Have a COW (Creature of the Week) #2: The Crown

Moving on a little, we’ll cover another fun “creature” we came up with that’s not a creature at all — it was a mercenary group hired to cause some trouble and interrupt a diplomatic mission between the Dominion and the Skaali. Our PCs just happened to be there at the time and thwarted the terrorist attack this crew planned.

Design Thoughts

One of the things I have done poorly since beginning the playtest campaign was creating a consistent group of villains I could count on in future adventures. Though I had some ideas on how to proceed a single mission at a time, I really didn’t have a solid idea for repeating bad guys. This would have been a great group to do that with (and they may appear again). This little group of mercenaries was hired to create the impression that the Skaali were untrustworthy, which could be played by certain corporations into serious war profiteering.

The Crown consisted of six “points”:

  • Denne Lera – Commander
  • Jeroy Ganes – Technician
  • Nestev Thom – Space Marine
  • Athyn Willey – Technician
  • Jacquel Perry – Space Marine

Their plan was simple. Dock, set up a bomb, create a distraction, evacuate, and watch the fireworks from a safe distance in their shuttle. Thanks to our PCs, that plan didn’t quite work out that way.

If I had played the crew then, like would now — I think the battle would have turned out differently.

Crown Commander – Denne Lera

Denne Lera was once a decorated member of a Space Marine contingent on Mars, but was caught doing a bit of moonlighting as a gun-for-hire to support her political agenda. Corporate Espionage offered more benefits than being a by-the-book Marine, and she was not afraid to reap the benefits. Her team of Marines was top notch, reliable, and completely dedicated to her. It didn’t hurt that they all had lost friends in the war against the Skaali and they felt like their leadership was holding back despite heavy losses.

Once discovered, she and her team bailed and started selling out to the highest bidders with an eye to do harm to the Dominion cause while sparking the Skaali war again. They found a good rock in the Field and set up shop, always ready to roll when the money was good.

Though I created Denne with an early version of the Aliens & Asteroids rules, she still holds up pretty well as a Level 5 Commander.

  • Denne Lera (Commander) (Level 5): Attribute 13, Origin: The Field, Traits: Guns, Leadership, Melee, Sleuth, Stealth, Tactics; Items: Pulse Rifle (Ranged) (3-250m range; RS2; d6 single, 3d6 burst (disadv), 6d6 (full auto, requires cool down); 5 clips; Laser-honed Combat Knife (d6+1), Standard Combat Armor (AR4/AP20) (Black)

She may not seem so tough in that stat block, but let’s talk about how she is in combat.

  • Denne stays in the background, directing traffic for her team. From the hot seat, she utilizes her Tactics or Leadership traits to push any advantage she can find.
  • She’ll use Tactics to grant a teammate an extra move or attack each turn. This can be useful to demoralize her opponents by blasting multiple controlled bursts at a single target, taking them out of play and potentially getting into the heads of companions.
  • She’ll use Leadership to improve a teammate’s chances with a normal round, granting them and Advantage to aid in any tactical gains she can find.
  • And if all else fails, she will join the fray and add another gun to the battle at an opportune moment.

If any two members of her team fall in combat, she will call a tactical retreat, regroup, and attack again. If more than half her team goes down, she will call for a retreat from the battlefield and live to fight another day. But she has a long memory and should attempt to cause trouble for the PCs in the future should she escape.

Ultimately she is the complete opposite of Lieutenant Gorman from Aliens (1986), using a coordinated attack to demolish anything in her way while keeping a level head.


Possible Enhancements

If you bring Denne and her team into play with a more advanced crew of PCs, here are some simple ideas to make things a bit more difficult for them:

  • Add a drone to the mix. This gives Denne the ability to not only use Tactics & Leadership from afar, but the ability to attack as well. A simple drone with a pistol or pulse rifle could really change the tactical landscape and grant her even more possibilities.
  • Increase her levels. A few beneficial traits would include: Behavior Prediction, which can be used instead of Leadership; Gambler, which could improve her chances of using any other traits; or Observant, which might help her see things more clearly.
  • Give her better tech for herself or her team:
    • Laser Rifle (Ranged) (d6+2; 2-150m range; RS2; 30 round battery)
    • Enhanced Combat Armor (AR5/AP25)
    • Laser Knife (Melee) (d6+1)
    • Stun Grenade (d6 damage to 10’, Save vs. Shock (Presence) at a Disadvantage for all targets in blast or Immobilized for d6 turns)

The options are really limitless.

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