Thursday, March 5, 2015

Mecha Against the Giants Session 7

My online group's regular GM was absent again, so we finished up the fight at the giant wooden fort in Mecha Against the Giants.

The inevitable result

During the last session, the 30' giant warlord had grabbed +Nathan Joy's mecha's leg, in order to get Nate to stop kicking at him. That prompted a post on how Technical Grappling works when dealing with SM+2 and SM+4 warriors, and that post concluded with the observation that it was all for nothing, since the giant warlord was probably going to lose an arm when the next PC attacked.

Unsurprisingly, the giant warlord lost his arm when a 25mm APDS shell went through his elbow. He collapsed unconscious (third crippling hit) and let go of Nate. That danger adverted, the rest of the fight proceeded to go even more poorly for the giants.

Intimidation and Wild Fire

In the northeast room, +Kevin Smyth's pilot was dueling a 24' giant and a constant stream of weak and medium sized giant reinforcements. Unfortunately for the reinforcements, they could either drop their weapons and fail to grapple Kevin, or strike at him with weapons that couldn't reliably penetrate his armor. Either way, he parried any successful attacks, stabbed fools who crowded him too much, and generally caused mayhem.

Finally, the large giant got too close, and Kevin stepped into his flank and hamstrung both his legs. Kevin then activated his Follow-Up perk, succeeded the resulting Intimidation check, and got the group of 8-9 medium giants that were trying to engage him to critically fail their Will resistance roll. It was quite impressive. The giants fled, and Kevin had to stab a couple in the back when they didn't get out of his way fast enough.

In the main hall, Nate got involved in a running fight with a couple of giants, including one that eventually realized what a gun was. I generally let a giant realize that the mecha's cannons were killing people at range with a successful IQ test, and then the giant could attempt to dodge the gunfire. This one giant survived long enough to not only realize was gunfire was, but to cry out warnings to his fellow giants and give them a bonus on their IQ tests. He also successfully parried one of Nate's attempts to murder him with gunfire.

Eventually, Nate got exceedingly tired of this one giant, backed off a bit, and sprayed automatic fire at him and the two adjacent giants. Immediately after he made the attack rolls, we noticed that Kevin's mecha was quite clearly in the line of fire though shrouded by walls. Of course, 20mm APDS is quite capable of going through a small giant, a 12" wooden wall, and possibly penetrating the back or leg armor of a scout mecha. Everyone got quite a chuckle out of this, and Kevin took a couple more points of damage in a friendly fire incident.

+Theodore Briggs had been moving around the central hall through all of this, lining up shots and killing multiple giants with a single shot. He did a lot of dodging and retreating, and illustrated that if you're fighting enough people at once, it's not enough to rely on a decent Dodge score and a retreat. He was attacked by multiple foes from different directions, and was unscathed only because of a use of Luck, a well timed Retreat, and a critical success on an Acrobatics roll to set up an Acrobatic Dodge. He also took a direct hit from a weak giant's crossbow, but the 9d bolt shattered against his DR70 armor.

At the end of all this, he was south of Nate and facing north, with a couple of giants in between them. He lined up his shot, fired, and critically failed. Nate still had a Tactics reroll available, and there was a brief discussion if Nate should pass it "to that filthy incompetent enlisted ape" or save it for himself. The ape pointed out that the most likely result of a critical failure at that point was a 25mm APDS round penetrating the weak back armor of Nate's mecha, and Nate agreed to hand out the reroll. I was sad, but what can you do? Ted succeeded on the reroll and another two giants bit the dust.

It was approaching our usual cut-off time, and there were only a few giants left, so we just hand-waved the rest of the slaughter. Which was good, because it gave us enough time to deal with an attempt at some post battle intelligence gathering.

Failing First Aid

Nate proposed that they attempt First Aid to staunch the wounds of the giant warlord and interrogate him. As it turned out, no one had an effective skill at First Aid (Human) of more than 10, and between some unlucky rolling on their part and the physiology penalty, they never succeeded on a First Aid roll. The giant, not having a particularly high HT and badly wounded, didn't succeeded on many of his rolls to resist bleeding either, and suffered a mortal wound after about 8 minutes. The PCs failed to staunch his bleeding again, he failed to resist his next bleeding check, and he died a minute later.

The entire thing was a farce, and we laughed about it, but it wasn't the PCs' most shining moment. There was a brief question if that was reasonable, but to my mind, it was a replay of the (historical and well-attested) soldier in Black Hawk Down who died when the field medic failed to find the cut in his  femoral artery. If a well-trained medic can't necessarily find the wound on a human being, it's entirely possible that a couple of soldiers going off their first aid courses are not going to be able to do it for an enormous giant.

At any rate, the PCs found enough information to point them to the giants' big fortress in the mountain, which would normally be enough to set up on the next big set piece battle. But not in this case, because I have something else planned.

Dismounted Fighting

The PCs' mecha took enough damage that the self-repair systems are low on some essential and rare elements, and the only way to get those elements is to go into the dark, abandoned mine and clear out the horrible creatures that live within. That's right, we're going dungeon delving, only with TL9 body armor, hyperspectral vision, and automatic weapons. It should be a blast, at least until the PCs meet up with some of the nastier DF monsters. Mmmm, trolls.

I've got a couple more surprises that I'm waiting to spring, but they'll come out in due course.

Role Reversal

One thing that did come up in this session was the disparity in abilities between the giants and the mecha: the mecha look like weak giants in strange plate armor, but are faster, stronger, much more heavily armored, and much, much heavier (as many a giant attempting a slam has found out to its cost). The mecha also have guns that can easily shoot through 2-3 giants at a time. Basically, the PCs are beginning to get a little contemptuous of the giants.

So now I vaguely want to run a little scenario I'm thinking of as "the last stand of the 12th legion." The PCs would be 200-300 point centurions and junior officers of the Zosporbi 12th legion, armed with the finest TL2 equipment and commanding the most elite soldiers the Zosporbi military has. They'd be tasked with holding the advance of a handful of weak or medium giants while civilians evacuated. And they would all pretty much die without accomplishing anything.

Sadly, I don't think my players would enjoy that depressing and futile scenario. And honestly, I don't think I have time to run it, what with having a half dozen other sequences I know I want to run more. But I do think it would an interesting and illuminating change of pace.

1 comment:

  1. For what it's worth, the -3 to First Aid seemed totally reasonable to me - regardless of the control mechanism, it's very unlikely that 'mech fingers are as dextrous and responsive as real fingers, and even if the physiology was identical, there were *three* serious crippling wounds to consider.

    I'm beginning to think that imposing No Peripheral Vision is really way too much of a penalty for the horrific crime of 'wearing a decent helmet'. I'm inclined to mod that to 'a further -2 to defend against flank or runaround attacks' for most helmsets/spectacles in my games. It might actually result in a PC using a non-open-faced helmet sometime.