Friday, 20 October 2017

Jovian Chronicles Odyssey SEED - Part 2

Friday, October 20, 2017

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Jovian Chronicles Damaged Pathfinder
Someone's in trouble.
I can't blame you for thinking our Jovian Chronicles campaign (or this blog, for that matter) was dead as a door nail, as the only session report so far was posted way back in March of 2016! Fear not though, we're just extremely slow burn players. In fact we played another three sessions over this past year which I'm just now getting around to chronicling. Thanks to Xander from the Jovian Chronicles group on FB for the kick in the butt to get on with this. :D

As you might remember our three pilot heroes(?), Pierre Dutronc, Leif "Swede" Ericsen and Harrison B. Sturmer had just interceptet an unscheduled cargo transport in Jupiter orbit, The Nighthawk. At first the captain blamed their current situation on reactor troubles, but when the ship suddenly started jamming the exos they knew something was wrong. Soon after two brand new Wyvern exos, seemingly of a CEGA design, broke their way out of two containers and started locking on to the Jovian exo armours...

Jovian Chronicles space skirmish
Opening moves.
Pierre Dutronc barked orders into his comms,"Angel 3, get away from that container. Swede, cover him!". Before the Harrison Sturmer could retreat, the emerging shape ignited thrusters and blasted past, knocking the Retaliator exo armour backwards and into a spin. The Wyvern was armed with a bazooka and fired several shots at Leif "Swede" Ericsen, who went into an evasion pattern.
"Are you ok, Angel 3?", Dutronc's voice was tense. "No worries, chief, was just taken by surprise. Returning fire now". The Wyvern had moved away from The Nighthawk at speed and put the cargo ship between itself and Swede's Pathfinder. Sturmer breathed out while his fingers danced across the command dials - a shot at this range would need his unfocused attention. Suddenly Dutronc's voice broke through his concentration, "They're still jamming my long range comms, but I'm pretty sure command would be angry at us if we wasted the pilots. Besides, I didn't become lieutenant to mindlessly blow stuff up. Go for engines or R-mass." Capturing an exo or two with pilots would certainly put his next promotion within reach, he thought.
Swede came out of his evasive maneuver and fired a couple of pot shots at the Wyvern while circling back to check what happened with the other container. "Angel 1, I can't see the vibro knife anymore, but there are large gashes near the hinges of the container. Please advice." Dutronc was intentionally keeping far back from The Nighthawk, trying to avoid the worst of the jamming and not wanting to be drawn in close to the heavier Wyvern, "Hopefully it stays quiet, but don't take any chances. If you see anything move out of there open fire." "You got it, chief".
Jovian Chronicles Pathfinder and Wyvern  face off
Face off.
 Finally targteing lit up green and Sturmer triggered his entire missile load at the Wyvern. Back in flight school simulations he had a penchant for using his missiles at first opportunity in impressive, but often futile, displays of pyrotechnics. Every time he got yelled at by the instructors for wasting munitions that were, generally, meant for slower targets than exos. But the missile salvoes in the action shows he had watched as a teenager were just too cool! Still, this time he knew the chances of an actual impact were slim, especially if the Wyvern anti-missile equipment was as good as the one on the Syreen, but the missiles were a distraction. A lopsided grin spread across his face as the Wyvern started blasting the missiles with it's head mounted laser array. It opted to detroy the missiles, rather than evading them, meaning it was travelling in a nice, predictable vector. Perfect. Sturmer squeezed the trigger and the Retaliator's arm mounted railgun spit two kilograms of tungsten carbide at the enemy machine.
There was no impressive explosion. No fire or smoke. There was just a bright flash and then the Wyvern's entire thruster assembly was a gaping hole with a debris cloud of shrapnel and R-mass around it. As if a vengeful god had simply snapped its fingers. "Whoa, great shot kid!", Swede's laconic voice sounded over the comms and Sturmer felt a surge of pride at the compliment from the older veteran. He opened comms to Dutronc in Angel 1, "It's drifting away from us, should I pursue?". "Negative Angel 3, I don't want Angel 2 alone with a potential bogey. Circle back and cover him as he approaches The Nighthawk. I'm joining you at 10 clicks out". "Ooh, I feel safer already", Sturmer muttered to himself while making sure the comms were off. Although he did like and respect his commanding officer, Dutronc could certainly be a little overly by-the-book at times.
Swede fired main thrusters once and slowly started his approach to The Nighthawk and the mystery container. That something was in there was clear, he was even positive that it was another Wyvern, question was why wasn't it moving. The big man streched and primed a plasma lance for potential close combat. "Still no movement. Did it malfu...", heavy automatic fire suddenly poured out of the container, giving the Pathfinder pilot no chance for evasion! Swede instinctively put his hands around his head as massdriver rounds shredded the machine around him.
"Swede! Answer! Leif!" Sturmer fired full thrust and could see the broken Pathfinder that was still drifting towards The Nighthawk. It looked crumpled and the right arm had been torn completely apart from a power relay detonation. The giant machine bumped into a container at an angle and started tumbling as it continued drifting, away from the ship. "Swede, are you ok?!" No answer. The heavily damaged container doors were pushed open and a second Wyvern emerged. This one carrying some kind of heavy massdriver rifle - nothing they had seen in the briefings on the new CEGA exo. More sensor equipment as well hinted at some kind of command version. 
Dutronc was on a steady, oblique approach towards the new threat, firing the particle cannon whenever he had a clear shot. "Er, Angel 3, keep your distance as I approach the target bilaterally for enfilade fire". But Sturmer wasn't listening. He had already ignited a plasma lance and using The Nighthawk as cover he maneuvered his Retaliator for a close combat strike in what he hoped would be the rear of the Wyvern. The plan almost worked. The plasma lance hit at an angle across the torso, but what would have cut a Syreen in two was not enough for the much more heavily armoured Wyvern. The enemy exo turned away from the blow as Sturmer flew past. The attack had exposed the flank of the Wyvern but it was still a non-disabling hit meaning it had no trouble levelling that big massdriver rifle and firing at almost point blank range at Sturmer's receding Retaliator .
As he pulled every evasive trick he had picked up during flight school, and some he had picked up through his favourite exo action show, Sturmer pushed the Retaliator to its limits. Fire kept pouring in from the Wyvern that trailed him and he had no time to line up a railgun shot. All the missiles were spent and one of the thruster cones was nearing critical temperature, a design flaw that the Retaliator was infamous for. "Pierre, I could really use a hand right now!", he shouted through the comms. "Er, yeah... just wait. Can you hold out just a few seconds?!". Suddenly a damage alarm started blaring as the Retaliator took a shoulder hit. No serious damage but the armour around the right shoulder was pretty much gone. "Make it quick, Pierre!" Sturmer shouted.
Jovian Chronicles space skirmish
The end is near.
The overheating thruster cone finally gave out and the second one wasn't far behind. Two more hits. One of them more severe this time. With only a few seconds of any real maneuverability left Sturmer started preparing for ejection when the incoming massdriver fire suddenly stopped. He had to override a number of alarms and manually take control of the visual sensors to see what had happened. The Wyvern was still floating in space behind him, but there was a large hole through its chest and Dutronc's Pathfinder CT were behind it with a plasma lance still ignited in its hand. 
"Are you ok?", he asked with a hint of tremor in his voice. "Yeah, I'm fine. I mean, my manevuerability is shot, but I'm in one piece. What about Swede?!". "Don't worry about him. His comms were crippled and I could only pick him up thanks to the enhanced sensor suite on the CT. He's fine. Would you believe it? He says he's going to take a nap as it'll be a while until we can reach him anyway!"
Sturmer's laugh came out almost sounding maniacal, "Well, that's him alright!". He released the ejection levers he had been holding on to and watched his trembling hands. 
"That," he said, "was nothing like the simulations."

This was the first proper test of the full combat rules in Jovian Chronicles and for the most part it worked out well. We made some smaller mistakes here and there, and forgot about command points, which would have changed a lot of things I think. With all the rules explanations the battle went on for about 45 minutes, which I think was ok all things considered. In total i think it ran for about five rounds of actual combat with Swede being crippled in the third round.

Speaking of that, Swede is a lucky man! That massdriver scored six hits that took out pretty much every system except the pilot. The players also learned the power of armour piercing weapons (both the Retaliator railgun and the Wyvern massdriver), the unreliability of missiles (at least versus other exos) and the potential damage you can cause with a well placed plasma lance.

I didn't intend for this to be a little short story. The plan was to just have an opening, but it kind of kept on going. Well, hope you enjoyed it. The adventure continues in part three!

2 kommentarer :

  1. Nice!

    I remember doing something similar several (about 20) years ago. Are you guys using second edition JC rules?

    Much later, when I got Lightning Strike, I just dropped the JC stuff. LS was so much faster for resolution, but also a lot less detail.


    1. Thanks, Andy!

      We're using the first edition rules. For the most part they're the same as second edition. A few changes here and there but not enough for me to bother hunting down Silhuette Core and JC 2nd ed.

      LS is much faster for sure! We wanted to try and go as detailed as possible when we started out to see how it felt and how we liked it. The rules are fun, and relatively quick once you get your head around them. But we'll only pull out the map and minis for either really big or really important battles. Smaller actions we'll simply play out in a more abstract way.


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