Ashen Stars Actual Play thread

I am starting this thread to be a repository for Ashen Stars actual play summaries.  I’ll begin!  I ran Ashen Stars at the Maelstrom convention a couple of weeks ago.  For the most part, it was an improvised scenario.  The game began with the lasers in pursuit of a wanted felon running hot aboard a Speeder smuggler vessel.  We only had three players, so we decided that two NPC lasers had been captured and were aboard the smuggler ship.  I wanted to test out a variation on space combat.  I’ve eliminated the NPC turn but otherwise the combat runs as written.  The PCs have an advantage in skirmish awards since their base award for a showdown victory is 2:  1 for winning the showdown and 1 for being the attacker.  I don’t mind that the PCs have this advantage; I think I would rather see the PCs win the skirmish than lose it.  After the first two showdowns, both ships had reached half of their skirmish goals.  The smugglers wanted to escape and had 3 of 6 skirmish points.  The lasers wanted to disable the Speeder engines and had 5 of 10 skirmish points.  After a couple more actions, the lasers achieved their goal but the smugglers dumped the NPC lasers into space.  The lasers had to chose whether or not to close on the smugglers, or rescue their comrades.  Of course, they rescued their comrades.  I gave the smugglers a Systems Repair roll to fix the engines.  This set the target difficulty for the lasers to rescue their comrades and reach the smugglers before the smugglers could repair the engines enough to dash into a transwarp corridor.  The laser pilot’s Helm Control roll was just short of the target!  So the smugglers escaped!  The rest of the adventure was tracking the smugglers through the transwarp corridor and confronting the outlaw at a real “hive of scum and villainy”.  There, they discovered that their quarry was a freedom fighter sought by a totalitarian unigovernment.  As one player put it, she was the Princess Leia of the Bleed!  That turned things on its head with the lasers wanting to get paid for their contract, but also avoid failing it outright while helping the rebel leader.  Their plan to do so involved blowing things up and planting false DNA evidence.  All in all, it was great fun!



  • Here's a bit from our latest Ashen Stars campaign: an Arena Fight

    So the lasers are set to infiltrate the powerful Jao crime syndicate and need to impress the locals with their awesomeness. They've come to "The Pit", the hippest fighting club in Canyon City on Pactyas and managed to get their Tavak chopper into the fights. He's won his first fight and can now go up against the club's champion, an enhanced mutant Cloddhuck gladiator. He needs to last 2 minutes (6 rounds) to "win" -nobody expects someone to actually beat the champion. The problem: He's pretty much out of Scuffling points and already low on health. 

    So the group does their best to help their chopper: The human hailer/mapper was hacked into the arena's environmental control system, adjusting the parameters to favor the Tavak as much as possible (+1 boost to scuffling) - until he gets caught, but that is another story. The Balla wrench/face uses Bio Signatures and Xenoculture spends to predict the Cloddhucks moves and feed this info to their comrade (another +1). And they've manipulated his poppers to give a one-time adrenaline boost to his body (roll 2 dice for an athletics or scuffling test and use the better result for one round) at the cost of a breakdown later (d6 health damage).

    The Tavak decides to dodge instead of clash at first (Athletics vs Scuffling - to make use of his remaining athletics pool) and does so successfully, despite a 6-point scuffling spend by the Cloddhuck. He lands a solid blow on his opponent, but then both his scuffling and athletic pools are spent and he takes two blows in succession, taking him down to -2 health. He spends 1 more point to be safe on the consciousness check and stays on his feet. 

    Now desperate, he tries the old "sand in the eyes" trick and I grant him another +1 on his roll. By sheer luck he avoids the Cloddhucks next double-fisted blow. One more round. A Preparedness success has him pull a stimulant from his breadbox for a 3-point refresh in scuffling. He lets the modified popper kick in. Combat total: 10. The Cloddhuck spends his last 4 scuffling points. Combat total: 10. 

    As the clock runs out, I rule he has to make one final consciousness roll (-3 health = difficulty 3) to stay on his feet long enough to have this count as a victory. He rolls: 1. Everybody groans. But there's a sudden blip in reality, as the Vas Mal gunner/techo uses his probability override. The tavak gets to try again. He rolls: 2. And slowly topples over unto the sand. 

    Everybody in the audience holds their breath as they try to decide whether this was a victory or not. Suddenly the Cybe pilot/bagger starts to chant the Tavak's name (Kodik!, Kodik!, Kodik!) and makes a great Public Relations roll. The audience is firmly on their side and joins the chant. The fight counts as a win!
  • Arena Fight was an awesome story!
  • Thank you, we had great fun at the table! :)
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