slodi. You will be sent to prison for the rest of your life."

This is obviously a miscarriage of justice as Sali Hasvirsson Hjalmir (aka Magnus Olafsson Karlseffni) didn't shoot Eric and Derek, it was Ansgar. But Imperial justice eh, what can you do? (Remember to use your bonus dice to improve your sentencing roll, obviously). be continued?


Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Chapter 6 : Last Stand at TK1075A, Part 5

In Chapter 5, the party were formally charged with piracy, Sali took part in a little home-grown judicial process and ended up slightly better off than his opponent and Ragnar approached Ling Standard Products to offload their tantalum.

House Rules #1 : Training and Experience

Learning Experiences
A learning experience is period of time where intense use of a set of skills take place. It can be a combat encounter, a bargaining session with a trader or a trek through a jungle for example. Driving down to the shops or a routine takeoff for example are not learning experiences, although it may be if this is the first time it’s done. After a learning experience tick any one of the skills used in the experience. This does not necessarily have to be one rolled during the period, but it has to be one that is appropriate. A weekly training session also allows ticking of an appropriate skill.

Experience Points

These are gained during play. One should be awarded for each learning experience unless the character made little or no impact on the situation. Significant actions should be rewarded with an additional point. Experience points can also be awarded through study. Award 2 + the effect of an End 8+ task for each week of study. If trained by another add the skill level of the teacher. These experience points gained must only be used for improving the skill being taught and should be noted separately. A teacher can train as many people as his skill level + Int DM. A teacher can study as well as teach but gets a –1 DM for each person he is teaching during that week. Certain types of study could use Int, Edu or Soc tasks instead.

Skill Total

This is the sum of all skill values currently held by the character. To gain a level in a skill the character needs to spend experience points equal to the current skill total + the new level of the skill to be improved. Only skills that have been ticked can be improved. Remove all ticks after spending the points.
There's six weeks to the start of the trial, and their lawyer, Valbrand Bjornson Kruhl, sends messages via a private x-boat courier to Biter to his legal contacts to try and contact any passengers of the Liner Selene to be witnesses in the trial. Ragnar grumbles about the expense but pays up.

Ragnar arranges a meeting with the local representatives of Ling Standard Products with whom he has made initial contact. He proposes to use the tantalum as part payment for a jump drive for the ship being constructed at Tyrfing Highport. After some negotiation they come to an agreement for a Class B Jump Drive in exchange for the tantalum along with some Ship Shares Ragnar and Sali have been carrying around since their mustering out.

Asking around the local belter community about
Una Magnusdotir Hos, gets some interesting news. The belters are reluctant to discuss her in detail, but eventually they get the information that Una was having a relationship with one of the Slodis.

In the weeks before the trial the party spend their time hacking into the asteroid's computer system looking for clues to the whereabouts of Una Magnusdotir Hos, extracting more tantalum and shipping it to Niflhel Station as well as doing some training.

Ragnar brushes up on his Broker skills, Ansgar learns more about mining and vaccsuit, while Sali spends his time working out with his broadsword.

After some weeks of mining, self improvement and computer hacking, the party finally manage to get into Una's email system.

They find a long series of communications between Una and Eric Ormson Slodi, a cousin of Dolf and Alvar. They are of a romantic nature and culminate with an invitation to Una to visit the Slodi asteroid which she accepts.

Ansgar breaks into the asteroids Outlook server
Reading between the lines in the the emails, the party reach the conclusion that Una is angling to get her families debt cancelled out and may be just leading Eric along.

Further computer hackery gets access to Una's bank statements. As the Slodis claimed in their evidence to the judge, she has a deposit in her account of Cr 820,000 that ties into the date when the Slodis say they bought the asteroid, however two days later the same amount was paid out from her account to an unlisted personal bank.

The party decide to infiltrate the Slodi asteroid to search for Una. The asteroid plays host to many of the local belters interested in low class entertainment and provisions, so they talk to their local anti-Slodi belter friends and manage to find some belters who are planning to visit this week for various reasons. Sali will enter using his real ID as the Slodis know him as Magnus Olafsson Karlseffni. Ansgar and Ragnar borrow ID from some of their belter friends who assure them that the checking is not all that good. Sali gives them some quick infiltration hints, the most important being not to draw attention to yourself, and they set off to the asteroid in the company of booze-hounds and sexually frustrated miners.

The asteroid has a large enclosure (off limits to most visitors, although a view through a large plexiglass window is possible at docking control) and three sub levels built into the rock. The sub levels contain residential areas (for the extended Slodi Clan as well as visitors), retail centres and the processing cores for atmosphere, power and water.

Interior of the Slodi Asteroid
Sub Level 1
Sub Level 2
Sub Level 3
House Rules #2 :  Combat


Initiative is rolled at the start of combat ( 2D + Dex DM ), and then can vary throughout the encounter. Unlike the standard rules, this variation does not reset the initiative at the start of the turn, any changes due to reactions and recoil carry over. Hastening only acts as a +2 modifier to initiative rather than changing 

Two additional actions can affect initiative. A minor action can be used to increase initiative by 1, and a major action can be used to reroll initiative for the next turn. These actions simulate pausing to reassess the situation.

Martial Art Styles
When learning Melee (unarmed), the character needs to specify whether the martial art is Strength based or Dexterity based. 

Strength based martial arts allow the Strength Modifier to be used either as a positive DM to hit, or as a positive DM for damage.

Dexterity based martial arts allow the Dexterity Modifier to be used either as a positive DM to hit or as a negative DM for the opponent to hit.

Melee Damage

Melee damage is increased from the basic level by 1 point for each skill level. They also add the Strength Modifier to the damage rolled. A strength based martial art could therefore add twice the Strength Modifier to the damage rolled.

If the modifier to damage is 4 or higher, subtract 4 and instead roll an additional dice. For example a roll of 1D+5 would actually be 2D+1, 1D+9 would be 3D+1.

Increasing Damage

All attacks, both melee and ranged, can increase damage at a cost to chance of hit and initiative. By reducing the chance to hit by 1 and reducing current initiative by 1, the attacker can add a modifier of +2 to damage.

Sneak Attacks

Attacking an unaware opponent is easier, only roll 4+ to hit and add the effect number to the damage rolled. If this decreases the targets Endurance to zero in one hit, then the target is incapacitated.

The party make there way to the Slodi asteroid attached to two separate groups - Sali and Ansgar with a bunch of belters out for a night on the town, and Ragnar with a small group after supplies.

They pass through the lax security with little trouble and decide to split up to search the sub levels. Concentrating on the retail areas they enquire at hotels and bars to see if anyone has seen Una.

The deeper (closer to the asteroid exterior) they progress the more they notice the social level of the population decrease, and the more depraved the levels of entertainment.

After several dead ends they find a hotel that says Una stayed there for a while before leaving when her money ran out. The concierge at the hotel said she may have been seen in a seedy bar in Sub Level 3.

In the bar the party find a den of addicts and ladies of easy virtue. Bribing the bar keeper gets them the information that Una did come here and was one of the women of negotiable virtue, but left private employ and now works out of an establishment specialising in such activities.

As the party leave to go to the Virtue Negotiation Venue (VNV), they notice security guards questioning people. They keep low and after the guards have moved on Ansgar goes and talks to one of the questioned citizens.

Ansgar - "What did those guards want?"
Citizen - "They were asking about a women."
Ansgar - "Was it this one?", showing him a photo of Una.
Citizen - "Yes. They asked if I had seen her, or anyone asking after her. And would give a reward for information."
Ansgar - "Thanks."
Virtue Negotiation Venues of the future may
employ the use of Basic Pleasure Models
however the Slodis rely more on drugged victims
(because they are the bad guys or at least worse than the heroes)
Citizen (after a brief pause to allow Ansgar to offer some money to prevent him going to the guards) "...Well I'll be off then.", and walks off in the direction of the guards.

The party make their way to the VNV, and Ragnar asks after Una. After a little negotiating he is led to a room containing a somewhat inebriated Una. He complains to the management about the state of his intended paramour and while the Person In Management Position is checking his employee, Ragnar utilises his unarmed combat prowess to knock him out.

The party exit the establishment with the somewhat befuddled Una and make there way to Sub Level 2 without incident. be continued...

Monday, 30 July 2012

Chapter 5 : Last Stand at TK1075A, Part 4

In the last episode the party were told they would be charged with piracy for taking and holding the asteroid TK1075A this chapter see the start of the trial process.

A ship from the Imperial occupying force at Tyrfing
Ragnar Ivaldsson Long receives a call from their legal defender, Lt Shad McRaven of the Imperial Navy. He wants the issue of the unknown man, aka Wyatt Earpe, cleared up. After being presented with the evidence that when they arrived in system their ship was stopped by an Imperial Patrol where all the members of the party identified themselves and said they were working for Ragnar who held the papers to the asteroid in question, Ragnar admits that Wyatt Earpe did not exist (at least not in this century).

The party travel to Niflehel Station for the pretrial. In advance of the trial starting they are advised to get a civilian lawyer and so hire one on Niflehel. The lawyer, one Valbrand Bjornson Kruhl, after listening to their side of the affair advises them to seek an extension of time so as to find passengers from the Selene who may be able to provide some proof of good character as the players were instrumental in saving one of the ships boats along with a large number of passengers.

On Niflehel, Ragnar also meets up with a representative of Ling Standard Products who agrees in principle to purchase the entire quantity of tantalum from him, providing the court case goes in his favour.

Sali and Edlend fight it out in lego
Before the trial starts, Sali Hasvirsson Hjalmir has a run in with one of the Slodi clan. He is barged out of the way by a local who then starts insulting him. When he retaliates in kind he is challenged to a harmgang (as the modern version of a holmgang duel is now known in the Sword Worlds) by his assailant. This turns out to be Edlend Asorson Slodi, another uncle to Alvar and Dolf. Edlend is another follower of Aesirism and so favours the direct approach of settling arguments with the sword.

The harmgang is held the next day at dawn, Sali and Edlend face each other bare chested armed with broadswords. The fight is brutal, both protagonists swinging wild blows at each other. Edlend lands the first blow, a massive strike that wounds Sali quite badly. Sali quickly recovers and strikes Edlend with an equally damaging blow. The two men circle each other, both staining the grass with their blood, each unwilling to give up. Edlend swings a mighty overhead blow...and misses, Sali quickly counterstrikes and stabs Edlend under his arm. This wound takes all the strength from Edlend and he backs away. Sali pauses to give Edlend the opportunity to surrender the fight and realising his chances of survival are small if he continues, Edlend drops his sword and surrenders.

Sali's wound is bound up by Ansgar, making use of his military first aid training, while Edlend is rushed to the hospital for intensive surgery. Sali spends the next couple of days before the pretrial resting and healing with the assistance of Ansgar.
This is not the judge (honest)
The pretrial starts and the party are charged with piracy. They elect to be all tried together, rather than separately, although the judge, Commander Joachim Sanchex, warns them that although their guilt will be determined as a group, their punishments if found guilty may vary dependant on their level of involvement in the crime. Their defence lawyer successfully pleads for an extension of time to find witnesses and is granted six weeks.

The prosecutor, Lieutenant Commander Baldwin Wei, protests but is overruled. He also asks that the party are held in custody until the trial commences, however the defence lawyer successfully argues that if the party fled, they would lose the very thing the case is trying to determine, the ownership of the asteroid. The judge agrees and formalises the situation, the parties will have to put the asteroid up as a bond to ensure that they return. If they fail to attend the court case in six weeks then they will lose the asteroid, be declared outlaws and hunted down and executed. be continued...

Monday, 16 July 2012

Chapter 4 : Last Stand at TK1075A, Part 3

Following on from  Part 2 in which the party captured two members of the Slodi Clan, tied them up and drugged them to keep them quiet...

A mining robot, now working properly
Ragnar, Ansgar and Granzh retrieve the malfunctioning mining robots and spend a few hours cleaning the dirt out of the joints and getting them working again.

Checking the robot's logs they discover that one of the robots has started following a rich vein of tantalum, a valuable metal used in jump drive manufacture. The robot has extracted several tons of it, but the accounts show no record of the material arriving at Niflhel Station. Evidently the Slodi family members who were on the asteroid when the party arrived had been shipping it elsewhere and only sending on low grade ore to be added to the company accounts.

Further examination of the accounts shows that the former owner has been spending the majority of the proceeds on the construction of a ship at Tyrfing HighPort. The account is set up to deduct monthly payments automatically to the construction company.

The party get a call from Rorik Gagnison Damsgaard, their friendly neighbourhood belter who asks how the situation is progressing. He says that the party have lots of support from the local independent belters, most of whom have issues with the Slodi Clan. Ragnar promises to keep in touch and asks Rorik to arrange a conference call with the belters to discuss their plans.

Two Gazelle Class Close Escorts
Alvar Pederson Slodi is the next to call the asteroid. He pleads for the release of his brother and uncle. He wants to make a deal - the party can keep the asteroid if they agree to release their captives and pay 20% of proceeds to compensate for killing the two Slodi family members. He once again states the asteroid legally belongs to him, having acquired it from Una Magnusdotir Hos, who he says was the Chief Financial Officer of the former owners so perfectly entitled to sell it to him to pay off the owners debt to him. Ragnar is less than impressed, despite Alvar's slightly more diplomatic overtones.

The next day visitors arrive - an Imperial Gazelle Class Close Escort. The ship hails the asteroid demanding the release of the prisoners and charging the party with piracy, murder and kidnapping. The Imperium Occupying Force are responsible for law and order within the system following the end of the Fifth Frontier War and the formation of the Border Worlds Authority. The Imperium Occupying Force have imposed the system of Extrality on the Border Worlds Authority during the occupation. However due to the peculiarities of the Sword Worlder's clan based customs of vengeance and retribution, they do not want to enforce crimes against persons such as murder and kidnapping. They do have on the other hand, a serious problem with piracy, so that will require a trial. Ragnar agrees to release the hostages and they are taken on board the Close Escort.

Lt Shad McRaven plans the defence case
Ragnar Ivaldsson Long, Magnus Olafsson Karlseffni (as Sali Hasvirsson is known to the Slodis) and one unnamed other (Ansgar Padraigson Long never gave his name away) are summoned to appear in court at Niflhel Station in one weeks time for a pre trial hearing or they will be assumed guilty and hunted down. They are assigned a legal defender, Lt Shad McRaven of the Imperial Navy. He arrives at the asteroid to meet the defendants and prepare for the case. Ragnar gives his side of the incidents, not all of which makes much sense to Lt McRaven and names one Wyatt Earpe as the unidentified third defendant who he says has now left his employment and was last seen at Niflhel Station. Ragnar also pins most of the killing on the outlaw Wyatt Earpe. Ansgar is introduced as a new employee, brought in after Wyatt left.

The legal defender leaves with the weapons captured from the Slodis as evidence, along with photographs of the interior of the asteroid, the bodies of the two dead Slodis (whose bodies were left in the airless portion of the asteroid) and a somewhat inconsistent story from Ragnar.

A chunk of tantalum
While waiting for the trial the party get stuck in to the mining. Locating where the robot was mining the tantalum, they concentrate on this area. They borrow a scanner from a neighbouring belter (it keys off micro changes in ore density) and map out the tantalum deposit. It appears to be a ship embedded in the asteroid and crushed by geological periods of time, the tantalum being part of the ships engines. The ship is far too crushed to yield anything of use, but they do manage to extract large amounts of tantalum.

Ragnar rents a secure storage unit at Niflehel Station and they transfer 2 ship loads of tantalum (26 tons, worth MCr 1.3) to it over the week before the trial. There seems to be about 174 tons of tantalum remaining in the asteroid, at that rate it will take 7 more weeks to get it all out and shipped to Niflehel Station. Ragnar looks into finding brokers who can deal with this much tantalum, the only people who could buy this quantity will be one of the megacorporations who construct jump drives, manoeuvre drives or antigrav drives - all of which use tantalum. be continued...

Monday, 9 July 2012

The Slodi Clan

The Slodi Clan control a relatively large section of the asteroid belt in the Tyrfing System. Many of the belters that work for them claim they were tricked into large debts that they can never repay. The Slodis enforce their control ruthlessly, trusting no one outside of their extended family. The head of the Slodi Clan is Bera Viggodotir Slodi, reputedly a dangerous psychic.

The Slodi Family Timeline
996                  Slodi Clan arrives in Tyrfing
The Slodis arrived in Tyrfing with a jump tender and 4 50ton mining vessels.

997 to 1020     Slodi mining in Tyrfing
During this period the Slodi Clan slowly expanded their operations throughout the belt

1021                The big strike
This was the year of the big strike, an asteroid with a very pure ore deposit.

Burning out an enclosure in an asteroid.
1024                Slodi habitat construction  
With the wealth from the big strike the Slodis started construction of a large habitat

1029                Slodi habitat  finished
After five years the Slodi habitat was finished and the Slodis moved more into management and agriculture – selling food,air and water to belters

1054               The Opening of the enclosure
This year saw the opening of the enclosure to belters, along with many outlets for entertainment and supplies. The Slodi habitat became in effect the equivalent of a small mining town

1057               The first blight
Three years after opening the enclosure to outside, the Slodis suffered the first of many blights. The crops died and the soil became unworkable. The enclosure was opened to vacuum and cleaned and the soil removed of infestation. After the enclosure was restored entry was restricted once more

1062               The second blight
Despite the restrictions on entry to the enclosure itself, there was a second blight, this one worse than the first. The enclosure rapidly became overgrown with fungus and the air thick with spores.

She can read your mind like a magazine,
She sees where you're at,
She knows what you mean,
She's got all the secrets that you'd rather keep...

Image by Nicolas Kudeljan
1063               Bera Viggodotir Slodi born
Conceived during the second blight, Bera's DNA was affected by alien fungal spores and she developed a prodigious psychic talent.

1075               The last blight

Many blights followed. Eventually the enclosure was fully cleaned down to the rock face and that melted with concentrated beams of light from the sunlight collecting mirrors until nothing organic remained. Fresh new topsoil was imported at great expense and finally the enclosure was free of infection.

1076 to 1085  The decline

The blight years depleted the Slodis finances considerably and they never recovered. By this time more asteroid habitats had been created, including the much large Niflhel Station, which was run more fairly to its inhabitants than the Slodi habitat. With competition from other habitats, the Slodis could not charge such high prices for basic provisions. In addition, partly due to the Slodis prices, belters had become more self reliant in producing basic food and air using small automated bio-enclosures.

1086               The start of Bera's reign
Bera became the head of the Slodi clan following the death of her father, her brothers deferring to her will (and psychic abilities). The clan started enforcing it's will on nearby belters. Those offered supplies on credit terms suddenly found themselves deep in debt to a vicious organization that claimed ownership on all they mined.

1115                Now
Ragnar Ivaldssson Long comes into possession of an asteroid recently acquired by the Slodi family and everything goes pear shaped.

The Slodi Asteroid

The asteroid is approx 1km long with a diameter of 450m. The enclosure is 600m long with a diameter of 280m. The period of rotation is 42 seconds giving a gravity equivalent to 0.33G on the surface of the enclosure.

The asteroid has 6 double pulse laser turrets and 1 particle accelerator bay. The turrets provide 360° coverage (3 can bear on any one target at a time). The PA bay has 180° coverage, requiring rotation of the asteroid to bear on all targets (up to 12 minutes).

The enclosure is partially planted for agriculture (40% surface area), has a large open water area (25%) for temperature stability, the rest being trees and grassland (35%).

The Slodi ancestral home is the only inhabited structure in the enclosure, the majority of the living accommodation as well as the retail areas are within the rock shell. The retail areas provide meager entertainment for the belters trapped in a vicious credit cycle, as they extract back all the little money that the miners receive for their work, with a combination of over priced alcohol, prostitution and recreational drugs.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Chapter 3 : Last Stand at TK1075A, Part 2

An asteroid, yesterday
This follows on from Part 1 in which the party arrived at TK1075A, shot up and drove off the interlopers. End result, one gunman killed by a combination of gunfire and vacuum, one shot and wounded and one fled in their spacecraft.

During questioning the survivor claimed that the asteroid was legitimately acquired from the previous owners daughter, his belief in this being confirmed by the party's resident mind reader.

With Dolf Pederson Slodi safely tied up in a spare cabin, the party let the Uergoegz family know that the place is safe and Granzh pilots the craft in.

Once the craft is docked and locked in place, umbilical cables attach and the manoeuvre drive becomes available for minor adjustments in the asteroids position and orientation. The drive, capable of pushing the 30 ton boat along at a tasty 6G, only can provide a tiny 0.005G when pushing the 35,000 ton asteroid about, but it's enough for station keeping and orienting the electromag cannon.

Lower area
The cannon is used for firing 1 ton projectiles of ore towards the asteroid habitat Niflhel Station where they are captured and processed, each projectile is tagged and the proceeds of the sale are automatically credited to the owners account. Now if only the party could access the account directly, they would have access to the money.

As soon as the craft docked, the party noticed the asteroid reorienting itself and they quickly determine that its now pointing at Niflhel, obviously it was oriented elsewhere earlier.

Ansgar, Ragnar and Granzh don vacc suits and make their way to the launch room where they try and find out where the launcher was pointing previously. Unfortunatley their computer skills are not up to the task and they can't locate the target.

Meanwhile as the rest of the Uergoegz family claim the largest cabin for the family, and Sali keeps watch out for more villains, there is an incoming communication. Sali answers and talks to Rorik Gagnison Damsgaard, an independent belter who overheard the fleing gunman making an unencrypted call home telling them that the asteroid had been taken.
Upper Area

He informs Sali that they have run foul of the Slodis, a strong local crime family who has been extorting belters in this area of the belt for some time.

Dolf Pederson's brother Alvar is the guy in charge, although the one to watch out for apparnatly is his mother Bera Viggosdotir, who Rorik says is a dangerous psychotic (or did he say psychic?)

Anyway there's another ship on its way apparently, due to arrive in 2 hours, and with that cheery news Rorik wishes them well and signs off.

The party look through the mining stores for inspiration and find a mining laser which they set up in the Workshop pointing at the internal airlock. To block of the other route from the unpressurised area of the asteroid they cut the power to the iris valve linking the power plant room to the upper level and spot weld the irises together.

The Vargrs Granzh, Sounngi, Ougdzo and Aervoug are packed off to the boat and told to flee if it all goes badly. The two pups Ougdzo and Aervoug are more excited than scared but do as they are told.

The party also find some vacc suits that offer a little more protection than the emergency ones they have been using and change into them. Sali and Ansgar wait in the Workshop while Ragnar keeps a lookout from the observation dome.

They don't have to wait too long as a launch comes into view and stops some 200m out. Two suited figures exit the launch and make their way over to the observation dome and look in. They show themselves to be experience spacers, the lack of gravity not affecting them significantly. They have also come armed for the job, sporting zero-G weapons : a Snub SMG and an Assault Snub Carbine. The carbine is a fearsome weapon with a massive 100 round cassette mounted on the top and is capable of emptying the entire lot in one burst. They are wearing a Hostile Environment Vacc Suit and a Boarding Vacc Suit.

Belest Astorson Slodi on a good day
The two spacers are Belest Astorson and Derek Ormson (both Slodis), Belest is Dolf's uncle, an Aesirist fundamentalist and Derek is one of Dolf's cousins and is itching to let off his carbine at someone.

Belest has a conversation with Ragnar through the glass dome (with the help of radio) which goes along the lines of "Give us back my nephew and clear out", to which the answer is short and to the point.

On a different radio channel the party discuss what to do, and quickly come to the conclusion that all that's stopping the Slodis  simply blowing out the dome is the fact that this would kill Dolf, so they can't give up their hostage. However they tell Belest that they agree to let him go, but say they have no spare vacc suits. Belest agrees to get one from his launch and leave it in the internal airlock.

Derek gets the suit and puts it in the airlock, Sali cycles the airlock while Ansgar covers the entrance. Inside is a emergency vacc suit bag, emergency vacc suit. After more discussion the party decides to go on the offensive. Ansgar will dress in the emergency vacc suit, hiding his assault rifle in the bag, and pretend to be Dolf. Meanwhile Sali will get into the boat and wait in the boats airlock, Granzh will pilot the boat out and Sali will attack Belest taking advantage of the grav plates in the boats airlock to counteract Belest's greater expertise in zero-G.

Hang on, that's not Dolf!
Ansgar cycles the airlock and pretends to be in distress, as Derek lowers his carbine and comes to assist, he pulls the rifle from the bag and opens up on full automatic wounding Derek. Derek returns fire but rushes the shot and misses, luckily for Ansgar he only fired a short burst rather than emptying the mag. Ansgar fires another burst and puts Derek down hard (or spinning crazily, if you prefer).

Meanwhile, as Ragnar distracts Belest, Sali enters the boat and Granzh prepares to leave, turning off all the running lights and display screens so as not to alarm Belest. Ragnar continues to distract Belest but it becomes clear to him that Derek is not responding to his radio calls and he gets suspicious. By this time the boat is moving out and he sees it out of the corner of his eye. Sali and Belest exchange fire, both hampered by the motion of the boat, but Sali's expertise wins out, along with the local bit of gravity from the airlock grav plates and he wounds Belest with several rounds. Belest is unconscious but his suit is self-sealing so he fairs better than Derek.

Ragnar comes out to assist and makes his way to the Slodi's boat, but they've left someone on board who powers up the boat and shoots off.

Ansgar gives Belest first aid, and ties him up with Dolf. Belest curses as much as Dolf does but his curses are more in keeping with Norse mythology as opposed to Dolf's cruder statements.

Ragnar calls Rorik Gagniso to find out who he's captured and gets an impromptu history and genealogy lesson on the Slodi Clan. As he ends his call he gets an incoming call from Alvar Pederson Slodi who has just been informed of the events by the occupant of the fleeing boat.

The call goes as expected, with both parties disputing the ownership of the rock with threats and intimidations sprinkled liberally throughout.

Ragnar decides to get more weapons and so he and Granzh take the boat and head back to Niflhel Station, where such things are purchasable. The six hour trip nets them 3 shotguns and more ammo for their existing weapons.

Hacking the bank looks more like
playing Countdown than this
Ansgar thinks that the code for the personal bank could be the name of the previous owners daughter and they try it but to no avail. Sali, being an ex-spy and so well versed in such things, suggests it may be an anagram of the daughter's name. Ansgar despairs of the possible combinations of "Una Magnusdotir Hos", until Sali points out that computers can do this sort of thing quite easily, and by using the local equivalent of the internet enters the name into an anagram finder (much as I did when writing this scenario) and got the two words "THOUSAND IGNORAMUS" as a result. Entered into the bank this unlocked the account's level 1 access rights, giving a complete view of the account details as well as limited access to the funds. be continued...

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Chapter 2 : Last Stand at TK1075A, Part 1

Finders Keepers, Losers
Burn Up in Re-entry
This chapter follows on from the Selene Incident in which Ragnar Ivaldsson Long came in to possession of a personal bank belonging to Magnus Dolfson Hos, a semi-retired Belter by the legal expedient of Finders Keepers.

After examining the contents of the bank, Ragnar realises that he now owns an asteroid in the Tyrfing system, the deed to which was in the form of a bearer bond. After transfering the deed into a more secure form tied to his ID, Ragnar and the rest of the party along with their newly acquired Vargr friends, the Uergoegz family, travel to Tyrfing to claim their prize.

The personal bank is set up to do certain purchases without further authorisation, however most of the functions and access to the account details are protected. Essentially they can buy fuel from Tyrfing Star Fuels, food and provisions from Highpoint Imports and travel facilities from Sleipnir Passenger and Freight all based in Niflhel Station, a large asteroid habitat in the Tyrfing System.

After an uneventful trip, the part arrives at Tyrfing and are dropped off at Tyrfing Highport after a minor incident with a Gazelle Close Escort, one of the Imperial ships operating in the area to enforce the peace following the Fifth Frontier War.

Tyrfing Highport, or something like it
From Tyrfing Highport the party transits to Niflhel Station by fast shuttle after a minor stopover to buy souvenirs. As they approach Niflhel and enter its data sphere, the personal bank starts beeping and buzzing as its data gets updated after a period of six months away.

Examining the data, Ragnar sees to his shock that although for the first 2 months a good profit was being made, that then slumped during the middle period and there was a substantial loss for the last 2 months, wiping out all profit over the period. In addition there were several warning messages from various banking concerns that have not recieved any payments during the six months away – loan repayments and late payment penalties to the value of Cr80,000 that need to be paid as they have been guaranteed using the asteroid as collateral.

But finally some good news, the former owner of the asteroid paid to have his 30 ton boat fully serviced before leaving and its now complete and waiting for its new owner at the space docks. Leaving in their shiny new boat, the group made there way to the asteroid.

As they closed with the asteroid, the bank started bleeping again and brought up a map. On it where five flashing red markers, as well as the pressure status of all the areas, blue for breathable.

But the docking bay for the ship appears occupied! And by a dirty looking ship with missing inspection plates and a general run down look too!

An asteroid not unlike the one the party travelled to
As the party debate what to do, the sensors package pick up a transmission from the asteroid, encrypted so unreadable but a definite indication that the asteroid is occupied.

Ansgar and Sali suit up in emergency vacsuits, strap on their improved cloth flak jackets as an outer layer and prepare their weapons. They are both armed with ex military weaponry from their time in the Sword Worlds military.

Sali is armed with a Vendel machine pistol and Ansgar uses his Knekt combat rifle. Neither weapon is especially suitable for use in a zero G environment, but no other options are available. Both are equipped with multifunction image enhancement goggles.

Ragnar puts on a vacsuit but has no armour and only a token Svaerdir blade for weaponry, his chief attacking skill comes from his martial arts knowledge.

Leaving the Uergoegz family in charge of the ship, Sali, Ansgar and Ragnar leave the ship and head over to the asteroid and enter area A, one openings into the interior of the asteroid. As the head over, the digital map indicates that the interior airlock has cycled.

Lower Section of Asteroid
The party move to check out one of the flashing red icons at area M but as they pass the tunnel to area K someone takes a shot at them! The round misses Ansgar, who is in the lead, but nobody spots the impact on the asteroid wall, and as the area is in vacuum nobody hears anything either. The next round misses Sali, but this time Ragnar spots the impact and warn the others.

Sali and Ragnar take cover at the entrance to K, while Ansgar pushes on to M where he finds a spider shaped mining robot in distress. It looks like its been in this way for some time, explaining the fall off in profits if all the other flashing icons also represent broken robots that should be mining away merrily.

The party make a quick plan, Ansgar will make his way via vertical passage V6, along U, T, S, Q, R and then via V3 along G and F to catch the assailant in a crossfire. Aside from an encounter with a working mining robot the journey is uneventful and Ansgar gets into position. Spotting the gunman hiding in the mouth of vertical passage V1, he takes aim and shoots him in the back.

While Ansgar loses control due to the recoil the gunman retreats to Z via V1 and attempts to patch the hole in his suit. Sali and Ragnar rush in and lose control due moving too quickly in zero gravity.

Upper Section of Asteroid
Eventually everybody gets back in control and Ansgar follows the gunman while Sali and Ragnar enter the airlock to discover gravity or a reasonable facsimile thereof. Ansgar tracks down the gunman by following the floating droplets of blood and discovers him dead in the chair in the Launch Room.

The cycling airlock makes enough noise to alert another gunman who waits around the corner by the Storeroom and ambushes Sali and Ragnar, shooting Sali twice in the chest with his snub revolver. Sali's armour is reasonably effective stopping all but 2 points of damage from each round and the gunman flees.

Sali follows up and takes a bead on the fleeing man, selects burst mode, and proceeds to miss with every round. The gunman runs to the docked boat and locks himself inside and prepares for departure. As Sali and Ragnar looked for a way in, a third man stepped out behind them from Cabin 1, Sali heard the man mumble "What's  going on?", turned round and shot him several times, rendering the man unconscious.

As Ansgar made his way down from the Launch Room via the Power Plant room, the ship undocked, fired up its drives and left at high speed.

Sali and Ragnar checked the rest of the living areas while Ansgar stopped the shot man from dying of blood loss as well as tying him up.

Finding nothing but a mess in every room, appalling 3D pay to view holoporn running on every display screen and a mycologists wet dream in the kitchen, Sali and Ragnar return and the group wake up the gunman and begin to question him.

He's quite abusive and tells them his brothers going to kill them, that the rock belongs to him and his brother and would the party please go away (or words to that effect). Sali employs his telepathy skills and finds that the gunman, one Dolf Pederson Slodi, actually believes that the asteroid belongs to him and his brother, his brother seemingly acquiring it from Una Magnusdotir Hos, the previous owners daughter. be continued...