Aliens & Asteroids: The First Public Playtest, Pt 4

Last time, our technician managed to dislodge the green goo he wanted from the device attached to the alien habitat. But apparently that was a bit like disturbing a hornet’s nest because a Grey Man stepped out of the habitat airlock with a gun pointed at the party! (Read more about getting the goo off here.)


One of the marines sprinted and charged at the Grey with a knife drawn. He got a critical hit and did HP damage. The other marine moved and got a single shot off, hitting the Grey for a little damage. And this was a perfect place to discuss how damage and armor worked, so we did that.

How does combat work as far as Hit Points and Armor Points?

Not a Grey Alien!

Essentially a character starts with a certain number of Hit Points (HP). Think of HP as the amount of life each character has. If they go to zero, it’s likely they are dead or very close. Their Toughness attribute represents their maximum number of HP when they are healthy. If they take enough HP damage, they perish.

That’s where armor comes in. Armor has two values — an Absorption Rate (AR) and Armor Points (AP). Think of AP as temporary HP. If the armor is taking damage, it means the person inside isn’t taking HP damage, which in turn prolongs their life. If the armor runs out of AP, damage falls through to the HP. And the AR determines how many points make it through to the AP.

Let’s say a critter slashes at the armor and does 6 points of damage. An armor with AR4 absorbs 4 of the 6 points, so only 2 points go through to the AP. Essentially armor slows the damage by what it can absorb and the damage it can take. The marines all are wearing standard combat armor, which has AR4/AP20, so it will absorb a few points to keep them alive while everybody figures out what to do.

The Grey Man vs. the Space Marine

The marines were close enough they could close to melee range pretty easily. And Buddy, the super-athletic jock marine, was quicker with a knife than a gun. (Athletics 18 vs. Accuracy 11)

So Buddy stabbed at the Grey alien with his combat knife and rolled a critical hit (rolled 1 on a d20). In combat, a critical (whether a natural 1 or rolling the TN) does damage straight to HP, bypassing the armor entirely. It was a lucky shot and definitely got the alien’s attention.

Meanwhile, the other marine, Jennifer, shot at the alien with her pulse rifle (Accuracy 15) at an Advantage because she has the Guns trait. As such, she rolled two d20s and took the lower of the two. Not a critical, but still a hit, so she rolled her damage — and that went to the alien’s armor.

Combat Continued…

Grey Man in Space – Peter Saga

John controlled the technician, the medic, and the two marines. So he had the medic draw his pistol and cover the technician. The technician tried again to disconnect the cord and got it part of the way. And the Grey moved away from the marine who just stabbed him and shot at him with a laser rifle. The tech was like a kid in a candy store and really wanted that gun.

In round 2, one marine fired at the grey and hit for a little damage. The other marine fired and did a little damage. The medic moved towards the alien ship but didn’t touch it. The tech finally got the cable off — and the lights went out. (The only light in the area was the blue light coming from the cable wrapped around the antenna — and with no power, the lights went out.) About that time, the grey that was in sight moved and disappeared.

Round 3, the marine with the binoculars acted as a spotter and discovered two more Greys standing next to a big hole in the habitat. They had disconnected two of the rooms of the habitat as a makeshift exit and stepped outside. The other marine fired full auto at the two Greys and hit them both, damaging their armor significantly. The technician followed the cord back towards the ship and touched it, setting off a security system. He was electrocuted (shook it off) and a stun wave went out from the ship. It only affected one of the marines (the one with the binoculars) and everybody else was OK.

The two aliens moved towards the ship.

Round 4, the tech tried to move further up the ship to try and find the aliens and tripped over the cable, falling on his face. The stunned marine lost track of the aliens and the other marine moved around the ship to see what he could find. What he discovered was that all the aliens had disappeared and the hum of the ship increased. In another round it was off the ground and leaving.


When they took care of the stunned marine and gathered themselves, the marine team headed towards the habitat. Unfortunately they discovered that the victim didn’t make it through the ordeal. The technician was unable to determine whether it was the explosive decompression when the Greys cracked open the habitat, the medical procedures they were performing on him, or disconnecting the goo from the device outside.

They also discovered a powered down mounted laser gun pointing directly at the airlock of the habitat. If they decided to go in the front door, they would have had that to deal with before they disconnected the power from the ship.

The marines were fine, though all the aliens escaped. And the technician had some new technology to play with. All in all, not a bad day.


As the very first session, and a whirlwind one at that, John really didn’t have a lot of feedback for me. He said he had fun and wanted to stay in the loop, but he didn’t get a good feel for the system because of the lack of players. However, he might be willing to help back the Kickstarter in October, so that was nice.

I told him I’d be back next week and he said he’d be back, so I must not have scared him off too badly!

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