Arion, Episode 60: Find, Part 1 – the Trophy Wife


“The silence of the dead says, Goodbye. The silence of the missing says, Find me.” – Dennis Lehane, Gone Baby Gone
New Hope City, September ’01

“Do you understand completely what my client wants?” the Xeog Attorney asks. “Find his little sister, and return her to him, unharmed?”

“Yes; completely. And your client accepts my terms?” Arion replies.

“Correct,” the Xeog nods in confirmation. “You come highly recommended. When can you start?”

“Tomorrow morning.”

The Xeog pushes the credit marker across the table and Arion scans it to his account. He thanks her and gets up to leave.

“Mr. Metaxas. One more thing if I may?”

“Yes, Ms Muhsteyjen?”

The Xeog smiles. “Can you join me for dinner tonight?”

“No,” Coriander grinds out. “No, he cannot.”

“I was talking to him,” Muhsteyjeng points out. “Mr. Metaxas? Are you going to let her decide for you?” She leans across the table sinuously, showing off eye-catching curves to full effect.

“Yes. Yes, I am. She’s the brains of the outfit,” Arion explains, spreading his hands apologetically.

Encounter 12 of the Maiden Voyage campaign. If I understand the rules correctly, I can chain a Chillin’ encounter, a Job Offer, a Find and a Raid together and execute them all in one month. As I can bypass any PEFs I don’t want to meet in the Chillin’ encounter, and we already know the Job Offer triggers a Find encounter and that will trigger a Raid (it says so in the rulebook), I think that’s OK. Anyway, that’s what I’m doing; but as you’ll see, this is the biggest and most complex encounter to date, so I’m splitting it over a few posts.

I’m inherently lazy, so I reuse NPCs whenever possible, so the Xeog Attorney is Muhsteyjen. The rulebook says the job is worth 8 IRD, payable at the end of the Raid encounter, and who am I to argue? Following the instructions on p. 40, I see we need to resolve three PEFs, and successful Further Interactions with them yield Clues, although we may need to win a Confrontation to get the chance to Interact.

“Just the two of us, then?” asks Coriander.

“Yes,” Arion confirms. “We’re just asking a few questions, a tooled-up grath with a blender would give the wrong impression.”

“Who do you want to start with?”

“The Trophy Wife.”

“Is the kid hers?”

“Don’t know, but if not, that makes her a suspect in my book.”

PEF 1: Nighttime Confrontation with 2 Police, followed by Interaction with a Trophy Wife. We’ve encountered police NPCs before (rulebook p. 57) so let’s reuse those; Kang and Carlzen. A Confrontation means we go straight to a fight, so something weird is going on; why are there two detectives outside a Mover’s apartment, and why do the cops start a fight right off the bat?

A quick check on the Packing table on p. 29 shows Carlzen (Rep 5 Smooth) has a P1, Kang (Rep 4 Zhuh Zhuh) has an A3. The cops have advantage, but Arion passes more d6 on the action table so goes first. It’s night, so everyone is in cover.

“Stop right there!” a voice calls out. Arion thinks he recognises it.

“Detective Carlzen? Is that you?”

“Gun!” yells Kang, and swings up his assault rifle. Arion figures things have already gone south, draws and fires. Following his lead, Cori pulls out her own A3 and opens up.

I hadn’t intended to do a blow by blow for this gunfight – you’ve seen them before after all – but this one got tense, complex and interesting. It shows I got the combat sequence wrong when I reviewed the game, and I’m not 100% sure I got it right now, but it was a lot of fun.

Arion’s first shot at Carlzen misses (pass 1d6 in darkness, target returns fire) and Carlzen draws his own piece and fires back, but also misses (pass 0d6, target returns fire) so Arion sends another couple of rounds his way (pass 2d6 and damage below target Rep both times) and Carlzen ducks back into cover. (This is all part of Arion’s first activation so he has a round left for Kang; as an old programmer, I think of these interrupts as nested subroutine calls.) Arion fires at Kang and he drops, out of the fight, before he can fire on Cori (+1 IRD for Arion). Cori has no targets, as Kang is down and Carlzen has ducked back.

Both sides pass 2d6 on the Will To Fight table so carry on. Now Carlzen activates and we go back to the Action table, where Carlzen has advantage but Arion passes more d6 – Carlzen is still ducked back so there are no targets. Arion opts to hold in place, as charging into melee would give Carlzen another shot at him, and that could sting.

“Now why did you go and do that?” asks Arion.

“You shot a cop! You’re going down!” Carlzen calls from behind a dumpster.

“He drew first! Better judged by twelve than carried by six!”

Back we go to the action table again. Carlzen still has advantage, passes more d6, goes first and recovers from ducked back status. That takes his whole activation and he is now visible, but still in cover, so Arion and Cori activate and open fire.

Arion catches a glimpse of Carlzen moving and plugs him right between the eyes (pass 2d6 to hit, 6 for damage and Carlzen is Obviously Dead, another +1 IRD for Arion).

“Oops,” says Arion.

“Honey,” Cori says, shaking a little as the adrenalin wears off, “You killed a cop.”

“Yes. Yes, it looks as if I did. This is going to complicate things.”

A figure leans out of a window high above them.

“What’s going on down there?”

“Ms Anderson?” Arion calls. “I’m sorry if we’ve come at a bad time, but we’re trying to find your missing girl. Can we ask you a few questions? Ms Muhsteyjen will vouch for us, if you call her.”

“You’d better come in, and wait in the lobby.”

Now we Interact with the Trophy Wife – we haven’t seen Perry Anderson yet in this setting, so of course he is the Mover behind this job. Oh my, when I look up the Trophy Wife on p. 55 she is a Rep 4 Xeog – by the Principle of Reusing NPCs this has to be Muhsteyjen. Cori is the team’s Face so she handles the interaction; she is Rep 5 and a Free Spirit, so rolls 3d6. Muhsteyjen is a Xeog Mover, as it turns out, so she is automatically Smooth and rolls an extra die for her status; she is rolling 3d6 and can reroll one of them.

Cori rolls 113 and passes 3d6. Muhsteyjen rolls 623, doesn’t like the 6 so rerolls and gets a 5, and also passes 3d6. No clues for us tonight.

The lift door opens and delivers Arion and Coriander to the penthouse suite.

“Of course,” says Coriander. “Arion, pick your jaw up off the floor and stop drooling please, it reflects badly on me.”

“Hello again, Arion,” says Muysteyjen, pointedly ignoring Coriander. “It looks like we’re having dinner together, after all.”

Character Updates

Arion has 3 DRD (ship maintenance) and 3 IRD for besting foes; current total for the month, 0. The others will each get one IRD as wages from Arion’s total at the end of the month, if he can afford it, so he needs to score at least 3 more IRD before then or start losing Grunts.

  • Arion (Star): Rep 7 Spaceship Crew, Quick Reflexes, Resilient. B2, P1, melee, SBA. Lifetime Rep: 10.
  • Coriander: Rep 5 Doctor, Free Spirit. A3, melee, SBA. Lifetime Rep: 8.
  • Dmitri: Rep 4 Investigator, Smooth. B2, P1, melee, SBA. Lifetime Rep: 5.
  • Mr Osheen: Rep 3 Grath Mercenary, Rage, A3, melee, SBA. Lifetime Rep: -3.
GM Notes

No clues for us from meeting the Trophy Wife! We needed to successfully interact twice to gain one. Better luck next time, I hope.

Maiden Voyage has some missing encounters if you treat it as a campaign proper, but really it’s a tutorial, and in this case it alerted me to the fact that the Confrontations in a Find mission are not necessarily with the people you are trying to question, which I hadn’t understood from reading the archetypical Find encounter.

Reusing NPCs is not only less work, especially when the rulebook has statted them up for you in advance, but is also better at driving the story forward. I suppose it’s now clear why Anderson is going to dislike Arion in this setting; his Trophy Wife has adulterous plans for Our Hero…

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