Friday, December 30, 2016

Adventures: Age of Steel

Print order for the revised Core Rule Book is drawing near so I thought I'd post some pre-written adventures for the Age of Steel!

First out is The Blood Maze, which is set in the northern country of Gwendellor. Here the players take on the roles as novices in the Order of the Falcon, preparing for a final test to earn full membership status in the order.

A rather classical dungeon-crawl it is intended to be played through in about 4 hours. It comes with prewritten characters but if a GM and players prefer to make their own the rest of the adventure will still work fine. The adventure can even work as a introduction to a longer campaign (though there are some plot twists the GM should consider beforehand if that is the case).

Characters, adventure description and maps (zip-file) can be downloaded here (3742 kB).

There is also a follow-up adventure called 'Adventurers All' which can be downloaded as a PDF (876 kB).

The second adventure is a war campaign scenario called The Commanders. The players will assume the roles as commanders in the Imperial Army which are given the task to quell a rebellion in the Imperial province of Pantoria.

The adventure contains a good deal of custom mechanics to aid the GM with abstracting the technical details. So as a GM it is a good idea to read it a couple of times before playing to get the idea - and perhaps skip some parts if they seem needlessly complicated.

The adventure itself is intended to be more political than strategic with each character given a secret set of goals to strive for. The adventure can be downloaded as a ZIP folder (4362 kB).

Friday, December 16, 2016

Kragor the Merc: A Way In, A Way Out

All in all its a fucked-up world. I don't know where to begin; the last few hours have just been insane.

So... did I mention I negotiated my first business agreement from an improvised medrack wearing no pants? Can't say it went according to plan because I didn't have a plan. This corp guy, calling himself "Sam", had shown up with no warning or invitation. Cocky and confident and damn near suicidal in pointing out how much we needed him. Somehow I wanted the world to know that this half-orc is on the edge now - push him and something big is going to happen. But another part of me cut in and did what it was supposed to do: get a job. So, long story short, Sam offered to clean up our records in return for a small favor, which was to take a job as escort but then track the final destination of one of those secret GERO transports. He talked about being a little morally flexible - but I couldn't see what the fuck he meant by that. As far as I could tell it looked like we could do the job for GERO and then get about our second task. No contract broken so no moral problem. We took his offer.

Erza and Juron showed up a while later with visible patching done by Rosina. Me, I was still laying half naked with Ed working on getting shrapnel out of my butt. There were questions but I hadn't got the strength for any more talk until that surgery was done. It would be a long night.

Once finally done it was very late, but I'd rather talk things through now than later - much owing to the fact that lying down wasn't the least bit tempting but I was still very tired and needed something to keep me awake. Grandpa's soup could only do so much. We talked for a while, first about what had happened and then about what was going to happen, or at least what we thought was. Ed also shared a note Angeline apparently had left in his pocket at some point. It seemed her sacrifice was more of a suicide. I couldn't make head or tail of it - why would she go through all this shit only to then kill herself? In the end we didn't find any answers to anything really, apart from that we'd do Sam's job and then take it from there. It felt strangely good to get it out though.

As Sam had predicted GERO turned up with a short-notice offer on an escort job. We did get premium payment so if we could only finish our little side quest it seemed as we could be getting back into the game after all. There isn't much details I'd care to share - but we managed to do everything which were required.

Payment in hand we returned to Freelance only to learn Elizah was heading out. For what purpose or how long she didn't say. So the future remains uncertain - that's the only thing I remain certain about.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Kragor the Merc: Showdown

There was some serious fire going on, indicating Juron had joined the fight. However, there were an explosion at the roof of one of the buildings where Lucas should've been and the heavy mounted gun sprayed the facade. There wasn't time to think about him though; Erza stormed out but went down hard as she ran into the two shotgun-armed combators I'd just evaded. As she fell next to our get-away vehicle it was all or nothing to get her safe; I lobbed yet another grenade and rushed forward as soon as I heard the blast... one of the bastards had gone but the other had taken the hit and I slammed him into the ground with my shotgun. A moment later the back door of the hover opened and I saw the barrel of a gun... I felt a sharp pain in my chest as I threw myself out of the way, only to be followed by a second hit to my ass - this was not going according to plan. You've been shot twice in the butt you stupid orc...

Out of nowhere Ed came calling - haven't been so glad to hear his voice anytime I can remember. I got a quick patch but in the end all we could do was to bail. I was injured but holding together; Erza was worse and after a small detour we managed to meet up with Lucas and Juron - the latter also seriously injured.

So, this was our time to fall... I've been through this a couple of times and if there's one thing I've learned about when the shit hits the fan is that its a good idea to not go where you're expected to go. So I called on old pal Richard Zima to have him fly us over to an open hospital. Rosina's good but there would be way too many questions. On route to our pick-up point we were chased by a response vehicle which were probably out looking for us. I cursed myself for letting Ed do the driving but there really wasn't anything to do about it. At this point the world just went mad. Angeline opened the back door and jumped out with a grenade. I didn't really see it, but there was an explosion, the pursuing vehicle went over... and Angeline was gone. Ed just pulled the breaks and ran towards the smoke but it wouldn't do any difference. I took the driver's seat and the others pulled him back in. A few minutes later Zima dropped us of at a hospital at the other end of town.

After the medics had dealt with the most critical injuries they wanted to send us back to Freelance as that was required by our insurance. I had my mind set on getting the fuck out of the way even if it meant paying for some healthcare on site, but Juron didn't catch my drift and there was just no way to explain it where we stood. Instead we all ended up in a waiting room as Erza was prepared to be transported to Rosina for surgery. There was a discussion on what to do next but everyone seemed to expect me to have all the answers. Fuck that; I take things like this one step at a time and right now I want to get the hell away from everyone that's probably looking for us right now. What we'll do tomorrow is a problem we can solve when we know we have a tomorrow to care about. It finally seemed as I reached Ed and he started to pull some strings - me, I'd used up what favors I got just to get us here. In the end Lucas too decided to hide away while Juron was set on heading back to Freelance. It bothered be I couldn't get heads or tails from the man as to his reasons. I was so tired of people not pulling in the same direction until I remembered that damn biomod we'd gotten a few months ago. It must be what's messing with my head. It wasn't my responsibility after all; I had to take care of my own hide. Erza would get the surgery she needed and Juron... well it was probably better for us to have him someplace else. At least the arbitrators wouldn't be looking for us, leaving only Ultra and possibly the Clans.

So me, Ed and Lucas left the hospital and took a cab. We were spotted but what the fuck could we do? Ed had arranged for that grumpy dwarf Grandpa to provide us with a temporary lodging. Boy was he glad to see us! No, no, he wasn't. Its a strange thing to see so much anger coiled together in a person that small. Well, we got served some food and Ed was just about to pick some shrapnel out of my ass when it knocked on the door. Had they found us already? I cursed the world for letting this happen when I had my pants around my knees, but I was too tired to argue. Let them come.

It wasn't them. It was a stranger - with a job offer. Since when did you get people hunting you down to offer you work after you'd just been steamrolled by corp security? Well, you'd better give me some answers stranger or I'll shove that job of yours up your ass along with a full blast of shotgun shrapnel. And no, I'm not in a bad mood dammit!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Kragor the Merc: A Favor for a Favor

With money in hand we arrived back at HQ. Lucas was already back but from the look of him everything was not entierly to his satisfaction. I headed for the showers with a need to get rid of the mud and the small particles of broken windscreen.
Erza caught me a while later and told she'd got what seemed as a job offer from the Clans and wanted my opinion. For my part I already had enough of dealing with them and told her so. Yes, there was the matter of Juron's debt... but in my experience you never pay them off by working for the bank. That will just get you in deeper shit. And if there ever was a reason for me working for low grade pay at Freelance it was to have a choice. Otherwise you could just as well go corp. But to be a merc in the hands of the Clans? It'd be the worst of two worlds.

But we needed work, that was for sure, so I suggested we spend our day off investigating the rumors of escaped criminals' hiding out in the wilderness. It smelled corp to me and corp meant money. Erza was willing to give it a go and had a suggestion for where to start: a contact of hers in the Blocks. So we decided.

The next day we were off, but not before I did a little errand. As it seemed we were heading into deep shit I thought a little extra precaution would be wise so went to see Keria to get some tracker markers. Not that they would save my life but at least I could give Elizah a means to locate my body and perhaps extract some revenge should the shit hit the fan. I figured everyone of us could use one just in case the others needed to find that person. Juron was first on my list of people who should have one. As we were preparing to get started he had rushed off to the gym but given his investment with Clan money it seemed a good idea to bring him with us as all we knew was that people following these rumors had gone missing or ended up dead.
The meeting with Erza's contact, a rough-looking man named Ruben, proved fruitful. Apparently he had funding and influence in the Blocks and he showed us a security camera recording where one of his associated, who was asking questions, got her throat slit by a mysterious figure. The assassin's face was only visible for a few frames but it felt familiar... like I'd seen it before. There had been a body guard to Abriel - our contact at GERO. Could it have been her? It was as solid a lead as we could expect.

I had hoped for a straight line from this point, but we had barely left the building when things started to get complicated. Juron showed us a message he'd just received from Joline asking us to come right away. We decided to comply and raise any issues face to face. As expected it turned out to be a job offer. It was good money - 75k - which would place it in the category of "very appealing" without reaching "Juron could clear his debt with this". It wasn't a game I was willing to play so I decided to raise the stakes and told Joline that we'd already been booked at a job, just to see her reaction. It wasn't a team-sanctioned thing to do, but I felt I needed to know. It was clear she wouldn't let Juron get away from this one and it was equally clear Juron didn't want to get away from it. In fact it struck me the guy had an apparent habit of getting utterly dependent on any person who provided him with something he wanted. Babette would take his money for drugs. I could live with that. But what Joline would take... no, that couldn't end well. But this time we would have to do the job. For the sake of appearance I required that Joline provided us with any intel she had to help us with our other job as a part of the deal. This seemed to be just what she wanted - a favor for a favor - but it also cleared one thing for me: the Clans wasn't involved in that business. Which was good.
But before we left there was just one thing I had to do. The tracker markers where in my pockets and if this bitch wanted things to be personal she'd better be prepared to play that game... so I gave a stunning performance getting angry at Juron, who pushed me to the floor. In the fall I managed to tag a tracker to Joline's robe. We were rushed out of the room after that but it was well worth it.
Of course, neither Juron nor Erza took my behavior very well. Explaining it didn't quite help: Erza still thought it was a very dangerous and risky move but hey, fuck that. I still remember her version of playing it safe from Dukkha. Juron seemed hell-bent on being pissed out over the whole thing despite my best attempts at reconciliation. Apparently he had never been shot in the back by someone he'd trusted or he'd known the difference between a betrayal and an act for the greater good of the team. But since there wasn't much else I could do I had to leave him to wisen up on his own.

With all the tension slowly going away we were left with planning the job for tomorrow. What Joline wanted us to do was to high-jack a Ultra Weapon Systems armed transport by blowing up a slip road and forcing it to take a detour into the Blocks (where we would be waiting). According to the intel - which for a change was very good - we'd face some serious security. It would be a difficult task even with the demolition stuff going as clockwork. But we planned it to the best of our ability.

We left HQ very early the following morning to stake out the site and place some explosives. Our preparations hadn't gone entierly unnoticed but I had hopes we could claim doing the escape criminals gig when reporting back.

We managed to place the explosives without any trouble and then it was just a waiting game. Sitting in our get-away vehicle waiting on a side road to the expected route we had a walkway bridge rigged to explode as the convoy passed. It would be three vehicles with armor and a six man escort unit. The front vehicle would carry some mounted heavy weaponry. We blew up the slip road on time and then just waited for the action to start. After a while Juron reported the column had just passed by and Erza timed the demolition of the walkway. With the explosion and sound of rubble hitting metal I threw myself out and lobbed a fire grenade towards the last of the three vehicles, mostly to get a response. One came in the form of shotgun fire and I felt a sharp sting in my ass as I threw myself out of the line of fire...

Friday, November 4, 2016

Kragor the Merc: Underworld Connections

Nothing like coming home from a long run to find 1) lending sharks from the Clans giving you a ride and 2) arbitrators all over the place. In both cases they seemed most interested in Juron (guess we know where he got that fiberplate after all...) who seemed to have left one of his fish hooks in an inappropriate place (the mouth of a dead guy). So much for having a day off...

While Juron was dragged off to be interrogated by the city's finest we where left to try and save his ass. After all, if he got locked up he could pay no debts and then the sharks would come for us. Bye-bye pension savings account. But where to start? The little we knew was that it was being painted as a racial homicide of two nokhs by the media. It had happened on a day when Juron was out having fun with Sandrah, which included a visit to Babétte and a lot of memory lapses. Erza immediately jumped to the conclusion that Sandrah was behind it all. It caused quite a lot of tension back at base but didn't really lead to anything.

Well, to be frank its not something I want to talk about. We followed a few leads but got stuck in the end - however it seemed as Juron found his own ways out. It cost him another 10k but it worked. On a more positive side note I managed to drive home an important lesson on Fringe ethics. From what I surmised Erza had found a possible solution to get Juron out but choose not to when she learned the Clans had already offered to help (for the stated sum of 10k) as the solution was a bit shady. Well, it turned out the Clans solution was to make it look like a serial killing by murdering some more people (while Juron was still locked up at the station) and paying someone to take the blame. So, your ethics got people killed and still cost the fair sum of 10k just because you didn't want to break the law? I hope we can all act as grown-ups after this.

Thankfully Elizah had awarded us with an extra day off as a result of our good performance on Dukkha which gave us a chance to get some sleep and exercise and just hang out. Of course, the best way to "hang out" was generally agreed to be doing more work. A little corp-work gained us a few extra credits and we had all but forgotten about the bit where someone tried to frame Juron for murder.

Real work was coming up and while Lucas was hired for a job requiring his special skills our eyes where quickly set on a new piece of mission posted by GERO. "Scouting/Hunting" sounded intriguing and it did deliver on that point as it turned out another GERO scouting patrol had run into a pack of werewolves out in the forest. We were the cleanup squad. Apparently Ed had some previous history involving werewolves but he couldn't tell us much about them beside "they can rip off the arms of a man". Well, mr Butcher, so could my mother.

We set out a few hours later in a single jeep. Winter was coming, which could be felt in the air and seen on the presence of the snow tires. For my part it was again that feeling of simplicity: we had an enemy to fight and we would win or die. My orc blood loved it. My human blood... well it did make existential thoughts seem a bit redundant. And it involved good money (despite whatever Ed thought of it).

It was getting dark and I was driving when we reached the quadrant in which the werewolves had been encountered. It was at this point I had to revise my take on the GERO job description. It hadn't stated who would be hunting whom. Suddenly the pack was upon us... I could here Juron and Erza fire away from the back of the jeep, the heavy thud from Juron's assault gun disrupted only by howling. Ed, who was seated between me and Angeline in the front seat fired away out of my window. Don't know if we hit a rock or what next, but at one point I was driving on two wheels only... and then a werewolf crashed in through the windscreen. Ed and Angeline fired away like mad and I got the jeep to a halt and grabbed my shotgun just in time for a big ugly beast to rip open the door and try to take a bite out of me - he got fed his furry friend instead and then my flesh-tearing explosive rounds to the face. I got out to take care of any pursuers only to find there was only one left. Juron and Erza had left a clean house with a scarred hand and a few cuts from the broken front window as our only injuries. We loaded a few of the bodies to bring back as proof (Erza's orders) and then set out tracking them back to their camp. The jeep was in a bad shape but Angeline and Juron did the best they could to keep it together. Eventually we found another pair of werewolves out hunting: one was killed while the other fled into the forest, wounded. With winter coming... and the rest of the pack dead it probably wouldn't make it. Mission accomplished. We headed back home.

The contract had stated "minimum collateral damage" to the area itself but thankfully the jeep wasn't included... we got full our full payment and headed back for base - minds set for our next challenge.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Kragor the Merc: Rerun

I keep saying this but its been an interesting week. Coming back fairly early from the Lightbringer job left us with a day and a half to do as we pleased. Erza suggested we'd head for the training dojo the same evening - leaving the next day free. Suited me just fine. We did a quick stop at the base where two interesting things happened. The first was that we noticed we already had a meeting booked for the day after with Union Arms. Sounded promising. The second was that Juron decided to pop a pill half an hour before our training regime. Might not have been the smartest thing to do but given his state during the exercises I doubt he got any wiser from the experience. Well, better now than on a mission, that's my opinion.

The next day passed as days off always do - fast and with little to remember them by. We did invite Hawk (new at Freelance) to come with us to a bar. Not so much a social thing as to spare her from the Demon's Head back at base.

Soon it was mission time. As it turns out, Union Arms was contracted for work on Dukkha - and that was where we were heading. Normally I would be pissed at Eliza for setting us up like this but this time I felt for some action. Autumn was upon us and winter approaching fast - a shitty time at best here in the Fringe. In comparison to 72h of staring at the rain a few bullets might be preferred. Also they did pay well for merc services and there would be none of that moral bullshit. Everyone at Dukkha would be either shooting at you or against your own target. Such simplicity warrants a little danger. As Ed was still caught up in some other stuff involving his grumpy dwarf friend known as Grandpa and Angeline turned up sick we brought Hawk with us instead. Apparently she had some medical skills too and you could never have too many guns on Dukkha.

Less welcome was the secrecy: in what is quickly becoming standard procedure we negotiate payment without actually knowing what we're supposed to do. The price for success I guess. Contract signed the actual briefing took place on the flight to Dukkha. Apparently we had been employed as "problem solvers" - the more problems we managed to solve during our stay the more we cached in. Fair enough I suppose.

Once we arrived it became clear that winter had already arrived in these parts. Erza got split from the group as she was needed for some tactical stuff. For the rest of us we picked up some gear and mounted a couple of terradynes and then headed out towards our first mission: to aid with the clearing of a bunker blocking the way to the frontlines. Someone must have heard of Juron's last visit. Visually he didn't disappoint: fiberplate armor accompanied by a rocket launcher and an assault gun. Every plan I could think of as we drove involved just placing him close enough to the enemy position to let him fire away while me and Lucas tried to prevent the enemy from killing him first. I figured I had to see the site before I could come up with a better plan.

The enemy bunker was located near a summit overlooking a main road going through the island. Strong winds made talking without headphones impossible and you couldn't lay a smoke screen for more than a few seconds. The position nearby held by Union Arms' forces wasn't very impressive; a sheltered camp and a trench in front of an open killing field stretching some 400m. Steep cliffs lined the sides of the field all the way to the enemy bunker. In theory we could climb them all the way and thus stay out of the line of sight but I quickly dismissed that. I'd rather die from a bullet than a sudden drop and stop. The soldiers stationed at the camp was in a poor condition and it was clear they wouldn't be of much use until a very final stage were we could actually rush the bunker.
So... my brain really couldn't see any better options than the original idea to employ Juron as a battering ram and me and Lucas as decoys. Lucas could of course snipe at the enemy positions but me, yeah I wasn't so lucky. The best thing I could do was to paint a target on my ass and run for the little cover that was available just to draw fire. It was a stupid plan but glorious and given that the soldiers had already started looking at us like action heroes I couldn't resist. Life is in the fight after all. I took out my little box of battlefield supplies and administered some bork and vitagel. That shit could save your life.

Well, leaving the trench and running over the field got the adrenaline pumping, that's for sure. There were some incoming fire but running back and forth I reached a large boulder without any problems. Juron, who was supposed to be right behind be, arrived a moment later. He said something about getting shot in the ass but he had already taken a mort so I figured it was ok. We pushed for the next cover, which would get Juron within range. Lucas had already done some serious work, judging from disrupted hails of bullets. Me and Juron got into cover, no problem; now he just needed a clear shot. Someone would have to distract the enemy - and that someone was me. I gave Lucas a heads up and ran for it. Two tracks of minigun fire traced me along the ground - but one suddenly stopped. The moment after there was a blast and a flash of fire from the bunker. Juron had delivered a direct hit. Apex Predators - damn we were good! The soldiers got the order to charge ahead while me and Juron went in first to secure the bunker. After that the only thing left was for Hawk to fix Juron's ass up. I hope it didn't leave a lasting impression on her.

First job done we were summoned back to join in with a renewed push against the frontlines. A fortified enemy camp and the soldiers would attack it from two directions with us joining the left force. The cold kept us sharp and Lucas and I decided to check on the situation. We weren't impressed. Apparently some jerk had decided to storm a 100 gun strong concrete wall-protected stronghold with roughly 80 soldiers divided between the two flanking forces. It looked like a tactical fuckup and in the back of my head I thought that someone would expect us to even the odds. I wasn't surprised to learn I was right - I was however to learn it was Erza's doing. Well, no guts no glory. I figured we'd use the same basic tactics as on the summit: Lucas to keep enemy fire at a minimum, Juron to provide us with the city keys and me and the rest of the grunts to play target practice until we had a way in. At least we would be able to lay a smoke screen this time - which was lucky, as there wasn't any shelter at all for any of us once we started the approach. Did I say guts and glory? I hoped to see more glory than guts once we were through. Bork, vitagel, go!

Haven't been on many battlefields in my life - usually a very poor place to collect a bounty. Can't say I long to go back; there is something terrifying in all the noise, flashes and occasional explosion that reminds me of a dance club but with everyone trying to kill each other instead of dancing. Well, compared to some places in the blocks I guess its not a big difference.
I could elaborate the story I guess, but I won't. It was a battle. Lucas did what I guess a good sniper should do in a place like that and kept the heavy guns unmanned and silent. Juron knocked on the door with his AP rockets and the rest of us, having stayed safe in the smoke curtains laid out, charged in screaming and guns blasting. I was told later it was a great success, which from military lingo translates to "we didn't die so much but the enemy really kicked the bucket". Don't get me wrong - I don't feel bad about it. Everyone on site got paid to do what they did. There weren't civilians on the road as might happen on some other job. It just seemed a bit... pointless. Haven't really seen anything on Dukkha worth fighting for. For all I know it might just be that they're testing guns and armors out there. Both sides are fighting but none are winning.

Well enough of me thinking - usually amounts to no good. We came around as heroes and everyone was mightily impressed. We god paid and were put on a flight back home. Mission complete. But I couldn't quite get one thought out of my head: would it be possible to stop the fighting? Could we, the Apex Predators, tip the balance? It sounded like a worthy cause. I'd pass the idea over to our supreme leader, hoping she'd make a better decision out of it than the one we'd just survived...

Friday, October 7, 2016

Kragor the Merc: Raising the Stakes

Time flies. Another month has passed with the Apex Predators. Yes, the name has stuck. Felt a bit silly at first but you need a name and now no one is laughing. Though admittedly I'm not nearly in as good a shape as I want to be but I am getting there. That thing about teaching old dogs is just some silly bullshit, ain't it?

Thoughts drifted towards my old team now and then - you know, those whose bodies rot on the mountain side of Dukkha thanks to their stupidity. But this was different; even Juron had acquired a certain professional outlook you wouldn't expect from someone who regularly put needles in his arm for the fun of it. As money kept coming it was a transformation for all of us. Did I mention Juron somehow managed to acquire - and pay for - a fiberplate armor? For my part I was determined not to let old habits get in the way of it this time. Lucas early morning jog had once made me laugh but admittedly he never came up last when trekking in the wild. I just hope no one recognized me in those old sweats as I tailed him around town - haven't worn them for years so odds are on my side I guess. Despite the cold air I haven't been as sweaty for ages and I probably used the showers more often the last few weeks than two months prior combined. It does seem to be paying off however; a patrol job on foot isn't pure hell anymore.

A slightly less welcome observation was the money spending cycle. The more you earn the more you spend. Seen it before - done it before. That's how you end up with nothing left when the shit eventually hit the fan. But getting older is supposed to make you wiser? I'll be damned if I fall back into that hole ever again. From now on there is only one direction: forward.

Other things were moving as well: Erza and me had spent some time looking for more intel on the sword-swinger dude who chopped Lucas' arm off. While Erza had gained some solid information about how to contact the guy - don't know how the fuck that's supposed to work out - I struck a bit of luck on a side track. Tyrgil Blackbourne - a corp "friend" of mine - didn't know anything about the person I was asking about but did remember an old inquiry I'd made about a bounty. Apparently there was rumors floating around town about several high profile bounties being seen in the outskirts of town, as if someone was arranging to keep them out of sight. Also some people spreading the rumors have ended up dead, which in this town serves as a sort of proof-of-authenticity. It certainly seemed worth looking into, though it would take some time.

As a new month dawned we found an interesting offer from the Lightbringers. From my knowledge a bunch of whacky religious dudes but apparently in need of "escort and security". Our meeting with them the following morning was... interesting. Ed, who had been caught up on a different job, wasn't there but we others had all suited up in our new gear - better gear, better payment after all - only to find out we wouldn't find out very much. We were to meet with a guy who was heading out to dinner on a ferry anchoring a few hours off the shore. We'd be protecting him along with performing additional "requests" which would be explained on the way. All which was actually printed on the contract was our payment. It would be interesting.

As it turned out it was going to be more cloak and dagger than I had expected. The ferry turned out to be a luxury cruise and we would probably be required to "fit in". This meant we made a stop at the market on our way to the pick-up spot to buy some suitable clothes. I don't really want to talk about it.

In addition the Lightbringers provided us with some low profile gear and some standard suits before we met up with our protegée named Duran on his private yacht. He served us drinks and food and seemed far too less business-minded for my taste. The small crew seemed experienced - probably in more fields than required by their current duties of handling the boat and serving drinks. It was all just a show - the question was for what purpose.

Eventually, as we left the harbor, Duran explained that our main task once we reached the ferry was to collect a suitcase from a contact of his working below deck. Said suitcase should then be delivered to a private pier in the outskirts of Dormicas, while he was to stay aboard the ferry. It was very unlike anything we've done before, but not outside our capacity. Posing as Duran's body guards for 24h hour on the ferry proved easy enough - as was picking up the suitcase. It was during the 12h back to shore that our skills would be put to a more difficult test.

As we anticipated the authorities could be interfering we discussed a suitable story. Eventually it was decided that Lucas would play the role as the owner of Duran's yacht while Angeline and Erza would change to their newly bought bikinis (I said I didn't want to talk about it) and pose as floozies. Thankfully I got the role as Lucas' legal counsel. What we were to do with Juron we didn't know; Erza forced him to hide away his fiberplate and then we just hoped no one would notice him.

The story was put to the test as we was boarded by a coastal patrol vessel. Let's just say we survived - and no one else died either for that matter. At the end of the day we got paid and while I don't mind the odd undercover mission I definitely want more time to prepare an outfit for the next one. And brace my mind for what ever the others come up with, apparently.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Kragor the Merc: Blood & Reunion

I was backing away from the fight, arms held high but a grenade at the ready. Ed was running back to lend a helping hand to Lucas. Ok, it could be worse. Back off now, drive away to give ourselves a hundred meters distance or so and we could end this in our favor.

It was a good plan until the sound of automated fire broke the silence. It was still a long way to cover behind the jeep, but didn't seem to be any other options, so I threw the grenade and ran for it. Judging from the screams I hit something. Unfortunately something also hit me as I felt a staggering pain in the knee. Not the fucking knee! Memories from that old mercenary camp immediately came back but I supressed them and threw myself to the ground. The heavy fire from the assault gun ended and only a few stray shots crossed over the battlefield. I popped a mort and with the pain dying away asked who was alive and who wasn't. Everyone but Juron called in. Angeline asked what we should do. Fuck it if I knew. Instead of a plan we now had a mess... at least it seemed as if most of the surviving settlers had retreated into the power plant, with the exception of someone firing fromt he nearby woods. Lucas took care of that. I dragged myself into the jeep where I found Juron collapsed next to the assault gun.

Checking in it seemed Angeline was the only one unharmed. Lucas seemed to be ok while Juron was definitely out of it. Ed turned up and healed us, though it seemed to drain him a little too much. Juron remained unconscious. I shouted towards the power plant that they had 1 hour to pack up and leave. I wouldn't go through this ordeal without getting paid.

Within the hour we saw the settlers get out and ditch. Yeah, they had a hard winter coming. More so because of stupid leadership. But with them gone we would be able to get to work, at least after some rest. We took turns keeping watch as we rested and tended our wounds throughout the night. As morning came it didn't feel good but it did seem as if we were going to live. Juron was in a pretty rough shape but there was nothing else we could do and he was a stubborn fellow so I thought the odds were on his side. We started doing what we could with placing the perimeter bots and rolling out the fence. As the day past it was clear we couldn't finish the latter but we did what we could.

At last the corps showed up. I should probably have been expecting them to be smug about the fences not being done but I had been shot several times - including the fucking knee - and was in no such mood. For a moment I thought about burying the bastard out in the fields but hey, money first. Erza had come with the column so it was a relief to hand over command. It had felt good for a while but with this kind of shit going on I'd rather take a break.

Soon the jeep was heading back to town.

It felt like another life, arriving back at the city and getting patched up by Rosina. A few hours later I found myself back at base, at the firing range emptying the clip in my auto shotgun. I took my time as I needed to clear my head. What had gone wrong? I couldn't put my finger on it. We should have cut through those farmers like a hot knife through butter. The brain switched to thinking about food for awhile. Well, we had survived what would have killed most others. That counted for something; enough for me to find reason to leave the firing range and join the others for some beer and food. Well, some of the others. Ed where still at medbay for observation and Juron was undergoing surgery. As Erza was back we made another round sharing our stories. It felt even more ridiculous this time, but at least it was done.

Our day off was spent job hunting. Discussing the matter Juron - now back from surgery - let pop that he somehow had learned about the mysterious assailant who claimed Lucas' arm a few weeks back. While the issue of revenge was raised at least me and Erza agreed we also wanted some money out of it. It was something to think - not act - upon for now. Despite some reluctance from Angeline me and Erza decided to head out to talk to the clans to see if there was any well-paid work to be had. This took us far into the blocks.

We met our contact "Joline" at a top floor apartment hidden away from spying eyes. We were offered a mission to blow up a bridge in the tech district, but at 7k it seemed both dangerous and complicated so it was back to the office. After scanning the board we finally settled for a perimeter patrol for Terra Petrolium.

For all my sins it turned out we'd have to do the whole job on foot. Curses didn't carry my pack so in the end it was Juron who did. I swore an oath on that spot that I'd be chasing Lucas on his stupid morning jog until this would never happen again. We had some wildlife encounters but nothing serious. There were some sensors which we were to check on; Juron did most of that job. In the end we got back, got paid and it felt like being back on track.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Damage Calculator

For your convenience the generator app has been enhanced with a Damage Calculator. You'll find it along with other links in the resource bar on this page!

For the basic math, simply select damage type and enter the amount of damage. Click "calculate" (or press enter) and you get the resulting trauma and pain as well as a short description containing hit location.

Now if you want to muck about you can also specify a hit location and, if wanted, a precise location as well. Further, select the armor the target is wearing (selecting the right Age first, of course) to have damage reduction calculated in one go.

Well that's about it. Oh, and you should also check out the persona option on the random names page! Sure, the results can be improved - but they also will be, especially if there is some feedback!

Feel free to comment (and like) at our Facebook page

Direct link to the generator:

Kragor the Merc: Water and Electricity

My last mission had got me thinking about serious shit. Making a name for myself... well it sounded silly in one way, but in another I felt it was the right thing. Its not too difficult to get famous - or infamous - in this wrecked city, but that's not what I'm thinking about. Making a name... its all about who you're making a name for, isn't it? I don't know that yet, but I'm working on it.

What I do know is that I won't get anywhere without the Predators. We're bundled together, so I'd just better turn it the right way with Erza still being out of town. But dammit, I don't know how to make these folks walk in the same direction; it seems everyone has secrets. I guess I'd have to share my story... it's what they do on the virex anyway and hopefully it works. Particularly I need to wrap my pretty head around that medic of ours - there is clearly something fishy going on there.

I got back a bit earlier than the others, so I started working on this plan. The Demon's Head were also back, but thankfully a bit fatigued from their Dukkha mission so didn't transform into their usual waste of breath. The only place I could think of to have a heart-to-heart talk with the others were the Mint. Standard place for some peace and quiet and they did have decent beer...

As the others got back they looked tired - but not too tired. I managed to get them all accompanying me for "a drink". Then I spilled my story. It was a funny feeling actually; can't recon that I recollected it all at once like that before. Oh, sure, Keria would have heard one too many of my stories but I was, well, about 20 when I met her. Things have happened since, believe it or not. But the point is it didn't feel so strange as I though it would. It was an interesting life, not a bad story at all. And it also got the others talking, which was the point of it.
Lucas was out first and, frankly, it was military-this, military-that. Nothing unexpected, though I think he said something about the Academy and magic parents? Regardless I put my money on watching Ed and Juron to see if they were listening in or preparing their own little speeches. Juron seemed a bit annoyed at the whole situation - would have to be careful there, as I don't want him against me. Ed did exactly what I expected and seemed to be planning something in his head. Well, as Lucas finished it was his turn.
Surprisingly I found Ed didn't come from the bottom ladder of society, but rather had thrown himself in that direction. Also his questionable medical accomplishments got explained as he declared himself a self-taught streetmage, with a hint of field medic expertise picked up during his last years in the Fringe. I don't trust magic so got Ed to explain what he actually could do with it, so hopefully I have some damn insight into how to use his skills in the field.
Juron was up next and as expected he was a bit off in his talk. Didn't really learn much apart from that the guy had apparently walked half-way across the Fringe by now in search of... well fuck me if I knew. Sounded like some ritual for reaching adulthood or the like. Time will tell I wager.
Last out was Angeline. Seems she had a tough upbringing and only a band of mercs prevented her from being raped by gangers at age 13. The damn girl had stuck to the trade every since, which is damn impressive. Behind that whimsy huggie talk there is a brain that gets things done. She's earned my respect.

Well, bonding time was over so we headed back to base. We did another practice run with Siri on the following day and ran some errands. Those damn drugs seems to keep disappearing...
One thing we didn't have to do was to find ourselves a new job - apparently GERO wanted our services again. Not sure if that means we're doing well or are simply viewed as expendables, but they do pay good.

The mission turned out to be to recover an old hydro power plant far out into the bush. It was a very long drive to pick up some components and then we had orders to fence in and secure the area. We got ensured that no other corps would be contesting the area so primary concerns were bandits. We headed out in a jeep and a truck.

As it was getting colder the roads weren't as wet as they've been recent weeks so the driving was ok. I felt strangely alert all the way without getting fatigued - I guess it was the effects of that biomod. That shit was good.
We reached the first base and picked up our cargo with no incidents and then continued forth. It was a long, uneventful drive until suddenly we spotted a large tree across the road - accompanied by a camouflaged vehicle stationed at the side of the road. Bandit ambush.
As it usually turns out, us spotting their position turned the tables completely. Lucas had started putting bandits down before they knew what was happening and with our vehicles parked a bit further back me and Juron headed out to face them. They where trying to charge in with their jeep so I lobbed a fire grenade into the driver seat. That unfortunately got them steering towards us; Juron got shot and was about to get run over as I managed to throw him to the side. The bandits crashed in the woodland behind us and the others took down the survivors. For my part I felt alive - so fucking alive. Stand in our way and you'd find your corpse burning by the side of the road. It was like a confirmation that my thoughts on life and everything was right - things would go my way.

We collected some of the bandits' supplies - which included an assault gun - and moved the large tree out of the way then we continued. The rest of the drive was uneventful, but as we reached an open area surrounding the hydro plant we were heading towards we noticed fields and a collection of tents. Of course there were settlers here. A dozen or so had made their way on to the road, blocking our path. All seemed to have guns. Well, we could solve this. The last thing I wanted was some moral shit-talk but it didn't have to turn into a shoot-out either. Yes, I may be a cynical bastard but if these people were to die today I'd damn well make it their own decision. So I walked over.
The leader turned out to be an orc woman, which was bad. Like Erza they like to be in charge. I tried to explain the situation to them but they were stubborn as hell; seems as a character description of every farmer I've ever met. I went back to the others to discuss matters. Ed explained that the leader appeared to be a streetmage and were as we spoke casting the same type of protection spell he himself used. I knew nothing about mages so I readily handed negotiations over to him - hopefully he knew how such people worked and he had pleaded for a chance of negotiating for several weeks.

We walked back and resumed our talks, while we noticed half of the thugs had moved away into the nearby woods. Ed tried to push the orc into getting the situation while I tried to find a legal way to have GERO put up shop without getting into trouble with these people. However, they had resented society to such a degree we couldn't find any common ground. And Ed and the orc really didn't get along and so suddenly, after yelling at each other, she hit Ed in the chest with some sort of lightning. I let my shotgun blaze and took out two of the others while I got a scratch in return. I had expected to hear the heavy thud of the assault gun by now, but instead there were an explosion further back and we continued to exchange fire just a few meters from each other. The orc screamed in orcish about sparing those that ran while killing the rest, then she hit me with a lightning bolt which hurt like hell. I the fraction of a second someone had kicked my leg out of the way and another put a gun to my head. Things were going wrong, but I already had a new plan. We only needed a bit of breathing space and she had just provided it for us. I picked up one of my grenades as I gave the order to retreat, loud and clear. Orcs were generally hard on their principles so I hoped this would mean she let us go. Then we could regroup, manage our wounds and well, shoot these people dead from a distance. I just hoped that I would be able to stand for a few more hours. Ed turned out and gave me a pat on the back and the pain almost went away; magic is weird. Again I got the feeling that nothing would be stopping us; we might look beaten now but just wait and see...

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Kragor the Merc: Lost and Found

Damn forest. Damn sinkholes. Suddenly the ground disappeared and everything went dark... I don't know what part I landed on, but it wasn't a soft landing. All voices seemed distant; had the feeling that I've fallen into water, but it was all dry leaves around... Truth be told I don't remember much until I looked into the headlight of a jeep which winched us out.

On the way back home there was talk about ruins and spiders but I couldn't make heads or tails of it. Apparently I had a concussion. I hadn't felt so useless since Sora managed to shoot me in the leg - and that was ages ago. I healed up pretty well that time, but this time I don't know. Curse getting older!

Rosina did the best she could and I sleep off what was left the following day. We sold the poison we collected but Erza still wasn't back and it was getting time for a new job. Even the money didn't really seem to matter. I needed time to think...

Partly blaming the concussion, which in truth wasn't so bad anymore, I stated I'd do a solo job. Something nice and easy. A good thing with rarely questioning others is that they rarely question you, so I took a standard gig for Grootgrond and headed out. It was first when I was packing my stuff I found the biomod I bought from Rosina a few days ago. Was it worth it? What difference would it make? I let it stay in my stash.

The job was an escort - food and other supplies for Iron Hill. There were five other mercs on the job; had worked with two of them before prior to the Apex Predators entering the scene; they were known as Rus and Keg (yes he drinks. A lot). The other's I'd seen around. Nothing special, but at least you got what you expected. I took the rear post in our three truck caravan. One of the mercs made some comment about it was where my face belonged so I accidentally discharged my shotgun at the ground next to his foot. He shut up for the rest of the trip.

As we were moving out it dawned on me I hadn't really thought about which direction I was heading since me and Keria survived those double-crossing bitches in the forest. That was 18 years ago - hard to imagine. After that, things had just happened after each other - it had been an easy ride to just tag along. But what did I really have to show for those years? The credits are gone, that's for sure... a few more scars but it's not like anyone would notice outside of the face. A few contacts for sure, but Keria doesn't like me more than she has too, Zima doesn't bring as many jobs as he used to while Kronaug is about as useful as he's ever been. There is of course young Mr Blackbourne but haven't heard from him in a while. The more I thought about it the more it felt like the world was trying to give me a hint. "You're old, you damn fool. Sell your stuff and take a job as a guide for some new team who don't know half a thing about the Fringe. Make enough money and leave this shithole behind." It was tempting and this made me pissed off. Yeah, right, like you'd have any of that money more than a week. But what the fuck else could I do?

Eventually we reached Iron Hill, just at the break of dawn. It was a sorrow sight. Other mercs were handling security and while money seemed to go into new fences the workers didn't seem to get much of it. This is what the Fringe do to you: it gives you credits, but never enough. You work your whole damn life but still you're somehow always short on credits.

We off-loaded and turned the trucks around, accepting a second cargo going back to the city. The drive continued. So what was it then? Well, fuck it, I thought. No one knows the future - well maybe some half-crazed mage staring into some pond somewhere. But other than that. Something my mother had said to me on a bloody night in a very different life... "We prove ourselves to the gods so they know where to place us when we return after death. Until then we fight on". Never believed in any damn gods and I'm pretty sure death is quite final for anyone but the super-rich. But you never know... There was a biomod in my stash back at base. It was a start. Well, curse all the gods and the world with them! I am Kragor and I will go down in a fury of bullets. The Fringe may take everything, but I'll give it a name to remember...

Core Rule Update: Conditions & Wards

You'll now find an updated Core Rule book available for download.

What is new:

Added conditions:
  • Altered Metabolism
  • Deep Sleep
  • Insomnia
Magical Wards:
- Added a short section on the creation (and maintenance) of magical wards.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Kragor the Merc: Apex Predators

The mission was done; the camp had been cleaned, though the odd shot from Juron could still be heard through the nightly mists of poison gas. As it was over the damn pain started to creep up on me - all I wanted to was to get back to town and get it sorted out. Unfortunately Silence let know it was 8h until our relieve would arrive. Ed took one look at the wound and said I shouldn't wait... well, he's the medic. But as always, field operations are never easy. Don't know what he actually did apart from cut me up and then put a bandage on it all so for the rest of the wait I had Angeline pile up a bunch of mattresses for a confy seat and I took guard duty. It was one of the longest waits in my damn life - and that's saying a lot.

After the relief force arrived and gave us a pat on the back (figuratively of course - I would have shot anyone who tried that on me at this point) we headed back home. Tried to ease the pain with some mort but the body said no to that, so fuck it. When we finally hit town and some better roads at last it felt like I could think again. Perfect timing for Erza to declare she had to go help her brother - who had managed to get himself into trouble. Is it something all orc women do, rush to the rescue like that? Didn't want to dwell on that thought though... and I didn't have to. In the next sentence Erza gave me command until her return. Oh, lovely day.

Silence dumped the gang off at Freelance and me at the medbay. Rosina seemed to take one look at the wound and started cursing, which can't have been good. There was also an inquiry of the sort "didn't you have a medic with you?" which started to raise an interesting question. It was sleepy time and surgery for me soon after though, so it would have to wait.

It was later that day when I crawled myself back to base. Ok, I walked but I felt like crawling. Had taken the bullet Rosina removed with me - as a souvenir for Ed to give him something to think about. He didn't get time for that though as it was off to collect our money and as it was the first big job we'd done we spent some time talking about a team name. After all, we could be earning a reputation here. It landed on Apex Predators. I can't really recall who came up with the idea, but as far as names go I can live with that one. At least it means something.

The clans wanted to do business at a construction site - a bit cliché but as long as I get my share... They seemed fairly impressed about our work at the camp so there might be more business coming our way - but then they also suggested we'd let them know if we were running escort business to avoid any trouble. I'll leave such fine nuances to Erza to decide about (and her response I dare say I can figure out on my own).

Back att Freelance it was posting the money (taking us past the Demon's Head and off the Dukkha job) and then to get some sleep. Unfortunately Demon's Head ladies Jiang-Pfeng and Sandrah appeared to be man-hunting for the night and with the rest of the Demon's Head out somewhere it was Juron and Ed who got the attention. Not that they seemed to want it, though Juron certainly tried to tell Sandrah off in the wrong way. Jiang had some smoking stuff going on - so it was rebreather on just to be on the safe side. I trust that poisonous bitch even less with a chem than I'd trust Ed in a negotiation these days. Fortunately it all calmed down eventually but yeah, its easy to remember I do this for the credits and not the social encounters.

The following day it was time for more work. The Demon's Head were less than pleased to see they got the Dukkha gig after all, which rendered some satisfaction. I however had my eyes set on Ed's personal files to try to get to the bottom of that mystery-man before we entered negotiations. Didn't have time to read much though.

We took a job for Terra Petroleum, which was a perimeter patrol. I was less than pleased to find we'd have to treck part of the route on foot - the fucking reason I hate Dukkha so much. I'd readily admit I wasn't the best country-trekker even 20 years ago and it hasn't improved over the years... Well, no pain no gain. At least it would take us into territory were we might find some lizards to make us some extra money. Off we went.

About 40h later we had covered most of the route with a slight delay, cutting into our sleep, but Juron and Lucas had still managed to slay a lizard and extract some venom and we were moving out on time. It all looked good, apart from the fact that I had probably been taking one too many wakers to stay alert on this job. But this was the last push - I only had to keep going...

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Kragor the Merc: For a Stick Full of Credits

It is never a pleasant experience to get shot, but for the right amount of cash...

Its been a busy week. Getting back from the last run we set out to sell the raw poison we acquired. Staking the streets proved fruitful and we found a dealer with the necessary means. 8 grands switched hands as we agreed to make a second delivery in order to keep the price up - left that one to Erza as I won't have her make me responsible for any more business deals.

Our day off turned into an exercise-regime managed by the Freelance android Siri. Fucking bone-breaker but I'll be damned if I turn out last (or second-last; Angeline doesn't really count...). Meant the rest of the day got reserved for a long shower and some extra sleep. We had been expecting Lucas back with two arms today, but apparently there was some complications so neither of Lucas' arms would be there to aid us in the upcoming days.

The day after that it was mission time and given our agreement with the street dealer we aimed for another GERO scouting gig in the hope of finding lizard. Well, the scouting went according to plan, but no beasties this time. We'll just keep trying.

Back at base it seemed as if Elizah had gotten another contract for Dukkha. It would go to the first team to volonteer (Juron actually seemed eager for this, but he was rather alone in his opinion) or the team scraping the bottom at the end of the month. That would of course be us. Erza expressed some idea about paying all our mission money to Freelance to let us bail, but fuck that. I take these jobs for credits - I don't pay them back to get less work. If we'd end up on Dukkha that was how it was going to be.

As on queue we got a meeting with Silence - the fruit of our little mishap with the Clans. It was a big gig, worth 100 -fucking- thousand credits. As expected Silence wanted a lion's share, but who was to argue? Even with Freelance getting it's share it was going to be plenty for each of us. The mission itself was to wipe out some clan renegades who had a walled camp out in the wilderness. It would certainly require some gear upgrades but even so leave a decent sum for the bank. Not that money tended to stay there for long but I do know my account enjoys the occasional visit anyway.
With Silence covering the basic necessities such as food and transport we were given free reigns to discuss the assault itself. At this point it became apparent that particularly Ed and to some degree Angeline had problems doing this kind of job. Some fucking moral-bullshit talk again - I don't get how these people see the world. Its the Fringe for fuck's sake - everyone is guilty of something. And these were not only outlaws - they were outlaws outlawed by other fucking outlaws. They were about as guilty and unwanted as anyone outside a tax office was ever going to be. Luckily we managed to steer up the situation before Silence took back her offer.
Back to the planning Erza had the idea to use explosives to take out the camp's generator and vehicles. One of two towers were to be cleaned by Silence with a sniper rifle to allow us entry, as apparent minefields prevented us from planting anything outside the walls. At this point Ed came with the brilliant idea to use gas grenades to further add to the confusion. Admittedly, he probably thought of tear gas or some nonsense like that but it only goes to show that any idea can be improved upon. Poison gas it was. So the final plan was for Silence to snipe the towers, Erza and Juron to wreck the generator and vehicles, Angeline to launch gas grenades into the camp using a mortar and me and Ed to provide support and work on the body count. That is, I figured Ed would support the others while I worked on the body count. Figured he would feel better about it that way.

It was a 24h drive to follow - one that Silence did all on her own. I got the feeling some part of her had the urge to impress us, while the other simply did things as it was used to: going solo. I don't complain.
Reaching the site we waited for darkness to make our approach. Seeing everyone in their full combat gear - even Ed had purchased an armor - with night vision and everything sure was an impressive sight. I looked forward to the thrill. And then it was time.
Silence did her part and we started climbing into the now unmanned tower at the corner of the base. Juron proved to be less than friendly with the climbing gear and was forced to wait for us to open the gate instead. Meanwhile me and Ed got down the tower and took up positions. Then Erza blew the shit out of the generator. Things started to go fast. There was a shower shed between me and the barracks, so I pulled out my brand new silenced pocket pistol and went to clean it out. Next time I'll use the fucking semi-mode on the thing, but with a little luck and a shot from Ed we had two dead outlaws who never got off a shot. Moving on I switched to my other purchase for the week: an auto shotgun. Had been wanting one of these for years and it seemed perfect for the job. At this point Juron had apparently tired of waiting so blew up the whole friggin gate. I think some of the dazzled thugs coming out from the nearby barracks saw me in the light of the explosion and we started exchanging fire. It became a blur from there on. Some part of me registered getting shot twice but it was not until it was all over that I realized one of the injuries was rather serious. I must have killed close to ten people in that short time span - didn't really think about it, just let the shotgun blaze. It was the price to pay for the money we earned. Two gunshot wounds and a shit-load of ammo.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Centuria Dice Roller

Another update for the character generator: the Centuria dice roller!

Select the number of rolls to make and then how many dice for each roll. Resulting dice are displayed to the left, including the [!] symbol for Critical results.

A direct link can be found here:

As for the generator the update introduces a few bug fixes but no new features.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Kragor the Merc: Real Business

Finally it came down to some real business. After a lengthy discussion (several minutes, I assure you) about how to handle our resent clash with the clans we decided that in order to make money we had to spend money. That is, we pay our debt and then we check if there's some interesting money to be made from those fuckers until we decide we have the means to settle scores. Encountered the usual "I want to follow the law"-kinda talk - as if there is such a thing as law in the Fringe. Thankfully, but not entierly surprising, Silence turned out to be able to help - both with paying off the debt and getting us some action. It seemed like a one-time offer though, so I took the money before anyone was stupid enough to turn it down. Pretending to have a plan with it seemed enough to have everyone tag along - a bit more literary than expected as I intended to go myself but got Erza and Juron as a tail.

As usual we had a day off after work so we used it to settle our debt. Also, Angeline was scheduled to be released from the hospital so Ed volonteered to pick her up. It wouldn't surprise me if he told her something stupid, but hey, that's not my problem. In the end we all ended up at the Mint as the debt had to be settled in the Blocks and only Juron had the stomach to eat some of their food. It felt strangely satisfying to be all together again, Lucas' arm excluded of course.

All in all, it put us back 5'000 creds (apparently the clans charge extra if you kill their goons) so pressure was on when getting a new job. We decided to go with GERO, thinking staying in the game with them could do us credit (hehe) in the long run. It quickly turned out we were right; not only did we get better-than-average salary; they also produced some high-tech rebreathers as freebies. It was a scouting mission so it also felt as we knew what the difficult part would be. Driving - check. Scouting - check. Reading the damn maps - fuckit. We were right.
But against all expectations, in the middle of finding out where the fuck "here" actually is, we stumble upon a giant lizard. Charging in, Erza brought it down with two well-aimed shots to the head. Checking it out Angeline - she's really like throwing a die that girl - believed it to be a giant bluestone lizard. Given that their poison glands sell for 5k - that's 5-fucking-thousands - it was like finding a real phoenix in the junkyard. Stepping it up we even managed to finish the job on time - every second counts - and thus it seems as we made some big money on this one. Feels good to be doing some real business again.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Kragor the Merc: Just another run

Happy wasn't part of the repertoire as we headed back to get Lucas another arm and Angeline back on her feet. I for one didn't mind the silence though; it gave me time to think. That the GERO gig had been busted by an inside job seemed pretty obvious so I was more thinking ahead. Vengeance would of course be nice, but that was a long road and we needed both intel and money before we could make any moves in such a direction. Generally you could get the other if you had one of them and since we were certainly more cut out to get money than intel then that seemed like the road to take. We only needed to get past Ed's negotiation skills.

After having dumped Lucas and Angeline at the medfac we returned to base. Did a short report to Eliza and learned that Erza was in the building - which felt like very good news. The old gods might know I for one ain't much for military discipline, but sometimes it has it's uses. Unfortunately, while Erza was off the charts on that one her bartering skills were perhaps not what would get us a good salary. I decided it was time to get this sorted out and get my hands on some tech which could aid us.

We had a day off before it was going back to work though, and from Eliza we learned there would be some premium tech available at our dependable arms supplier. It seemed as a good way to spend a day, coupled with the fact that Lucas couldn't be expected to do much else than walking. That didn't stop Erza from making a small challenge against the Demon's Head and pick a fight with the clans - the local crime mob. Good thing we had a working day coming up or we'd end up with more enemies than we have bullets for. On the other hand, bullets are quite useless when you haven't got any enemies so it might still turn out interesting in the end.

The job we took was a standard escort, this time for a corp called Grootgrond. I had some damn trouble staying off the vitagels - guessing they're getting to me - but besides that there was nothing we couldn't handle. This time that included the contract dealing; my investment in a module covering last year's business prices paid off as we got standard fares at the higher end of the scale and even full-payment for a five man team with only nine arms. A few more jobs like this (which would also give the good doctor time to attach that new vat-grown arm to Lucas' shoulder) and we'll be ready for some more serious business.

The Dreamspace

A small addition has been made to the Age of Information rulebook: Dreamspace. It is a good place for secret discussions and meetings as it is out of earshot for the Union. Read more about it under the GM section of the Age of Information rulebook (available at the downloads page).

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Age of Information RULE BOOK RELEASE

Yep, that is right. We are stepping it up. Say hello to the print rewrite for the Age of Information. The work has been done in preparation for a small print sales release this autumn. We realize we skipped an age, but that is how things are right now.

As with the Core Rule Book there's no need to wait until printing (which will anyhow only be available in Sweden): you can go right to the download page and get it, right now. For free. No strings attached more than that if you do like it please spread the word.

Updates introduced:

  • Semi Auto Burst is now an Action and not a Full Action (actually this has been changed in the Core Rule Book, but here is where it matters).
  • A massive overhaul adding more than 100(!) pages of maps, images and a lot of background info.
  • Changed the Scope and Telescope weapon addons. Scope in the old rules is now replaced by Sight while Telescope is replaced by Scope.
  • Updated the ranges for all firearms.
  • Added several modules to the equipment section.

Downloads page updates

As part of this release the downloads page have also been updated. The old adventures available for download has been removed as they are not up to date with the updated rules (sorry). It is a future project to update them accordingly.
On the positive side though you will find a lot more maps available! Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Kragor the Merc: Headhunted

It turned out Erza still had some unfinished business to attend to, so had to stay on the island, but at that moment it was good enough to have two days of sleep to look forward to. However, bad habits die hard and after one day in easy mode the brain wanted work again, so we check the bounty board. It seemed the gang was in on the idea which was the best news so far: no matter how poor the result or how bad the pay experience improves everything. But in the end it might be that we got a little bit too much of that in one doze.

About the same time we had decided to run a bounty mission Elizah informed us we had been headhunted for another mission. Must've been due to the island mission and that meant there could be cash in it. However, nothing prevented us from running a little hunt on our spare time. So we did, but the intel we gathered on the top business made me realize I'd been pulling it too far; they were out of our league for the moment. Blame it on that stupid biomod - I think it gets me in a good mood and prevents me from thinking straight. Luckily, the others seemed to reach the same conclusion so was no need for me to bring it up. We cashed in on some low-level bounties instead, which made it a good day.

The mission for which we had been headhunted involved an escort for a corp called GERO. They were represented by a young talkative woman who seemed fairly new in the game. Some secret high-tech gear was to be transported some secret route from a secret location. Ed managed the negotiations so we got a shitty deal, but at least it would be some good advertising. Or so I thought.

A jeep took us out into the middle of nowhere; we had to turn off everything to prevent us from knowing where we were, which was part of the plan. Then we waited for the transport to arrive. Big terradyne with a sole driver and no escort. Considering there poor pay it seemed outright stupid. But it could just be a test of some kind. But the real test was still to come.

The terradyne had, beyond the spacy driver's compartment, a small outlook at the front and two seats at the back. We had a 48h trip ahead so took up positions, me and Ed at the rear and Angeline, Juron and Lucas at the front, and soon took off. Was relieved that someone else was driving for once - never took this job to be a trucker. First day passed with no incidents and the second seemed to be going well. That was until me and Lucas heard some noise, followed by the demand to "stop the truck" - spoken in our own com-channel. That was enough for me to take things serious. I had two options to be able to see what was going on: climb a ladder to the top of the moving truck or throw myself off. The first would put me in a really nice outline for anyone aiming at us, so option B it was. At that point the truck stopped, which I didn't know if it was good or bad. Got off and saw some figure in armor standing in the tower. He was still talking at our com-channel so I took a shot. The moment after an arm came leaving the outlook - I later learned it was Lucas'. Ed, who had taken the ladder and covered the distance over the truck came down firing - until Juron ordered us all to stop. Seemed the attacker had us at a severe disadvantage. There was some discussion going on but as I was out of the picture for the moment I took a look around. Ed's run across the vehicle had made it quite clear that if there was anyone else around with a gun they had chosen not to fire it. Meaning it was a stupid fight to fight. I spotted a contraption with a camera above the road about the same time a com-call came through that everyone was going to live, which sounded fair. Then Juron and the driver came around to offload something from the cargo - the attacker had only requested a single piece. So he had intel on the secret cargo, intel on the secret route and the corp was paying us shit-grade salary and body parts was coming out from the vehicle. Again it was clear we were out of our league and there was little to do - little I cared about doing - than getting the dude what he wanted. The only thing that buggered me was that the driver seemed upset about it; meaning he had either no tactical sense whatsoever or he was getting paid really well for delivering that cargo. Neither put me in a good mood so as we prepared to head out - requested item left at the road - I told him to shut up.

Eventually we reached our destination, with a new escort and our contractor waiting at the scene. Our only piece of luck I guess; the state of Lucas and Angeline - who had both been taken down with a sword - got our contractor a bit out of balance. There was some exchange with the driver but no real intel on what could have transpired. Generously the corp offered to supply a bionic arm for Lucas and we were given full pay (petty cash in comparison) and a somewhat honorary dismissal. It was all a clear reminder that to do jobs in the Fringe you need to be able to react in the back of your brain in any situation - there can be no hesitation. And yeah, money and fancy gear helps, too.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Kragor the Merc: Fruits of war

I hadn't planned on ever going back there, especially not after 36h with little to no sleep. But that's life: you want to be a part of it you have to stick to it.

Dukkha they called the island, though that was just a name. To the combators it was something with a lot of characters and numbers. What everyone agreed on was that it was a hellhole. I don't know how many corps wanted to control the place but regardless it was all-out war by now. Playground for the arms manufacturers you could say. But you did earn a decent pay if you got out of there alive.

Last time I was there I flew in with five people and went home alone. People make up stories about that, but I don't give a fuck. It would be a good test for all the rookies: if they survive maybe they have what it takes to make it in the Fringe.

I was surprised when I realized we'd be teaming up with Erza. Big orc girl, made a good impression last time I was there. And she had the brains to time limit her contract which is more you could say about most. Though I had a funny feeling about it I still felt like it would be alright with her with us. It would also solve all problems with leadership as she's the type of merc who likes to have control. Ed tried to explain something about that it was the biomod we took about a week ago that was behind the funny feeling somehow. Didn't get that part, but it seems Erza is going to start working for Freelance now, so she got the mod too and so it was all ok or something.

The mission was easy enough: find a missing team and put them back on track, get them home or at least salvage the equipment. We had four days in the poisoned wilderness to deliver and more than two point eight thousand creds waiting on the return. Sounded like fun - that is until I realized how long it's been since I pulled a pack across rough terrain. Had to dose up on vitagel to keep standing for fuck's sake. For two bloody days we pushed across the blasted mountains covering the inner part of the island. My trigger finger would have been itching had I not been so damn tired. But I was not the only one to get pushed, that's for sure, but everyone did alright. Juron had an incident where he nearly fell over a cliff, but given that he'd been carrying a termal hab and twice the water ransons I wouldn't hold that against him. Sure, he lost the water but I was surprised he was still standing at all to begin with. I figured we had enough rations to survive anyway.

Part from the damn trekking we had two points of interests. A chance encounter with two mercs, one of them with a leg injured, gave us information about an ambush up a head. Ed "I'm a medic" Butcher continued to surprise me. I don't pretend to understand exactly what happened but regardless he ended up telling the injured guy everything was fine and sent him walking down the mountain. And he had the gall to call me a cynical bastard? Sure I am, but I don't tell people everything's going to be fine and then send them with an open leg wound to walk for two days in valleys covered in poison. I tell them the truth and, if they prefer it that way, give them a pain killer in the form of a bullet through the brain. Different kinds of mercy I guess.
The second encounter was with the team we were sent to find who had been pinned down by enemies entrenched high up the mountain sides - the ambushers we'd been told about. Seemed there were few options but to try a covered approach, put down some covering fire and make a run for it. This time Juron proved me wrong. Never seen a grenade launcher fired so accurately. It was like myself back in the Fringe forest with a fire grenade and the crooked fixer all those years ago - just a grander scale to it. Those bastards in the trenches didn't stand a chance. From there on it was all down hill - quite literary.

We made it back to camp, cashed in and prepared to get shipped out again. Oh, and I checked if those two soldiers we met had returned. Seemed they had but one of them died a few hours later.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Kragor the Merc: Just another run

It had been like a fucking family reunion for two days; sleeping, eating and going shopping together. Even discussing a team name - Ed and Angeline mostly; Juron and Lucas thankfully appearing to be level headed in the matter. Yeah, we had such a lovely time... Adding Juron's apparent habit of walking naked to the showers it felt a bit too personal. Or at least, I had expected it do to. It had felt ok, which was strange. Nothing to get hung up on I guess...

It was good to get on a new mission; scouting out a part of the wilderness for Endo-X. Ed handled the negotiations, or at least tried to. We didn't get totally scammed so I guess that's alright for a rookie. As usual it was a long drive and it didn't get shorter as we somewhere after 12 or more hours of driving realized we were off course. At least no one crashed a jeep. Speaking of crashing jeeps Angeline certainly hit both high and low. The girl appears to be incapable of delivering dependable results; its either top of the class or total fuckup. Ought to get interesting as long as its not me getting killed first. Regardless, once we reached the site we were 3 hours late and the only explanation to give to the corp anyone could come up with was to tamper with the route - meaning we'd be late and do a bad job. No, thank you.

The fates delivered us in the end. Pulling through the terrain we spotted an ambush: two barricades placed at either side of the driveway with a group of armed thugs waiting behind. We drove at their flanks instead and turned the tables - most of them killed before they even realized how fucking bad idea it was in the first place. Two tried to run. Lucas got the first; good marksman that one. Ed somehow managed to get the other one to surrender - don't ask me how - so given our last "incident" by the road I decided to deal with the problem before it could be a matter of discussion. It worked out well. The rest of the mission was pancake in comparison and the corp bought our story about the ambush being the cause of the delay - happy day. Or at least it would have been if not for Krelik's smug face back at the base. But don't you worry big guy - we'll take you down eventually.