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Thread: Playthrough notes on ST:RW campaign

  1. #1

    Play notes: ST:RW, Episode I: Training Day

    [Decided I would move this out of the Romulan War campaign thread, so as not to make a big mess of it.]

    Current PC team:
    Asha Feral, Orion, command officer (representative)
    Vorik ("Saemek"), Romulan agent posing as Vulcan, security officer (tactical officer)
    Roman Black, Human augment (genetic resequencing personal development), science officer (planetary survey)
    Natalia Koslov, Human, flight control officer (hot-shot pilot)

    *Quick rundown of how my players handled "Training Day", the first adventure above, for those GMs who might be curious. Bear in mind I was probably a bit more ruthless with my players than most GMs will be, but I have an experienced bunch of players who can handle it and enjoy the challenge.

    As soon as the team put boots to the ground and the shuttle left the scene, the de facto commander of the away team, Asha, picked the PC with the best Observe score (which, it turned out, no one the best Perception) and put them on point 50m ahead. The other three followed at 10m spacing. She also ordered a double-time march (a Demanding fatigue test, considering the desert terrain, itself penalized by their environmental suits) as she was intent on her team getting a nice "exceeded expectations" score on this training exercise. Consequently, one of the team was "winded" by the time they arrive at waypoint one and it was clear that another such half-run to the next waypoint was going to hurt.

    However, the Science officer just so happened to have a decent Survival (Desert) skill (being a Human enamored with Vulcan culture and hoping to visit one day to try their hand at a kahs-wan). With the team leader tapping him as navigator for the team, he rolled up a nice Extraordinary Success, so I dropped a bonus on the fatigue tests for everyone to represent his routing out the least demanding path to the waypoint.

    Plot Turn 1
    After witnessing the crashing shuttle streak by in the sky, the team leader attempted to call it in but found communications jammed (the flight officer character figuring that out). Still intent on getting a good test score for her team, Asha ignored it and had everyone double-time it again. Everyone agreed, but everyone arrived at waypoint two "Winded", with the Tactical officer "Tired".

    With everyone having beat themselves up a bit already, I opted to skip over the terrain hazard and let them get right to waypoint two.

    Act Two: Confrontation
    Here the players were already suffering various penalties from fatigue and their environmental suits. Worse, the Romulans waiting to jump them went completely undetected by anyone. With that first attack with surprise, everyone was Injured or worse. Still, the PCs immediately grabbed the Player's Guide and started asking about cover, concealment and such. Exercising a little tactical awareness, everyone focused on getting to the cover of a nearby dune and going prone. Asha, the team commander, focused her fire on destroying the rock pile and thus removing the Romulans' cover while the other three laid down a massive amount of fire immediately after.

    In the end, three of the team were Wounded and Asha herself was Near Dead, but the Rommies were toast (the PCs plasma weapons having no Stun setting). The Science officer, having no skill in First Aid whatsoever, failed to render First Aid for Asha.

    A lot of Ouch, but the PCs limped away with a healthy respect for deadly combat in the game.

    The players weren't able to overcome the (admittedly ridiculous) deadswitch in the Romulans' suits, but the Science officer again rocked his skills and figured out how to take a picture of the guy inside that darkened helmet without setting it off. The science officer and the security officer both failed to hack a Romulan data pad, but pocketed it to turn over to Starfleet Intelligence later.

    Asha also figured out how to get a (rather poor) blood sample by simply stabbing one of the bodies with her knife and yanking it out before it could get burned. This was a goal the players had set for themselves: "discovering" the Vulcan/Romulan common ancestry, despite established canon. With the blood samples and the picture/scans of the guy in the helmet's face, they pretty much had what they needed. Meta perhaps, but fun. They got a little bonus experience for it.

    Interesting side note: The players asked if they had anything like cell phones on them. Specifically something they could take pictures and video with. After discussing it a bit, we decided Star Trek communicators were NOT cell phones. However, it seemed reasonable that hand scanners should be able to take pictures and record audio/video, considering everything else they can do. This came up because the players were discussing whether to hike out the crashed Romulan shuttle and gather some intel, especially pictures and video. In the end, with the shape they were in, they decided to hoof it straight to the extraction point and get the heck out of there.

    Pinch 2
    The Science officer again came through, leading the team through the dust storm to the extraction point. However, I stayed on top of their oxygen tanks and they were already aware that wounded characters consume more oxygen. With double-timing it everywhere, the extra oxygen burned and the time they spent fiddling with dead Romulans, Asha's oxygen was figured to run out just shy of the extraction point. Refusing to slow the team down and willing to suffering the consequences, she ran out of oxygen roughly fifty meters from the Shuttle. That killed poor Asha. However, I allowed the team to attempt First Aid again, considering the circumstances, and the science officer, Roman, dropped all his Courage on the roll, reviving her to Near Dead again.

    Plot Turn 2
    Now in a shuttle with functioning environmental system, oxygen was no longer an issue. The team easily overcame the comm jamming and restored contact with the training vessel in orbit. They then performed a "Quick Fix" on the shuttle, figuring three hours was enough time to get back to the training vessel, and off they went.

    [Adventure 2: Bridge Duty scheduled for day after tomorrow (Nov 1st)!]
    Last edited by Huckleberry; 11-01-2015 at 07:25 PM.

  2. #2

    Play notes: ST:RW, Episode II: Bridge Duty

    As the second adventure in the campaign, Bridge Duty focuses on space combat and actions in space, just as the first, Training Day, focused on the ground. Following in this vein, the third and fourth adventures focus more on social interactions. All of these playthrough briefs are presented here to give Narrator’s a chance to see how players respond to the adventures in this campaign, not the least of which those instances where the players do the unexpected or find alternate solutions a Narrator might not foresee. There are clear instances of this in the Far From Home I and II briefs below.

    By this point in the campaign the players decided that, since Asha was planning to upgrade her Command 1 to Command 2, an “independent command”, right after Bridge Duty, that they would give up the Intrepid class “Valiant” and design their own ship. An impromptu contest was agreed upon, that whoever scored the most bonus experience from skill tests and roleplay during this adventure would get to design the ship (with healthy input from the rest of the players). Science officer Roman Black’s player “won” and designed the NXD-01 “Renegade”, a light destroyer, in between this episode and the next. The players then took command of their new ship between the events of Bridge Duty and Far From Home I.

    Furthermore, excited about their new ship, the players decided we should play right on through Far From Home I and, later, Far From Home II. So, we ended up playing through all three adventures in one night, wrapping things up at about two-thirty in the morning. And this was after a Halloween party, though we ditched it early. Also, they broke my coffee pot in the course of all this (no, really, it broke.) It shouldn’t have been much of a surprise then when they practically “broke” Far From Home I and II as well.

    A note on Rank and Standing: With Asha possessing the Promotion 1 edge (Lieutenant) and the Command 1 edge, she held the position of Executive Officer at this point in the campaign. To place her and her crew on the bridge for the space battle(s) in Bridge Duty, I declared the ranking Captain (Cpt. Pierce Morgan) was on the bridge, evaluating her under combat conditions, prepared to step in and take command if necessary. This also served as perfect justification for some Command and Promotion edges some of them took immediately after, as well as Asha being recommended by the captain for command of the experimental light destroyer, “Renegade”.

    Asha's first action on taking the bridge was to use her Persuade (Oratory) skill to make a shipwide announcement, to boost morale for the potentially dangerous mission ahead. This didn't really accomplish anything in-game, but she scored the first roleplay and skill test experience reward with that. Roman (science officer) and Natalia (flight control) got together and recalibrated sensors to better detect cloaked Romulan vessels.
    Natalia then plotted a course for waypoint one and they were on their way. Arriving at the end of their shift, they deployed the sensor relay, tested it and plotted a course for waypoint two before turning the bridge over to the next shift.

    Plot Turn 1
    Immediately upon taking the bridge on the second day, Roman conducted long range scans and lateral scans again. The communication relay was deployed and tested, and that ended their second shift on the bridge.

    Act II, Confrontation
    Beginning the third day's bridge shift, Roman again conducted long range and lateral scans, with no results, then Natalia plotted their route and Valiant began her patrol. Roman then detected the encrypted scout report being relayed through the comm relay and successfully decrypted it. Though irregularities were detected in the report, they were unable to determine whether this was simply due to common signal interference or errors in the report itself.

    Pinch 1
    The Admiral nevertheless proved wary of the report's authenticity, so ordered the Valiant to extend her patrol pattern. Natalia did so easily, moving the vessel out on her new route. Roman soon after detected the inbound Romulan fleet, managing not only an accurate reading of the fleet's strength and disposition, but picking up on some useful minor intel on the fleet (exp reward for rolling a nice Extraordinary Success).
    With the Romulan fleet still light-years away, the Valiant was able to gather its readings and warp back to Alpha Centauri well ahead of them, with no danger of being engaged by the fleet.

    Asha tapped Vorik (Tactical Officer) to use his Tactics/Space to find a good place to hide in the asteroid belt (Asha, as yet, having no Tactics skill at all). The Valiant parked, Running Silent, and went completely undetected as the Romulan rolled by at Extended range.
    Roman racked up a nice bundle of bonus experience with a number of daring, and successful, academic tests; gathering intelligence on the fleet via sensors without being detected, sending an encrypted intel report to Alpha Centauri defense right under the Romulan's noses, recalibrating sensors to optimize Jamming Sensors tests, and then jamming both the fleet's sensors and their communications.
    I ruled that the Valiant would have two combat rounds to take advantage of this before the sensor and comm operators among the fleet did some recalibrating of their own, and Asha then ordered the Valiant to engage the enemy fleet.

    Pinch 2
    Asha picked a random Frigate as their target and combat began at Extended range, with Valiant having two rounds to do as they wished unopposed before seizing first initiative in subsequent combat rounds. Attacking a moving fleet as they were, I ruled the fleet (and their target, as long as it stayed with the fleet) would move one range away each round and that once the fleet sent a ship back to deal with the Valiant, the fleet itself would automatically move out of range. Nonetheless, this would force the fleet to slow, allowing Alpha Centauri defense forces time to form up, accomplishing the PC's goal for the adventure at that point.
    The Valiant spent its first round with a Close maneuver, followed by a simple Fire in the first round, then Fire and Open in the second round. This ending up placing the Valiant at Long range, which I warned would result in 1 to 3 free shots by the fleet at that range, representing a few Romulan tactical officers plinking away at the Starfleet vessel harassing their rear. While those shots would carry no penetration, the PCs opted to Open again as their first maneuver on the third round, dropping them out to Extended range (safe from random pot-shots).
    What they didn't know was that those two Fire maneuvers hit rather hard and reduced that Frigate's shield strength to the point that it took a random hit to a system. That system turned out to be sensors and the ship was suddenly blind. The Frigate then performed a Disengage maneuver and pulled ahead of the fleet, out of range of the Valiant.

    Plot Turn 2
    I decided at that point that a Frigate being forced to stumble away blind was enough to provoke the Romulan fleet. It slowed its advance and sent not merely the Pinch-2 Frigate, but the Plot Turn-2 Bird of Prey as well after the Valiant, both at the same time.
    What followed was a mere four rounds of combat that ended with the Valiant down to 3 Structure, no Shield Strength, weapons systems lost, Operations offline and Life Support thin. After a few minutes of feverishly searching the PG and NG for something they could do to salvage the battle, the PCs finally realized they'd already accomplished their mission objective, and Asha ordered their NPC engineers to perform a Quick Fix to get Operations back online. Then Natalia promptly Disengaged and warped the heck out of there.
    Nevertheless, they left behind one Frigate at half shields and sensors offline, and a Bird of Prey with no torpedo system, half their structure gone, no shields and some badly damaged systems. Considering they'd handicapped two of the thirty Romulan vessels comprising the invasion fleet, that was not a bad showing (especially for their first space battle).
    Last edited by Huckleberry; 11-01-2015 at 07:32 PM.

  3. #3

    Play notes: ST:RW, Episode III and IV: Far From Home, Part I and II

    Far From Home, Part I

    Now the players had their own ship, which they all had a hand in designing. This had a significant impact on the following two adventures, allowing them to easily overcome or avoid certain elements of Far From Home I and II, which in turn allowed us to finish all three adventures almost back to back, in one night.

    Plot Turn 1
    The PC team, in their new ship, the NXD-01 “Renegade”, got surprise on the Bird of Prey in orbit over the ground base. The Renegade performed a Fast Attack for its first maneuver and a resulting systems hit knocked out the Bird of Prey’s propulsion, causing a warp breach. Using the rules in Starships (p. 34), the Rommies rolled and had three rounds to stop the imminent explosion.
    However, Roman, the science officer, was busy Analyzing Ship Status (NG, p. 102) and noticed this, so the Renegade’s hot-shot pilot, Natalia, simply Disengaged and ran around to the other side of the planet. The Bird of Prey wasn’t even able to engage them again before their engineers failed to conduct emergency repairs and the core breach went critical, destroying the Bird of Prey.

    Act Two: Confrontation
    With orbit wide open now, the Renegade zeroed in on the Romulan ground base, scanned it thoroughly (for intelligence purposes) and then wiped it out with phaser strikes from orbit. With that, their primary objective was achieved and they could now shuttle down to the surface without having to deal with anti-air defenses. Moreover, the Renegade was able to track surviving Romulan patrols for the away team, allowing the PCs to more easily avoid encounters with them.

    Pinch 1
    At the wrecked colony, Roman confirmed it had been destroyed from orbit by Romulans, but no one discovered the traumatized survivor hiding there. The team did search the surrounding area and found the trail to the nearby cave though.

    The Renegade detected the patrol before the team did, warned the team, and they manage to avoid it.

    Pinch 2
    The team followed the trail and found the cave.

    Plot Turn 2
    Asha managed to Persuade the survivors in the cave that she and her team were Starfleet and there to rescue them on behalf of Andorian Imperial Guard. Her identity as an Orion helps with this, as she wasn’t immediately mistaken for a Romulan.

    Far From Home, Part II

    Now, unfortunately, the PC team learned that there has been Andorian survivors being held at the Romulan ground base they destroyed from orbit. The survivors in the cave were not happy to learn the PCs killed them, however incidentally. Asha was again able to smooth things over somewhat, at least enough that the Andorians allowed themselves to be rescued.

    Plot Turn 1
    At this point, just when the team is about to lead the Andorian survivors back to the extraction point, the rear chamber of the cave is mentioned.
    The team easily identified the Romulan eagle on the wall, but their translators didn’t have the Romulan language, so no one recognizes the writing as Romulan (except for Vorik, who wisely didn’t point this out). Roman dated the drawings at over 50 years and identified the chemical composition of the colored chalk, but no one deduced that the drawings are the work of Romulan children. The PCs assumed it was either the work of primitive slaves brought here by the Romulans some time in the past or the result of natives to the planet who the Romulans have since wiped out. Nonetheless, they at least determined the Romulans had been here at some point in the past.

    Act Two: Confrontation
    The Renegade again detected and tracked the approaching Romulan patrol. Rather than ambush or avoid it, the PCs huddled in the back of the cave with the Andorian survivors and let the Renegade take them out from orbit with the ship’s phasers.
    At this point I figured the PCs were having it much too easy, so I collapsed the cave entrance and dropped an Extended test on the team, to blast their way out with plasma rifles before they ran out of oxygen (and without collapsing the whole cave in on all of them). They managed it, though they burned through most of their Courage to do so.

    Pinch 1 and Midpoint
    The PCs had already scanned the Romulan ground base quite extensively (though not well enough to detect the Andorian captives there), before destroying it.

    Pinch 2
    This time, even with the Renegade spotting from orbit and warning of range and distance of Romulan patrols, the team still failed to avoid this patrol and had to deal with it, with three Andorian scientists under their protection. Here Asha finally got to shine with her Social skills, Influencing the leader of the Romulan patrol to let them pass unhindered, citing the Starfleet vessel overhead ready to pound them. Thoroughly buffaloed with some very impressive Influence and Negotiate tests by Asha, the team almost considered trying to talk the Romulans into surrendering, but decided not to push their luck, with the Andorians relying on them for rescue.

    Plot Turn 2
    At the extraction point, the away team came under surprise attack by a third surviving Romulan patrol. These guys were as interested in seizing the shuttle in order to escape as they were killing the PCs and Andorians, considering their base and the orbiting Bird of Prey had both been destroyed. Vorik was Injured and one Andorian scientist Wounded in the firefight, before their “Rhino” combat shuttle wiped them out.

    Act Three: Resolution
    In the end, the PCs returned to their ship with detailed scans of the Romulan base and three Andorian survivors. The base was destroyed (and the Andorian captives there lost), but their primary objective was nonetheless achieved. Additionally, they had intel that the Romulans had probably occupied the planet as some point in the past, a politically troubling point considering the growing influence of parties sympathetic to the Romulan Empire who would use information of that sort to justify the Romulan invasion.

    The Vice Admiral, needless to say, was not very happy with them once he read their report. The indiscriminate use of the Renegade's weaponry from orbit not only killing the Andorian captives at the Romulan base but gravely endangering the Andorian scientists at the cave...the Vice Admiral was going to have to deal with a very irate Andorian ambassador and the PCs were promised their fair share of the misery before it was all over.
    Last edited by Huckleberry; 11-01-2015 at 07:34 PM.

  4. #4
    No game this weekend, so no update.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 1999
    Chicago IL
    Really enjoyed reading these and hopefully when you have time you can catch us up on the rest...
    "The best diplomat that I know is a fully-loaded phaser bank." -- Lt. Cdr. Montgomery Scott ("A Taste of Armageddon")

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