This is a project long time nurtured in my mind that finally becomes a reality. About a couple of years ago I made a conversion of an outlaw on the run. I didn't know then, but this was the beginning of the biggest insanity in collecting terms I can recall! I thought of a police chase, a squad of Arbites following him through a densely populated hive city, in the best movies tradition. Since then I've been collecting buildings and sci-fi civilians. Just to run this scenario. OK, I know the word that actually applies here; no need to say, just change it for commitment. Ahem.
I've finally found myself in conditions to play this adventure. To catch a thief.
|Nothing to do with the movie. The name simply suited the scenario|
So, what's this all about? I just got my board and put on it everything I had. Right, I mean it.
|Two years of collecting stuff|
So you can guess more or less where am I going with this. The whole point here is having a movie chase scene. Here I'll leave below the rules I've designed for the scenario. I've already played it and I think they work good enough for their purpose. Maybe this would have been a nice chance to try Pulp Alley or some other rulesets I'm looking forward to have a look at, but I really felt in the mood of having a Rogue Trader game again. I'll let you judge!
Before you keep reading (if you dare to do so!), bear in mind that the game needs a Game Master, so there will be lots of info that need to remain secret for one or another player (or both!). Keep reading at your own risk!
Life’s not easy for an outlaw within the Imperium limits. Always wandering, always looking over your shoulder, trying to do something (mostly illegal) for a living but also staying under the radar and not drawing any undesired attention. If you know how to do your job, you can erase your track. Living in a hive makes some things easier. The anonymity of the crowd is quite useful to disappear. But it has its cons too. There are too many tracks to erase and, if you are kind of good in what you do, inevitably the word spreads. It’s a matter of time that one day a snitch comes over asking too many questions. When that happens, you have two paths only: you make the snitch disappear (which most probably will draw even more attention from whoever was paying him) or you flee.
That day has come for Brent Beronis. Apparently someone has been asking too many questions, and didn’t look like an employer looking for hired muscle. He doesn’t want to overreact, as having a guy asking questions is not a matter to be scared about. But it has put him on alert for sure. There are warrants on him on three Subsectors, and apparently the military haven’t forgiven him yet for that desertion issue. So who knows who is looking for him.
Tonight, while having a drink at The Sparklin’ Pulsar, an Administratum clerk makes his way into the bar and shouts: ‘Brenteus Beronis! There is a warrant on you for tax avoidance on undeclared –as well as suspicious- labour activities! Surrender or be detained!’
Dammit. That 876-T4 Labour Inspection form. The clerk comes with his local bailiff henchmen. Time for a bar fight… or time to run?
Rules of the scenario
In fact Beronis has no choice. He can get into a bar brawl, but the sound of the sirens of the Arbitrators outside makes it clear. Eventually he’ll have to run. In this scenario, one player will act Brent Beronis, trying to make his way out of the authorities from the Sparklin’ Pulsar to a safe place. Unfortunately there’s no such thing in the vicinity. His safest bet is running towards the docks and get on board the first ship he can find.
The other player will represent the Imperial authority, and will play the Adeptus Arbites force as well as any other pursuer, trying to capture the fugitive before he escapes again. Being alive or keeping any motor function is not a requirement for capture.
Any other miniatures or elements present in the scenario will be played by the GM, unless otherwise is stated, as described in the special rules section ahead.
The game begins with Brent Beronis inside the bar, at the corner of the board, and the law enforcement officers surrounding it. The fugitive player will start first.
Brent Beronis must reach any boat at the docks and escape on it through any border of the board. In doing so, he will achieve 15 victory points. He must escape through the water; all land accesses to the board are Arbites controlled. An ongoing raid is blocking any other routes. Escaping to the open bay is the only possible way. Beronis cannot leave the board by any of the other borders or accesses. Besides, he can (and probably will) defend himself. Any Arbites hors de combat will give Beronis 1 victory point. No matter if the Arbites is dead or just knocked out. Any Administratum or any other Imperial pursuer will give him ½ victory point.
The Arbites must capture Beronis. If he is taken alive, the Imperial player will get 15 victory points. No matter if he is injured or a little bit bruised, he would have been like that (or worse) after the interrogatory anyway. If Beronis is killed, the Imperial player will win 5 victory points. However, civilian lives are to be preserved and, under regular circumstances, are not to be targeted. Collateral damage should be avoided during the pursuit. Any civilian knocked out will mean -1 victory point. Any civilian killed will mean -2 victory points.
Additional victory points can be achieved by the players, as described in the special rules section ahead.
On the run (for the fugitive player and GM only!)
Well, Brent, let’s face it. You don’t really have a chance to stand. You may kick some Administratum asses, but it’s obvious that the Adeptus Arbites are taking you damn seriously. You cannot expect to fight a squad or two of those and get away with it. A soldier knows when it’s time to fall back. You have to run, but maybe you can get rid of a few of those flatfoots in the meantime. The main dock is your best chance, there are some boats there and you can take one to flee towards the bay. Once there you can think of a way to getting anywhere civilized to get a fresh start. The good thing is that you are already carrying all your gear. Well, not all, obviously, but enough to give you a fair chance.
The streets are crowded at the time, so you really have to make the most of that. You can run dodging people way much faster than a full equipped squad of Arbites, and they won’t dare to shoot among the crowd. Well, at least that’s your bet. No much more to say. Run, Brent, run!
Event cards: You will receive the following event cards. You can play them as specified on each. They are of one use only, so discard them after use.
- Playing home. You’ve been living in the neighbourhood for a while now. You know every alley, every corner, every manhole. They don’t.
You can play this card at the beginning of your rival’s turn, but only if none of his miniatures has line of sight to Brent at the beginning of his turn. Roll 1D6 and check the result below:
1. &%$#!: You hit a rubbish bin and the noise gives you away. No effect.
2-5. Disoriented: The pursuers have momentarily lost track of you and lose precious minutes trying to decide what alley you took. Choose an enemy unit. It won’t move this turn.
6. Sneaky: While those morons are trying to get oriented in the maze of streets, you take a shortcut. Choose an enemy unit. It won’t move this turn. Besides, you get an extra move that must be executed at once, in your rival’s turn.
- Snitch. You have friends. Even if you didn’t, whenever someone is chased, all the other scoundrels line up. Arbitrators won’t find you if they can do something about it. Hauer Ruttger is the local informer, and a reputed snitch, if those two words can ever fit together. He is the guy the Arbitrators will ask where you may be heading to. He’ll give them the accurate intel… or not.
You can play this card at the beginning of your rival’s turn. Place the miniature of Hauer Ruttger adjacent to an Arbites/Administratum unit of your choice that has no line of sight to Brent at the beginning of the turn. Roll 1D6 and check what intel he will provide:
1. Damn rat!: Hauer has betrayed you. You maybe shouldn’t have said those things about his pet. He tells the Arbitrators about the shortcut in the back alley. That unit moves twice this turn.
2-3. Unconvincing: He tries, but the Arbitrators don’t buy it. No effect.
4-5. Chitchattery: Hauer gets the Arbites delayed by telling them old stories and weird slanders, but leading them to nowhere. That unit cannot move this turn.
6. I've seen things you people wouldn't believe: The old scoundrel not only gets the gullible Arbites disoriented regarding your whereabouts, he actually misleads them towards a totally different direction. You can immediately move the unit as you please, keeping unit coherence. Hauer moves with them as part of the squad.
At the end of the turn, the Arbites get rid of him. That squad won’t fall for whatever he has to say again during this pursuit. However, keep the miniature on the board. In your turn, you can move him and try to reach any other Arbites/Administratum squad. Whenever you get adjacent to it, roll 1D6 and proceed as explained before. Keep in mind that the unit must have no line of sight to Brent for Hauer to try anything. There is no limit of uses, but you can try only once per squad. Besides that, Hauer is an individual character and you can play him to hamper the Arbites efforts to reach Brent as you please. If he gets to harm or kill any Arbitrator, Brent will not get any victory point for that.
Go get him! (for the Imperial player and GM only!)
You may hide, you may run, but one thing’s for sure. You cannot escape. The Administratum clerk made his job by pointing out Subject B765/D/M8/A3’s whereabouts, but now it’s the Arbites turn to bring justice upon him. The warrants on the subject are enough for six death penalties, so there’s no need to be gentle. It’s always preferable to get the fugitives alive in order to conduct a proper public execution, but sometimes the exemplary measures have to be delivered in the streets.
The Besenval district is quite a complicated area, you can expect little collaboration at best from the locals, if not open rebellion. A firm hand is the better approach here in the slums. Collateral damage is to be avoided as a principle, but taking this criminal out from the streets is important enough to justify any measure, so no sweat if the lowlifes refuse to cooperate and a show of force is required.
Go get him.
- Deployment: The Administratum clerk and bailiffs will start the game at the Sparklin’ Pulsar bar main door. Arbites Squad A will start blocking the other door. Squads B and C will enter the board in subsequent turns as per GM indication.
- Use of lethal force: Your aim is capturing Brent Beronis. If capture becomes impossible, then a killing will do as well. You will be using lethal ammo, so shooting at him will likely end with him slain on the streets. If Beronis loses his last wound by a shot, roll 1D6. A result of 1-5 means that the fugitive has been killed. A result of 6 means that he is badly injured, but he still breathes enough to be healed before the interrogation (and later execution) begins. If Beronis is taken down in hand to hand combat, it’s assumed that he is taken alive and the Arbites have just knocked him out.
- Shooting in the streets: Shooting in a crowded street involves a lot of risks, the main one being missing the shot and accidentally hitting an innocent pedestrian. If an Imperial agent misses his shooting roll (once all modifiers have been applied), check if there is any other miniature within 2” (5 cm.) from Beronis. If that is the case, there is a chance that this civilian can get wounded (or even killed). If there are several miniatures within that radius, choose the closest one to Beronis. Roll 1D6. If you get a 6, the bullet is lost and no one gets hurt. Any other result means that the civilian has received the bullet impact. Solve the hit in the regular way. If the civilian loses his wound, follow the special rule Use of lethal force to determine if the civilian gets killed or just injured (i.e., roll 1D6. 1-5 means the civilian is instantly killed or dies with no medical attention. 6 means the civilian is just injured).
Mastering the game (for GM only!!)
- Moving through the board: Your main concern here is obviously keeping the thrill of the chase. Given the aim of the scenario, you should provide as much scenery as you can and try to make a long, interesting route. Detours and scenery elements at different levels may prove interesting ways to keep things up. Given the nature of an urban setting, there will be multiple choices for the fugitive player to reach his destination point. It is your task preventing him from taking excessive shortcuts. For example, in the current disposition of the scenery (as seen in the picture at the beginning), the player may choose to jump from the bridge to the water and reach the docks swimming, but that’s missing the whole point of the scenario. You must avoid such kind of actions, pointing that the water is in fact poisoned with corrosive acid and industrial waste, and the maneater piranhas make impossible for him to follow that course of action. If by any chance you notice that the fugitive is taking excessive advantage or manages to find out an unreasonable shortcut that may avoid him from running through the whole board, you can place unexpected perils and setbacks. Choose any creature from the rulebook and place it on the board in order to shut that way. The underhives are dangerous places where a Ferrobeast can lurk in the darkness, a pack of flying vampires can suddenly attack whoever dares to enter their area or a raging Ambull can pop up from nowhere, opening a tunnel out of a wall. The point here is not to force an encounter, but to make Beronis get back to the path.
During the chase, the creative interaction with scenery and pedestrians must be encouraged. Climbing up buildings, parkour, blowing pieces of scenery down in order to block the street… The fugitive player may want to use civilians as human shields, but that is unlikely to worry the Imperial player (and both should be aware of that).
A special reference to the elevated monorail must be done, for this particular board. There is no room enough for a cinematic fight on board (unless the players decide to prove otherwise!). The monorail should move in the opposite direction Beronis is running towards, in order to avoid him jumping onto it and escaping without the Arbites being able to do anything. Make the monorail appear on one side of the board whenever the chase is close enough to be relevant in game terms. On its first turn, the monorail will just be set on the rail. On the second turn, the monorail will move until it reaches the station. It will spend the following turn there, passengers getting in and out, and will eventually move forward on the fourth turn again, until it exits the board.
If the fugitive player attempts to use the monorail to escape (just getting on board as a regular passenger or in any other way), the train will be stopped. A concerned citizen pushes the emergency brake, the servitor driving it receives the command to stop or whatever other reason. Remember, no shortcuts.
- Arbites reinforcements: During the first few turns, the fugitive should have to be able to set some distance between him and the chasers. If the fugitive player plays his event cards properly, that distance may become more apparent. Given the urban structure of the board, if the chasers are more than a couple of turns of movement far from Beronis, it is unlikely that they will be able to catch him. If that happens, then you may let the reinforcements arrive.
Arbites Squad B can enter at the beginning of the Imperial turn by any side of the board, at Imperial player’s will. From that turn on, the Imperial player will have Arbites Squad C available. They will arrive via Arvus Lighter and will be deployed on the roof of the Arbites Station, at the corner of the board. In doing so, the Imperial player has the opportunity to intercept the fugitive’s route, but having to descend from the building (which will take one turn) gives Beronis a fair chance of deviating or running by through the area. The scenario is designed to give proper balance and upcoming stressful events for both sides.
- Orpheus Khaled, bounty hunter: There is a good reward on Brent Beronis’ head; that always lures sharks. When Orpheus Khaled heard over the radio that the Arbites were on a raid to capture him, he knew this was just too good to let it go. If only he could get him before those flatfoots…
If Beronis manages to dodge all the Arbites, you may feel like deploying a bounty hunter. You will control him, his turn being just after the Imperial player. Khaled can appear anywhere on the board, but ideally in some place from which he can hamper the escape without being determinant to the game. The purpose of Khaled is just to add some more tension to a situation in which the fugitive may have too much advantage to his pursuers. However, he will do his best to hunt down his prey, so don’t be gentle. This character needs to be controlled by the GM for a reason. Orpheus Khaled has his own agenda, and it may not be the same that the Arbites have. If a law enforcement agent interferes or puts his mission at risk, Khaled will not hesitate to shoot him. He wants the reward, everything else is secondary. Besides, any casualty caused by Khaled will give no victory points to either side. Orpheus Khaled is on his own side (dun dun dunn).
- Angry mob: Besenval is not a quiet, law-abiding place. It’s a hell of a neighbourhood, prone to unrest, in which law and order are only imposed by the iron fist of the Imperium. The Arbites won’t have a cheerful party when they enter the area, but at first nobody will dare to face them or to challenge their authority. However, things can escalate quickly if the Imperial law enforcement agents begin to mistreat the locals and behave like they own the place (which, let’s say it openly, is their usual way of doing things). The Arbites have the numbers and the strength to conduct their raid with relatively little nuisance, but they shouldn’t count on the collaboration of the people in the vicinity.
Any group of five or more civilians (i.e., five or more miniatures keeping ‘unit coherence’, miniatures within 2’’ –5 cm.— of each other) will block line of sight. None of the players will be able to shoot in that circumstance, and Arbites won’t be seeing Beronis for the purpose of the special rules as told above. Beronis can dodge these groups without any penalty to his movement, but Administratum and Arbites squads will have their movement obstructed. When any of these squads make contact with a group of civilians (as just described above), they will be able to keep moving, but just half of their remaining movement distance (e.g., if the squad had 4” (10 cm.) left when they make contact with a group of five or more civilians keeping unit coherence, they will be able to move only 2” (5 cm.), that representing the difficulties of a full squad moving through a little crowd).
Arbites won’t show much delicacy when conducting their operation, but that involves risks. If they take civilians down (injured or death), the Imperial player will lose victory points, as described earlier. If the Imperial player loses 5 points this way, the locals will inevitably think that they have had enough of this and won’t suffer more police abuse. If this happens, all the civilians on the board will attack the Arbites and bailiffs with whatever they have at hand. Stones, bottles, whatever. If the situation at that point of the game is favourable to the Imperial player, you may choose to allow 1 out of 5 citizens to carry a firearm.
For gaming purposes, all the civilians have a standard profile:
Any casualties caused by civilians will not give the fugitive player any victory point.
This is it all. You can see, extense descriptions, just a few minis (damn, one side has only one miniature!) and tons of special rules, charts and dice rolls. I've tried to keep it as Rogue Trader as possible (I even considered the 1/2 points!). As said before, I've already tested it and meets the fun criteria :). I'll be writing the AAR through the weekend (that's my intention) and next week you'll see the practical results of all this nonsense :D