Wednesday, 25 January 2017

A Fool's Errand

Last night got to run the first part of my Fool's Errand campaign, though time constraints meant for a short gaming session. As ever there was one or two things that I didn't account for, though thankfully didn't have to wing things that much. Regardless heres the session report followed by some thoughts.

An Offer You Can't Refuse

Our adventure begins with a pilot called Arnie and his companion Brick the...err...Brick, receiving a visit from some brutes decently dress in second-hand suits. Our duo have summons from a local crime boss known as 'Ferret', though he would be most disappointed if his invitation was declined. Not wishing to disappoint (and wishing to avoid some interesting bruises) the duo accept Ferret's summons and are escorted to his office in a warehouse by the local airfield. Ferret greets them when they arrive and explains he has a job for them, a simple fetch and retrieve kind of job.

But it ain't that simple.

The item is a box located in a bank vault and there are possibly other people after the same item, oh and the bank is in a ghost town out in the Wulflands. Other problem is that if they headed to the town right there and then they would arrive only a short while before nightfall, spending a night out in the Wulflands isn't exactly a good idea. Arnie did point out that neither he or his heavyweight comrade are safecrackers, Ferret introduced his own locksmith in the form of a short lass called Karla. Things got off to a good start when Arnie made a comment about babysitting, Karla responded in kind and stated she could handle herself.

Our trio set off via aircraft to a point just east of the Wulfwall, a line of fortifications separating the Wulflands from the rest of Alyeska, where they setup camp for the night so that they had more daylight to take advantage of the following day. After an uneventful night they completed the rest of their journey and found the town without too much trouble, a circuit round the town showed it was abandoned with no sign of life. They then landed at what they took to be the town's airstrip, Arnie positioned the aircraft after landing so that it was facing along the runway so help save time later when they took off again.

Moving into town they saw many signs of neglect, wooden buildings rotted and partially collapsed. Even some of the brick buildings had sagging roofs and broken windows whilst the streets were cracked with weeds, there was also some wildlife in the form of birds and rabbits. The bank itself was easy to find, being one of the larger brick buildings and located in the town square, it also showed signs of neglect and its doors swung freely in the breeze as debris littered the interior. The vault thankfully seemed to be intact and Karla got to work opening the door (three successful Lockpicking rolls, last of which got a raise) and had it open within half an hour. Inside there was the box as Ferret said there would be, plus bags of paper money and bank bonds. Though the paper crumbled as Arnie picked some up, so the bags were considered to be worthless and left.

Just as our trio were getting ready to leave movement was spotted outside, an impressive Notice roll from Arnie revealed some men trying to sneak up to the bank in one of the nearby alleyways or side streets. A quick search of the bank turned up a back door which the trio left through and found themselves in an alley, though the men quickly discovered this and were soon on the trio's tail. A short Chase then took place on foot through the alleyways and streets of the town, one of the men fell to gunfire whilst a second got an impressive strike from Brick's knuckleduster (29 damage!). Gunfire on both sides proved to be ineffective during the short pursuit (the thugs giving chase often rolled too low to get an Action Card), Karla failed both times she tried to 'Force' the thugs with a distraction and Brick almost came a cropper when he ran into a wooden barrel (Minor Obstacle complication).

Before long they were back at the airstrip, slightly outnumbered by the thugs (5 vs 3) but still in procession of the box. The leader of the thugs attempted to convince the trio to hand over the box but Arnie, fearful of what Ferret may do to them, refused even when the thug boss offered double the coin that Ferret had offered them for the job. With a sigh the thug boss called out "shoot 'em!" and gunfire broke out a second time, the scant cover offering little protection for our trio as Brick went down almost instantly under the volley of fire but without a permanent injury. Karla was next to go down, but the trio had managed to thin down the thugs slightly in return.

Then Arnie spotted something.

Some Wulvers had been drawn by the sound of gunfire and set upon the thugs, tearing two of them limb from limb. With the thugs now otherwise occupied Arnie dragged both of his companions and the box onto the aircraft and hastily started her up. Only the thug boss remained facing down the Wulvers as the aircraft's engines spluttered into life, fire from the boss' machine pistol managing to cripple one of the beasts but that only delayed the inevitable of him being ripped to shreds. By now the plane was rolling down the runway and picking up speed, the Wulvers gave chase but soon enough the plane's tail came up and its wings started to bite the air. Before the beasts could get within a hair's breath the aircraft was already climbing up into the wild blue yonder, Arnie breathing a huge sigh of relief before easing off the throttles and settling the plane down into a cruising speed.

Both Brick and Karla were Incapacitated, but thankfully they weren't bleeding out and neither of them got permanent injuries. They still had the box and thus could complete the job for Ferret, but first Arnie wanted to get his companions seen to and had set course for the nearest town east of the Wulfwall. Because of time constraints the session finished there, but I'm quite pleased that we managed to finish Act One of Fool's Errand within two or three hours.

Thoughts

Stated earlier that there were one or two things that I hadn't accounted for when I wrote the adventure series; the players choosing to run.

I was expecting the players to stand their ground and use the bank as an improvised fort, but players are always doing things you don't expect. Still it gave me a chance to use the Chase rules earlier than was planned, one of my players said it was certainly a bit different compared to the normal combat that they were used to. But I will have to try to use the Chase rules a bit more often now in my games, obviously where it makes sense to do so.

My other observation was how much of a struggle it ended up being for the players, after all there was only two player characters and the GM controlled Karla against 7 thugs of which one was a Wild Card. The players had the Advantage over the thugs for much of the Chase, but the range penalties hampered their shooting by a noticeable amount. The thugs for their part had to contend with my pair dice rolling, though when they got the chance to shoot they almost wiped the floor as proven by how quickly they felled Brick and Karla in open combat.

On the whole I'm quite happy with how the adventure ran and the players seemed to have enjoyed it, though when it comes to writing it up properly I will have to factor in the consideration that the players may choose to flee rather than stand and fight.

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