Dredd II

Because Gangs of Mega-City One was Dredd I and what we are about to release as a playtest pack in a couple of weeks or so is Dredd III.

Dredd II came about towards the end of last year.  We had negotiated the licence to a seriously kickass sci-fi property, and needed a set of 28mm skirmish rules – having prepared this for a long time, we knew the BF Evo system would be tweaked for this game, and that the core system would also be used for the next Dredd game.  All clear?

And no, I am not going to say which sci-fi property, as the deal is still open and I fully intend to revisit it sometime in the not so distant future.

We wanted to keep the core of BF Evo, with the things that made it unique – so, the four action system and the reaction system stayed in.  We briefly mucked about with the idea of a single action system, as the game we were working on lent itself very well to things creeping about and we thought that effectively slowing down the action might allow more things to happen.

Didn’t work out that way.  The reaction system completely broke down and so many staples of the BF Evo system – such as Ready actions to prepare complex weapons before firing – disappeared altogether.

We messed around with the stat line too, something that has been mostly retained in Dredd III, though it is used in a completely different way.

The first change was to affect shooting.  One of the hooks of BF Evo was that you got to do things in your opponent’s turn, via the reaction system.  This has been noted as a Good Thing, as you don’t need to wander away from the table for half an hour while your opponent takes his turn.  We decided to turn that up a notch with Dredd II and instead of having a fixed Taregt and Kill number, we had a single Agility score. You rolled a D6 for a shotting attack, adding your Combat score.  Your opponent then rolled a D6 and added his Agility.  The latter became your target number for shooting – if you equalled or exceeded your opponent’s total, you hit him.

We had a similar thing with ‘wounding’.  You rolled a D6 and added your weapon’s Damage score, while the target rolled a D6 and added his Resilience.  He could also add his Armour score if your weapon’s AP score did not exceed that Armour score.

In the end we discarded the latter – you can have too much of a good thing!

The stat line was also changed in that instead of having fixed scores (such as Target 4, say), each score was actually a modifier.  So, your Agility could be +1, your Combat score +3.  This allowed us to scale the game in a completely different way – instead of ‘topping out’ at 6 (because we use D6’s), we could carry on up the scale as much as we liked to include seriously high-powered weaponry and vehicles with armour inches thick (this was not necessarily a design goal, but it is nice being able to scale vehicles and infantry into the same system, rather than having something completely different).

Close combat had been made simultaeneous as well, with both players rolling a number of dice equal to their Close Combat Dice score, adding a modifier and seeing who got the highest score – the highest got to roll damage.  Old hands will realise this is very close to the original Gangs system, and that is no great coincidence.  This kind of combat does not really work in a battle level game, but is perfect to provide the needed action in a skirmnish game.

Other than that, the system remained close to BF EVo.  Our love of using Traits to ring-fence common special rules was in there, for example, though we had ditched the ‘Fire Zone’ rules.  They are not really needed in skirmish level games, and instead we had an Auto X trait that allowed you to stack dice on other targets.  Or, concentrate on one target and roll multiple dice against his single Agility roll to really hose him down (something we retained in Dredd III, as you will see, but somewhat altered as it was way too nasty!).

So, that is a brief run down of Dredd II as it stood at the end of last year.  Why did we need a Dredd III?

Well, another licence property hoved into view, one that was somewhat different from our usual fare.  However, it was apparent that, with some tweaks, the BF Evo system would continue to serve well.  It just so happened that the changes forced by the new game could be applied to Dredd to make something even better.  Hence, Dredd III!


A Look Back at Dredd

Before launching into a full blown discussion of what has been done with the new Dredd game and why, I thought it might be useful to have a look at where the game all started.

The ‘house’ set of miniatures rules (well, aside from A Call to Arms, also used in the Victory at Sea games) has grown to be called Battlefield Evolution.  However, from the Modern and WWII rules sets that have just been discontinued, that rules system has been tweaked and refined for more than six years now.  Before games that were actually called Battlefield Evolution, the rules set was used in Starship Troopers.

However, it all started in a game called Gangs of Mega-City One.

If you have a copy of these rules, you can clearly see the core of the last version of Battlefield Evolution, very different though it played.  The two-action system is in there, where models each perform two actions per turn, having a choice of Move, Shoot, Charge and Ready each time.

This came from playing 40k a great deal, in its 3rd edition.  Rules for running had been removed, replaced by a flat movement rate, and Rapid Fire weapons had been introduced, giving the idea that if you stayed still and concentrated on your targets, you could put out more firepower.  A nice idea, but it was not uniform across other types of weaponry.

So, I started to think what a player would want his models to do, and how they could go about it – while giving the maximum flexibility.  In the end, it all boiled down to three things – moving, shooting, and fighting in close combat.  Move, Shoot and Charge.

Since well before Warhammer ever surfaced, there had been an idea in wargames that if you forgo movement, you can move twice, to simulate running or marching.  Well, if every model was given two actions, it was obvious that they could do pretty much what they wanted – Move twice, Shoot twice, Move and Shoot, or start adding Charge actions into the mix.

A Ready action was added, getting its name from having to ‘ready’ certain complicated weapons (such as a missile launcher that has to be loaded prior to firing), but it grew to cover all kinds of ‘special’ activities, such as planting bombs or activating special abilities.

It also had the benefit of being very simple to understand.  Once a player understands Move, Shoot and Charge, he can pretty much play the game without any assistance.  The Ready actions can alsways be added later (and you’ll see in the rulebooks that while Ready actions appear in the basic rules, we leave fully explaining them for the advanced sections).

The other big ‘trademark’ that appeared in Gangs was Alert Status – what came to simply be called Reactions.

This came from other miniatures games to, and I’ll use another 40k analogy here.

I used to get a little tired of, say, a Wave Serpent floating around a corner, disgorging a bunch of Banshees or Scorpions, and then watching them plough into my squad of Marines who just sat there and did nothing.

So, I started thinking about giving models ‘intelligence,’ allowing them to perform certain actions on the battlefield without the complete direction of the player.

Of course, models don’t move themselves and nor can they roll dice, so this idea was never going to go all that far.  However, it did lead to Alert Status, where a model who did nothing in his own turn could start acting in the enemy’s go if he was ‘triggered’ by someone getting too close.  Eventually, this was expanded with models being able to react to enemies even if they had performed their full quota of actions, and when they had been attacked, however far away the enemy was.  So, if mortar rounds started raining from the skies, your soldiers could either try to carry on pushing forward, dive for cover, or use their own long-ranged weaponry to try to destroy the mortars.

The current rules for the new Judge Dredd game are very different from Gangs, and bear little resemblance to even the last couple of Battlefield Evolution games.  I’ll go into the nitty gritty in the next post, but the trademarks are still there.

Every model still gets two actions, and can choose from a selection of four (though they are now called Move, Melee, Shoot and Special – for few reasons other than they sound better to my ears six years on).  Reactions are still in there, though they have gone back to being called Alert Status, a model has to forgo its actions to get it, and he only gets to perform one action if triggered, regardless of how many enemies surround him.

The stat line is now completely different though, and so are methods of attack.  Oh, and for Dredd at least, it is moving to a D10 based system.

But, then again, Battlefield Evolution has always been a flexible system.

Next time, I’ll go into the design philosophies that guided the new Dredd rules, as well as the ‘original’ rules that were drawn up for it, which will now never be seen in public.  Oh, and why that is.

And the Hits Just Keep on Coming

Okay, issues…

My first is that, in addition to Greeks and Vikings, another new army has come into view.  You see, I have more or less done everything I have wanted to do with my Bad Moonz Orks.  Maybe I’ll add another Meganob or two, perhaps I’ll get round to some Kommandos (can’t help feeling they just ain’t Orky).  Other than that, I’m happy to wait until some new models are released before I tackle the Bad Moonz in a serious way.

The trouble is, I am not finished with Orks.  Just the Bad Moonz.  So, I have actually been thinking about starting another clan.

Doing yet more Boyz might be a bit of a pain, but there is plenty to tweak and alter with the rest of the army to give it another feel that is distinctly non-Bad Moonz.  But which clan?

I knew I didn’t want to do Goffs or Evil Sunz – everyone does them.  I don’t like the blue used on Deathskullz, and I did Blood Axes when I was a kid.  That isn’t to say I couldn’t go back (I did with Dark Angels, after all), but Blood Axes just ain’t Orky either.  That left the Snakebitez.  I could kinda get into them, but I wasn’t passionate about them.

So, the idea was left to fester until something popped up.

That happened last week, when Imperial Armour 8 arrived.  At first I oohed and aahed over the new Orky bits and pieces – new flyers, liftadroppas are back, and so on.  Then I came across the Dread Mob army list, and something just clicked.

A freebooting Mek-led force of all sorts of weird contraptions, nd no clan fixation?  Count me in for that!

So, now I have a deep desire to do a Greek army, a Viking army and another Ork army.  While I am still adding to my Dark Angels, Britons, British and Tyranids.  Oh, and let us not forget the Flesh Tearers that have started arriving, week by week.

Which leads us to the next issue.

Work has seriously exploded of late, to the extent that I am seriously looking at a real crimping of my gaming time.I’ve had to cancel the Star Wars campaign this week, and we missed our monthly D&D game last weekend (still not sure why, but I was grateful for the chance to get some sleep…).

I’ll be making the effort to carry on with Star Wars, as we are so close to the end, and it seems I’ll have another painting day with the girls in a couple of weeks – maybe I’ll try to get the Fleshtearers done in one day (I did a similar thing with an entire Black Templars force a few years ago).

However, that doesn’t mean I’ll have nothing to write up here.  Fortunately, my Real Life work involves gaming too.

On the one hand, I have a lot on my plate at the moment doing all the normal boring business stuff that a company needs to keep going (you don’t want to read about that).  But, I also have to work on a number of miniatures games over the next few months.  The first of these is the new Judge Dredd miniatures game.

Now, there are no secrets to this game.  We’ve told everyone we are doing it, and that not only will the rulebook be given away for free, but that we’ll be doing an open playtest of it.  So, there is no reason for me not to talk about the game’s development here – why we choose to do certain things in the game, where the ideas come from, why things get rejected during development, and so forth.

Oh, and you’ll get a glimpse of the brand new miniatures that will be released alongside the game as well…

My Problem

I mentioned in the last post that I had a new issue when it comes to miniatures.  It goes like this…

A while ago, a new UK-based miniatures company, Warlord Games, hove onto the horizon.  Run by ex-GW veterans John Stallard and Paul Sawyer (he of White Dwarf editor fame), they did some pretty spiffy plastics of Romans and Celts.

The Big Thing about these were that they were a) damn near GW-quality in their multi-part, multi-pose goodness, and b) cheap – £17 for 30 models is good in anyone’s book.  I had always wanted to do a Roman army, but had always been put off by the almost impenetrable mess of manufacturers, metals, differing 28mm scales, low quality and so on.  Here was a company doing somethingsomeone familiar with GW models could understand!  I quickly built up a veritable legion of these guys (adding metal models that Warlord Games do as well), while Sand started doing an army of Gauls, using Warlord’s Celts as a base.

So far, so good.  My Roman army stretches to nearly 400 painted models now and, until Warlord release some more unusual designs, I can safely say they are ‘done’.

This weekend, I was browsing the Internet for something completely unreleated to historical miniatures, when I fell upon this;

These are plastic Vikings from Gripping Beast.  £18 buys you 44 models so, again, you really don’t need to splash out to create a really big horde. Almost then and there, I decided I must have a Viking army – after all, who doesn’t want a Viking army, a literal boatload of fist-throwing Danes?

Then I came across this;

These are plastic Greeks from Immortal Miniatures, currently running at £16 for 34 miniatures.  Needless to say, I have always wanted to do a Greek army.  I had thought I would be saying ‘This is SPARTA!’ a lot but, the more I think about it, I believe that Athens might be the cooler city.

Incidentally, on Immortal’s web site, it says, and I quote;

“The term ‘Spartan’ should only be used to donate the hoplites from the principal city of Sparta; the hoplites employed from other territories on the Peloponnese were ‘Lakedaimonian’.”

Now, I was given to understand (and please remember that, up to now, Ancient Greece has never really been my era) that the city itself was not called Sparta but Lacodaemon (hence the Lambda on the shields).  So I am not sure that quote makes sense.  Can anyone educate me on what the proper terms should be and, importantly (to me), why?

Leaving aside the painting time (cost really isn’t a factor with these armies), I currently have three very nice, custom-made (and boy, did they cost!) display cases.  Each has three levels big enough to display a decent sized army. At the moment, I have;

Case One: Tyranids on the bottom level, Uruk-Hai above them, with the top shared by Ogre Kingdoms and my British Peninsular army (using mostly Victrix miniatures, really should get some photos of them done.

Cases Two and Three:  These cases are butted up right next to each other, allowing my Dark Angels to sprawl across the top level of both, the Orks to spread across the middle level of both, with the Romans doing the same at the bottom (with some room to spare for my growing force of allies from Briton).

I have already packed away my Red Scorpions, Crimson Fists and Flames of War Russians. Painful, but justifiable.

Where am I going to find room for Vikings and/or Greeks (can’t believe I am seriously considering doing both!)?  I could pack away my Ogres, but not my British – that gives me half a level.  I could probably lose my Tyranids (I really only did them in the first place to challenge my Red Scorpions, and because I thought the paint scheme was pretty funky – I am by no means passionate about them).  That gives me a full level – enough for, say, Vikings.  So what about the Greeks?  Half a level is not enough…

The one option I am trying very hard to avoid is that my gaming room does, in fact, have room for two more shelving units, which could fit two more display cases.  But that would really be a costly option (I still haven’t got round to putting a coffee table in the bay window of the room, which would serve as a decent resting place for books and miniatures during play…).  That would make the new armies very expensive.

Then again, I would have to do it sooner or later.  Ahhhh!

Beginning to think that this miniatures-lark (and gaming in general) might be some sort of disease.

Anyway, if you (like me) are rather tempted by the idea of high quality plastic Vikings and Greeks, do pop along to Warlord Games‘ web site to pick them up. They are decent chaps who offer a stunning mail order service and, if you are after a true horde, have several deals for complete armies (132 Vikings for less than £50!).

Back to Painting

Getting precious little time for painting of late, but managed to squeeze in a few simople projects over the past week or so.  Please forgive the photos, as they were taken in rather a rush before I headed to work this morning…

First up are a few small additions to my growing Dark Angels force – a new Land Raider, a Techmarine and a new member for the Inner Circle, a Librarian in Terminator armour.

The Techmarine is long overdue, given how the Armoury is beginning to sprawl, and I have always liked that Terminator Librarian miniature – it is the second time I have painted one, the first being with my Red Scorpions.  Why another Land Raider?  Well, I have a plan…

This is how my Land Raiders stand right now – two vanilla, one Helios and a Terminus Ultra.  The plan, naturally, is to do an entire Land Raider company! Well, I have already done the Dark Angels’ 3rd Company, and am giving serious thought to doing the whole Ravenwing and Deathwing, so why not a Land Raider company too?

I figured the first Land Raider in the company, Tank Number One, would be the leader and so should be a Prometheus (back in the day, I had a Black Templars army with a Prometheus – I used to call it an Ork Mower).  The first squadron, tanks 2-4, would be vanilla Raiders, while the second squadron would be a Helios, the Ultra and probably another  vanilla.  The last squadron would be a mix of Crusaders and Redeemers, forming a kind of assault wing.

So far, this project has been quite cheap.  One Land Raider came with the Space Marine mega-deal (whatever that was called), and the Terminus Ultra I got for Christmas.  The other two appeared on eBay.  The Helios is actually a repainted Space Wolf tank (heresy!) that I picked up for around £25 – not bad for a tank with Forge World bits. The latest addition was even better value, an ex-Howling Griffons tank for £12. If that continues, I may actually complete this company!

Orks next, just a little project for them – but one I have been wanting to get round to completing for some time now.

Nothing unusual about ten Boyz, of course, but I have been wanting to do a small unit for some time, because a) I wanted a unit that could ride on Truks and the like without breaking up my big mobs and b) I now have a round 100 Ork boyz, meaning I could field Da Green Tide in an Apocalypse game!  One notable model in this unit;

A converted Ork Nob, basically mixing Black Reach bits with Biker parts, and giving him a whopping great Choppa!  Yes, a Power Klaw would be more effective, but I already have a handful of Nobz so armed, and this just looks good.  Gets the message across.

Finally, I have added some more gribblies to my slowly growing bug force.

These are the important models, the Tyrant Guard, as I could not really say I had a ‘proper’ fighting Tyranid army without these chaps protecting my leader (I really need more Carnifexes before I can say I have a ‘proper’ army, but that is another issue all together). I also splashed out on two of the newer models, the Pyrovore and Venomthrope.

So, not a huge amount of work done recently but, frankly, heroic efforts given what is happening at work right now.

Next on the painting table are 120-odd 10mm fantasy Orcs for a D&D project, and a warband of 20 more Britons.  Oh, and the first two Fleshtearers arrived yesterday, but I haven’t had a chance to put them together.

However, another miniatures-related ‘issue’ has recently revealed itself which is going to cause much head-scratching and soul-searching – and I’ll cover that in the next post…

Space Woofs vs. Orkses

Last night, we tried our largest game yet of 40k using the latest rules, a round 1,000 points.  I had hoped to get photos of this battle, but I managed to walk out of the office on Friday with the camera, but minus its memory card.  As soon as I correct that tiny ommission, I’ll get some photos up of the latest painting projects.

Anyway, my Orks against Sand’s Space Wolves.  We rolled everything for the mission randomly, which in itself added some new rules to those we had already learned – we would be fighting over objectives in a Dawn of War mission, so nightfighting and reserves rules were in play too.

My Orks looked something like this;

  • Warboss on Bike
  • 3 Nobz on Bikes
  • Battlewagon carrying a 10 Boy Mob, Nob has a Power Klaw
  • 30 strong Boyz Mob with 3 big shootas
  • Deff Dread
  • Weirdboy
  • 10 Grots
  • 20 Grots

The 10 strong Grots were around for no reason than, if we played for objectives, they could simply sit on one without draining points from the rest of the army.  The larger group could do the same, or screen my Boyz, depending on the scenario (both our army lists were drawn up some time ago).

Sandrine’s Space Wolves looked something like this;

  • Wolf Lord with Power Fist and some trinkets
  • Ulrik the Slayer
  • 5 Sky Claws
  • 2 lots of Grey Hunters with Meltagun, Plasma Pistol and Flamer
  • Long Fangs with mix of weapons

I grabbed the first turn, and set up with my small Grots unit on an objective near my baseline (which they never moved from the whole game), and my Boyz deployed far forward, ready to swarm over an objective in Sand’s deployment area.  My Warboss was on the far right flank, ready to cause mischief.

In response, Sand lumped her Wolf Lord in with one of the Grey Hunters, and set both opposite my Boyz, ready to scrap over the objective.

Turn One: Warboss turbo-boosted across the table, diving behind a building in preparation of leaping out and hitting a Grey Hunters unit. The Boyz surged forward, making a lot of noise with their sluggas, but not having much effect on the Grey Hunters they advanced towards.

Sand ran one Grey Hunters unit forward and they opened up with their weapons, taking down the front row of Boyz (and thus denying the Space Wolves a chance to assault).  The second Grey Hunters unit, with the Wolf Lord, threw some more firepower on the boyz, dropping some more.

Turn Two:  Things heat up – the Orks receive all their reinforcements, bar the Weirdboy and Deff Dread.  The Nobz Bikerz advance up the centre, while the Battlewagon, carrying more Boyz, advances on the left flank behind the larger unit of Boyz, supporting them with a Lobba shot (which missed wildly).

The large unit of Boyz surged forward, utterly annihilating the closest Grey Hunters squad in assault, and threatening the second.

Sandrine, for her part, receives only the Long Fangs for reinforcements, who have to march onto the table (thus meaning they cannot fire their heavy weapons this turn).  Seeing one Grey Hunters unit destroyed easily by the Boyz, she sends her other unit in the opposite direction, catching the Warboss in the open – one round of shooting and an assault later, and the Warboss is toast (my bad, I forgot bikes cannot run – obvious, when you think about it…).

Turn Three:  The Deff Dread appears, and starts making the slow walk across the battlefield, while the Battlewagon guns its engines and starts trundling towards the centre where it might have more of an effect (that is a slow vehicle, it seems, but maybe that is just me). The Boyz consolidate round their stolen objective, not pursuing the Grey Hunters.  Instead, they start trading fire with the Long Fangs at range. The large unit of Grots, deployed on the far right, grab another objective in the jungle.

The Sky Claws appear with Ulrik, who immediatly ambush the Nobz Bikers in the jungle, who had been trying to flank the Long Fangs.  They kill all but two Sky Claws, but once Ulrik hits them, it is all over.

Turn Four: The Battlewagon finally reaches the centre of the table, ably assisted by the Deff Dread, but slows down, becoming wary of the Grey Hunters who have a Meltagun and a Wolf Lord with Power Fist. The Weirdboy at last makes an apperence, and starts his long march to the action.

Turn Five: The Grey Hunters reverse their direction to start attacking the Boyz holding an objective and to clear line of sight for the Long Fangs who expect the Battlewagon to come steaming round the corner towards them.  Instead, they nail the Weirdboy, who had attempted to unleash his psychic powers but instead attracted a rogue warp entity.

The Sky Claws hit their jump packs and start making their way to the large Grots mob in the jungle, also holding an objective.

Turn Six: The Battlewagon steams round the factory in the middle of the table and unloads its Boyz.  The Long Fangs respond, targeting both Battlewagon and Deff Dread, but their shos bounce off thick armour.  The Sky Clawsreach the Grots to contest the objective, but their are too many of the little guys for them to shift.

Finally, the Grey Hunters, led by the Wolf Lord, begin to prepare their assault on the large Boyz mob, but the game ends before they can get started properly.

Final result – a 2-0 victory for the Orks.  The Boyz and small Grots mob still held their objectives, as they had from very early in the game, but the two surviving Sky Claws contested the objective the large unit of Grots held in the jungle. A final objective, in the jungle in Sand’s deployment area, was left untouched by both sides.

A fun game, and Sand is beginning to pick up the rules.  She is now looking to add more Blood Claws to her force, as well as another Wolf Priest (with Jump Pack, to keep up with the Sky Claws), and maybe a Rhino or two for her Grey Hunters.

For my part, I want to give my new Stormboyz a try out, and I think I might go back to my Mega-armoured Warboss, perhaps with similarly equiped Nobz.  Ot I might giv Sand a real scare, and just load up on 90-odd Boyz in a green tide that sweeps across the table…  I swear, the girls fear those big mobs of Boyz more than anything else in the army.

Oh, and we were using D20s as objective markers – that just feels wrong.  I’ll have to work on something better for that.

Core of Corruption

Okay, due to work c0mmitements, gaming has really not been doing too well of late – I have a bad case of Real Life interfering with what is important.  Which needs fixing, obviously.

I have managed to get a little painting done, and I have a 40k game or two scheduled for tomorrow, so I’ll get some photos and do an update on all of that in the next day or so.  I also made a recent order to GW for some general ‘supplies’ and might have accidentally picked up a couple of units for a possible Fleshtearers army (yes, I am that weak – obviously having three chapters on the trot is not enough marines).

As the end of the Star Wars campaign begins to hove into view (maybe 8 sessions/weeks, give or take), we are starting to look around for the next Big Thing for the gaming table.  The current front runner is a return to our Spinward Marches Traveller campaign (came to a halt before I started this blog, just before we ran through Dark Heresy), especially as I am due to get my hands on the all new Secrets of the Ancients campaign, which should fit into our group superbly.  There is even talk of Richard rejoining our group (he dropped out just before we started Dark Heresy), reprising his role as the Aslan Black Claw.

Anyway, all that is for the future.  The past couple of weeks has seen us continuing Star Wars, with the start of the Core of Corruption adventure.

Our intrepid heroes were dispatched to Imperial Centre (Coruscant) in order to locate files and personnel involved with the Sarlacc Project.  They were armed with a contact and a handful of leads.

Once they managed to navigate the busy space lanes of Coruscant (not an easy task, and they saw a very familiar Star Destroyer jump in just after they arrived, fraying nerves), they landed and found themselves hotel rooms.  In different hotels, natch, as the humans were not prepared to slum it, and aliens are not welcome in the higher class joints.

It actually took them some time to remember to try to reach their contact – who promptly told them he would help if they got into trouble but was not going to do their investigating for them.

By asking a few questions and engaging in some rudimentary computer searches, Kat (playing Elethial, a human noble/Jedi – actually, recently made Jedi Knight) managed to locate an Imperial ISB agent who was known to have at least some connection to the Sarlacc Project, finding out he would be engaged in his own investigation at a night club that evening.  Meanwhile Nick (playing Teebo, a Duros scoundrel/ace pilot) started asking after a Sullustan with a shady background amongst other aliens – dodging a COMPNOR anti-alien group with a superb piece of bluffing along the way (cornered in a dark alley, he was facing a beating, but convinced his would-be attackers that he was about to through a grenade to take them all out – they ran…).

They decided to follow Nick’s lead first, giving him another chance to show off his expert flying skills as they descended in a hired airspeeder into a labyrinthine and long-disused factory district.  At the heart of this place, they found the Sullustan’s hideout, just as he was being cornered by bounty hunters.  The latter were taken care of quickly (the players used stealth and achieved complete surprise), and managed to talk the Sullustan out of his armoured strong room.  After a quick bribe to give him enough money to get off world (he had irritated the Empire), the players learned the location of the Sarlacc Project, a tower under construction known as the Imeici Spire, and that they would need high level access to gain entry, of the sort an ISB agent would carry.

Some background checks on the ISB agent had already revealed that he often used a double on operations.  So armed, the players went to the Outlander Club to track him (the same place the Jedi chase Zam to in Episode II).  They duly found what they thought was the double but were abruptly brought up short.  In a real Gostbusters’ moment, they asked ‘okay, so what do we do now?’

Kat tried chatting the guy up, with little success.  Andy (playing Joshua, a human elite soldier) then waded in, demanding why they guy was ‘chatting to his girl’. Threats were made, and they ended up ‘taking it outside.’

The agent and his colleagues followed the double, Kat and Andy into a nearby alleyway, and the other players followed them.  Before any nastiness started, Kat sneaked up on the real agent and put a lightsabre to his throat, ordering them all to stand down.  The agent, being high level and no stranger to danger, ordered his men to open fire, and then shoved an elbow into Kat to break free.

Andy quickly rapid-fired the other agents to death, while Kat sliced off the agent’s hand, incapacitating him.  The brief fight alerted an Imperial patrol, and the players ran to their airspeeder, agent in tow, while trading fire with the patrol. Jumping into their airspeeder, the players thought they had gained a clean getaway – until they noticed a small surveillance droid chasing them.  Which was quickly joined by two more.  Who then vectored two patrol speeders on to the players.

Andy and Sand leaned out of the speeder’s windows to fire at the droids, scoring early hits. Kat used the Force to crush another droid, but the agent took the distraction as an opportunity to try to put a vibroblade between her ribs. Andy was on the ball though, and stunned the agent senseless before he could attack (after persuading Kat that drawing a lightsabre in a crowded speeder was not a good idea…).

Meanwhile, Nick was engaging in tight evasive moves, plummeting vertically through busy skylanes as the patrol speeders gave chase.  After breaking line of sight and reversing direction in the skies of Coruscant, he finlly managed to evade them.

After a brief rest, the players did a little more investigating, concentrating on finding out more on Imeici Spire.  They discovered the location of the construction company and, after discarding the ‘direct approach’ to the Spire, decided to try to gain entry by deception, posing as a work crew.

So, we ended the last session with them on board a construction speeder heading towards the Spire. They know the Inquisitorius is located somewhere in this structure, as well as the Sarlacc Project, and are spoiling for a real fight after all that ‘sneaking around.’

Maybe, next week, they will discover what the Sarlacc Project is all about?