Saturday, 5 August 2017

Big trouble in the desert - Sci-Fi beast hunting with Palaeo Diet

Captain Concordia slid her mobile scanner back into its pouch on her belt. She nodded to her men and motioned over to the far side of the empty plaza before them. Quietly, almost under her breath, she outlined her plan over the internal comms system. 

The reports that had come in from the hinterland had all hinted at a sand prowler. Vicious, destructive beasts that could clean out a village the size of this one in a single evening. Shadow scouts had pinpointed its location, and now it was down to Concordia and her specialists to flush it out, and take it down. 

As long as the beast is killed, the mission will be a success. If it escapes or kills Concordia and her men, it will be a failure.

From left to right: Trigger, armed with a sniper rifle (a bow, but with the Hunter trait allowing a reroll of one shot per turn); Concordia carrying a powerful blaster pistol (a spear, as well as the Thinker trait allowing her to send commands to her men); Sparky the bot handler armed with a standard blaster (a bow) and controlling a bot (using the hound rules).

Concordia's opening activation roll included a failure. The sand prowler (an apex predator) reacted by aggressively prowling into the plaza.

Sparky makes his way across the plaza and opens fire. His flurry of shots miss, but prompts the prowler to make another, more cautious advance towards his position.

The bot moves into a defensive position, between its controller and the beast. Concordia moves into a supporting position within range of her own pistol. Meanwhile, Trigger has taken up a rooftop position and starts to line up his shot. 

 Another activation roll, another failure. The sand prowler leaps towards the nearest target - the bot.

A quick swipe, and purple sparks start flying out of the poor bot.

Concordia activates and orders Trigger to take the shot. With hawk-like accuracy, he makes his shot count, causing the first wound to the beast.

The beast howls out with rage as it's blood sprays on the ground. While the elite forces stand firm, the bot's programming kicks in and it takes evasive measures.

Unfortunately the fleeing bot opened the way for the prowler to attack Sparky directly. Coming to her subordinates defense, Concorcia fires a couple of close range rounds. 

None of the pistol shots cause any real damage, but it is enough to drive the beast back.

Further fire from Sparky has the same effect, causing the prowler to seek the shelter of the alleyway.

But then it turns, suddenly, and lunges back towards Sparky.

Coming back online, the bot rushes in to protect its controller, battering into the beast and causing another wound.

Concordia calls in another shot from Trigger who fails to wound the beast.

Enraged, it lashes out again. More purple sparks fly around the bot and it drops offline again. This time, permanently.

In his own activation, Trigger continues to snipe from the roof top, driving the beast back, but unable to make any of his shots count.

The wounded beast starts to head away from the plaza.

Sparky opens fire, but this only drives the prowler further away.

It dashes between buildings and out towards the open countryside.

The kill team hurry to redeploy, taking up positions to try to annihilate the beast before it escapes into the open.

Failed activation dice prompt the beast to react. It launches itself back towards Trigger...

But covering fire from Sparky forced it back again...

... before it once more turned and started back towards the team. 

It roars in anger and pain, causing Sparky and Concordia to scatter for cover. Trigger remains calm...

And takes the shot. The beast is down. While there is no helping the unfortunate villagers from this place, at least the surrounding settlements will be able to sleep at night again. At least for tonight.

While I would hardly say that Concordia used sophisticated tactics, the AI mechanisms as written worked well for a crazed desert beast being hunted. The prehistoric rules did work for this particular set of models, but obviously some of these aspects were a bit of a fudge. The bot acted like a hound, not a programmed robot, and you might think that sci-fi weapons would have had longer range - although you'd be wrong there. Just because. :)