Pirates of Drinax, Episode 20: The Cordan Conflict, Part 2


The party have been hired by Baroness Lux to start a war between Baron Fero and Baron Halley to stop them ganging up on her and taking over her territory… Now read on.
Cordan, 1108 Weeks 26-30

After successfully whacking one of Halley’s tax collectors, the party amuse themselves by concocting and spreading rumours to foment discontent among the citizens and militia in the disputed area.

Then, their attention is drawn to the town of Ellaton, in territory disputed by Baron Fero and Baron Halley. This is connected to the rest of Halley’s domain by a single bridge, and they decide this link must be severed. Stealing a delivery van, they pack it with homemade explosives and drive it onto the bridge, where they detonate it from a safe distance, collapsing the central section. They make sure that their ship’s air/raft, freshly tricked out in Fero’s livery, is seen making a getaway from a nearby copse, where searchers will later find empty beer cans of a brand favoured by Fero’s guard.

They spend a few days dropping grenades on random militia camps from drones bought on Tech-World for surveillance purposes, then take the air/raft in Fero’s colours into Halley’s territory, where they make sure that a couple of humans and an aslan (Dr Agatha, Vlantyn and Ezh) are seen surveying farmland, supporting the rumour they’ve been spreading that Fero is hiring aslan mercenaries to be paid in land taken from Halley.

Next, Vlantyn hacks Halley’s comms net, and Ranil and Vinnie use their local knowledge and accents to concoct a tale of an ambushed militia patrol which needs urgent help. On arrival, the rescue team finds a large IED and no militia patrol; there are no casualties as they see the IED before it goes off, but they deduce that their comms have been compromised, leading to confusion and slower responses as they ramp up their security.

Ellaton has now been reconnected with a temporary wooden bridge, which is too tempting to ignore, so they cook up a batch of napalm and deliver it by drone. The militia guarding the bridge make things worse by trying to douse the flames with water, before deciding to shovel dirt on them; but the bridge burns through regardless. It can be rebuilt in a few days, but it’s a serious setback.

Towards the end of week 30, the party hits on the idea of pretending to be Fero’s men and negotiating with the local ihatei, promising them land on the far side of Halley’s domain in exchange for an attack on Halley’s ‘castle’. They hope this will lead to Halley beset by aslan on one side and Fero on the other, thus fighting a war on two fronts, while Fero is branded an oathbreaker for failing to deliver the support he promised.

What could possibly go wrong?

GM Notes

A lot of creativity from the party this session; they are operating under two chief constraints, which they have managed to work around so far. First, their patron doesn’t want either baron to win, she just wants them both weakened; I rationalised this by saying the the treaty with the Imperium would be void if either of the warring barons was eliminated. Second, the players are adamant that they will not target innocents or commit war crimes, which is laudable but limits their options.

A shout out to the Cordan Conflict adventure for presenting a good outline of how the war progresses (not shown above); I found it easy to weave this into the story so that it seemed the barons were reacting to the PCs’ activities, and the combatants’ actions gave the party new opportunities to exploit. The fact that two of the PCs are Cordan natives gives them options and information they wouldn’t otherwise have.

The other PCs are starting to look askance at Vlantyn because he is exceptionally good at building IEDs – so far he has made five, all of them with multiple aces on his skill roll. Questions are being asked about how and why he learned how to do this. As is often the case, the really extreme dice rolls build story, which is why I love critical failures and aces.

In the background, I’m looking at space combat and the aslan racial package, in anticipation of needing them later. It seems to me that players complain the racial package is too restrictive when it imposes ‘mental’ Hindrances like Code of Honour, so I’m tempted to limit it to physical features like Claws and Size. Missiles seem to be very clunky in play, with an engagement process that includes several dice rolls per missile, which would be justified if they did more damage than lasers, but they don’t, really. I might wait for the revised Sci-Fi Companion in the hope that it addresses this issue; I don’t see myself needing space combat rules while the black ops team is in the driving seat.

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