Arion, Episode 81: Chase

Collace, 059-1105

The chase begins!

One thing I ought to try out is the new chase rules… oh look, Arion has an air/raft and there is a saboteur running away outside the facility the team is exploring…

As the chase uses air/rafts, the manoeuvring skill is Piloting. Arion has d8 Piloting and the Ace Edge; the saboteur has no real reason to be good at Piloting, so I give him a d6. As the big boss for this scene, though, he should be a Wild Card. There are no stats for air/rafts in the core rules, but I’ve always thought of them as helicopters without rotors, so we’ll use the stats for the basic helicopter on page 84; Size 7, Handling 0, Top Speed 130, Toughness 12 (2).

We begin by shuffling an extra deck of cards and dealing nine in a row:

2H – Joker – JC – AH – JD – 5D – 10C – 9D – 3H

Arion is the rearmost character so starts on the two of hearts. There’s no guidance on where the saboteur starts, other than it should “fit the circumstances”; let’s put him on the middle card and see what happens, this makes him 100″ in front of Arion – if he was any further away, he could immediately use the Flee option to escape, which wouldn’t be much fun.

Arion emerges from the ruins in time to see an air/raft lifting into view, and runs for his own with the intent of giving chase.

Round 1: Arion 9D, saboteur 3C (complication). Arion goes first, chooses the Change Position manoeuvre as an action and scores 10 due to an Ace on the wild die and the +2 modifier for using a full action to do so; success with a raise; he moves up two chase cards to the jack of clubs.

At first, the saboteur doesn’t notice he is being followed, and Arion is able to close range easily.

The saboteur drew a club, so he must make a manoeuvring roll as a free action to deal with a complication, and because he is on a diamond card, this roll is at -2 and any failure becomes a Critical one. Thanks to an ace on his wild die, he scores a total of 7 and is fine – he chooses to Change Position also, to get away. He fails this roll, so stays where he is.

Soon, though, the saboteur looks around and sees another air/raft following him. He almost runs into a rock outcrop while doing this, so Arion decides he is probably the better pilot.

Round 2: Arion 8C, saboteur 9C. The saboteur uses Change Position, hoping to open range to the point where he can escape; he gets lucky and scores 11, success with a raise even after the -2 for a club action card, moving him up two cards to the 10 of clubs.

Arion goes for Change Position again; his Ace Edge allows him to ignore two points of penalties, specifically the -2 for a club action card, and using a full action gives him +2. He scores 9, success with a raise, and moves up two cards to the jack of diamonds.

Both pilots push their craft to top speed, and the saboteur dives to nap of earth in the hope of shaking Arion in the labyrinth of gulleys and canyons surrounding the ruined lab.

Round 3: Arion 3S, saboteur JS. The saboteur deliberately drops back two cards as a free action; he doesn’t need to roll for this, and now he is on the same chase card as Arion, so he can use the Force action to push Arion into an obstacle. As his odds of success are already low, he accepts a multi-action penalty and declares he will shoot Arion with his assault rifle (the character has what the figure has, and this one has an M-16). First the Force action; more aces on the wild die, and he scores 13. However this is opposed by Arion’s Piloting, and he scores 3! I use a Benny to reroll and get a 5. The saboteur beats that by 8, getting two raises, bumps Arion one card away to the jack of diamonds, and forces a manoeuvring Critical Failure (p. 113) on Arion, which in turn forces a roll on the Out of Control table (p. 119); a roll of 7 means Arion is Distracted until the end of his next turn.

The saboteur now fires his assault rifle; it has ROF 3 so he can fire three rounds in one action, but only gets one wild die. He rolls 234 on the Shooting die and 5 on the wild die, but -2 for the multi-action penalty, another -2 for unstable platform, -2 for medium range and +2 for the air/raft being a Large target mean his best die is a 1, so he misses. He expends a Benny to reroll all dice, and gets 5, 5, 9, 9; even with the net -4, two of those hit, inflicting 6 and 17 damage respectively. The first of those just dings the paintwork as it doesn’t exceed the vehicle’s Toughness, but the second beats it by 5, scoring a raise. The air/raft takes one Wound and Arion again has to roll for Out of Control, at -2 because he is Distracted – but again his Ace Edge helps by negating two points of penalties; he scores 7 so retains control. He could use a Benny to Soak the vehicle wound – the other benefit of Ace – but it has four, so he keeps the benny for other things.

The saboteur suddenly cuts his throttle, dropping back level with Arion and bringing an assault rifle to bear one-handed. It’s all Arion can do to keep control as bullets stitch the side of his air/raft. It starts vibrating unpleasantly.

Arion goes for Change Position as an action, and declares an intent to ram (p. 116) if he succeeds and gets onto the same card. He rolls Piloting at -2 for two actions, +2 for changing position as an action, and scores 5; success, bringing him onto the same card as the saboteur. He now makes an opposed manoeuvring roll; 4. Unhappy with the result, he spends a second benny – notice that in an opposed roll the active character goes first, and has to spend bennies before the inactive one rolls. 8, thanks to an ace on the wild die; much better. The saboteur rolls a 2, spends a second benny to reroll but only gets a 3 (lousy dice rolling there), so Arion succeeds in ramming and gets a raise.

Each air/raft now damages the other. A Large vehicle does 3d6 base damage, and 2d6 for its top speed being over 120 mph; Arion gets another 1d6 for succeeding with a raise. Arion’s raft takes 38 damage as the saboteur makes up for his previous lousy dice rolling; that beats the Toughness by 26, inflicting five Wounds. Arion would need a success and four raises to soak that, so hoards his remaining benny in case of wounds or incapacitation. The raft also takes a Critical Hit (p. 119); 2d6 = 5, locomotion – top speed reduced by 10%, but this is irrelevant because the raft has now taken six wounds and is wrecked. Looking at p. 118, I see Arion should take damage too; I decide ramming is more like a collision than an enemy attack, so that’s 5d6 damage, halved for air bags and safety harnesses…. 18, halved for air bag and safety harness is 9, beats his Toughness of 6 (1) by 3; Shaken. That could’ve been a lot worse.

Meanwhile, the saboteur’s raft takes 24 damage, and thus takes two wounds, leaving it with two. The critical hit is an 8, chassis, which has no extra effect.

Arion could return fire with his pistol, but he is not an especially good marksman and the saboteur’s rifle has a much greater range. He brightens as he realises he has a much bigger and more dangerous weapon; the air/raft itself. Grinning like a maniac, he swoops up to the saboteur’s vehicle and rams into it from behind.

This proves to be a bad idea, as while it does severely damage the saboteur’s craft, it completely wrecks Arion’s, which spins out and crashes into a hillock. As the saboteur’s air/raft can still move, however slowly, and Arion’s cannot, the saboteur gets away.

It’s a few seconds before Arion comes to, enough time for the air bag to deflate. At first he is worried by the splashes of red everywhere, but quickly realises that the tomato soup didn’t get off as lightly as he did. He checks his breather mask and radio, which are both fine, and places a call.

Dolphin, can you come and pick us up please, the air/raft is wrecked.”

“I thought as much when the telemetry went offline. Are you injured?”

“Not at the moment… but I haven’t told Cori yet…”

Character Status

Arion -2 Bennies, Cori -1 Benny, -5 PP; Dmitri -1 Fatigue, -1 Benny.

GM Notes

The chase rules are less daunting than they seem, but I did spend a lot of time page-flipping to check effects, and I would want to be able to use them without doing that before exposing them to the usual suspects.

I see that simple chases can be resolved as Quick Encounters, that might be better until I get used to the new chase rules.

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