Aliens & Asteroids: The Second Public Playtest, Pt 3

When we left our small party of space marines, they were just being fired up by a previously hidden laser cannon that just popped out of a wall after they got the power on. On this mission, they were led by Aserious Commander and Technician Sean Samsonite, along with their marine friends Buddy and Jennifer. And they might have been in a little trouble.

The cannon fired a laser blast at, and hit, the technician by the panel he was working on.

Send in the Marines!

The commander directed the space marines to attack the turret, suggesting that they fire ammunition down the barrel of the weapon. The female marine did just that and caused a great deal of damage in the inner workings of the gun and the male marine used brute force to bend the barrel itself to make it miss. In fact, he scored a solid blow on the metal piece, and the very next shot hit the container of pillows — a cloud of debris entered the air and they noticed that some of the fluff from the pillows had actually caught on fire. There was atmosphere!

At that point, the two marines manhandled the turret and destroyed it in short order. The technician removed his helmet and popped the panel off the wall to start looking at the insides. Meanwhile, the marines ripped the gun from the wall and gave it to the technician like a trophy. In quick order, he secured it to his drone like his helmet and backpack.

Ultimately there was no damage except to the armor on a couple of characters, so base security wasn’t quite as secure as the Greys may have thought.

There were glowing wires of energy directing power to various components. There was a main CPU and two sub-processors, with wires running along the walls and into the ceiling. With some time and experimentation, the technician was able to open the door leading out of the entrance.

An Example of Leadership?

On the way into the second room, the commander made a suggestion to the tech that he could raise his salary because he was doing such a good job. He’d been making many suggestions up to this point, but this was the first time he was trying to pump up “his team.” He even convincingly typed on his PDA to try and sell it. However, Vernon failed a Morale check and the technician eyed him warily.

Side Note: Mechanics of “Convincing” Someone to do Something

This was the first case where we encountered one PC attempting to influence another during the game, so it was a great opportunity to examine how the mechanics of such an activity might work. For this first attempt, I had Vernon roll a Morale check to see if he could “pump up his team” — and even with the Leadership skill, which gave him an Advantage, he still didn’t make a very good roll. And since I figured it would be opposed, I had John do a Morale check as well, which he made easily.

Since then, I have rethought this a bit.

For Vernon’s commander to convince John’s technician that he could raise his salary, it should have been a Presence check in the case of both of the players. One was using Presence to influence the other and the other was using Presence to avoid being swayed in one way or another. If the quality of Vernon’s roll beat the quality of John’s roll, John’s character would have gained a boost to his Morale, thinking he was getting a raise for doing his job well.

The “quality” of a roll amounts to whether the roll was a Critical Success (Natural 1 or hitting the target number), Critical Failure (Natural 20), or a success (somewhere between 1 and the target.

For example, if the commander’s Presence was a 12 and the Technician’s Presence was a 10, here are some ways it might work out:

  • Vernon rolls a Natural 1 for the Commander and John rolls a Natural 1 for the Technician. They cancel each other out. Same would occur if they both had Critical Successes by rolling the Target number (a 12 for the Commander and a 10 for the Technician).
  • Vernon succeeds with a 9 (needed a 12). John succeeds with a 9 (needed a 10). Since Vernon’s roll was 3 under the target and John’s was only 1, the Commander was successful, so the Technician gets a +1 Morale boost.
  • Vernon fails his roll and John succeeds. John’s character knows the Commander was trying to influence him and he could react accordingly.
  • Vernon succeeds his roll and John fails. John’s character gets a +1 Morale boost because the Commander was successful.

Next Time…

Was there anything in the next room? Why yes! And we’ll get to that next time…

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