In the last instalment of this campaign log, our heroes fled from the laboratory on BIG-16. They tried to commandeer a vehicle, but security forces intercepted them. Luckily, our heroes were spared and found another vehicle...

Read the first part of this campaign log here.

When Oberth fires up the commandeered armored telekinetic vehicle (‘ATV’), our heroes are again hailed by the control center, demanding their ID and authorization code. This time, Oberth quickly works on the on-board computer and shuts out the operator at the other end of the line.

Oberth, Byzi, and Liam immediately drive the ATV out of the warehouse and head straight for the spaceport. Just as they expected, they receive another transmission about ten minutes into their trip: again, an operator demands they identify themselves and transmit their authorization code. Byzi takes one last shot at talking his way out of it, but the operator doesn’t buy it and orders our heroes to stop the vehicle and wait for inspection. They comply, but get their weapons ready.

Shortly after, a hovering telecraft appears ahead. Our heroes quickly discuss their strategy and decide that Oberth and Liam must get out of the ATV, seek cover if possible, and fire at the telecraft with their grenade launchers. They should each be able to get off two shots before the telecraft will be able to return fire. Byzi will man the ATV’s main gun and fire it at the telecraft in full automatic. The entire plan hinges on their being quicker and the telecraft’s armor not being too thick, but they decide to take the chance.

Battle details

This was kind of a big risk.

Telecraft are relatively frail, but they still have a Resistance score of 10, which means they subtract 10 points from any source of Body damage before it is subtracted from their Integrity Points. They have 20 Integrity Points and are destroyed when they have 0 Integrity Points left. So if you deal 30 Body damage, you take it down in one shot. Most characters don’t deal 30 Body damage, however...

Because of its Resistance, it is difficult to damage telecraft with small-arms fire. Even explosives from grenade launchers such as the ones the players were using--which grant a 2d bonus to damage--do not necessarily bring the type of firepower to the table that is required to take down a bird like this. The heavy blastergun that was mounted on the ATV, however, did stand a good chance of inflicting some serious damage on the telecraft when fired in full automatic mode (in which case it receives a 2d+9 bonus). Still, a telecraft can be quite agile despite its size; as such, there was a good chance that the pilot was good enough to dodge a few shots.

The telecraft itself was armed with two fully automatic heavy blasterguns, each capable of ripping apart even a medium-level character in a single turn, and two fully automatic rocket pods, each capable of firing three rockets (for a total of 6) that each deal at least 3d damage in a 5-cube radius in a single turn. While the players’ ATV had 10 Resistance and 30 Integrity Points (making it sturdier than the telecraft and on average capable of surviving several rocket barrages), only Byzi was inside of it at the time combat was initiated and only he would benefit from the vehicle’s protection. However, the players did have a ward generator that gave them and their ATV a substantial bonus to their Hit Difficulties.

All in all, there was a chance that a single turn of full fire from  ttheelecraft would kill Oberth and Liam and possibly Byzi as well. And this is not even counting the complement of ten soldiers and twenty drones that the telecraft carried in its bay, which would have made short work of the players even without fire support from the telecraft.

So, everything hinged on initiative. If the players got to act first and unloaded their weapons fully, they stood a chance of taking out the telecraft. I used the oft-overlooked rules for one-sided initiation of hostilities (see Core Rulebook, page 63) since this is not an ambush, but a tense situation where one side decides to initiate hostilities. The side that initiates hostilities (in this case the players’ side) has its Agility (initiative) skill check result maximized (in this case to 6), so it is still technically possible for the opposing team to beat that result--to be quick enough to see that the standoff is about to turn violent and act before the enemy opens fire.

Lucky for the players, that didn’t happen.

In an astounding rain of firepower, the players brought down destruction on the telecraft. Of course, the telecraft’s pilot had already run out of AP by the end of Byzi’s barrage with the heavy blastergun. By then, the craft was already heavily damaged. Liam was last to act and--since he is not specialized in ranged combat--chances were slim that he would be able to finish off the telecraft. However, he rolled a double six on his damage, which meant 2 damage bypassed the telecraft’s Resistance, which was just enough to bring it down to 0 after Oberth and Byzi’s attacks. The craft went down.

To their own surprise, our heroes manage to bring down the telecraft. They are jubilant at their victory against so powerful a foe and immediately continue toward the spaceport. As it looms into sight, they see explosions and havoc: it seems the infected have also reached this part of the installation...

Read part 6 here!