The following is an example of an adventure wherein a relatively inexperienced GM is leading a group of four adventurers on their first mission. The GM has chosen a site-based adventure set around 2669 where the ultimate goal is to rescue an expert in explosives technology, who has been taken captive by the Kilrathi and is being held at a prison camp in the Alcor system. There are a number of camps on the fifth planet and Intel is not sure where the expert is being held, so they've decided to insert a number of Marine fireteams onto the planet to search each one. The GM had the mission prepared before the single player in their group created their character, which enabled them to make informed decisions about what equipment to give them initially. Three more players joined up later, by which time the GM had created a set of 100-point stock characters; the latecomers chose to go with the stock characters the GM had created. The player characters are all Marines of Fireteam India currently assigned to the destroyer TCS Aberwyvern (a name picked by the GM and puzzled over/laughed at by the rest of the group). The characters are SGT Chase Byers (a Terran Commander, the group's "Team"), SPC Lisa Freeman (a Terran, the group's "Assist" and medic), PFC Hikrra (a Firekkan Scout, the group's "Ready"), and CPL Ate-ran Varrinat (a Varni Soldier, the group's "Fire"). For purposes of this discussion, the players will be referred to by their corresponding character names. The characters have a full set of specific stats, but for the sake of brevity these will be revealed through the course of the discussion using italics. The character of Lisa Freeman is the same one that was created in Chapter 2.3. The other three were generated with the rapid generation routine using the indicated templates.
After making the necessary transits to get to the correct world, the fireteam has performed an orbital insertion (a "star-drop", as the GM calls it) near their assigned landing zone. There is a search radar set at the target compound, but through role-playing it has already been determined that it was not in operation at the time of the group's jump. Once on the ground, the plan is for the fireteam to make their way to the compound on foot, hoping to go unnoticed by any local patrols. Determining why the radar was non-operational and disabling it permanently has already been suggested by the players as a priority once the fireteam arrives at the prison camp.
Here's where we'll pick up the adventure.
GM: Fireteam India has landed in a fairly densely wooded area, approximately ten kilometers due south of the Kilrathi camp. As you know, the Aberwyvern's sensors did not detect any active search radar sets, so the Cats still don’t expect any company. It's unlikely that you have been detected so far.
Chase: What am I seeing in the general vicinity of the LZ?
GM (knowing there isn’t much for Chase to see): Make a Perception Check.
Chase: Ok...DC is 22...roll...Damn: 51.
GM: You don’t see anything out of the ordinary. As I said, the woods are fairly dense. The fragrant aroma of the local foliage permeates the area. From where you're standing you can see a spectacular stand of small native trees.
Chase: Lemme check for snipers.
GM: Okay. That's another Perception Check. You can use your "Spot Snipers" specialization.
Chase: And that'll be a 37 DC...roll......27. Oughta be good enough.
GM: After a quick scan of the foliage, you determine that there isn't anybody around to try and put a bullet in your respective brains.
Chase (to group): Alright, it looks safe enough. Let’s get our gear gathered up and head out. Hikrra, why don't you take a look ahead? Stay low and stay sharp; just because there aren't any Cats around right now doesn't mean there won't be any as we get closer to the camp.
Hikrra: You got it, boss.
Chase (to GM): I'm going to pull out my Compass and see which direction we need to go.
GM: Okay. Orientation Check at +10 for the Compass.
Chase: Rolling...32. May I try again?
Chase: Okay...how about 21?
GM: It takes you about fifteen seconds, but you are able to lock down your position and determine the direction to the camp.
Chase: The rest of us, let's get moving. The camp oughta be...thataway.
The characters take a few minutes to decide their marching order. Hikrra takes off to scout ahead; he easily passes the Check for flight. Ate-ran leads the rest of the group with Lisa in close support and Chase bringing up the rear. Meanwhile, the GM is reviewing the information necessary for an interplanetary transit. The total distance of the transit has already been established as ten kilometers. Chase's TEC is high enough that he is Burdened, so he'll slow the group to a mere 3 kph. The math is fairly simple; it'll take three hours and 20 minutes to reach the camp provided all goes well (which it won't - the GM has placed a chasm about three-quarters of the way between the LZ and the camp, which the characters will have to negotiate). The planet's weather and tectonics are both rated as Calm. There are no major forms of extant non-sapient life, though there are some significant mineral deposits around. The local temperature rating is Tropical, so there won't be any problems there.
GM: First thing's first. Hikrra, make a 3DM check for your flight.
Hikrra: And that's an oh-six!
GM (rolls a 78 for the first hour): Alright, on foot it will take the rest of the team a little over three hours to reach the camp. Hikrra, your flight goes smoothly and you can be there in back in about 16 minutes. First hour: would anyone like to make a Typhonology Check?
Hikrra (rolling): I will. Let's see...21.
GM (rolling 2d10): As you begin your journey, a light fog rolls in, making things a little damp. Hikrra, make a Perception Check. The fog is going to cancel out your sight bonus.
Hikrra: Okay...36, that sucks. May I try again?
GM (makes note of the failed Check and the fact that Hikrra will miss the chasm ahead of the others): Sure, go ahead.
Hikrra: Checking again...32. Damn.
GM (using this second attempt for Hikrra's scouting of the camp): You can keep checking until you get it right.
Hikrra: Okay...15. That oughta do the trick.
GM: Despite the fog, you are able to note the presence of several guard towers along the direction of the group's approach.
Hikrra: Crap! I try to pull back before I'm spotted.
GM (deciding to make an unorthodox choice for the sake of the story): Make a Stealth Check at +10.
Hikrra: Oh really? I'll take fifty then.
GM: Hikrra returns to the group about half an hour into the group's walk after taking a look around the camp.
Hikrra: So what exactly do I report back to the group?
The GM takes a few minutes to go over the map of the camp, taking particular care to note the river that passes just to the south of the compound and the three guard towers along the approach. After some discussion, the group decides to change their tactics a little bit and attempt an approach from the southwest instead of the south as they get closer to the camp. The GM makes note of this and moves on with the story.
GM: Other than that, nothing of note happens during the first hour. Second hour: anybody want to make a Typhonology Check?
Hikrra: Me again. Rolling...02!! Critical success!!!!
GM (noting the success and raising Hikrra's Typhonology score by one point): The fog continues unabated during the next hour of your walk. Nothing else of note happens. Third hour: Typhonology?
No one says anything, so the GM continues.
GM (grinning inwardly): As your walk continues, the fog lifts just in time for you to see a large chasm directly in your path.
A collective groan emanates from the group.
Chase (to Hikrra): This is something you probably could've mentioned, you know.
GM (before Hikrra can respond): Hikrra did not see it on his fly-over due to the fog.
Lisa: It's not going to do us any good to argue about whether Hikrra should've seen the chasm or not. Fact of the matter is, it's here, so how are we going to deal with it?
Chase: Quite right. First thing's first - how deep and how wide of a chasm are we talking about here?
GM: Everybody make a Perception Check.
Chase rolls 94 and Ate-Ran rolls a 99 - both critical failures, which the GM notes. Hikrra rolls 45, a failure against his 36 Perception DC. Only Lisa succeeds with a roll of 06.
GM: As you all peer into the chasm, a whirl of dust kicks up from the ground. Dirt flies into Chase and Ate-Ran's eyes, momentarily blinding them and distracting Hikrra enough to prevent him from getting a clear look. Only Lisa successfully keeps enough dirt out of her eyes to see that the chasm is about 50 meters across, at least that far down, and stretches from horizon to horizon across the group's path.
Lisa: After tending to our fearless leaders, I share that information with the group.
Chase: Alright then. We've got a fifty meter chasm to cross. How are we going to do it?
Hikrra: No problem for me...I could just fly right over it. Apparently I've already done it at least twice...
Ate-Ran: You could probably just fly everybody's gear over, Hikrra.
Chase: Good idea...let's do that. Now, how about for those of us without any wings? 50 meters is too wide to jump across...
Lisa: I seem to recall that you've got a Rope, Chase.
Chase: Wow, I do! How convenient! Okay, so I've got a Rope. We just need something to hook it to and pray that it's long enough.
Hikrra: Do I see anything I can tie the rope to on the other side of the chasm?
GM: Perception Check.
Hikrra: I'll take zero on this; I don't want to screw it up.
GM: After taking a good long glare, you spot a large, sturdy looking tree on the other side of the chasm.
Chase: While he's doing that, I look for something I can tie the rope to on this side. Perception...37. Damn. Try again?
GM: Sure. You've got time.
Chase: 34...27...63...48...ah, 01, and a critical!!
GM (noting the critical): You see another large tree which is definitely suitable for the task of holding everybody's weight
Hikrra: Okay...so, I'll fly the rope to the other end of the chasm along with my gear on the first pass, tie off the rope, drop off my crap, and then start bringing over the rest of the gear while the others shimmy on across.
GM: Okay, Hikrra needs to make a Check for flight. Who's going to tie the rope off on this side?
Ate-Ran: I'll do it; my DXM is highest. 41...try again?
Ate-Ran: Rolling......double nought for a critical!!
GM (notes the critical): Okay. Ate-Ran ties a knot that isn't going to come untied anytime soon, at least not by itself.
Hikrra: Time for me to take off. Rolling....03.
GM: You make it across without incident. Time for a Dexterous Maneuvers Check to tie off the other end of the Rope.
Hikrra: Okay...how about 08?
GM: Y'all are getting awfully lucky on these rolls. The other end of the rope is secure. Everybody, make 3DM Checks at -10 for the crossing.
Chase rolls a 25, Ate-Ran rolls a 22, and Lisa rolls a 03. Ate-Ran and Lisa will cross successfully, but Chase has problems.
GM: Chase, roll for a Reflex Save!
Chase: Crap! Okay......38! Phew!!
GM: Chase momentarily loses his grip on the Rope. Try again on your 3DM Check, still at -10.
Chase: Aw, come on!!!! Okay......22, crap!
GM: Another Reflex Save!
Chase: Okay...big money, big money, big money......04!
GM (being merciful): Chase makes it across safely after fumbling with the Rope a couple of times. The others make it across without incident.
Hikrra: Don't I need to check for the rest of my flights? I'm counting at least six more.
GM: Let's just have you make one more flight Check for the whole thing.
Hikrra: Really? Okay, then...09.
GM: Alright. Everybody has made it across safely. Do you want to retrieve the Rope?
Chase: I'm not inclined to.
GM (remembering Chase has Impulsive at -15): Are you sure, Chase? Make a self-control Check...
Chase (rolling): Aw, you would have to pull that on me now!!! Well, okay. 35 DC...19 for the roll, so that's a success.
GM (doing some quick calculations and rolls): Okay, then. Chase leaves his Rope behind. The group's transit across the chasm adds......38 minutes to the trip. Alright, then. Last hour: any Typhonology Checks?
Everyone indicates no.
GM: Very well. The rest of the trek goes without incident. As the first of the guard towers comes into view, the skies darken again and a fresh bank of fog rolls in.
Ate-Ran: Good. That might give us a little bit of cover.
Chase: Yeah, but it might also keep us from seeing any bad guys. Everybody stay alert. What exactly can we see?
GM: Another Perception Check, everyone, at -10 for the fog.
The players all roll. Chase and Lisa both roll too high and fail, while Hikrra is successful. Ate-Ran rolls yet another 99 for Perception and an automatic critical failure results.
GM: As you are all looking around, a large bird-like creature swoops down and begins pecking Ate-Ran on the head! Ate-Ran, make a Willpower Save to keep from crying out in pain...
This particular botch interpretation draws a chuckle from the group, particularly from Ate-Ran's player.
GM (making a quick Check to see if the guards in the nearby tower see Ate-Ran trying to shoo the bird away, which fails): The rest of you fail to note Ate-Ran's plight. All of you see the large, squarely built guard tower about 200 meters directly ahead situation behind what appears to be an electronic frontier, probably a high-powered Security Field Generator. Hikrra notices a somewhat large building sitting just outside the fence towards the north side of the tower.
Hikrra: I point the building out to my teammates.
Chase: I'm forced to wonder why you think it's of any importance whatsoever. Still, I motion for you to go check it out.
Hikrra: Okay, I stealthily make my way over towards the building.
GM (at this point wanting there to be a chance the characters will get caught): Alright. Make a Hiding and Seeking Check.
Hikrra: What? Earlier it was a Stealth Check.
GM: You were flying earlier; this time you're not.
Hikrra: Sucks. Okay, I got a 34. Ouch.
GM: No, you're okay...I forgot to mention it was at +10 because of the fog, so you succeed in sneaking up to the building without incident. You see a large door with a manual knob along the south side and with one large window nearby, through which you can see a large number of shelves.
Hikrra: What's on the shelves?
GM: Make a Perception Check.
Hikrra: Aw, enough with the Perception already! 23, not good enough with the fog.
GM: You're close enough for the fog to have no effect. Inside you can see what appear to be personal effects: wallets, some clothing and a few weapons. All of it looks like articles of Terran manufacture.
Hikrra: That may be important. I start making my way back towards the group. H&S roll...08.
GM: Hikrra makes his way back to the rest of the team without incident and reports on his findings.
Chase: Hmm...could be some valuable stuff in there. What do y'all think? Do we check it out?
Lisa: I vote no. Our mission is to free the scientist, not loot every last thing we see. The longer we loiter, the greater the chance we'll get spotted.
Ate-Ran: Ordinarily I would say no, but I'm looking at my ammo supply. Eight shots and I'm out. Might be some spare batteries in a few of those guns, so I say yes.
Hikrra: I'm kinda conflicted. Yeah, I'd like to see if I can find some better Armor, but this smells of a trap.
Chase: Alright, we'll give this building a pass.
GM: You sure, Chase? Make a self-control Check...
Chase: What the hell for?!?!?!?!
GM: Your Impulsive nature, of course.
Chase: That's crap. Alright......hell, 67. Looks like we're walking into a trap, guys.
GM: Chase decides to investigate the building further. Everyone, make Hiding and Seeking Checks to sneak up to the building. You're at +10 because of the fog.
The group's Checks come up as failures for Chase, Ate-Ran and Lisa. For each character in turn, the GM makes a Check to see if they are detected. The guards spot Lisa as she approaches the building, but the GM decides to keep this a secret for now.
GM: Alright, you've all made it over to the building. If the guards spotted you, they're being quiet about it.
Chase: Okay, we need to hurry up and get this door open. Does it look like there are any alarms?
GM: Make a Perception check.
Chase: 07. That oughta do the trick.
GM: You don't see any indication of an alarm on the door.
Chase: Okay, I'll try to open it.
GM: The door opens easily. You enter a chamber which is roughly twelve meters by twenty meters in size. It appears to be a bunkroom. There is a light buzzing sound emanating from one of the bunks. There are doors to the east and to the west, and two doors leading north and south along the west wall. The southern door would seem to lead into the chamber into which Hikrra was able to see.
Hikrra: I move quietly to find the source of the noise.
GM: Make a Dexterous Maneuvers Check followed by a Perception Check. Both favorable.
Hikrra: 29 for DXM and 78 for Perception. Can I try again on the Perception?
Hikrra: Okay...well, how about 01?
GM: You have discovered two Kilrathi security guards asleep in their bunks. Your movement has put you within two meters of one of them. Everyone else is still twelve meters away. The other guard’s bunk is on the far end of the room, about four meters from Hikrra. Everyone roll Initiative!
The characters roll for Initiative. The order comes up as Hikrra, Lisa, Ate-ran and Chase (who got a crappy roll).
Hikrra: I move up quietly to the sleeping guard and draw my rifle.
Lisa: I move quietly in between the bunks, hoping they might offer some cover.
Ate-ran: I’ll do the same thing as Lisa.
Chase: I will walk quietly across the room to the other guard.
GM: Okay. Everybody make Dexterous Maneuvers Checks to stay stealthy.
The characters report the results of their respective rolls to the GM, who reports they have successfully moved into positions.
Hikrra: I'll make a coup-de-gráce with my rifle! I can do that, right?
GM: Yep, the guard’s asleep and therefore Helpless. A Security Check for the attack, if you please.
Hikrra: Rolling...02! A definite hit!!
GM (knowing that at best a Kilrathi would have 85 HP): Hit location...vital body area. It's an automatic critical hit, so double damage! The shot goes right through the guard’s heart. His body explodes in a spectacular burst of vaporous gore. I hope none of you are squeamish...
Lisa: What about the other guard?
GM: The noise from the rifle blast can't help but rouse the other guard from his slumber.
Lisa: I draw my Laser, aim it at the guard and fire!
GM: Roll for attack!
Lisa: Rolling...damn, a 47.
GM (rolling for location): Remember, you're checking against his HD, not your Skill score. That's actually good enough for a hit. Your shot goes into the guard's upper left arm. He lets out a startled cry, screaming in pain!! Ate-Ran, go!
Ate-Ran: I pull out my plasma gun, aim and shoot at that Cat bastard! What the hell do you expect?!
GM: Alright, roll for attack!
Ate-Ran: Okay...seven! There's a kitty with more than one hole in him!!
GM: Seven beats your DC of 18 and you've got a repeater weapon, so you score three hits. The first one drills a hole into his chest, the second vaporizes him, and the third one vaporizes the vapor. The room now smells thoroughly of Cat blood and burnt fur.
Chase: Let’s search the room. Are there any cabinets along the walls?
GM: There's nothing like that in this room.
Hikrra: I betcha all the stuff is in that room to the south.
Chase: Okay. Let’s head that way. Is that cool with everybody?
The group nods in general agreement.
GM: The door to the south opens easily. You enter a room about eight meters long by four meters wide. Shelves are arranged along the long end of the room. The door opens along the north end, with a large window looking out towards the camp to the south. There are also about twenty large storage lockers at ground level along the east and west walls. What do you want to do?
Lisa: I'm going to start searching those shelves to see if there is anything useful on them. If we do die for all this crap, I might as well see what it is I'm dying for...
Chase: Helpful, Lise. I'm going to start picking some of those lockers to see what's in them.
GM: Okay. Lisa, make a Perception Check, and Chase needs to make a Dexterous Maneuvers Check.
Chase: Actually, Lisa, can we reverse that? I seem to recall you've got a specialization in lockpicking.
Lisa: True. Okay, I guess we can do that instead. These are mechanical locks, right?
Lisa: Alright, I'll roll for the first locker......07.
GM: The first locker is open. Inside you find the belongings of one of the guards from the previous room. There is a Ballistic Mesh Shirt (First Class, and it's damaged), an unloaded Laser pistol, a Medium Battery (the GM knows the battery is dead), and a Wallet.
Chase: Ate-ran, you've got an empty holster; why don’t you claim this stuff?
Ate-ran: Okay. I guess the owner won’t need it any more. I'll let Hikrra have the Ballistic Mesh, though.
Hikrra: As long as it doesn't slow me down, I'm okay with it.
Chase: I'll roll for Perception...damn, 51. May I try again?
GM: Sorry, Chase, no. Your search of the shelves fails to turn up anything other than mundane items such as bins full of Terran-sized pieces of clothing. Hikrra takes a minute to put on the Armor, while Ate-Ran puts the Battery in her Satchel and examines the Wallet. There is a Debit Chit inside (which has ¤50 on it). The Armor adds one point to Hikrra's EC, while the other items add four to Ate-Ran's. The added stuff is not enough to bring either of you to Burdened status. What next?
Lisa: Let’s try another locker.
GM (deciding time is up): Before you can attempt to open another locker, a shrill alarm begins to sound. You hear a snarling voice over a loud-speaker.
Hikrra (to the group): We’ve been detected!
Lisa: Dammit, I would have liked a Shield for myself at least...
GM: Everyone, make a Perception Check!
All four characters fail the Check, but the GM decides to cut them a little slack.
GM: From outside the window, you can see an entire squad of Kilrathi troops converging on the building you're in. If you don’t get out of there now, you’re going to be knee-deep in guards! What are you going to do?
The game continues in this manner until the end of the adventure, in which (despite the odds) the characters are successful in their mission, though there is an incident right before their pickup where a Space Force pilot lands specifically to assault the very scientist the team was sent to rescue...
The GM intends to use these characters again, so at the end of the session, they the characters with a few extra skill points.