Firefight in the House of Tomorrow

I has a second solo game of Double Tap by One Page Rules (OPR).
I played in “isometric mode” on the beautiful 1930 project of a villa by Norman Bel Geddes (the House of Tomorrow).

The villa is occupied by the Blues (40 pts):
2 Criminals Q5+ Knife + Leader (6 pts each). They must be captured alive and cannot be shot at.
2 Q3+ Body Guards with SMG (8 pts each)
2 Q3+ Body Guards with Pistols (6 pts each)

The attacking Red SWAT team (50 pts):
1 Q3+ Leader with Pistol (16 pts)
3 Q3+ Soldiers with SMG +Marksman (12 pts each)

I rolled random locations for the occupants of the Villa.
I defined 6 entry points for the attackers and I rolled one (the service back-door).

I used red and black cards to decide activation, building a deck with 5 red cards (4 + 1 leader) and 8 black cards (6 + 2 leaders).

map1

Round 1: The Reds have a number of consecutive activations that are used by a single soldier who runs up the stairs.

3

The two criminals are out of combat.

The Blue SMG unit at the second floor tries to stop him, but misses. With two more activations, the Red puts out of combat both Criminals. More shots are exchanged with the SMG Body Guard.

4

Round 2: two of the attackers down.

Round 2: Finally the Red on the second floor succumbs to the SMG Body Guard. The Blue moves downstairs and reaches the kitchen, hoping to fight the attackers while they are still in the porch, with no cover. But an SMG Red kills him and moves in.
The Blue SMG bodyguard on ground floor has taken cover and shot down the new attacker.

5

Round 3: the last two attackers move in, but the spaces are narrow and give a good advantage to the defenders. Both Reds are killed, with no further losses for the Blues.

6

 
It was a very interesting game. I played the scenario a few times, with different initial random positions and entry points. I find it interesting and a good way to learn the rules.

I am thinking of reverting to a more rigid activation scheme, where each card corresponds to specific units. The only activations that will be freely allocated are those due to the presence of leaders. This is to avoid the unrealistic effect of the Red soldier initially acting relatively undisturbed: I think he must have used all the red activations in turn one.

OPR Double Tap solo AAR

The One Page Rules catalog has been recently radically renewed. In this process, a completely new game has been published: Double Tap “fast paced spec-ops firefights set in the near future”. As always, it is simple, well-thought and available as a free download.
The game includes a reaction system that forces interesting decision and an accurate use of cover (and elevation, which counts as cover). Also, the different weapons have been given advantages and disadvantages based on range (a SMG has a disadvantage at medium range, while a rifle is more effective at medium range than at short range) so one has to find the optimal distance to maximize the effect of a unit’s weapon while minimizing the effect of the opponent’s weapons.

Another innovation with respect to the older OPR games I tried in the past is that, during a turn, a player is not constrained to activate each model once: you have as many activations as your models, but you can allocate these activations freely.

Finally, the reaction system: when a model has line of sight to an activating enemy unit, it can choose one of: Move, Dodge, Fire (or Melee, if it is so engaged with an enemy unit). This choice if always an interesting one: when the model receives fire from a stronger unit, dodging might be the best choice, but firing gives you a chance to damage the enemy. If the unit is not under fire, choosing between moving and firing is often difficult.

The game comes with a point system that allows you the flexible creation of well-balanced armies. Each army will typically have between 5 and 12 models.

For my game, I used the following 46 points armies:

RED ARMY Q5+ (poor quality)
1 SMG + Fast [6 pts]
5 SMG [4 pts]
4 Rifle [5 pts]

BLUE ARMY Q3+ (high quality)
1 Rifle + Large, Regeneration, Piercing Rounds (the robot) [22 pts]
3 SMG [8 pts each]

The battlefield presented a number of obstacles, vehicles and small buildings, but maybe next time I will have even more. For this kind of game, the availability of cover is really essential.

This is how the game went.

00

Round 1. The robot is very effective, killing several Red SMG soldiers before they are close enough to respond to fire. The Reds try to gain an advantage by climbing on one of the buildings and on the blue truck, but some are shot by reactions as soon as they came into view of the robot.
The Blue soldiers move forward slowly, while the robot uses most activations.

02

The robot slaughtering the Reds.

Round 2. The Bot is killed by a lucky reaction roll from a rifle-man on the top of the truck, but only five Red units are still alive. Two of the Blue soldiers are in good positions and the third one moves forward.

Round 3. One of the Blue soldiers dashes through the open ground and reaches the cars near the Red positions. At the end of the turn, only one Red soldier still stands.

03

Round 4. the last Red soldier is killed. The Blue have lost only the robot.

It was a very dynamic game. The reaction system really keeps things continually moving on both sides. I realize I made some obvious mistakes, under-using the Red rifles which should fire from greater distances. I hope to play this scenario again, exploring different possibilities. The game is slightly more complex than other OPR games, but this is well justified by the variety of situations and choices offered to the player.

Eve of Tschai 9 – The Lizard Temple of Orugis

Prior Events: [1] The two scouts Eve Reith and Titania Waunder are sent in a small ship to investigate the surface of an unknown planet. Their mother ship is destroyed by a mysterious missile. When the scouts crash-land on the island of Vord, Eve breaks a leg. In the following weeks, she is cured by a Pnumekin (a human servant of the Pnume aliens), R2714, who also teaches her the basics of the language of planet Tschai. The underground Pnume settlement is attacked by the Dirdir, a different alien race. Eve escapes and reaches the surface, but she is wounded. [2-4] She is taken prisoner by a man, Zutiz; they sail Northward on an artificial canal. [5] They stop at a shrine, where a priestess of the blue moon Braz bids Zutiz to take Eve to the temple of Az (the pink moon) in Osomena, on the Northern shore of Vord. [6] In Osomena, Eve fails the trial of Az and is ordered to leave before the next day. In a tavern, she meets a girl, Caj, who tells her that her scouting starship was embarked on a ship directed to Dima, in Southern Charchan, also stopping in Bamarsa in Eastern Kachan. [7] Caj has her own ship, the Qumberina. She offers to sail with Eve and Zutiz to Bamarsa, in order to collect some Viz, a material that can be sold well in Charchan. From Bamarsa they will sail to Dima. They embark a fourth member of the crew: Kodr. [8] While sailing East, the Qumberina is stopped by an air-raft manned by Wannekmen from the city of Azez: they ask the payment of a toll to cross the Vord strait. One of the Wannekmen hides Dirdir drugs onboard. Eve and the others are taken to Azez and questioned. Zutiz tries to resist and is wounded. Eve manages to convince her Wannek interlocutor that they have been framed. They are allowed to leave.

journey

[Encounter rolled on the Adventures on Tschai (The Space Gamer, 1981) module]
[Game Master Apprentice cards:  steal religious object]

The Qumberina is reached by a Wannek swimming below the surface of the sea with water-jets. He delivers a message sealed in a metal cylinder. The Wannek ask Eve to steal the sacred black cup from the temple of the six-legged lizard, in the ruined city of Orugis. They will have to take the cup to Bamarsa, where the Wannek will contact them again.

Eve’s goal: to steal the black cup.

Will Caj come with Eve to the temple? YES AND the mistrust due to the episode in Azez seems to be forgotten. Zutiz is still wounded and Kodr will stay with him, mounting guard to the ship, while the two girls visit the temple.

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The Temple of the Six-Legged Lizard

The temple of the six-legged lizard is a large pyramid at the center of the ruins. It is apparently deserted. Eve and Caj enter from the portal on the left. They cross a first empty vault. In the second room, they find a door marked with what seems to be magical inscription. They pass through the door. Is everything quiet? YES AND they see in the next room a stair leading to the upper floor.
They must pass next to an ancient machine. Is it out of order? NO BUT it doesn’t seem to be dangerous. It just start humming as they climb the stairs.
They have reached the room in which the sacred black cup is kept! Can they steal the cup? NO BUT…they can leave unarmed. Eve and Caj find themselves surrounded by several cultists armed with spears and wearing lizard masks. The cultists tell them that they know of their sacrilegious intentions. They will be escorted to their ship and they cannot come back to Orugis ever again in the future.

map2-jpgres

The Sacred Black Cup is well guarded….

Vancian Blackmarsh

I am planning to use a pre-made fantasy module for my Eve of Tschai solo campaign based on Jack Vance’s Planet of Adventure.
The candidate is Blackmarsh by Robert S. Conley.
I found this work mentioned on a 2013 blog post on tenkarstavern.com with the following description: “I’m not sure how many freely available campaign settings there are in the OSR, but this is professionally done and has the makings of one heck of a hexcrawl if the DM so desired.”
I have read the booklet and I found it well written. It has a small hex map with eighty locations and adventure seeds described in the text. There is no plot: it really is a setting detailing the history and geography of a small region. This is a fantasy setting and I will have to adapt it to Vancian SF, but I don’t expect this to be too difficult. I am thinking of the following conversions (but I will improvise as I go):

  • evil wizards fond of crazy dungeons: Pnume and Pnumekin
  • orcs: Dirdir (man-eating humanoids)
  • elves: Wannek and Wannekmen (I know this is far-fetched, but it should be fun)

All magic will be translated to some kind of alien technology.

In preparation of the game, I have redrawn the map adapting the names to Vance’s style. Blackmarsh is now Bamarsa. It is situated on the East coast of the Kachan sub-continent. Eve is sailing to Bamarsa from Vord and the journey will require her a few more weeks / game sessions. So I still have time to think if there is anything else I can do to get ready for her arrival in the area.

I don’t think I have ever used an adventure module for my solo games before. I am curious to see how it goes….

bamarsa_sm_2

Eve is currently in Azez, on the Vord strait. She still has to travel about 2000 kilometers before she arrives at Bamarsa (as I have renamed Blackmarsh).

journey

Eve of Tschai 8 – Framed in Azez

Prior Events: [1] The two scouts Eve Reith and Titania Waunder are sent in a small ship to investigate the surface of an unknown planet. Their mother ship is destroyed by a mysterious missile. When the scouts crash-land on the island of Vord, Eve breaks a leg. In the following weeks, she is cured by a Pnumekin (a human servant of the Pnume aliens), R2714, who also teaches her the basics of the language of planet Tschai. The underground Pnume settlement is attacked by the Dirdir, a different alien race. Eve escapes and reaches the surface, but she is wounded. [2] She meets a man, Uarzuan, who cures her wound and leads her to an abandoned Pnume tunnel. [3] A Dirdir follows them into the tunnel and kills Uarzuan. [4] Eve kills the Dirdir, but she is taken prisoner by a fellow of Uarzuan, Zutiz; they sail Northward on an artificial canal. [5] Zutiz stops the boat near a shrine, where a priestess of the blue moon Braz declares Eve free and bids Zutiz to take Eve to the temple of Az (the pink moon) in Osomena, on the Northern shore of Vord. [6] They reach Osomena, but Eve fails the trial of Az and is ordered to leave before the next day. In a tavern, she meets a girl, Caj, who tells her that the scouting starship was embarked on a ship directed to Dima, in Southern Charchan, also stopping in Bamarsa in Eastern Kachan. [7] Caj has her own ship, the Qumberina. She offers to sail with Eve and Zutiz to Bamarsa, in order to collect some Viz, a material that can be sold well in Charchan. From Bamarsa they will sail to Dima.
[This episode includes several short sessions]
8A – Eve’s goal: to continue the journey to Bamarsa.

[Reaching Bamarsa on the Qumberina will take about one month. I will roll a random encounter each week.
Using the tables from Adventures on Tschai (The Space Gamer, 1981), I found the Qumberina is approached by an air-raft occupied by humans]

An armed air-raft manned by six Wannekmen approaches the Qumberina. The men come on board and ask 50 sequins as a toll to pass through the strait.
[Game Master Apprentice cards: detect treacherous underling]

azez1-jpgres

The Wannek city of Azez on the Vord Strait

The men inspect the ship and one of the manages to sneak in the captain’s cabin a package full of rakran, a Dirdir synthetic drug. Do the crew notice this dirty trick? NO AND nobody suspects there is anything wrong.
The Wannekman simulates finding the drug package. Does Eve understand that they are being framed? NO AND she thinks it’s Caj’s fault.
Can the crew convince the Wannekmen that they are innocent? NO AND they are taken to the nearby Wannek city of Azez to be questioned.

[a triple NO AND… the journey has a major detour]

8B – Eve’s goal: to leave Azez and continue the journey Northward.
The crew is led inside one of the prismatic buildings of the Wannek. Eve and Caj are separated from Zutiz and Kodr to be questioned.
Can Caj convince Eve that they have been framed? YES BUT now Caj is resented with Eve for her lack of trust. Their relationship is not as good anymore.
The interrogatory involves a Wannekman that translates the human language to the Wannek chimes by means of a machine. Is the translator faithful? YES
Eve tells all her story: she is from Earh, running away from Pnume and Dirdir. She wants to reach Dima to investigate the whereabouts of her space-boat.
They are taken to another room, where a pyramidal machine induces a trance-state in Eve and Caj. Do they pass the test? YES AND the guy who tried to frame them is identified and immediately imprisoned.

8C – Eve’s goal: to find Zutiz and Kodr and leave Azez
Do Zutiz and Kodr react well to the questioning? NO BUT a Wannek is present and does his best to keep the situation under control.

Who is causing the trouble? Zutiz or Kodr? Zutiz.
Does the Wannek manage to calm down the two men? NO – Zutiz is uncontrollable
Is anybody unharmed? NO AND there’s a violent fight: both Zutiz and the Wannek are wounded.

az3-jpgres

Inside the Wannek prismatic building

8D – Eve’s goal: free Zutiz and leave
Will the wounded Wannek recover easily? YES AND actually is was just stunned.
Is also Zutiz’s wound light? NO: he is seriously wounded.
Is Zutiz in the condition to leave with the others and will he be allowed to do so? YES

Eve of Tschai 7 – The crew of the Qumberina

Prior Events: [1] The two scouts Eve Reith and Titania Waunder are sent in a small ship to investigate the surface of an unknown planet. Their mother ship is destroyed by a mysterious missile. When the scouts crash-land on the island of Vord, Eve breaks a leg. In the following weeks, she is cured by a Pnumekin (a human servant of the Pnume aliens), R2714, who also teaches her the basics of the language of planet Tschai. The underground Pnume settlement is attacked by the Dirdir, a different alien race. Eve escapes and reaches the surface, but she is wounded. [2] She meets a man, Uarzuan, who cures her wound and leads her to an abandoned Pnume tunnel. [3] A Dirdir follows them into the tunnel and kills Uarzuan. [4] Eve kills the Dirdir, but she is taken prisoner by a fellow of Uarzuan, Zutiz; they sail Northward on an artificial canal. [5] Zutiz stops the boat near a shrine, where a priestess of the blue moon Braz declares Eve free and bids Zutiz to take Eve to the temple of Az (the pink moon) in Osomena, on the Northern shore of Vord. [6] They reach Osomena, but Eve fails the trial of Az and is ordered to leave before the next day. In a tavern, she meets a girl, Caj, who tells her that the scouting starship was embarked on a ship directed to Dima, in Southern Charchan, also stopping in Bamarsa in Eastern Kachan.

Eve’s goal: to find a passage towards Dima.

Round 1: Eve asks Caj if she can help her find a passage towards Dima. Can Caj help?
YES AND she has her own ship, the Qumberina.

ship5-jpgres

The Qumberina

Round 2: Would she be interested in sailing to Dima? It’s a very long journey….
YES AND she has been thinking for a long time that it would be a good idea to sail to Bamarsa in search for Viz, a material that can be sold at high prices in Charchan. She is willing to take Caj and Zutiz as part of her crew.

Round 3: Can they leave Osomena early tomorrow?
YES BUT there is not time to search for other members of the crew. The only available expert sailor is Kodr, a skilled but very superstitious man from the small islands South of Cape Dread.

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