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Daring Tales of the Space Lanes - [Updated 12-19-11]

 
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jasales
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:58 am    Post subject: Daring Tales of the Space Lanes - [Updated 12-19-11] Reply with quote

Daring Tales of the Space Lanes – play report
Session 1: Waylaid on Waylund (Spoilers Included)
When: Sept 25th, 2011
Duration: 5 hours


The Cast

Cable – weapons, all sizes (picture Ron Pearlman with a cigar)
Dagda Mor – pre-gen psion
Forest Fulton – engineer, seems more interested in tech than just about anything else
Buckey Taxton – acquisitions, investigation, streetwise, persuasion and medic (think Isaac from The Love Boat crossed with Lady’s Man)
Naya Phet – pilot, near human race (Agility), everything is about speed with this guy.

Prelude Music – Overture, Wing Commander OST

Asteroids and Pirates – Music – Red Alert, Into The Grey by Erdenstern

The session stared in media res. The first chase scene involved two pirate star fighters vs. the player’s freighter in an asteroid field. The Pilot had maxed out his piloting skill and had the ace edge. One fighter destroyed by missile. The other one was outrun. Persistent use of the push maneuver ended the chase in five rounds. No pilot drew a club so no asteroid collisions.

Afterwards the group shared character backgrounds, and made use of streetwise and investigation to learn more about the world they were visiting and the person they were to deliver the goods too, Nagan Jatha.

The Planet Waylund – Music - The Eternal Doctrine, Ur-Quan Masters

Streetwise roles revealed appropriate bribes for moving their cargo and getting functional filter masks to protect them from Wayland’s toxic smog. They loaded their freight onto a hover barge and headed to the meeting place; a junkyard. There was a lot of really fun role-playing in this scene.

Junkyard – Music – Kohr-Ah battle, The Ur-Quan Masters

They made met their employer and found out they were delivering a very rare wine; wine that would be gifts to ensure Nagan Jatha’s reelection as the head of his Syndicate. Then robot soldiers showed up and started shooting. Nagan Jatha thought he was betrayed. Everyone drew blasters and aimed at everyone. Quick work on the part of Buckey prevented Nagan Jatha and his goons from opening up on the characters when all were jumped by a score of robot soldiers. Naya jumped into the demolition buggy and went after the robot soldiers. Jatha’s goons screened their boss while he delivered a few surprises from his hover chair. Most of the characters went prone. No one used the crusher nor the magnetic grapple. A lot of damage was done with the demolition buggy. The battle went totally in the player’s favor until…

Gravity Compactor – Music – Mercenary, Into the Grey by Erdenstern

They surrendered to overwhelming forces and enter their nemesis, Asgaya Ash. Here they learned that Asgaya was the reason their ship was attacked. Asgaya took possession of the wine crates and decided to get rid of all his problems at once. Asgaya took them captive and threw them all in a gravitational compactor. Quick and steady work by the engineer saved the day. They agreed to take down Asgaya for Nagan Jatha and at this point, it looks like they don’t intend on taking him alive, even if the reward is greater. Their only lead; a cantina that caters to information brokers. Surely they can learn something there.

Jazz’s Cantina – Music Track 16 Knights of the Old Republic Cantina Music by Jeromey Soule

Dispersing through the crowd the group tried using streetwise to learn what they needed. Buckey was most successful and learned the location of a lockup (storage) that Asgaya uses. Maybe clues there will help them. As luck would have it, Asgaya’s goons were already in the cantina and jumped the characters. Quick work by Naya Phet brought a mob of angry dock workers who work of the Syndicate. After several goons went down the rest surrendered. They all got free shock gloves from Asgaya’s Goons. Buckey shared what he learned.

Wrap-up – Music Leaving Space Dock, Into the Grey by Erdenstern

Next Session: Off to the lockup.

Reflections

A good time was had by all. Everyone said the session was fun. They didn’t seem to mind the heavy handedness because it fit the setting so well. They loved the action. They loved getting ammo and Power Points back after every scene. They made use of soak rolls and on three occasions got their bennie back because all wounds were soaked (Part of the Space Pulp Rules). While the extras damage couldn’t ace, players still played it safe and were concerned about getting hurt.

Players were a little frustrated that at least one of the pre-gens, Fal Takaki, has one too many edges. Even though no one used this pre-gen a character was based off him. Also, it was noted that the pre-gens had energy cells that held far more ammo than standard weapons in the Savage Worlds Rules. This seems like an error because the Space Pulp Rules say to use standard weapons and give some of them as examples. This contradiction between pre-gen weapons and standard is minor but it did bother at least one player. I may go through all of the DTSL adventures, pull the weapons out, and give them a list to use and come up with some kind of standardized energy cell costs. But that sounds like work and I’m pretty sure it isn’t worth it. We’ll see.

The magnetic grapple was not used in the junkyard scene for several reasons. It moves way to slow. The bad guys still get to fire (with little chance to hit) once grappled. Once captured, the grapple then needs to be slowly moved back to the compactor and then another character needs to be there to activate it or the bad guys will get back out. If you want to make this more fun greatly increase the pace of the grapple and allow the compactor to be operated from the same control consol.

Curiously, no one used the Contacts rule from the Space Pulp Rules. I have no explanation for that.

The group really liked starting in media res. They said it helped set the tone of the game.

Jordan Peacock’s figure flats and proto-type art was wonderful for setting the scene in player’s minds.

Some of the players were underprepared. I don’t know if this was because it was the first game of the season or what. Only one player had printed out the stats for their ship. I really really don’t get that. And it was evident that three of the five players had only skimmed the Space Pulp Rules. I don’t get that either. We’ll see how they do next time.

Seeing as how we got through 5 scenes in a 9 scene adventure, I’d better be ready to see this to the end in the next session. I’m going to pre-draw the last scene’s battle site as it is complex and would take up too much game time. Plus I’ve seen it mentioned on these forums. I pre-draw all of my maps in a little molskien graph book I keep on me and this one took me about an hour to get right. I can probably get it sketched out on a battlemat in 15-20 minutes. I’ll have it ready on a battle mat for the next game.

And lastly I’d like to talk about Adventure Cards. I love them and use them in all my games. However, these adventures have a lot going on and derailing things could become frustrating for me as I am trying to keep things as easy on myself as possible. Still, the cards were used to good effect in the first session. I’ve talked about it with the group and they are ok if we drop them for these games. I’ll keep using them until I find they are detracting from my fun. One of the players has the Destiny’s Child edge and said it would be no problem to switch it for another. We’ll see how it goes.


Last edited by jasales on Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:15 am; edited 3 times in total
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jasales
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Session 2: Waylaid on Wayland (Spoilers Included)
When: Oct 9th, 2011
Duration: 5 hours


Cable – weapons, all sizes (picture Ron Pearlman with a cigar)
Forest Fulton – engineer, seems more interested in tech than just about anything else
Buckey Taxton – acquisitions, investigation, streetwise, persuasion (think Isaac from The Love Boat crossed with Lady’s Man)
Naya Phet – pilot, near human race (Agility), everything is about speed with this guy.

Lockup – Music - Mycon Rebirth, The Ur-Quan Masters

The first part of the game involved a short recap and then a thorough exploration of Asgaya’s Storage lockup. When the group stepped outside, I decided to do something different to set the scene. Rather than just describe the oncoming robot soldiers and nearby hoverbarge I told them freeze-frame the scene, rapidly rewind to the moment where they hacked the security lock and then focus on Cable’s boot as he entered the room, blaster rifle at the ready. His boot crosses an ultraviolet laser, the sensor in the wall sends a signal up to the roof of the skyscraper where an antenna broadcasts another signal which is picked up a kilometer away by Robot Commander Drax who immediately leaves on a hover barge with a squad of robot soldiers. They fly through the smog of Waylund and the barge dispatches half of the robots on one side of the elevated road and then flies over to the other side to drop off the rest. It moves off a distance and then we see the characters leave the lockup. Deal Action Cards!

The players responded well to this and it helped them not feel I was just spawning some bad guys to fight them. The acid rain clouds did little actual damage to anyone, but did freak people out.

The players were victorious after a ferocious battle with nearly everyone getting wounded. The Space Pulp Rules are really starting to shine. The ability to recover one wound at the beginning of new scenes and get bennies back for successful soak rolls and never ending ammo rules are keeping the action going and getting rid of needless time spent doing busywork.

Hover Chase! - Music – Pursuit Race, Into the Grey by Erdenstern

The group steals a hover taxi and pursues the hoverbarge (the one on standby that dropped off all the robot soldiers) with the thought that even if the barge doesn’t head directly to Asgaya Ash’s lair, it should hold the location it it’s memory core. I had Robot Commander Drax self destruct upon being incapacitated as it was probable he also had the location. The barge fired a shot back at the taxi with it’s heavy blaster cannon and the race is on!

This chase was much more fun that the first one. They tried to shoot the robot driver, and they tried to shoot the heavy blaster cannon but with all the smoke and crazy maneuvering it wasn’t working. They then decided that a boarding action would do the trick. They successfully got Cable, Forest and Buckey to jump onto the hoverbarge while Naya continued to pilot the hover taxi. Cable tried bashing the robot’s head while Forest was yelling at him to stop so he could disable it. Naya decided he didn’t like the heavy blaster canon being so close so he moved the hover taxi up and over the cannon then came down with the taxi hard on the back end of the hover barge. He was successful at disabling the cannon but his friends were complete freaked at the pitching of the hover barge. No one fell off.

Buckey, having enough of this whistled for his cab. The cab’s passenger detection system, gave Naya a tracking marker on Buckey on the heads up display as a customer. Naya switched the occupied sign on and closed in. Buckey got jumped in the back seat. Just then a smokestack loomed out of the smog. A quick jink by the robot pilot managed to separate both vehicles just enough for the 5 meter wide ferocrete smokestack to zip between them. Cable and Forest were so freaked they redoubled their independent efforts. Forest disabled the robot driver which slumped over the controls putting the hoverbarge in a nose dive. Cable scrabbled for the controls.

The next round Cable tried to get to the hover barge to respond but had a -4 to his check. He was unsuccessful and out of bennies. Forest didn’t know what to do so just hung on for dear life. The next round Cable was at a -6 to make the piloting roll necessary to avoid collision with the ground. He rolled, aced and got a 10! The group cheered at this amazing feat of skill and nerves. Everyone was grinning while I drew out the next encounter area.

Off with his head! – Music – Shipyard Rough Repair, Ur-Quan Masters

I drew out an abandoned plaza complete with stained plastic trees, scummy water fountains that barely worked and various large planters and tables to hide behind. The adventure listed a plain plaza with crates and such but I decided to have a little more fun. I then described how during the chase, the robot pilot had set out a distress beacon which was currently being answered by the robot soldiers making their way across the plaza while firing at the group. Cable abandoned the hoverbarge and went full auto on the robot soldiers while Forest got busy removing the robot’s head so he could get at the memory core, which the robot declared was going to be purged. Buckey and Naya stayed in the hover taxi with Bucky shooting out the open door.

Forest managed to get the robot’s head off but then found he needed to hook up a wrist computer. He didn’t have one so he waved down the cab. Naya moved in to pick him up. Cable meanwhile kept blasting away at the robots confident he could take them all (Overconfident).

This was when the players really had some fun. They were ready to take off and leave the danger zone but Cable was stubborn and overconfident and refused to immediately leave. Forest was desperately trying to get Buckey to cooperate by plugging in his wrist computer. It was at this moment that Buckey’s player decided to describe his wrist computer as having a holographic babe that represented the computer intelligence within. It didn’t want that nasty robot head to be interfaced with it. They lost a round of trying to get the data in the memory core discussing it while Buckey was trying to sweet talk his holo-babe and Forest is screaming at him to just plug it in! Cable finally jumped back into the hover taxi and they left the scene. Bennies were earned for playing up hindrances.

After finally getting the wrist computer hooked up they got the info they wanted from the robot head and pitched it out of the window before it’s memory core self destructed. They had one round left before it did. There wasn’t going to be any harm to them but they didn’t know that.

Asgaya Ash’s Lair – Music – [coincidentally] Cyborg Confrontation, Into the Grey by Erdenstern

When the group learned that the lair of their nemesis was an automated hover car construction factory they all smiled and said, of course it is. They were getting into the spirit of things and knew that this would be an environment full of hazards. I described how the group abandoned the hover taxi on the roof and took catwalks down to a service door. They must have tripped another silent alarm because Asgaya Ash and some robot soldiers were waiting for them.

I had pre-drawn the battle map and laid it out in front of them. They smiled and nodded expecting things to be like this. Action cards were dealt. The robot soldiers went first and moved forward for cover. Asgaya was second and moved forward, fired a wrist rocket wounding several of the players since they were in a tight group, then he moved for partial cover. The next person to go was big Cable. Cable moved for a better shot and with the big blaster rifle he had (purchased by using character generation points to get enough money) he wounded (even through his Amor power) Asgaya who was unable to soak the roll. I was out of bennies. Everyone else scrambled for cover. The next round Cable went first and finished Asgaya off. There was cheering all around. His wrist rocket scared the heck out of them. The rest of the fight was spent mopping up the robot soldiers and dodging dangerous machinery. Asgaya survived the conflict and was incapacitated. The group met up with Nagan Jatha who was very pleased and paid them what was due.

Wrap-up – Music - Leaving Space Dock, Into the Grey by Erdenstern

Reflections
Yep, Big Bad Dead in 2 rounds. It is the first time I have seen it in 3 years of running Savage Worlds games. Oh well. I thought at first that the Space Pulp Rules would make things a bit too easy but the players were constantly getting wounded and spending bennies like crazy. It turns out that the risk and tension were still there but without the grinding recovery times after combat scenes. I like these rules a lot. They are perfect for this type of action packed game.

Ran into some complaints again as the group grabbed blaster carbines from the robot soldiers but they didn’t match up with any carbines in SWEX and they didn’t know how many shots they carried nor how much these things cost. Not a big deal really. I know I didn’t show as much care about the subject as they wanted me too but still. I’ll pull some stats of common weapons and equipment (med packs) found on the pre-gens and in the adventures and give them something to go off of. A half page equipment sheet should do the trick.

Again, the Contacts rule was not put to use. I have no answer again. Reminders may help.

Most of the players were better prepared this session. Still only one copy of the ship stats. I wonder what they’ll do when that player doesn’t show up for the game? Me? I would have looked at the starship map for hours, picked what room my character had, decorated it, figured out where I charged my blaster and if I could store a hover bike in the hold. I would have studied those starship stats till I had them memorized. I mean, this is our ticket to adventure, our flying fortress, our mobile home! But that is just me.

The Adventure cards were put to good use and they were not a problem. They added to the excitement. I’ll use them again next session. I was so jazzed by the fun we had, I immediately started working on gluing up paper figs and getting a playlist together for the next session, Gunboat Diplomacy.
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Jordan Peacock
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re: Adventure Cards:
If you're running into trouble with the Adventure Cards and the risk of "derailing" things, you might just try honing down the deck to cards that have a limited range of effects - namely those that are more defensive or utilitarian in nature. (E.g., I can't remember the names right now, but in particular the cards that tend to negate or minimize damage, and the cards that give you temporariy use of a skill for the rest of the session, or let you pull a useful tool out of a pocket.)

Cards that have a much larger chance of really shaking up the encounter ("here comes the cavalry," "reinforcements," "love interest," "backstab," etc.) could be pulled out and set aside. And, of course, any of those using Arcane Backgrounds could be pulled out for Daring Tales of the Space Lanes, since I don't thing any of the pregens have them.

If you end up with a meager set of usable cards, if you're using the pdf, you could just print off another set of the usable cards. There would therefore be doubles in the set, but you could institute a caveat that if someone draws duplicates of any card, she can discard one and draw a replacement.


Re: Connections:
Maybe you could let the players know that if they come up with a really creative (or at least interesting or entertaining) use of a Connection that furthers the plot, you'll give a Benny for good roleplay? If it contributes to the "pulpy" feel, and if you're concerned it's not seeing use, you might as well offer the potential of a reward. (Otherwise, if it's an option that the PCs simply don't NEED to employ yet, hey, maybe they just want to be self-sufficient. It could just be a nice fall-back in case they're stumped.)
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jasales
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the feedback Jordan.

Adventure Cards
So far the adventure cards are working out. The advice you gave was one that one of the players proposed. I'll take a look at removing cards. That would make things simpler.

Contacts: I don't feel a need to reward them to get them to use it. I am just puzzled that they don't. Maybe you are right, and they just don't need it. Maybe it will come up when they get really stuck. That is what they are for after all.

Cheers.
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zamboni
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Love the recap. Sounds like a great game. Where do you find the 'Daring Tales of the Space Lanes'?
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zamboni wrote:
Love the recap. Sounds like a great game. Where do you find the 'Daring Tales of the Space Lanes'?


Here, on the Triple Ace Games web site.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad you liked the play report. I hope those running these adventures might get something out of them. Make sure you check out that link Jordan posted. There is a bunch of free stuff there to get you started, some one sheets, pre-gens and the setting rules! Great stuff.
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jasales
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daring Tales of the Space Lanes – play report
Session 1: Gunboat Diplomacy (Spoilers Included)
When: Oct 23rd, 2011
Duration: 5 hours


The Cast

Cable – weapons, all sizes (picture Ron Pearlman with a cigar)
Valri (Dagda Mor – pre-gen psion)
Forest Fulton – engineer, seems more interested in tech than just about anything else
Buckey Taxton – acquisitions, investigation, streetwise, persuasion and medic (think Isaac from The Love Boat crossed with Lady’s Man)
Naya Phet – pilot, near human race (Agility), everything is about speed with this guy.

Prelude Music – Overture, Wing Commander OST

Getting Involved – Music – Delivering the Cure, Mass Effect 2: Combat album

Three of the 5 players entered late. Some of them took their cues and got involved right away. “What?, this one white haired guy is being attacked by over a dozen soldiers? And they already shot his three body guards? Bring it!” Those that jumped into the action were given a bennie to encourage heroic daring do. The soldiers switched from stun shots to kill shots. Pretty soon blasters were being fired, stun grenades were going off and FFF play went afterburner. One player succeeded in running, leaping over some crates and decking a soldier with a stun glove reinforced fist!

In the end the soldiers were trussed, their weapons donated to the players and the group ended up being hired by Jox Valsen who was on a diplomatic mission to Alder…no, the Zahak System to broker a peace deal.
Now this is where the adventure module seem a little muddled to me. It didn’t say whether the bodyguards were dead or not. I assumed dead so that there was a more pressing need for the player’s involvement. Also, and this was really strange, Vox was scripted to ask the players to dinner to discuss his plight. That made no sense to me. Instead, he hired them on the spot, since obviously his itinerary had been leaked. Time to go off the grid.

Chaos at Hangar 60b – Music _ Boss Combat, Mass Effect 2: Overlord album

The group rushed to their ship only to find the hangar in chaos with more soldiers shooting up the place with blaster carbines and a heavy blast cannon. They were shooting everything and everyone. The local security were in a tough spot. Since it didn’t make sense that the soldiers somehow knew what hangar Vox was going too I described other battles going on with soldiers in other hangars. The players got the idea that the soldiers were trying to stop all traffic and things had gotten out of hand. That worked.

The players made nice work of things coordinating their attacks with the security officers and Valri tagging each player with the Speed power. Things began to go the group’s way and they had succeeded in getting their engineer to the far wall control panel and he opened the hangar blast doors. That’s when the pilot rushed the heavy blast cannon after stun grenades took out the two soldiers using it. He got to the gun, swiveled it around and blew away one of the soldiers. He had hoped that this display of firepower turned on them would break their resolve. He hadn’t counted on their leader who promptly used telekinesis to guide is blaster carbine into an aerial shooting position. If that wasn’t bad enough, four nearby soldiers all threw stun grenades at the pilot.

Things got desperate after that. The soldiers got a joker. The soldier’s leader called for reinforcements. The pilot miraculously avoided most of the effects of the grenades but a couple of blaster shots and then the butt of a blaster carbine in the head incapacitated him.

At this point Cable was manning the double laser turret in the Blazing Star and found out he could shoot right through the crates that the soldiers were using for cover. The rest of the players ran for the ship and provided cover fire for Valri, who pulled the pilot away from the heavy blast cannon. That’s when the reinforcements arrived. Cable changed targets and blew apart the heavy blast canon. A few of the characters who hadn’t yet reach their ship lobbed a bunch of stun grenades into the thick of the incoming soldiers and Valri was able to pull Naya (pilot) to safety. The Blazing Star was soon out of there.

Race to Hyperspace – Music – Vasir Combat, Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow Broker album

Everyone was in their battle stations and Buckey was working on Naya in the medical bay. With the time it took to launch, make their way clear of local traffic and get traffic clearance to head to orbit I noted that it would be one round (Chase scale) before their main pilot would be functional depending on how well the healing roll went. What could go wrong?

Well for starters there were the two fighters hot on their tail, plus a heavy cruiser, did I mention it had a hyperspace jammer, that they needed to reach a certain distance before they could engage their hyperdrive, oh and the gas clouds of the planet were charged and would discharge on your ship if the pilot drew a duce…yeah!

With the instrument panels lit up, emergency notes blaring the pilot arrived on the scene with a locked missile just one round away from blasting the Blazing Star. The hull had already been hit a couple of times. Oh, and the heavy cruiser had started opening up with its laser batteries.

Some more shots were exchanged between the Blazing star and the fighter pilots. Cable got a few good hits in and a missile was dodged by one of the fighters. Naya simply floored it (Push maneuver) every round. The fighters were damaged and started falling back. The cruiser pushed trying to bring it’s jammer and guns to bare but it was too late. The Blazing Star reach the point where the hyperdrive could be engaged and with a player on hold for exactly that purpose, punched it and they were gone…

Whew. We called it a night right there and spent the next 20 min just slowing down and chatting up a bit. Two weeks to Gunboat Diplomacy, part two.

Reflections

The props I used were a couple of chessex large battlemats, tokens, and some excellent cardstock props from Jordan Peacock, Sci-Fi Cargo Tiles from http://mapsofmastery.com that had an excellent heavy blast cannon, some terrific large cargo containers, including a hospital one from http://www.toposolitario.es/workshop/index.html and sci-fi paper figures from Arion Games http://www.rpgnow.com/index.php?manufacturers_id=667

This is a very intense exciting adventure. Don’t wait till the last minute to map out the battle areas. You can make them very interesting if you work on them some beforehand. The props really added to the game.

In the first scene two players balked at getting involved. I think they were forgetting what kind of game this was and were thinking more of sandbox play. I’m sure they’ve “got it” now.

Other than a little hiccup in getting the group involved it all went rather smoothly. It was easy to take thing things that seemed odd and simply change them. The battle took a long time but didn’t seem to drag at all since there was so much going on.

No pilot drew a duce so the charged gas clouds did not come into play. This was just the way the asteroid chase was in Waylaid on Waylund. There were however, more jokers than I have ever seen in a game. I may be picking the cards up consistently and not shuffling enough or something. Not sure about that.

Oh, I went through the adventure deck and pulled out only about a handful of cards that would disrupt the scripted adventures. Smoothing sailing now.

I might have been able to squeeze the next scene it but things were going so well and the group was feeling a sense of accomplishment at escaping that this was a good place to stop. I can’t wait for the next game.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jasales wrote:
Glad you liked the play report. I hope those running these adventures might get something out of them. Make sure you check out that link Jordan posted. There is a bunch of free stuff there to get you started, some one sheets, pre-gens and the setting rules! Great stuff.


And a fantastic freebie by Jordan went up today. Head either to our forums, the PEG Licensee section, or the TAG Facebook page for the link.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yay! It's great to see these make the light of day. Very very useful!
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:05 am    Post subject: Gunboat Diplomacy Session 2 Reply with quote

Daring Tales of the Space Lanes – play report
Session 2: Gunboat Diplomacy (Spoilers Included)
When: Nov 6th, 2011
Duration: 4 1/2 hours


The Cast

Cable – weapons, all sizes (picture Ron Pearlman with a cigar)
Forest Fulton – engineer, seems more interested in tech than just about anything else
Buckey Taxton – acquisitions, investigation, streetwise, persuasion and medic (think Isaac from The Love Boat crossed with Lady’s Man)
Naya Phet – pilot, near human race (Agility), everything is about speed with this guy.

Prelude Music – Overture, Wing Commander OST

We spent the first 20 min role-playing by getting a little more detail on character backgrounds, with Cable now established as having once served under Lt. Skyme and serving on his ship Daring Venture.

Floating Wreckage – Music – Mortal Melee! Tekkno (Ur-Quan Masters Remix)

The Blazing star dropped out of hyperspace right in the middle of the wreckage field of past space battles. The group knew that some of these hulks could still have active automated weapon systems so they needed to get out of here. They also now had two Star League fighters on their tail. Vox located the Neutral Ground, the starship where the peace talks are going to be held. Thus began a new chase scene.

The chase went pretty much as those star ship chases so far with the pilot pushing every round and the gunner having a harder and harder time hitting his targets. Buckey did destroy one of the fighters with a missile. Cable was able to shake one of the fighters with the turret. It seemed like the players were well aware of the dangers of where they were flying and they were nervous about the battlefield but only one of the fighters drew a club. He successfully navigated the first one but drew another club the next round and got pasted. The group then discovered their ship had a jammer on the hull that was blocking communications with the Neutral Ground. Forest successfully found and blew the panel that held the jammer. They made contact with the Neutral Ground and landed in its hangar.

When they arrived at the conference room they were captured by Lt. Skyme and his renegade Braxian Star League loyalists. I didn’t know it at the time, but one of the players was about to play an action card to make the villain explain his dastardly plans. The villain did it anyways. He went on about how when the characters arrived they signaled their leaders that the peace negotiations could commence and a shuttle with the Braxian Star League was on it’s way. However, when the shuttle docked the Neutral Ground was rigged to explode, killing the dignitaries of the Miner’s Guild and the Star League thus ensuring that the war would continue and that those lives lost by the Star League would not be in vain.
The characters were stripped of weapons and then put in the brig.

Escape! Bombs and the Approaching Shuttle – Music – Into the Grey, Into the Grey Album by Erdenstern

Cable had concealed his electronic lockpicks and got to work getting the group free. Once free the group split up with Cable and Forest heading for the engine room to disable the bomb and Naya and Buckey heading for the bridge to warn off the shuttle. Everyone had terrific rolls and they did a great job rollplaying their urgency and describing how they found and used their skills to solve the problems. They warned the shuttle off and disabled the bomb then ran for the Blazing Star to try and catch Lt. Skyme.

Shortest Space Chase Ever – Music – Mortal Melee! Tekkno (Ur-Quan Masters Remix)

All of the chase scenes to date had very good setup instructions. This one left me wondering how to start, so I went with the group starting three range increments behind the Daring Venture. Lt. Skyme’s shuttle had already docked and his ship was powering up to leave the system. Cable, having served on this ship in the past knew that there was an issue with one of the hangar security doors and with a really good shot he could probably get the hangar doors to open. The chase was on!

I dealt action cards. Naya the pilot, got a joker. Yeah, the pilot with the d12 in piloting and the Ace edge get’s a joker. The Blazing Star weaves in and out of the wreckage and swoops down in front of the hangar doors. Cable pulls the triggers and the hangar bay doors open.

The End of Lt. Skyme – Music – Stellar Battle, Intro the Grey album by Erdenstern
The characters started at the ramp of the Blazing Star. The ship had landed a bit awkwardly crushing a cargo robot and several huge crates but tilting the ship and making the turret no longer useful. Their weapons had been taken from the back on the Neutral Ground. Not everyone had a spare weapon on board the Blazing Star so Forest ended up with only a couple of frag grenades.

There were 4 squads of 3 troopers plus Skyme. Two squads arrived through the main doors on the other end of the hangar while Skyme arrived on a lift in the middle of the room with two more squads. There were 4 Star League fighters on one side and two on the other with the Blazing Star. There were several more cargo robots and lots of crates for cover.

Cable was in his element. He went first and moved out went full auto the troopers in front of Skyme putting them down. He then played an adventure card to get another turn and opened up on Skyme. When it was over he had bled Skyme out of bennies and had taken light cover. The rest of the group followed with blasters and stun grenades while the squads moved closer using cover and fired at the heroes with some minor hits but good soak rolls stopped the damage. Forest used stealth and guile to sneak along the wall to try and flank the troopers. Buckey played an adventure card which got Skyme gloating about how he was going to destroy the players, and he lost his turn. Valsen got a quick message to the party simply stating “Sorry Guys!, Look out!” That is when the first missles started striking the Daring Venture launched by the Star League Cruisers that had just arrived to destroy the traitor Skyme! Vox let the group know he was trying to get them to stop firing but if they took out Skyme and his loyalists, that would give him the best chance of getting them to hold their fire.

The next round saw more maneuvering and lots of grenades being lobbed back and forth and shots exchanged. Half of the troops were down, more player’s bennies were being spent.

The following round Skyme drew a duce of spades which meant that a missile had stuck close enough to affect the battle. Skym was hit, as were two of the remaining three squads of troopers. Explosions ripped through the hangar bay dramatically changing everything. Skyme was hurt and two squads were decimated. The players heaped on the fire. Forest got close to one of the Star League fighters and was examining it and came up with a plan he would implement in the next round.

Skyme went down under a barrage of blaster fire. He had never gotten a chance to act with Cable bleeding him of bennies, the use of the adventure card and someone always making him shaken, he just couldn’t get his act together. Bucky used a test of wills and shook one of the troopers while Naya finished him off. Cable had been cutting them down all along but then one of the troopers managed to get a stun grenade right into the middle of our bunched up heroes. Buckey grabbed it and threw it back shaking the trooper who threw it. Cable was cussing at Buckey for being such a lucky sob and the group finished off the last troopers. Forest was going to attach his frag grenade to a vital spot on one of the fighters to try and blow them up in a chain reaction. Moments before, the troopers had been clustered nearby and a large explosion would have gotten them all. It would have worked too if the battle hadn’t ended just before he could finish. He was robbed. It was a good idea and was definitely in the spirit of the genre but this battle was over so quickly.

Wind Down - Music - Leaving Space Dock, Into the Grey album by Erdenstern

Reflections
The group has hit their stride. They fully get the genre now and their in-character comments and actions have been a riot at the table. Oh, how I wish those figure flats by Jordan Peacock had come out just a month or so earlier. As it is, I used the ones I had as mentioned in the previous post.

We had a test of wills! Awesome, especially since it worked. I like how all of the characters always have something crucial to contribute. I think that is due to their specialized characters and the well written adventure that makes sure everyone has a moment to shine. The engineer always has something crucial to do that only he can make happen quick enough. The gunner Cable and pilot Naya always get a moment in the stars and even Buckey, so creatively played has been able to get crucial information, use his superior communications to good effect and use test of wills. I can’t believe he threw the grenade back!

With some down time between adventures, Forest will finally, finally have a wrist computer he has been needing so badly.

In two weeks, the next DTSL installment – Bad Debts.
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jasales
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daring Taqles of the Space Lanes – play report
Session 1: Bad Debts (Spoilers Included)
When: Friday Nov 18th, 2011
Duration: 4 hours


The Cast
Cable – weapons, all sizes (picture Ron Pearlman with a cigar)
Forest Fulton – engineer, seems more interested in tech than just about anything else
Buckey Taxton – acquisitions, investigation, streetwise, persuasion and medic (think Isaac from The Love Boat crossed with Lady’s Man)
Naya Phet – pilot, near human race (Agility), everything is about speed with this gal?

Prelude Music – Overture, Wing Commander OST

Cavern Ambush! Music, Track MercQ, Mech Warrior II Mercenaries

The premise is that the characters are out to rescue the daughter of a politician who is being forced to vote a certain way or his daughter gets it. Buckey’s first question? How old is she? Smile

The first scene got the players right in the action. They were all pretty rammy and I had heard from three of them before the game about how much they were looking forward to the next session. I underestimated their energy level. Well it being Friday and all they were raring to go. After my wife had her first taste of role-playing she wanted to sit in on the session and see how it went.

I set up the first battle in a cavern in a mining complex. I used Master Maze cavern sets and some additional sets to get a bit of a high tech feel. One the the players had painted up my three set of Sci-fi/Modern Mixed Barrels and Crates from [url]Itarsworkshop.com[/url]. They looked great! I quickly removed some of my cardboard flat pieces and put some more real terrain down. I had also gotten a few crystal growing kits some weeks beforehand. They turned out moderately well at best. I didn’t think because they only used hot water to start the process that keeping them somewhat warm would make the process work better but one the players had experience with them and said that keeping them warm for longer would help. I also suspect keeping them in a sealed environment to prevent evaporation would also lead to larger crystals.

Anyways, the bad guys opened up with stun shots. I chose to describe stun shots as looking blue and regular blaster shots as being an orange red. This was done on purpose to let folks know when someone was trying to kill you or capture you.

Two of the players used good tactics. The other two? Forest ran up to two burly minors armed with two handed mining tools. I think his intention was to use an Adventure card that would cause one of them to hit the other. But he got mauled pretty badly right away. He saved himself by creatively pulling a stun grenade and setting it off with himself holding it. This was quite clever as it cause one minor to dodge out of the blast radius and it knocked the player character right out removing him as a target. I’ve never seen that move before. We were all laughing.

The other character, Naya, remember the pilot that charged the gun emplacement in the last adventure? Yeah him, or now her as she refers to herself started charging up the cavern using her superior speed to pop out of cover, get a flanking shot, doing called shots to the head of the bad guys. Now this was pretty cool until you realized that while the bad guys were doing stun damage she was out for maximum kill count. Cable, the tank in the group was set to engage the baddies with superior firepower but had to retreat to save the character who was being mauled by the miners.

Buckey was true to form and performed an excellent taunt on one of the miners right when it counted most. It had something to do with the minor becoming one of Nagan Jatha’s concubines. <Shudder>

When it was over two minors had been stunned and two of the bounty hunters were still alive but incapacitated.

Forest made use of a computer station to learn a bit more about the ambush.

In a scene straight out of The Untouchables they shot one of the dead minors to get the others to talk. That got them the info they needed.

Open the Blast Doors! Open the Blast Doors! Music – Combat Troops, Mass Effect 2: Overlord

The next scene started when the characters were well on their way out of the mines. A blast was heard far to the rear and the plasma front was fast approaching. This was an exciting chase scene with three blast doors evenly spaced out that automatically shut after so many rounds.

Most of the crew stayed together and tried to make sure they all made it out. Naya bolted for the exit but the final blast door closed in front of her.
By working together to both hack a blast door open and then using repair to close it, they were able to put some distance between themselves and the plasma blast. The plasma blast had an “Agility” die of d10. That was pretty high and it was constantly just about overtaking them.

A very lucky roll by Naya saw her free first. Everyone eventually made it out alive.

Crystal Skimming – Music – MercE Track, Mech Warrior II Mercenaries
The next scene was a chase scene. The characters saw some bounty hunters in a hover sled take off while firing some wild shots at the group. The whole landscape was covered in sun sparkling crystals. The characters saw their rides they had used to get to the mine, hover bikes! Rather than each take one, they decided, wisely, to team up so that one could drive while the other could fire.

Cable and Naya took off after the bad guys immediately. Forest got on a hover bike and yelled for Buckey to hurry up. True to form Bucky attempted to vault over Forest and land on the hover bike with then intention of taking off quickly. He blew his roll and instead ended up on the ground holding his groin. Forest got a couple of very extreme range shots off with his pistol shaking two of the bounty hunters.

Taking advantage of less shots coming at them because of Forest’s excellent shots, Cable took out the driver after Naya pulled ahead of the hover sled. The hover sled plummeted to the ground and there was an explosion of crystalline debris.

None of the bad guys survived the crash. The group was able to recover a mangled wrist computer and learned the name of the person who was making their life difficult, Seelius Tormkul. What, that isn’t the name of the NPC? Well, the player of Naya had written a backstory telling how the group stole the Blazing Star from the Shandama Brotherhood and Naya’s main enemy is one Seelius Tormkul, a reptilian alien. The GM says thank you! The characters were also able to find their next destination. Off to the refinery orbiting Dante III.

Cargo Containers, in SPAAAACE! – Music – Red Alert, Into the Grey by Erdenstern
The characters made it to the star port and returned their rented speeder bikes. Aw-man! Then they left port only to be nearly hit by a cargo container. The world they were on was Kerexi IV, a place where industrial crystals are mined. While there is a star port merchant ships would put in an order and once the credits were transferred a cargo container would be launched by railgun into orbit to be picked up by the merchant vessel. Large areas of space were off limits to approaching ships for this reason.

It was then that Seelius Tormkul bribed one of the railgun officials who “accidently” punched in the wrong coordinates while feeding those same coordinates to a couple of bounty hunters standing by in their fighters.

The race was on. Naya got a deuce of clubs on the first round. This equated to a -6 penalty to her piloting roll. She made it after spending one bennie! Wow, I mean, just wow! Bucky didn’t like the music so as he got in his battle station and activated the hidden missile turret he punched his own music on which he had piped throughout the ship, much to Cables chagrin. The characters knew something was up when the bounty hunters drew clubs but no cargo container came near them. That made them just a little more violent. Smile

The rest of the scene went like many of the chases with Naya far outpacing the opposition and Cable being less and less able to shoot at them. The bad guys did get a missile lock but Naya evaded. Forest hacked the bounty hunters coms and redirected Buckey’s music into their cockpits making them unable to get coordinates from the rail gun shooters.

The player of Naya started arguing when there was more than 10 range increments between the Blazing Star and the last bounty hunter even though I had already explained this was a longer chase. I had to take some game time to explain that chases can be longer or shorter than 10. The game completely halted at this point and I feel like the momentum was crushed. Part of it was my fault for not putting 15 tokens on the table. I explained at the beginning that I was using 10 and we’d adjust as needed for 15 because we were running out of room on the table. The player got upset and started to grab the rules book and I had to GM fiat and say, look this chase is 15 range increments. It doesn’t matter if the bad guy is where he is. We were finally able to move on but the mood was killed for me at least.

This was not the first time I had to stop play because of this player. I had to do it in one of the other chase sense in a previous adventure when a bad guy had the option of taking a penalty to gain some distance or not taking a penalty and being able to advance slower. I thought we had dealt with this and there was an understanding that these chases would be anything but routine. I guess not. In the end the characters escaped to hyperspace. Now, to be clear, spirits were still high and people were still having fun but the magic of the heroics was derailed for rules lawyering. I’ll need to address this privately.

Anyway, considering that we had just had a battle and three chase scenes I thought it would be good if we ended with some more role-playing to try and recover the mood a bit. Most everyone else was looking eager for more.

Buckey spent the trip calling up old friends and doing computer research and was able to get a raise on both his streetwise and investigation rolls to tell the group everything written in the adventure about Dante III.

Dante III – Music – Leaving Space Dock, Into the Grey by Erdenstern
When the Blazing Star was granted landing access on Dante III, the player of Naya used the contacts option from the setting rules to introduce a new alien and an old acquaintance. This contact worked at flight control and he thought it would be a good source of information. The contact agreed to meet him at the Sun Dew, a cantina not far from the Blazing Star’s hangar.

For the next 45 min we had some fun. I got to make up a cantina on the spot . It was a crashed feighter that someone had refurbished. I was going to describe it more but the player had this really cool description of his contact that had us all enthralled so I dropped the cantina’s details.

The contact gave the group a possible location for the kidnapped girl. Buckey did what he does best and smoozed with the local cantinites and learned the same info. Forest and Cable hacked into the life sensors and found the girls locator signal in a remote area of the refinery.

After conferring, the group decided they would head to where the signal was. They expect it will be a trap. We’ll find out next time.

Reflections
My wife noticed that no one called Naya a ‘her” or “she” throughout the game, weird and the player never said anything about it.

I should have not given Naya a bennie back for her un-heroin like actions. Were the players all pumped and ready to go, sure. Heroes don’t shoot to kill when the enemy is using stunners. Especially not head shots. Not in this kind of setting.

Tactics tactics tactics. I am now certain it is only a matter of time before I have a TPK.

Three chase scenes in a row was possible. They were each different with different threats and abilities needed. I am beginning to think chases are as much fun as combats and are as infinitely varied.

Heads Up! Read thought the Mine chase scene carefully. You can really toast your players if you don’t take note of when to apply damage and when not to. Also, carefully consider lowering the “Agility” die of the plasma front if your player’s characters all have low Agility Scores. They had used up a lot of bennies during the battle and they used all them up during this scene and we still had lots to go. Thank goodness for getting one after each scene.

The contacts rule was used to very good effect. Yay!

The next day I got a chance to talk briefly one-on-one with the player of Naya about the rules argument. I hadn’t even begun to get my points out about how I am not there to screw the players over when he apologized and said he felt bad about it. He was just so pumped up he got carried away. Apology accepted. Hopefully this won’t happen again. Did we feel uncomfortable talking about it, sure. But this is the way good friends solve things. So many times I read articles about gaming groups having issues between folks. I say talk about it. You may find you are both on the same wavelength. Don’t let hurt feelings or embarrassment get in the way of fixing things between you. And this was hardly a tense issue. It was one bump in one scene of one gaming session. But still, don’t let it lie. It can build up to resentment if you don’t deal with the small stuff. And then you’ll left wondering how things got so bad.

And lastly, I just cannot believe that the main villain of this adventure matches up so well with the enemy of Naya. Their meeting should be dramatic, to say the least.

I can’t wait till next game. Have I mentioned how fun this series is?
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Cedar
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:15 am    Post subject: DTSL - Character background screenplay Act 1 Reply with quote

THE MALTOULIAN INCIDENT
PATRICK COLLINS
NOVEMBER 2011

ACT I
ENDINGS

INT. CORRIDOR - STARSHIP BLAZING STAR – 0429.21.03. 2445
Three figures in Milspec EVA battle suits stride down a corridor. Red emergency lights are the only illumination. Scorch marks mar the walls and ceiling. Wall panels hang open and blasted wires, tubes and hoses are exposed.

A wrist computer BEEPS INSISTENTLY for attention. The lead figure stops and raises his wrist to head height.

CMDR. SEELIUS TORMKUL
(Angry) What?

VOICE FROM COM
Sir, we’ve just picked up more Malti ships.
It appears that they have us on long range scanners.

TORMKUL
How many?

VOICE
Four sir.
(pausing before continuing) Three fighters and a Destroyer. It looks like one of the new DPK series boats. A pirate killer.

TORMKUL
How much time do we have?

VOICE
Assuming constant velocity they will be within range to jam our hyperdrive engines in 15 minutes.

TORMKUL
Prepare for departure. We will be back on board shortly.

INT. MEDBAY – STARSHIP BLAZING STAR – 0430.21.03.2445
Red emergency lights illuminate the chaotic interior of the ship’s medical facility. Cabinets hang open. Equipment is scattered about. Smears of blood cover working surfaces and cabinets. The body of chief engineer Forrest Fulton lies on the surgical couch. He is dressed in brown leather trousers, boots and the remains of a vest. A blood soaked bandage covers most of his head. A silvery plasteel bin heaped with bloody bandages and clothes sits on the floor nearby.

Visible through the narrow doorway SPARKS SIZZLE AND POP, illuminating bundles of thick, multi-colored cables exposed by an open row of blasted and broken access panels hanging from the ceiling.
The red lights dim and nearly go out before reluctantly coming back up, dimmer than before.

Sprawled across a second folding surgical table is the small green-skinned body of Pilot Naya Phet. Glowing blue and yellow tribal tattoos are visible crisscrossing the few patches of green skin not covered in rough, fluid-soaked bandages.

At the sound of HEAVY BOOTED FOOTSTEPS APPROACHING FROM THE CORRIDOR, Naya struggles to sit up. She pauses, grimacing in pain, and staggers unsteadily to her feet.

Three figures in Milspec EVA battle suits crowd into the medbay.
CMDR. SEELIUS TORMKUL removes his helmet revealing a gray, scaled reptilian face with a broad toothy muzzle. A dark crest lifts slightly along the top and back of his head as it is freed from the confines of the helmet. (His speech marked with slightly extended sibilants.)

TORMKUL
Sstill Alive?
I’m ssurpriszed.
No matter. It iss time to go.

NAYA PHET
Good. (with relief)
What have I got for engines?

TORMKUL
(snorts derisively through scaly nostrils and his crest rises slightly before settling back.)
You have nothing!
Blaszing Sstar iss damaged beyond repair. It iss a total losss thanks to your inadequate sskillss. We’ve gotten almost half her cargo loaded onto Sstacked Deck and Good Fortune -- We are packed in like gorgle grubss in a can but we will make our delivery!

NAYA PHET
(Furious) No! Your engineer said herself that she could get the starboard engine back in service with a handful of spare parts from Good Fortune!
And it was your stupidity that led us into this mess!
If we hadn’t come back for you...
If we hadn’t blown those two Malt fighters off your tail, you’d be dead!
You were supposed to…

TORMKUL
(Interrupting quickly, shocked that the little pilot would dare challenge him, crest rising and turning red with anger)

(Roaring)Ssilence!
How dare you!?!
If you wish to live you will be ssilent and get yoursself on board Sstacked Deck at onsce!
Thiss ship iss dead.
It’ss engineer iss dead.
You will be dead if you ever again dissagree with what I ssay about this battle!
(Thundering, crest bright red and fully extended, lit by battle lights and a shower of sparks.) Do you hear me?!?

NAYA PHET
Looks at Fulton lying on the surgical table.
(with resignation) Fine.
(With resolve) Then I claim her as salvage.
Naya Phet raises her wrist computer and begins to record the claim. Tormkul grabs the small pilot’s arm and yanks the wrist computer off with relative ease. He throws it to the floor and stomps on it several times with his heavy battle boot.

TORMKUL
(Crest flattening half way, sneering) I don’t think sso.
Your contract doess not allow you that right.
And now, I am no longer willing to take on your dead weight.
You can sstay here and die too.
The Shandama Brotherhood is better off without your kind!

Tormkul turns, replaces his helmet and stalks out of the medbay. His long, space-suited tail held high and rigid. The two gunners follow without a word.

EXT. ORBITING MALTOU IX – 0440.21.03.2445
Two badly damaged starships arc away from the Blazing Star, heading in-system. Four ships, a Destroyer and three fighters alter course slightly and pursue. The Blazing Star vents atmosphere in thin jets from a handful of locations.

INT. BRIDGE, BLAZING STAR – 1130.21.03.2445
Naya Phet sits despondent at the pilot station.
The battered and bloody Engineer Forrest Fulton gingerly makes his way into the bridge and collapses at the engineering station.
Naya Phet is shocked to see the young human alive.

FULTON
(Wincing) Been trying to raise you on the coms for the past quarter. Why didn’t you answer?

With a wry grin, Naya Phet raises her wrist. What was once a Level III Milspec wrist comp with ASR’s latest AstroNav master program is now a wreck, mostly held together with oversized, poorly spliced wires.

FULTON (CONT.)
Oh.

Fulton glances at the control panels in front of the communications station. They are scarred from blaster fire. SPARKS HISS as they drizzle from under the panel and die on the deck plates below.

FULTON (CONT.)
Doesn’t look like the ship coms are in great shape either.

NAYA PHET
(Smiling and perking back up) I thought you were dead.

FULTON
Might be soon, but for now, I got you almost 20% power on the starboard engine. I had to redirect most of the environmental controls to boost the induction field stabilizers. Three of the Dyson Coils are shot to hell.
The fourth is held together with some spit and a lot of hope - so don’t go tearing off or you will shatter the damn thing.

NAYA PHET
This isn’t a tractor farm boy. I can’t just pull over if that engine blows.

FULTON
(Wiping his dirty hands on a towel) So treat her real gentle like okay?


INT. BRIDGE, BLAZING STAR – 1745.21.03.2445
Fulton is asleep in the co-pilot station, leaning sideways hard against his crash harness. His breathing is loud, raspy and irregular. On the floor next to him is an opened toolbox filled with various tools, small parts, and loose pieces of wire. Taped to the inside of the lid of the toolbox is a photograph of a young woman.
Visible out the viewports, asteroids of all sizes tumble slowly past.

Naya Phet in the pilot’s station gently nudges the controls, steering the ship cautiously through the asteroid field.

Control panels at all stations are filled with angry blinking red lights.
In the distance, behind the bridge is a BANG followed by the HISS and POP of another cascade of sparks.

A green light flickers briefly between green and yellow before stabilizing to yellow briefly. Quickly it flicks to a flashing red color, illuminating the label - LIFE SUPPORT: AUX.

INT. BRIDGE, STARSHIP GOOD FORTUNE – 2100.21.03.2445
Commander SEELIUS TORMKUL sits at the main communications station with a flattened crest his tail is held low but twitches nervously.

TORMKUL
Yess ssir, the good newss iss that we got two shipss through the blockade ssafely.
Their cargoess have been delivered.
Ass you esspected, the profit margin turned out to be very high indeed! Thiss endlesss scivil war hass been good for bussinesss.

The voice of the “First Brother” of the Shandama Brotherhood crime syndicate carries cold power as it issues from the speaker at the main communication station.

DORSTING TIK
You had three ships Commander.
What are you not telling me?

TORMKUL’S head crest clenches tightly to his skull, his tail is in constant motion and his extended sibilants become more pronounced as his nervousness mounts. It is evident that he knows the penalty for failure will not be pleasant unless he can divert it to another target – Naya Phet.

TORMKUL
Blasszing ssStar isss gone sssir. We did what we could to cover for them but that pilot jussst never sssemed to get the hang of flying a real ssspassce ship.

He should have ssstuck with flying baggage shuttlesss for tourissstsss. I’m sssorry sssir. I know you were counting on usss to bring him along but he wasss too ssslow and made too many critical missstakesss during the firefight.

Tormkul pauses, waiting. Emboldened by the silence from the First Brother, he continues speaking, crest rising slightly.

He’ss paid the price for hiss incompetensss. He and the Engineer are dead. Ssadly the cargo for which they were responsible was also lost due to their missstakess.

DORSTING TIK
(coldly) I see. Yes, very unfortunate.

I will expect a detailed report via encrypted channels before the day is out. And, of course, a personal briefing as soon as you return.

TORMKUL
Yess ssir, of coursse

The coms unit signals disconnect with a soft BEEP.

Commander SEELIUS TORMKUL and his bridge crew share a satisfied, conspiratorial smile as they consider how they will enjoy the tidy profit they just made from 10 tons of “lost” military grade spaceship parts.

EXT. MINING CAMP ALPHA, ASTEROID FE0927-6000-221R, MALTOULIAN SYSTEM 0345.23.03.2445
Small, heavily-weathered gray pre-fabricated mining shacks cluster together around a large, low geodesic dome on a lonely gray plain. A fence, only partially erect, surrounds the camp.

The Blazing Star begins a slow, labored landing approach. The starboard engine is lit. Exhaust flames flicker. Landing gear HATCH COVERS SQUEAL as they begin to open. SQUEALING CONTINUES, but hatch covers stall partially open. SQUEALING CHANGES PITCH BACK AND FORTH as servo-motors are overworked. A short jet of flame shoots from the port landing gear mount. The flame jet dies and is replaced by dripping, burning fluid.

The Blazing Star continues to descend. She settles, almost gently on the rocky gray plain 200m from the poorly maintained perimeter fence.
CRUNCHING METAL from the half-open landing gear hatches and the doomed machinery within.

The ENGINE RATTLES as it spins down and the ship emits a final, exhausted SIGH.

The cargo ramp descends and raises a brief puff of dust from the dry plain as it touches ground.

Two space-suited figures, each supporting the other, stagger down the ramp. They pause to gather their strength, stand up straight, and slowly make their way toward the run-down mining camp.
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Cedar
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:24 am    Post subject: DTSL - Character background screenplay Act 2 Reply with quote

THE MALTOULIAN INCIDENT
PATRICK COLLINS
NOVEMBER 2011

ACT II
WE CAN REBUILD HER

INT. MAIN SHAFT SECURITY POST, MINING CAMP ALPHA, ASTEROID FE0927-6000-221R, MALTOULIAN SYSTEM 0915. 25.03.2445
CABLE, a big, square-jawed man stands in front of a plain, utilitarian, metal table. An array of gun parts is scattered across the table. Behind him a bank of computer consoles sits up against the wall. In the center of the wall is a 3-D map of mineshafts, a tangle of multi-colored lines and dots of light. Holographic screens rise up from the dots of light in a random pattern, each displaying the view from a different security camera.

In front of the table is a large window that looks out over a 300m diameter mine shaft that descends deep into the asteroid. Catwalks and machinery can be seen in and around the shaft. The LOUD RUMBLE of mining equipment is heard.

CABLE Turns to watch the security screens cycle through their displays of very dull, grimy mine scenes before returning his attention to the table. He tears open a pouch of fluid, drains it into a shallow dish and sniffs deeply and smiles at the pleasant aroma of solvent. A BEEP BEEP sounds and he frowns, picks up a blaster pistol and points it at a door. The door hisses open to reveal a smaller man with a huge head of black curly hair.

BUCKY
(With fear) Hey, hey, hey…
Don’t Shoot!
I said I was sorry!
And I am. Really sorry.

CABLE
Then don’t bother me.

BUCKY
But I know sumpin’ I know you wanna know.

CABLE
Doubt it.

CABLE puts the blaster pistol down on the table, still pointing toward BUCKY. He picks up a small brush, dips it in solvent and continues to clean parts of the gun scattered across the table.

BUCKY
Mining guild steward agreed to help those fellas that came in on the tramp freighter. The guild will help in exchange for running torfaxian concentrate and blutonite through the blockade.

CABLE
Wrong. Don’t care.

CABLE picks up the pistol and points it at BUCKY again.

BUCKY
(Pleading, holding up his hands) Hey, hey, wait, wait!
I’m getting to the good part.
This is what I call a probortunity my friend.
Get it? Probortunity?
A bit of a problem, a bit of an opportunity – probortunity!

CABLE shifts his thumb and the PISTOL EMITS A LOW HUM THAT RAPIDLY SCALES UP TO A HIGHER PITCHED WHINE. A red light appears at the back of the gun when the whine stops abruptly.

BUCKY Cont.
Look, here’s the deal my big, impatient friend:
First problem…

BUCKY raises the first finger of his right hand.

BUCKY Cont.
The ship is a wreck.
I can’t believe they got it to fly much less found this camp and landed it without crashing.
First opportunity:

BUCKY raises the first finger on his left hand, moves it close to the right hand and raises an eyebrow to make sure CABLE sees that they are matched up.

BUCKY Cont.
They got most a cargo of military grade starship weapons and ship’s systems.
Plus a whiz-kid farm boy engineer that can mount a few of those babies on the freighter.
Sweet huh!?
Dual laser cannons my man!

BUCKY pantomimes shooting the dual cannons as he pivots around and provides sound effects.

CABLE shakes his head, grimacing. He puts the pistol down again and it EMITS A HIGH PITCHED WHINE THAT RAPIDLY DESCENDS TO A HUM BEFORE BECOMING SILENT. The red light on the gun goes out.
Bucky stops and raises his hands again, this time with two fingers on his right hand raised.

BUCKY
Second problem:
There ain’t been a ship through here in more than half a year.
The blockade has us cut off.
We can’t get outta here ‘cuz of no ships.
We can’t get paid ‘cuz the miners can’t sell the torfax and blue.
We is stuck here going crazy.

CABLE GRUNTS (noncommittally.)

BUCKY CONT.
(Undeterred, raising two fingers on left hand) Second opportunity:
The guild is going to barter parts and shop time for getting torfax through the blockade.
Miners sell the goods.
We get paid.
Ship gets fixed and we can be on it because…
(Raising three fingers on right hand) Third problem:
They got a hot-shot pilot and a Mr.-fixit engineer, but that’s it.
Two crew.
That ain’t enough on that ship.
So…
(Raising another finger) Third Opportunity:
You know the big guns.
They will have cannons and a missile turret!
Take your pick!
You can hire on as the gunner.
I can be a purser like you’ve never seen!
I’ll do a little doctoring, negotiate prices…
All that stuff.
(Lowers his voice and looks around.)But… Fourth problem:
I did a little (motions in the air to indicate quotation marks) “Snooping”.
I got onboard and kinda looked at some (air quotes again)”locked” files.
The pilot has been keeping a (air quotes) “hidden” log.
He has an account of how they got shot to pieces by the Malties and left for dead by their (air quotes) “compatriots”.
What a FUBAR.
Anyway, Naya, the pilot tried to file a salvage claim on the vessel saying it was (air quotes) “Abandoned” as a derelict ship.
Problem is, a clause in his contract has a 2-year post- separation period before employees can file claims on property abandoned by the employer.
Filing the claim locked the whole thing in a legal morass so it is gonna take all manner of work to get it sorted out.
Meanwhile, they are in possession of and still flying a ship that ain’t theirs.

CABLE
So they stole it.

BUCKY
Well, it’s sorta-kinda on a “loan” status since they never got to the point of illegally registering ownership. You see. . .

CABLE
(Interrupting) Who’d they steal it from?

BUCKY
(Quietly, furtively) Shandama Brotherhood.
On loan.

CABLE
So they stole it from an intergalactic crime syndicate?
From thieves?

BUCKY
(With resignation) Well, … yeah.

With a few quick motions CABLE re-assembles the big auto-blaster and raises it up, a look of fondness for the gun in his eye.

CABLE
Betty and I got no problem with that.
When’s our first mission?
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jasales
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The above was a background story one of the players wrote about how they aquired their ship. In case you were wondering.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daring Taqles of the Space Lanes – play report
Session 2: Bad Debts (Spoilers Included)
When: Friday Dec 2nd, 2011
Duration: 4 hours


The Cast
Cable – weapons, all sizes (picture Ron Pearlman with a cigar)
Forest Fulton – engineer, seems more interested in tech than just about anything else
Buckey Taxton – acquisitions, investigation, streetwise, persuasion and medic (think Isaac from The Love Boat crossed with Lady’s Man)
Naya Phet – pilot, near human race (Agility), everything is about speed with this gal?

Prelude Music – Overture, Wing Commander OST

Refinery – Music: Grunt Awakens, Mass Effect 2: Combat album

This scene did a good job of showing off the main villain’s powers. When he picked Cable, arguably the toughest character of the bunch and used a power on him to try to get Cable to fight hand to hand the players became wary. Another player did a great job of restraining Cable when he fell under the influence.

The battle sight has lots of cover options and the occasional corrosive cloud going across the scene made things interesting. After getting a taste of things a couple of dozen more bounty hunters showed up and the group surrendered. That is all but Forest who had blasted a hole in one of the vents and crawled inside in an attempt to come out somewhere else in the refinery. He had hoped to ambush the main villain but instead, arrived just in time to collect the group’s gear and stow away on one of the transports the bad guys used to haul the other characters away.

Control Room – Music: VUX – Ultra-gross!, The Ur-Quan Masters
The group being held captive (With Forest and their gear just outside the main door) listened to the lies of their nemesis and were introduced to one of the leaders of the Shandama Brotherhood. They also finally got to see Carna being held by two guards. The players were really itching for payback and they kept wanting to interrupt me so they could attack their guards.

They finally got their chance when the ship shuddered with the impact of missiles. The main bad guy got away and combat ensued. Forest tried getting everyone their guns but things happened with a good amount of chaos and they started picking up the weapons of fallen guards. The main villain got away again. Forest used his repair skills and computer knowledge to map out a route across the ship to the hangar while sealing off adjacent areas so the group would be less likely to run into adversaries.

Hangar Showdown – Music – Shipyard – Rough Repair, The Ur-Quan Masters
With the Shandama Brotherhood Battleship being pounded on and slowly slipping into the atmosphere of a nearby planet the group needed to fight their way across the hangar to their ship and rescue Carna.
Cable started across the floor right away but gravity fluxuations spoiled his movement. Using grenades and cover the group moved towards their ship. The main bad guy was there waiting for them along with several bounty hunters. Naya got on board the ship first. Cable provided covering fire while Forest stayed on task and put himself between Carna and the bad guys. Bucky provided distractions.

Gravity in the hangar kept switching on and off but the group got closer to their ship. That is when the bounty hunters and the main bad guy swept in. It was looking really bad for Forest but Naya let loose with the Blazing Star’s Dual Laser Turret. And just like that the main bad guy was toast. Cable continued to provide covering fire while everyone got on board. Naya intimidated the remaining bounty hunders by activating the hidden missile turret and using the ships PA to let them know if they poked their heads up they were gonners. He knew the missiles wouldn’t fire unless they were locked onto another starship but the ruse worked. They blasted off the Shandama Brotherhood ship and were hailed by the Galactic Enforcement Agency. Carna was reunited with her father and a good friend in high places was made.

Reflections
At the beginning of the game, the player who kept using lethal force when the bad guys were shooting stun brought up an interesting thought. Switching between stun and lethal should be a free action for the genre. If it costs an action to switch to stun or lethal folks aren’t going to do it. Why put a roadblock up when the heroes want to take someone alive. Now, this player isn’t one to callously shoot people lethally when a stun option was available. He just A) wasn’t paying attention in the previous adventures when I described how stun looked different than regular blaster fire, and B) he kept forgetting to announce that his weapon was always set to stun. While I don’t think we need a new rule for those reasons, for this setting switching weapon from stun to lethal should be free. So that is what we are doing from now on.

Refinery – ok, while this was a fun area to do a combat the ambush would have been very frustrating if you played it out as written. I just gave it all 5 rounds and then I sprung the ambush. It seemed like a waste of time to have such a big combat go on and on, only to throw the ambush at the players right when it looked like they were winning.

Skipped scene – there is a scene between the control room and the hangar shootout that felt like filler. The player using the computers to find a route to the hangar made his roll with two raises. I said he was able to have bulkheads open and close as they made their way through the ship at a brisk pace, thus cutting off potential bad guys. So I skipped a scene to keep the action flowing. The nice thing about these adventures is you can easily drop several scenes for pacing or game time length. In fact, these options are spelled out at the beginning of each adventure. This is a very nice feature.

The hangar bay shoot out. This was one of the best climatic battle scenes in this series. The gravity fluxuations worked very well and there was a right amount of large cover areas while making it interesting to dash across open spaces to get to the ship. Having the Blazing Star’s main gun still be useful was also fun. Buckey made lots of use of taunts in this session and Cable used suppressive fire with mixed results. No one was shaken but one extra got taken out.

Last Scene/Epilogue the Galactic Enforcement Agency Arrives – Here the group has been chasing across a couple of star systems to rescue the girl, only to find out that Daddy has been tailing them and brought in the cavalry. Now you can recover a bit of the mood by having Daddy explain how when the GEA saw the brotherhood’s ship they opened fire and he couldn’t stop them. They wanted to take down a big prize, not rescue some politician’s little girl. So it was crucial that the players be at the right place at the right time.

All in all, Bad Debts was a fun run, lots of interesting chase scenes, good combat environments, better opportunities for derailing and role-playing than some of the previous installments. Also, the main bad guy was truly intimidating. The players cheered when they vaporized him with their ships main gun in one hit.

Player concerns: One player brought up that it will be interesting to see how this series handled the challenge of rewards as time goes on. Hmm…I tried to get from the player what he meant but was unable to understand. The series doles out very little money but that doesn’t matter because there is little gear to spend it on. The ship is self contained so you don’t really need money for that. Also, non-tangibles such as property or favors is not that useful since you have a series of discreet adventures and the players are always travelling. Also, the characters are smugglers. What kind of awards would someone like that expect? We’ll see as time goes on if I can get clarification.

A second player stated he wants a grenade launcher. Hmm…this is from the player that hardly ever shoots and concentrates on figuring out how to use repair in every scene. He is also one that constantly keeps track of mission goals (saving Carna etc.) He says his nickname is “Frag” but the only time we’ve seen anything relating to grenades is when he pulled a stun grenade on himself to keep some tough miners off him in Part 1 of Bad Debts.

This setting isn’t a war setting. A grenade launcher would create balance problems because grenade damage is high but offset by range. Now if he can start launching grenades all over the battlefield the tone of the game completely changes. Also, I don’t know how he’ll afford the ammunition since it has been established that this setting isn’t about gear and money but about the adventures themselves. And it is not like you can just pick up a grenade from a fallen foe and load it into a grenade launcher. And lastly, if he did rig something that could launch the grenades the players find on bad guys he’d be an Armageddon machine since the group could find many dozens of grenades over the course of a single adventure. I’ll have to clarify what it is he wants, but more importantly, WHY he wants it. If it is because he wants to be more effective in combat, while he made a character specifically not a combat character…I don’t know. Need more data.

Both of these concerns might be that the players are starting to feel the itch of a more traditional game, rather than a series of pre-written adventures.

Next time: Robot Rumble
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jasales
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daring Tales of the Space Lanes – play report
Session 1: Robot Rumble (Spoilers Included)
When: Dec 16th, 2011
Duration: 3 1/2 hours


The Cast
Cable – weapons, all sizes (picture Ron Pearlman with a cigar)
Forest Fulton – engineer, seems more interested in tech than just about anything else
Buckey Thaxton – acquisitions, investigation, streetwise, persuasion and medic (think Isaac from The Love Boat crossed with Lady’s Man)
Naya Phet – pilot, near human race (Agility), everything is about speed with this guy.

Prelude Music – Overture, Wing Commander OST

Scene 1: Space Chase – Music - Into the Grey, Into the Grey by Erdenstern
This session Starts with a Chase. The characters are fleeing a world that is in a civil war. They need to dodge a couple of Battleships and a pair of fighters to make it to hyperspace.

By this point in the series the pilot has such a high score that there really isn’t any fight between the Blazing Star and the pursuing fighters. The module has the fighters engage their shields as their first action. I would recommend they push or fire weapons since they will soon be left behind.
Having bad things happen on a pilot roll of a club kept the action tense and it showed up three times during the 4 rounds of the chase scene. The pilot simply pushed each round and our heroes made it to hyperspace unscathed.

Scene 2: Damage Control – Music - Mortal Melee! Tekkno by Ur-Quan Masters
This was a great scene because it showcased the character that has specialized in repair. The pregenerated characters have a ship’s engineer and I really feel sorry for those groups that don’t have one as they have proven very useful in unique situations.

This scene has the Blazing Star coming out of hyperspace but it’s engines stall out. A series of tasks needs to be done to save the ship and crew. This was really well done. The pilot and co-pilot really have their hands full and the engineer and an assistant will be busy as well. Plus each team ends up helping the other with their efforts. This group of players saved the ship with one round to spare. It was exciting.

The only downside to this scene is even if they bring the ship down in one piece it still lands hard enough to damage the cargo which become the adventure seed. You see, they will have to pay fines and do jail time for their “reckless” reentry but their patron steps in and gives them an offer they can’t refuse. He tells them that the droids of the local robot ghetto have been on a crime spree. He wants the group to infiltrate this ghetto, called Tin Town, find the gang responsible and bring them down so he can take the glory. He’ll also take care of the player’s ship and repairs for them.

Scene 3: Dressing for the Part – Music - Interface, Into the Grey by Erdenstern
This is a good place to give the players some information on the world they are visiting and the local droid political issues. Tin Town is a droid only ghetto and so they need to pass as droids, or else. They will sneak into the ghetto through some sewers so that they won’t be scanned at the gates and thus being revealed as biological. They are going to wear robot shells to pass as droids. I can’t help but think this would be awesome if the group already had a robot character.

Each player draws a card and that tells them what defects their costume has. They all get an armor bonus (there was much rejoicing) and the engineer will find enough spare parts to repair one defect. In this case, our engineer opted to fix the one arm issue with Cable’s costume so he could use his big blaster.

Scene 4: Vermin Control – Music – Another Mission, Into the Grey by Erdenstern
So the group travels for several miles in a large storm sewer system. They get scanned along the way and trigger A laser grid vermin control system and have to run for it or the laser grid will cut them to pieces. Luckily this group only had one character with a pace issue. They all ran as fast as they could and reached hatch 1138. It was later noted that one of the players noticed that this number had cropped up before in this series of adventures. A quick Google explained why. Smile

Scene 5: I am the Law – Music – MercG, Mechwarrior II Mercenaries
Ok, first up, this scene has a long explanation about how grav cars are zipping through the scene (I guess they just hover over the ground instead of fly like all the cars so far seen in this series) and can bump into you. There is some detailed explanation of how the traffic works to complicate the battle and all of it refers to a map that does not exist. Ugh! I spent a good deal of time trying to figure out how it was supposed to work. In the end I drew a street scene out for the battle and skipped the traffic. It made more sense to have the characters arriving in a less populated area of time to have a gun battle with a sheriff droid and his warbot partner.

We finished the night’s game with the players victorious but Cable was sad in that he was unable to acquire the Warbot’s minigun.

Reflections
One of the things I’ve found very interesting and this DTSL series is solidifying my opinions on it; is that a less detailed setting seems to drive the players to focus more on their character’s personalities. This isn’t the first time I have observed this. In the past, I have learned that you can get the players to care about things the more interaction and description they have with it. “It”, being an NPC or place etc. But o the occasions I have run settings with very little detail the players have ended up focusing attention not only on their character’s personality but on expressing that personality in every scene. I think this is especially true in a series like this in which the really good role-playing (read not action) scenes have to be created based on current situation and the characters personalities, perceptions and world views.

While it is well documented that you can get player buy-in with a detailed setting I am also convinced you can get players to role-play more overtly when those details are sketchy. Hmm…sounds kind of’ old school to me. Not a bad thing at all. Just interesting to see how the role-playing has worked it's way in.

I really thought this adventure was going to be just too silly but the guys are really having a fun time so I learned something about what they like. My wife actually had me change the venue to our house the last few times as she has enjoyed sitting in and watching the fun. They guys have relaxed enough now having her sit in on a few that they are in their groove.

It would have been great to have just a sketch map of the battle field for “I am the law” scene to more easily determine if using the traffic would add to the excitement or not.

I Talked some more with the player that wants a grenade launcher and told him my concerns. He explained what he wants. He just wants something to shoot a couple of stun grenades each game. In looking ahead I keep seeing where the player’s equipment is taken or otherwise destroyed and I’d hate to see him keep putting money into gear since there is so little funds available. And if I start shelling out more funds the group is going to focus on getting better gear that will just get destroyed anyway. Is it better to have it and lose it, or better just not to have it? I’m thinking he might find something he can use and we’ll see how it goes.
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