Five Parsecs: The First Mission

Marcus begins his solo adventures across the Five Parsecs from Home universe…

Having rolled up a world, Palacco, which wasn’t entirely conducive to operations, there wasn’t much I could do in the campaign turn or ”world” phase. Palacco is tightly restricted, which means only one crew member can explore each turn. I may have misunderstood this as I thought this term limited other options too, but perhaps I was wrong. And in the end, I didn’t bother, which was probably an error as I might have gained something out of this phase. In addition, crew subsistence costs are doubled due to the high cost of living. The crew also had to pay four credits (Cr) for an operating licence.

Wellington had initially rolled up a corporate contact although the danger pay amounted to only an additional credit. It was also urgent; must be completed this turn or lost. I rolled up a sweep mission; move across and exit the table (right to left in the photos). The corporation want to clear out some rival group from the area. Maybe there has been a mineral find in the area. Who cares? A jobs a job. I rolled up a randomized layout having set out a table for this myself. Possibly there wasn’t enough cover…

The opposition looked quite tough but limited: Three “unknown mercs” whose characteristics made them faster, tougher and better in combat (+1) than any of the crew of the Pi. However, being mercs, they were more likely to bug out in good order if things got tough. One was a mysterious hooded specialist armed with a sniper rifle. The two grunts, the rotund (or perhaps muscled) Dinohed and Redd, who looked to have a more military bearing, were armed with colony rifles. These are simple, robust weapons favoured on the frontier.

The deployment conditions specified that it would be a surprise encounter in which the enemy could not move in the first round. In addition, there was a “peculiar item” located on the table which would give 2 XP if collected.

Turn 1:
During turn one the crew moved in from the right edge but observed no targets. Kel took up an initial sniping position in cover. Their opponents, caught by surprise, didn’t move.

Turn 2:
A terrible roll meant that only one of the crew would get to act before their opponents. I say terrible; in Five Parsecs, I roll a D6 for each character in the crew at the start of each turn. For each character, if I can allocate them a dice equal to or under their reaction stat., they act in the “quick action” phase. Or they can defer. Their opponents act after this in the “enemy action” phase. Finally, any character that did not act earlier may act in the “slow action” phase. Given their reaction stats are even split between 1 and 2, few if any were ever going to move in the quick action phase. In fact only Kel did, and got in a shot at long range and hit. However, this caused no damage only a stun which pushed back Dinohed 1”. After the mercs moved up to the cover of the ruin, Veyon got a shot off and hit. Rolling a 6 on damage she immediately killed Redd outright! Wellington moved in cover on the nearside/bottom of the board in an attempt to make an outflanking movement.

At the end of turn 2 the rules provide for a random battle event. My experience previously has been that these could be quite nasty for all. Let’s just say I have seen some nasty indigenous wildlife…However, what I got this time was “A desperate plan”. One random figure doesn’t move but one other character of the players choice gets two actions; one in quick time and one in slow. In the event, Pascal and Veyon both moved in the quick round. Pascal advanced and got in close for a quick shot at the already stunned Dinohed.

Hit and a damage roll of 6! Another quick kill. At this point the leader would probably have tried to withdraw and fight another day, but this might have prejudiced the crew’s post battle circumstances. Veyon immediately went for a shot at the leader. Hit with one shot from her Blast-rifle. And a damage roll of…another 6!

Given that I have previously alluded to my earlier crew’s travails, the result of this mission was a surprise. I’ve got into all sorts of scrapes and suffered various wounds previously resulting in turns spent in med bay and out of action. Treatment has also caused me to literally bleed credits. So, this very short game was unexpectedly smooth. Subsequent conversations have suggested to me that you should expect the occasional “easier” experience. To take a phrase completely out of context; “It’s life Jim, but not as we know it.” You can have hard days (which I most certainly had) but some days are just easier. However, it also turned out to lack in fringe benefits. While Pascal picked up the item of interest for 2 XP, we got no battlefield finds. Very disappointing. Post-game we did pick up some loot, a “shock attachment” which imparts the “impact” trait to a firearm. Everyone picked up XP, especially Pascal (7 – including one in the after the battle phase because the local food was so good!) and Veyon as a result of her two kills. We also picked up a new patron.

But otherwise, I really think it is time to get off this unpromising rock. The crew took a gamble, paid 5 Cr for fuel and the Pi blasted out of Palacco spaceport looking for opportunities elsewhere…

Author: Brigadier Tony

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