Sunday, 9 November 2014

A Stony Sleep, part 3

Cultist-Bothering for Fun and Profit

This is a playthrough of A Stony Sleep from The Emperor Protects, so be careful not to let on to your GM that you listened to it. It does reveal one crucial plot event, and foreknowledge will inevitably affect the way you play this scenario. As always, be aware that the podcast is not really family-friendly, if that sort of thing bothers you.

Some episodes feature teasers for upcoming actual plays, after the closing music. Just so you know.

Episode 3

The Episode

Surprisingly, we have actually used the Climb skill twice over the course of our missions. Still not worth boosting, though. Especially not for those of us who can fly.

The confrontation in the cave, specifically the bits just before the fight, may seem a bit disjointed. This isn't because we're not listening to each other; I had to cut about three minutes of this out, in several sections, because of noise issues. I've tried to keep in as much information as possible, though.

For those of you keenly following my discourses on Brother Nikolai (who am I kidding?), this episode features him being genuinely useful, achieving something the rest of the party couldn't. It's interesting to me, and I mean that sincerely rather than being sarky, that this doesn't relate at all to proficiency in combat. Firstly, he takes the lowest point in the climb and saves Kaim, safe in the knowledge that he has a jump pack as a fall-back if things go badly wrong. Secondly, the jump back (and his confidence in getting up close and personal) allows him to barge straight into the cultists, attempt to overawe them, and then snatch away the cult leader. Strictly speaking, this is a much bigger contribution fluff-wise than it is mechanically, since the objective would have been met by blowing them all to pieces, but we're trying to play roles here, right? As a secondary point, as the conversation shows, we're all conscious of the problematic situation (armoured fascists slaughter followers of alternative religion). While we're all on board for that, and the canon does a lot to actually justify this approach, I think we do feel a bit better when we give the occasional nod towards the less murderous and more human aspects of the space marines. If these cultists choose to make a suicidal attack, rather than, um... surrendering and probably surviving their forced conversion and penance, for a given value of "survive"... well, that's their business!

But yes, Nikolai. This shows off a point I've made before, which is that to a large extent I do think assault marines are inherently broader than some of the other specialities, and their strengths lie quite substantially in their movement capabilities and defensive capabilities. Nikolai can get to places quickly to do things other than killing, get away from danger quickly, and soak a lot of attacks - although less so when facing a Horde as they ignore parries.

Note here that Arthur didn't require a die roll for me to leap into the midst of the cultists. In fact, I think the only time I've had to roll was in Mersadie Hive, when I used my jump pack to leap from a speeding bike and hurl incendiary grenades onto a roof and then tried to land back on the bike. This strikes me as exactly the right way to adjudicate these matters.

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