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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Attack of the Swarm, Episode #1: The Fate of the Fifth

    Camp Cavalier, East of Dethomar River
    Evening 10th Cycle, Dead Winter, 319 AG


    It has been 6 months since the Swarm first touched down on Suskillon in a bloody conflict named the Battle at Stone Sea. After the Swarm punched through the planet’s aerial and orbital defenses, its components landed near the Stone Sea, a large freshwater lake surrounding a dormant volcano. The Fifth Battalion of the Suskillon Defense Force, under the command of Cmdr. Tarian Larkison, was closest to the site of contact and held the Swarm back long enough for the SDF to mobilize other battalions to the area. Stories of the battle have already reached near-mythical heights, as most members of the Fifth Battalion were killed in glorious, terrible combat.

    Since then, the SDF has fought a war of attrition against the Swarm. Remnants of the 5th, under Lt Cmdr. Jaldamarrak, have held the line allowing for the remaining battalions to organize a tactical withdrawal from dense population centers in the path of the enemy's relentless assaults. The Swarm is inexhaustable, though, and it has already overrun and taken nearly half of the planet. Now, six months after the Battle of the Stone Sea, the 5th Battalion finds itself entrenched at Camp Cavalier, East of the Dethomar River. The Dead Winter, one of Suskillon's notoriously brutal winters that typically last a little under half a year, threatened defensive operations, while doing little to hamper the movements of the Swarm. The Camp had been established at a terrible price the SDF and other Suskillon citizens have paid over the past 6 months. Every credit expended, each drop of sweat, and all the bloodshed has been part of the worldwide attempt to repel the alien invaders, but maybe, just maybe, it hadn't all been in vain. In an effort to replenish the ranks of the Fifth Battalion, the SDF has recruited mercenaries and offworlders, made deals with prisoners and pirates, and accepted nearly every volunteer who can hold a gun. These new soldiers are being trained and outfitted at Cavalier, the mood across the planet is grim, though glimmers of hope have begun to shine through at the news of the Swarm’s seeming slowdown.

    • Spoiler: Ranica Nari, Lashunta Scholar, Armor Attuned Solarion
      Show
      One of the the many duties attended by Sarenrae's faithful, is the observance and recording of solar phenomena throughout the known worlds. Each House dedicated to Sarenrae is equipped with precise instrumentation and powerful computers to store the data. This provides the Church itself, with very valuable information useful in astronavigation and other highly speciliased fields. As such, it is standard protocol when one of those observation stations is threatened by any planetary situation the church makes a concentrated effort to evacuate Sarenrae personel and retrieve the data stored within the Church. The medium cruiser Sword of Dawn arrived in Suskillon orbit, weeks after the Battle of the Stone Sea and began evacuating the residents of the Firescale Chapterhouse. Despite impassioned pleas, the Knights of Sarenrae did their duty, leaving only a skeleton crew in the House, yourself included. However, the Abbot's pleas did not fall on deaf ears, defying orders, a young Knight Aspirant, Qonn Ulgard, volunteered to stay behind to assist in the defence of the planet. The House of Firescale has since fallen, but with Aspirant Ulgard's assistance, Sajael, Jnchovska, and yourself arrived at Camp Cavalier.

      Spoiler: Knight Aspirant Qonn Ulgard
      Show
    • Spoiler: Katara Cratermaker, Vesk Mercenary, Bombard Soldier, played by DaedalusMkV
      Show
      Almost nine months ago you arrived on Suskillon, or rather in orbit around the planet. You were assigned as a civilian consultant with the SDF, assisting their Drift Marine division in the strategic application of explosive force to breach either airlock or hull for ship to ship boarding manuevers. During your down time you frequented the downside sector of Brinnoa, specifically a bar, the Tarpit, where she befriended the whip-thin bartender Svoma. However, it was only in the void of space where Katara felt alive. While preparing an exercise, Katara and her senior Ordinance Engineer, Athalvald Bjornsson, witnessed a cloud of incredibly fast, incredibly manueverable bio-ships jump in system.
      Spoiler: Swarm Fleetfury
      Show

      Athalvad took control of the ship, but their attackers were too fast, soon disabling the ship, however, given the firepower of the Suskillon Defense Platform, they ignored the smaller training vessel and swarmed the Platform, the 7th Wing scrambled to defend the platform, and did so successfully. However, the training vessel had been badly damaged, lacking both life support and their communications array. A blast from the Swarm's bio-ship had torn through the hull, knocking the Vesk unconscious and ripping through the dwarf's Exo-suit. Knowing it would cost a leg, he used a plasma torch to remove the useless stump, sealing his suit. He then executed a space walk that has become almost legendary among Suskillon spacer's, deftly avoiding debris from the battle and remaining sorties by either side, all the while carrying the Vesk's large bulk with him. One they reached the platform, they were able to evacuate to the surface of Suskillon with the 7th Wing prior to the arrival of the Swarm Bio-cruisers that finished the damage done by their Fleetfury's with a dreadful finality.
      When Athalvald was equipped with a Mjolner-poly-carbon replacement, he re-upped with the SDF, and Katara, knowing full well the competancy of Sub-commander Jaldamarrak, followed Bjornsson eagerly, hoping for the opportunity to repay the stout engineer's the life debt she now owed.
      Spoiler: Athalvald Bjornsson; 5th Battalion Ordinance Engineer
      Show
    • Spoiler: Major Atrus Locke, Human Spacefarer, Ghost Operative, played by Denomar
      Show
      A little over a year ago the not so 'Lucky Lad' made planet fall in Brinnoa, the capital of Sukillon. Several weeks after that, you found that your Captain had been smuggling ketrocel-white, a highly addictive psychotrope, for the Render family. Some dispute over their arrangement had occured and it was you that discovered the Captain, splayed open and bound to the interior of the Lad's smuggling hold. Luckily you were scouring those worries away in the Tarpit when the Render's came looking for you. In the ensuing gunfight you quickly learned that the Tarpit was turf of a Vesk clutch gang called Burning Violence. After you scarred up the face of the Render's enforcer, a guy named Hexx, they adopted you as their pink skinned clutch mate, you think they might respect you. The famously vain Hexx, now scarred by your hand swore to take you down, thankfully the guy wasn't smart and with a little work and a call to Brinoa Peace Enforcement he's now serving time in Eskue Correctional, a hard labor penitentary north of Reos City. When the clutch decided to move to Camp Cavalier, you followed, hopefully they've still got your back because you noticed a few of Hexx's crew in the new recruits.

      Spoiler: Pretty Boy Hexx, Render Enforcer
      Show
    • Spoiler: Valiant Larkison, Human Blitz Soldier, played by Siegfried
      Show
      2nd year cadet at the Suskillon High Command Academy, you were used to the weight and responsibility that came with your name. However, your name was something of a detriment at the Academy, as your instructors expected more of you, while you classmates felt your name granted you priviledge, so you were inducted, through informal discipline, several times. Harshly. One of the few squadmates who stood up for you against your peers was a young woman, a year your senior, Cadet al-Isa. A friendship soon developed between you two, you discovered her family were traditional geological engineers, but she defied their expectations, wanting nothing more than to serve in the 5th, under your father Tarian Larkison. When the Academy Adminstrator delivered the news of your father's death, you were furious at your administrators for not allowing you to be there, by your father's side. You were a Larkison, you didn't need this training, you had spent your whole life training. You snuck to the vehicle bay, intent to join your Uncle at the front, Athene tried to stop you, but you refused, so she joined you, trying the whole way to talk you down. About 60 klicks north east of the Academy a solitary Dredger attacked, side swiping the vehicle, you lost control, were pinned as it came for you, until Athene put a burst from the vehicle mounted artillery laser through it's brain case.
      Spoiler: Swarm Dredger
      Show

      The two of you were discovered by the 7th Battalion who were falling back to reinforce Brinnoa. You were to be court martialed for desertion, however, Athene took full responsibility. She was not demoted, but was barred her life's dream of serving in the SDF, and now serves as a mechanic at Camp Cavalier. You haven't had the courage to talk to her yet.
      Spoiler: Athene al-Isa, 5th Battalion Armsmaster
      Show


    You all find yourself in the rust-red mud of the Camp Cavalier's training yard, the Dead Winter winds whipping about at a speed of over 30 klicks, drifts had billowed to the height of the hastily erected mesh wire fences, almost 3 meters high. Jaldamarrak, promoted to the rank of Commander, to replace Larkison, had raised a new rank of junior officers to positions of command within the battalion, once such officer addressed the rag tag assembly in front of her, a half elf, Sub Cmdr. Zika Tan, she spoke frankly of her recruits, and her concerns for the days that lay ahead, however, despite her bitter words there seemed to be something behind her voice, a sense of respect. The men and women who stood before her were no longer civilians, they had completed a brutally harsh, if not accelerated training regimine, and had been inducted into the 5th to combat the growing losses of the SDF. She looked around, and in a clipped, harsh tone continued;

    Spoiler: Sub Cmdr. Zika Tan
    Show


    "You might feel invincible after trainin’, but this is real life now, and it ain’t nothin’ like your precious little simulations." The scars on her face, and her Zeiss-Ikon cybernetic eyes told those listening that she knew well what their odds were, and though she had survived the Sea of Stones, it hadn't come without a cost. "Ain’t no test scores here," she glared at the young Larkison as she mentioned the tests, "and ain’t no do-overs. If those monsters bring you down, chances are you won’t be gettin’ back up." She pointed to the splayed, chitinous brain case the Camp kept above it's main entry gate, a grisly trophy, and a reminder of their implaccable foe. "They might look like nothing more than big bugs—Hells, they might even act like it—but they’re not. No way. No more’n I am. They might not be smarter than you, or faster than you, or even stronger than you, but by Sarerae, they are meaner than you! Don’t think twice about killin’ ’em. You can bet your nethers they’re not thinkin’ twice about killin’ you. Frack, they ain't thinkin' at all, they are frelling machines, livin', breathin' machines, they absolutely will not stop. Ever. We CAN slow 'em down." She bowed her head, pulled an icon of the Dawnflower from beneath her armor, lifted it to her lips, kissed it. "But there's a price.”

    She snapped a crisp salute, then wandered through the dispersing throng, coming to each of you, "Fall in, Jaldamarrak want's you in the command centre." The four of you walk through the camp, white snows mixing with the red Suskillon soil, you see soldiers, walking wounded, shell shocked, weary exhausted, talking to one another, trading horror stories from the front lines and you wonder how many of them are true.

    'SDF has had to withdraw it roops in over 90% of engagements ... taken alive, brains absorbed, how else do they know our every move ... 3 months, they've already moved politicians and top brass off planet ... Sword of Dawn fled, even Sarenrae know's it's a lost cause ... multiheaded, big as an arcology, melt your brain if you get within a klick ... Brinnoa falls brass is gonna nuke it, civilians and SDF be damned ...'

    Most of the chatter is cut short with a harsh glare from Tan's violet cybernetic optical modules, and the rest of the walk passes in silence, until you see the flaps of the command center tent, "We're here. Inside, and good luck." She snaps a salute at you all and turns back towards the barracks.

    You find yourself with a rare moment of privacy in the over crowded camp, as the wind whistles carrying soil and snow, the color of blood and bone.

    OOC: Please describe yourselves, your gear, introduce yourselves, speak amongst yourselves. If you wish to know anything about either the Sub Comander Zika Tan, or the Commander Jaldamarrak please make either a Culture check or a Profession [Soldier] check. Mercenary will reduce the DC on either by 5 as per the Theme. Any questions feel free to ask!

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Attack of the Swarm, Episode #1: The Fate of the Fifth

    Valiant doesn’t flinch with Zika trying to get under his skin. Seeing the wounded and military camp his Larkison blood starts to boil and gets a little excited not that you can tell under his full equipped suit. He walks into the commander tent.

    As he walks up to where Jaldamarraks is and performs his Larkison’s salute and says one word. Valiant. identifying himself as he awaits his orders.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Attack of the Swarm, Episode #1: The Fate of the Fifth

    Itchy.

    He was itchy. Working a finger into the collar of the fresh off the line Kasathan Microcord, Atrus Locke massaged the small patch of razor burn on his neck where the unfamiliar compound fabric closed tightly around his throat.

    His dry throat. Perhaps the last month had been a bit overboard. He forcefully banished thoughts of drinking something smooth and went through a mental checklist to ground himself in the present.

    Right hip: Iroquois Class One Tactical semiautomatic snub nosed pistol. Nine in the chamber.
    Belt: three clips standard hollow point.
    Left hip. Engineering kit. Standard Verces Infiltration Specialist tools. Lockpick, allan key wrench, plasma powered screwdriver.
    Right forearm. Quick release sheath. Survival knife. Nine inches long carbon plated and matte black.
    Three allies. Condition nominal...if strained.

    Were it not for his attire Atrus Locke would probably be the most unremarkable man that you had ever laid eyes upon on the streets, in a military encampment he was just as unremarkable. Dark brown close cut hair, dark brown closely trimmed beard, black eyes and average height and weight for a healthy adult human male.

    He smiles grimly, opening the tent flap for the Vesk and the Lashunta to enter, slipping in after them.
    All Hail Fun!
    Quote Originally Posted by Cardea View Post
    No... no... its... its supposed to be 'then'... NO. DENOMAR OUT. YOU HAVE RUINED EVERYTHING.
    New Sexy Mordrent Avatar via Tiffany Lirle! I bow down to her sense of fun.

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    Troll in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Attack of the Swarm, Episode #1: The Fate of the Fifth

    Raínca

    Raínca shudders. I'll never get used to that, she thinks to herself listening to subcommander Tan's speech. It takes her a moment to realize where she is, but when she does she immediately adopts a posture more fitting for a soldier, mimicing the obviously more experienced human standing next to her. Then again, I have no choice. No going back to the house now. She wordlessly falls in line when subcommander Tan tells her to, following along without listening to the murmurs around her. Instead, the lashunta focuses on the sound of her breathing, and her footsteps in the snow. They are oddly calming sounds in such a chaotic environment. Almost instinctively her left hand goes to the simple symbol of the Dawnflower around her neck. Another attempt to calm her nerves. It seems to work.

    Entering the tent, it takes Raínca a moment to realize where she is exactly, but she quickly stands at attention, following the example of the properly trained soldier in what appears to be their little squad. For someone who's just been through an improvised military training she is very lightly armored, the second skin armor hidden beneath layers of thick clothes. It's cold, after all. Her laser rifle is slung over her shoulder next to her pack; over the last few months she's gotten quite used to carrying around a weapon. Didn't expect that to happen when I came here.
    The lashunta is very obviously a fresh recruit with no prior military experience. Yes, she salutes, and she stands at attention, but it takes her slightly longer than the others, and she doesn't seem at ease with all this protocol.

    "Raínca." She introduces herself, her voice barely above a whisper. Then, she repeats herself, louder this time. "I'm Raínca. Follower of the Dawnflower. I'm reporting for duty."
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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Denomar's Avatar

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    Default Re: Attack of the Swarm, Episode #1: The Fate of the Fifth

    As Rainca passes by into the tent Atrus winces and deftly reaches out. Turning on the safety of the Lashunta's shoulder slung rifle. The motion hidden as only a slight jostle as she squeezes by.

    'poor kid' he thought.
    All Hail Fun!
    Quote Originally Posted by Cardea View Post
    No... no... its... its supposed to be 'then'... NO. DENOMAR OUT. YOU HAVE RUINED EVERYTHING.
    New Sexy Mordrent Avatar via Tiffany Lirle! I bow down to her sense of fun.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Attack of the Swarm, Episode #1: The Fate of the Fifth

    Katara stands through the lecture by the pointy-eared Sub Commander with a practiced air of patience, She despises standing at attention for speeches, but you can't fight a war without an army and being in the army requires some sacrifices. The training was nothing new for her; they went heavy on physical training and marksmanship, as you'd expect from a militia training program, and she had no lack of experience in those areas. When the Elf dismisses the formation and gestures to Katara to follow she grunts and follows behind. Meaner than me. Pfah. Knife-ears has no idea what she's talking about. It's not like I'll hesitate to squish some murder-bugs. She thinks to herself as she falls in.

    It's pretty much impossible to miss the Cratermaker. Her immense form towers over even the largest humans and Lashunta, and the bulk of her heavy armour only serves to make her look like a hulking monster. While her composite plates are far from top-of-the-line, being pretty clearly last-generation BMC combat armour that the Veskarium's military surplus has flooded the market in recent years, but makes up for in mass what it lacks in modern design. While the armour is clearly designed with an integrated helmet, she has the face-plate detached and her blue-green iridescent scaled head fully visible, her pointed teeth a firm reminder that the Vesk are carnivores first and foremost. Her most obvious weapon is a six foot long steel-bladed Doshko, held in her right hand and leaned at rest against her shoulder as she marches, three wicked blades gleaming in the winter sun. She also has half a dozen grenades of various manufacture stowed across her torso and waist in a combat harness, though the rifle holster across her shoulder is empty and she doesn't seem to carry a proper ranged weapon of any sort. The huge Vesk's tail swishes across the ground as she moves, armoured plates along the back both providing protection and turning it into a functional bludgeon that's more than capable of knocking anything too close to her path aside, and the fingers of her free hand stretch and flex, working sore muscles and showing off her substantial claws.

    When the Sub Commander salutes her, Katara returns it in the Vesk fashion, hand crashing into her chest with a resounding thump, and she waits for the others to enter before doing so herself, though once it becomes clear that one of the humans intends to wait she shrugs and proceeds anyways. She catches the lighter-armoured human, Atrus, adjusting the female Lashunta's weapon and emits a rumbling chuckle, but offers no comment.

    As the others report for duty, Katara listens to the chatter around the command tent with some concern. She hadn't realized that morale was this bad. Nonetheless, once the others finished, she spoke up as well, her voice deep and surprisingly sonorous. "Katara Cratermaker, here as requested."

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show

    Katara will make a Profession check to see what she knows of the leadership.
    (1d20+4)[22]
    As a Mercenary, Katara reduces the DC by 5.

    Avatar by the wonderful SubLimePie. Former avatar by Andraste.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Attack of the Swarm, Episode #1: The Fate of the Fifth

    Camp Cavalier, East of Dethomar River
    Evening 10th Cycle, Dead Winter, 319 AG


    The large Vesk surveys each of you, snapping the assembled team a crisp salute and a nod, "You’ve probably heard that over the last seven days, the Swarm has retreated from three smaller cities to the east of Brinnoa, and the media and the SDF alike are calling this a turning point for the war, but I know better." His scaled row furrowed as he paced back and forth in front of the table, a holographic display of Suskillon hovering above it, dotted with innumerable slow, pulsing flashes indicating military action, nearly half of the globe was covering in a seething mass of blue, pulsating light, indicating the presence of the Swarm. "Those vexers are up to something, and I’m not letting the Fifth Battalion get caught with their spacesuits around their ankles."

    He wandered past, looking each of you in the eyes, slowly taking measure of your worth, until finally turning to the young Larkison reruit, "I served with your father, my deepest condolences." Jaldamarrak placed a heavy, calloused hand on the youth's shoulder, "He was a good man, but I am going to tell you a secret. He was a good man, a great commander, not because of his name, but in spite of it. Your family has served Suskillon for generations, but you remain apart from it, aloof, with, frankly, concerning traditions and tendencies. He often spoke of your family's code, collect a hundred for each fallen." He sighed, looked at the globe, "There are billions to collect. Do me a favor boy," he turned back to the young Larkison, "honor your father's loss by saving lives, not taking them. There are millions of Suskillon citizens still out there, wasting those lives in a reckless pursuit of vengeance for some damnable family tradition," he shook his massive head, a small click of disappointment escaping his lips.

    His back seemed to straighten as he continued, "That's why I am placing you in command of the unit Lt. Larkison, because I believe you are going to prove that you are better than your father, better than your family, because you will need to be if we're going to survive these next few months." He turned then, looked towards Rainica Nari, "Corporal, I've included you in this unit on the recommendation of Knight Aspirant Ulgard, he tells me that you have made significant progress during your advanced training, and Sub Cmdr. Tan agrees, last week, when the swarm hit the perimeter, I had the pleasure of seeing you and your trainees under fire. You stood out," his eyes seem to turn inward, reflecting on the first engagement you had against the swarm, "it was as if Sarenrae herself shone on you, and we need that." He looked to Valiant, "he, needs that. Hope, faith, and judging from your dossier, a sharp mind as well."

    "Major," he spoke to the man standing beside the Lashuntan, "Regulation require me to call you Corporal, your SDF rank, but I've read your record, the Verces operation was a fracking horror show, it would have shattered lesser men, so I'll be damned if I call you by lower rank than you've earned. The kid has ambition, talent, and raw skill, Verces showed you what happens when ambition goes unchecked, he's going to need you. Your experience," his look encompassed the team, "they all are."

    And finally he looked to Katara, "Roekib, rokiu riu al'kira" a Vesk saying, Fearless unto Death, "Looking at you is like looking into a mirror forty, fifty years ago," a twisted smile spread across his face, "not always a good thing. There's a time to fight, and there is a time to live, I hope you learn the difference before it is too late. But you are loyal, and proud, and I know you will protect them like they were your own clutch. They are going to need everything that the Veskarium made you, maybe more, if they are going to pull through this."

    "You've seen them, the four winged falcons, those bastards can dive at over 100 klicks, straight down and punch through a foot of ice to catch their prey. That's you now, you are my Ice Hawks." He snapped a salute, "I need you to patrol the Delta Escarpment about 10 klicks west of Camp, Vexxers," the SDF term for the Swarm, "are moving along it, and I need to know why. You leave in thirty, any questions make it quick, you still got gear to stow."

    Spoiler: Katara Military Culture Check Result
    Show
    • The vesk officer is one of the most stalwart and feared commanders in the SDF. He is over 60 years old and has had a storied career. He has worked for the Veskarium military, the Stewards, and as a private military consultant in the Pact Worlds.
    • Jaldamarrak was one of a few vesk given the Starstone Medal—one of the Pact Worlds’ highest military decorations—for fighting the Swarm during its attack on the Pact Worlds and the Veskarium. Credible rumors say that he turned down an offer to join the Knights of Golarion after the hostilities ended.
    • When Lt. Cmdr. Jaldamarrak joined the SDF the year preceeding the Sea of Stones, he insisted on being given the rank of private and has worked his way up to his current position in a short period of time, refusing every appointment that would take him from the field, despite his advanced age. Every post in which he served after the Swarm attack on the Veskarium has preceeded an engagement with the Swarm, he has displayed an uncanny ability to predict their movements and been heard to say that fighting against the Swarm is his true purpose in life.
    Last edited by Zero Prime; 2019-10-16 at 04:14 AM.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Attack of the Swarm, Episode #1: The Fate of the Fifth

    Valiants mind in a bit of turmoil before he forces the needed thoughts away to focus. This isn’t the time. he thought to himself. Thinking of which info he needs most he speaks in a stable voice as he gives the SDF salute. Towards the Delta Escarpment sir. May I have a map of the surrounding area in case of possible ambush and or flanking. .

    Spoiler: Other info he wants
    Show
    equipment, vehicles they might be using. Detours of the roads for maneuvering around. Recalling the swarm dredger from earlier he doesn’t want to get attacked earlier.


    After he leaves the center he turns to look at his 3 squadmates and speaks I am Lieutenant Valiant Larkison. I specialize in shooting and mobility. I am assigned as the commander of Jaldamarraks Ice Hawks. I request your name, specialty and any doubts clouding your ability to perform under my command. He says a bit stiff but getting his point across.

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    Flumph

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    Default Re: Attack of the Swarm, Episode #1: The Fate of the Fifth

    Raínca

    "Thank you sir. I am glad to do my part now that the house's archives are safely off-world. I shall follow Lt. Larkison to the best of my ability. The Dawnflower shines on us all." She pauses for a moment. "I do have one question. You say you want to know why the enemy is moving along the Delta Escarpment. Are we cleared to attack enemies if at all possible? Or is this strictly an information gathering mission?"
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    Default Re: Attack of the Swarm, Episode #1: The Fate of the Fifth

    "Unlikely."

    Atrus is a quiet man, but his voice tends to cut through background chatter.

    "Our squad is too small to be effective in open combat against a foe of such magnitude. However..."

    He casts his gaze around the room.

    "We are in possession of a disproportionate quantity of large munitions for a small group, which suggests something different."

    He turns his gaze to the commander and raises an eyebrow.

    "Like headhunting targets of opportunity."
    All Hail Fun!
    Quote Originally Posted by Cardea View Post
    No... no... its... its supposed to be 'then'... NO. DENOMAR OUT. YOU HAVE RUINED EVERYTHING.
    New Sexy Mordrent Avatar via Tiffany Lirle! I bow down to her sense of fun.

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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Attack of the Swarm, Episode #1: The Fate of the Fifth

    Katara salutes the Commander as soon as he acknowledges her presence, and remains at attention until he's finished speaking. She might not be the biggest fan of military discipline, but she has an immense amount of respect for the old Vesk in front of her, and no intention of dishonoring him in any way. She feels some urge to speak back to him as he comments on her. Fighting is living! Battle is fun! Still, this isn't the time or the place, so she remains silent. Regardless, she takes his words as a compliment. If even a mighty warrior like this respects her bravery, she must be doing something right!

    Once Jaldamarrak is finished giving the squad their orders, Katara salutes again in the Vesk fashion. "I hear and understand, Commander!" She relaxes, though remains standing at her full height. "Do we have any intelligence on troop numbers, or sightings of specific Swarm bioforms? If we know what we're looking for, we're less likely to be taken by surprise, and the bugs are a pretty diverse bunch."
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Attack of the Swarm, Episode #1: The Fate of the Fifth

    Camp Cavalier, East of Dethomar River
    Evening 10th Cycle, Dead Winter, 319 AG


    Jaldamarrak responds to each of you in kind, his manner of speaking is slow, patient, but there is a certain weight to his words. He turns first to the young Lieutenant, "You're in the 5th boy, hope you got some gel inserts for your boots. Every functional vehicle has been reassigned to on-going civilian evacuation from hostile zones, your slogging this one out." As Larkison asked for data on the combat theatre, the large Vesk hrmmm'ed a growl from the back of his throat, something Katara immediately recognized as a Vesk sign of approval, "This has topographical and meteorological data, and a self charging battery, an effective range of 1km, it will keep you and the Hawk's in communication, and allow you to feed visual & tactical data from your suit's comm's to one another." He handed the Lieutenant a data pad, roughly the size of a deck of holo cards, as well as four optical chips which could be inserted into each squadmates helmet comm, linking the system together.

    He returned Valiant's salute as the squad leader exited the tent to await his squad outside. He turned then to the young Lashuntan woman, "Rules of engagement?" A snort of air rushed from his nostrils, "We're not dealing with an organized army, an opposing government, or planetary faction here. If these Vexxers see you, they *will* kill you, if engaged, you pray to Sarenrae that you can paint the soil with their ichor before yours is spilled in the snow and the sand." He paused, as both Atrus and Katara asked their question, then took a deep breath and addressed the three as one, "Here's the thing, I have fought these Vexxers for decades, but Suskillon feels different, and it terrifies me." There is an admission there, and you notice a flicker of hesitation in a man who has seen half a century of war and the horrors it has wrought. "They seem more cunning, more intuitive, like the have a purpose other than just consumption of every living thing, they are advancing, withdrawing, strategizing, rather than just zerging the entire planet and burying it under a never ending mass of bio-drones." His brow furrowed, "So when I tell you I hope you find absolutely nothing along the escarpment, that is real. Problem is, hopes and prayers don't win wars." He shot Ranica a grim smile, "In most cases."

    He returned his attention to Atrus, "Your squaddie, Katara, hit the nail on the head. We've run across these dredgers," the holo projection switches from a tactical view of Suskillon to a monstrous looking insectoid, similar in size to a Suskillon brush stalker, a predatory canine that hunts the scrub plains. Among the more insectile Swarm components, these creatures each have a swept-back, segmented carapace and a set of three mandibles covered in hooked barbs. "We've taken to calling these bastards dredgers, and they use these barbs," he points at a series of three hooked barbs around it's segmented mouth, "to firmly attach itself to our own and then tear out gobbets of flesh, muscle and bone with it's claws. It can also use these claws to burrow through clay, dirt, or mud, they lie in wait for prey to pass over the loose soil. It's got segmented visual organs at the base of its “neck” protected by ridges in its carapace. It can see in the dark with these eyes and it's got hundreds of tiny setae that can sense vibrations in the air." He killed the holo, "That's what we're dealing with right now, and these vexxers are looking for something, sniffing around like dogs at the table, but we don't know why." He turned his attention back to Atrus, "So, no, we're not lookig for high value targets, we're getting ready to transport our own. Over the last few weeks, we've been moving civvies in through various channels, taking them to Spaceport Prime I, in Brinnoa. We're getting ready to evac the surrounding area, I don't want these things all over our convoy, so I need to send out teams to survey the route, Ice Hawks drew the short straw. Report back when you return, I expect to see you tomorrow morning. Stay sharp, and come home." He snapped to attention and saluted the remaining members of the Ice Hawks, "Dismissed." He then turned his back and hit the holo-table, the image discorporating, a flashing UI displaying an incoming message.

    As you step out, you see the young Lieutenant, who turns and approaches the squad;
    Quote Originally Posted by Lt Valiant Larkison View Post
    I am Lieutenant Valiant Larkison. I specialize in shooting and mobility. I am assigned as the commander of Jaldamarraks Ice Hawks. I request your name, specialty and any doubts clouding your ability to perform under my command.
    OOC: For a visual representation of the Dredger, please see Valiant's spoiler in the intro post. The Tablet is a Computer Lvl 2 (Control Module, Miniturization, Range II, Self Charging Battery, Firewall) it can connect to the communicator in each of your helmets, and share information between them with a range of 1 mile. It is loaded with maps of the Escarpment, so any Survival check related to navigation, receives a circumstance bonus of +2. Remember all armor, even Second Skin, comes with a helmet, and has environmental controls, the interior of the helmet houses a miniturized computer, allowing a comm unit, which is likely carried elsewhere on your person, to be used via a holographic HUD. Verbal commands can be issued, or you can input it manually if it is strapped to a forearm, etc.

    Now, tell me what you guys want to do, if you want to hit the Quarter Master for gear you don't have on your sheet let me know and we can handle it OOC, otherwise, once you guys have a little meeting outside the command center, we can advance the scene to you leaving the camp on patrol.

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    Default Re: Attack of the Swarm, Episode #1: The Fate of the Fifth

    Raínca

    The lashunta nods at Jaldamarrak. "Understood, sir." Upon hearing they're dismissed, she salutes - somewhat nervously - before turning around and leaving the tent.

    To Valiant's question she answers: "Raínca Nari. I shoot things and try to harness the power of the stars. I also have basic engineering training and am relatively well-versed in xenobiology and magical phenomena. And while I may be new to this, I've completed basic training commendably, so I have no doubts I can perform under your command."
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    Default Re: Attack of the Swarm, Episode #1: The Fate of the Fifth

    As it seems clear to him that with nothing of substance forthcoming that the Ice Hawks themselves are the intelligence. Atrus will stay for whatever information the commander relays to Katara but he appears slightly distracted and when the talking is over he salutes Jaldamarrak perfunctorily and exits the tent. His expression is thoughtful; The commander mentioned that he had read action reports about the incident which led to his decommissioning. That was troubling. It was unlikely that Jaldamarrak should have had access to black ops reports from another star system as those are typically top secret. Did the old Vesk really have dirt on him? Or was it the propaganda that Verces news networks would have chalked up.

    I mean, it was hard to dismiss large shopping districts going up in flames after all.

    Atrus walks out of the tent and straight into Valiant's path and direct line of questioning.

    "Locke" he answers.

    "I will do whatever is required of the SDF."

    He leaves it at that. His stare is colder than the weather.
    Last edited by Denomar; 2019-10-18 at 12:03 AM.
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    Default Re: Attack of the Swarm, Episode #1: The Fate of the Fifth

    Katara emerges from the command tent, taking a moment to gaze into the distance at the cliffs to the west, where the operation will be taking them. Nothing really important visible from here, but it's not like she'd have expected to see anything at this distance. It would be a useful defensive position, especially against Swarm drones with no ranged weaponry, but there's no clear reason for the bugs to be moving there in numbers. She can see why the commander would be concerned.

    Shouldering her Doshko again, she turns to address the squad's fresh-minted leader. "Katara Cratermaker. Assault and explosives expert. I'm your grenadier, and the person who squishes any bugs that get too close to the squad. Try to keep me in between you and any Dredgers we run into; I don't mind getting a bit of ichor on my armour." She takes a couple of steps closer to Valiant, looming over him with her full bulk. "You're green, human. Some troops here with more experience than you. Commander thinks you're ready to lead and I trust him, so I'll follow your orders. But listen to your experts, and if I give a warning damned well pay attention." With that done, she gives him a friendly, if somewhat bone-shaking, thump on the back. "Congratulations on the promotion, Ell-Tee. Let's gear up and see what the Vexxers are doing out there."
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    Default Re: Attack of the Swarm, Episode #1: The Fate of the Fifth

    Valiant listens to all of their self introductions. Looking at Locke unfazed by the cold stare he says. ...no special skills?... he sighs at that. Turning to Katara after the rough pat on his back he quickly adjusts his stance as to not lose his balance subconsciously. If you have anyway to make this operation more efficient I would like to be aware. I don’t want or need failures.

    Turning at last to Rainca I have no experience with such matters. As our engineer we have to keep you relatively safe. I’d suggest that you stick behind Katara. Then Locke behind you as I take up the rear of the group.





    Afterwards Valiant hands out the chips that link up their comms to each of them. He then looks over his gun even though it’s clean and double checks it and rechecks his battery and sidearm. After he is content with their condition he is ready to go.

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    Default Re: Attack of the Swarm, Episode #1: The Fate of the Fifth

    Delta Escarpment, North of Dethomar River
    Nightfall 10th Cycle, Dead Winter, 319 AG


    Atrus is able to lead the Falcon's through the foothills of the escarpment, a slow, winding route up the steadily increasing elevation, the iron rich red soil of Suskillon ccovered in drifting snows. As the sun sets, it paints the landscape a vibrant purple, a moment of peace and reflection amidst the war that rages, even now. The Hawk's various HUD's monitor weather conditions, and as the night proceeds, the winds begin to pick up, gusting to well over 30 kph, and temeratures drop to 20 below, the windchill driving that even further. Thankfully your envireonmental protections are active, and will remain so for up to 24 hours before needing to be recharged back at Cavalier. It is the Verces veteran who notices the tracks in the drifting snow first, a brush stalker, a scavenger native to Suskillon which travel in packs. This elicites a flurry of activity from the Hawks, as the circle searching for the scavengers. A routine search pattern established by the young Lieutenant, reveals that the creature seems to have wandered beyond the Hawk's immediate vicinty, however the adrenalin surges through all of you, the thought of Dredgers in everyone's thoughts, though it goes unspoken and unacknowledged among your unit.

    Moving slowly to the escarpment, you can see the lights of Brinnoa to the east, lights of the city reflect off of the driving snow, however, those of you familiar with the city see large swatches of the city scape completly blackened by lack of power, plumes of smoke rise from several sectors, signs of the war that threatens to consume the entire planet. You begin your patrol along the escarpment, now well past midnight, the windchill lowering the temperature to almost 50 below freezing. A loud atonal alarm echoes across the ice clogged Dethomar, somehow muted by the whipping winds and flurries of snow and ice. It is followed with an all-points emergency broadcast over your comm units. A hurried female voice says, “Attention all Suskillon ground forces, this is Spacedock Prime-1. We are under heavy attack! A Swarm armada has entered in low orbit and has begun to—” the transmission ends as abruptly as it began in a burst of ear-splitting static. Up in the sky high above Brinnoa, hundreds of small lights flash—the telltale sign of starship combat.

    What do you do?
    Last edited by Zero Prime; 2019-10-18 at 09:53 PM.

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    Default Re: Attack of the Swarm, Episode #1: The Fate of the Fifth

    Valiant seeing the light show tries to contact camp for back up. As the four of them alone are unequiped to provide much support.

    Spoiler
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    He waits for radio contact but if none is made I’ll add next actions.

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    Delta Escarpment, North of Dethomar River
    Nightfall 10th Cycle, Dead Winter, 319 AG


    Combat: Surprise Round:

    Spoiler: Tactical Map
    Show


    While the Lieutenant questions whether or not his frantic inquires have made it back to Cavalier, both Rainca and Atrus are able to identify that plasma weapons being used in defense of Brinnoa are likely ionizing significant portions of the upper atmosphere which will result in intermitent communications, at best. Suddenly Atrus spins, and that's when the rest of you see it, a small scout group of Dredgers to the north-west of your position, your attention to the sudden broadcast and inability to communicate with the SDF has occupied your attention and caused the unit to be caught off guard.

    Atrus, what do you do?


    OOC: Due to Atrus' high passive Perception, he is the only one able to act on the surprise round. The above map represents your current location on the escarpment, as I am running the game through the boards, combat runs primarily in the theatre of the mind, I will use maps, like above, to give us reference points. The squad begins in the 3 x 3 square at the bottom right corner of the map, where as two dredgers begin in the 3 x 3 square in the upper left corner. As the range between Atrus and his targets is at least 60+ feet, he will take a -4 Attack Penalty with a Small Arm, with a 30 move towards his enemy that penalty is reduced to -2.

    Once Atrus performs his action, the Dredgers will act and then we will enter Initiative Order.

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    Default Re: Attack of the Swarm, Episode #1: The Fate of the Fifth

    "Contact."

    Atrus draws his knife and pistol and begins carefully picking his way north easterly to a snowy hill that could potentially hide some of his actions and create a more advantageous battle angle should the rest of the squad either hold position or advance towards the enemy.

    "Moving to flank."

    Spoiler: Dice
    Show
    Initiative Roll: (1d20+4)[24]
    Stealth Roll (In the unlikely circumstance that Atrus is able to break line of sight): (1d20+9)[29]
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    Default Re: Attack of the Swarm, Episode #1: The Fate of the Fifth

    Delta Escarpment, North of Dethomar River
    Nightfall 10th Cycle, Dead Winter, 319 AG


    Combat: Surprise Round:

    Even as he shouts his warning over the whipping wind, Atrus steps into a swirl of snow, and none of his fellow Hawk's can track his position from there as he vanishes into the gusting snow and sleet. With a clacking schreech, chik-chik-KLICK, the two dredgers move with an unearthly speed and grace across the snow covered terrain before springing toward the remaining three Hawks, Rainca, suddenly enveloped in a shimmer of Sarenrae's light, easily steps aside, the creature sliding past her on the ice covered stones, while the second dredger slams into the massive Vesk, it's claws ripping at her heavy armor, scoring it deeply and driving it's opponent back a step or two. It roars, Skreeeee-gonk! and a splatter of slime-like phlegm splatters across her chest and shoulder.


    OOC: Due to range both Dredgers are unable to move and attack, as such they will both charge. According to the LT's assigned formation Rainca & Katara are ahead of him, so both the Lashuntan and the Vesk get a charge. Against Rainca's KAC Attack +7, -2 for a Charge, (1d20+5)[11], and (1d6+3)[6]; and against Katara's KAC, Attack +7, -2 for Charge, (1d20+5)[19], and (1d6+3)[5]. Let's see how our heroes are doing!!

    Moving into Round 1, Atrus first, then the Dredgers, then the remaining players.
    Last edited by Zero Prime; 2019-10-19 at 04:15 PM.

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    Delta Escarpment, North of Dethomar River
    Nightfall 10th Cycle, Dead Winter, 319 AG


    Combat: Round One:

    As Atrus moves into position, drawing a bead on one of the dredgers, the one attacking Rainca continues it's assault, slavening jaws clack-clack-clacking inches from her helmet, even as she brings her rifle up to keep the vicious mandibles from sinking into her shoulders. While Katara's dredger quickly skitters behind her, lunging forward the barbs around it's neck sweeping forward to sink into the shoulder plating of her armor, attaching itself as it prepares to rake it's powerful rear claws through her vitals.


    OOC: Rainca's attacker will just slash away; rolling Attack +7, vs KAC, (1d20+7)[8], for (1d6+3)[8]. However, the one facing Katara attempts to attach itself to the large Vesk. Rolling attack +7, vs KAC, (1d20+7)[23] if successful it gains a +2 to further Attacks, and +4 AC due to cover & +2 circumstance bonus on melee attack rolls. Katara *can* attempt a Strength check to dislodge the Dredger as a move action, or she can twist and try to hit it, however the +4 to KAC would apply. Anyone attacking the Dredger attached to Katara is going to deal with the increased AC due to cover; Valiant (due to Sharpshooter) will be able to reduce that Cover bonus by 50%. Heroes are up.
    Last edited by Zero Prime; 2019-10-20 at 05:00 AM.

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    Default Re: Attack of the Swarm, Episode #1: The Fate of the Fifth

    Katara growls as she spots the enemy, immediately moving to switch her weapon to a two-handed grip, but it quickly becomes apparent that the Dredgers were already in the process of pouncing on them by the time she even knew they were there, and one of them is all over her before she even has a chance to swing her massive polearm. Oh well. Focus on one target at a time. If the one currently trying to wrap itself around her torso and bite through her armour is going to be hard to hit, then smash the other one first and worry about it later. "Grah. Back away, Nari. I have this under control." True or not, it doesn't matter. She moves over to the Dredger attacking Rainca, ignoring the one latched onto her, and brings her Doshko around for an overhead smash, hoping to crush the chitinous creature in one fell swoop.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show

    Katara will make a Guarded Step towards the Dredger attacking Rainca as a Move action, switching her grip on her weapon to two hands as a Swift action, then make a melee attack against the enemy not currently hugging her.

    Attack: (1d20+5)[9] vs KAC
    Damage:(1d12+4)[11]

    Status:
    Stamina: 3/8
    HP: 13/13

    EAC 16, KAC 18

    Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +2 (+4 vs Fear)

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    Default Re: Attack of the Swarm, Episode #1: The Fate of the Fifth

    A dark grey blur explodes from the snow as Atrus cruises back in to combat. Skipping into close range with the dredger attacking Rainca. He raises his pistol in line with the Dredger's eyes at the base of its neck. Using the motion to hide the knife in his other hand that sweeps in a blackened arc!
    Spoiler: ooc
    Show

    My theater of the mind is a little blurry but I am making these rolls with the assumption that Atrus is able to flank the dredger with either Rainca or Katara by coming in from the opposite side using a trick attack.

    Trick Attack (Stealth) vs dc 20+CR: (1d20+13)[31]
    Attack Roll (1d20+6)[11] to deal (1d4)[1] damage plus an additional (1d4)[4] if the trick attack is successful.
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    Default Re: Attack of the Swarm, Episode #1: The Fate of the Fifth

    Raínca
    Raínca Nari "Sister Bright" Lashunta (Damaya) Solarian 1 NG HP 11 / 11 RES 4 / 4 STAM 6 / 6 Speed 30ft Init 3 KAC 16 EAC 15 Fort 1 Ref 3 Will 2 CMB 24 BAB 1 Azimuth Laser Rifle +4 (1d8+1F, Burn 1d6)
    (, ) Str 10 (0) Dex 16 (3) Con 8 (-1) Wis 10 (0) Int 13 (1) Cha 16 (3)
    • Photon attunement: 1
    • Conditions: Shaken (1 round)



    Raínca barely dodges the first attack by the creature, managing to dodge the second attack quite easily. The star mote that has been floating around her head thus far moves to grow and envelop her, and she begins to glow in nearly imperceptible waves of light that seem to roll away from her. She grabs her rifle and readies herself to fire. Having never encountered the actual enemy this close before she's taken aback. For a moment she seems to stop as she listens for a sound that is not there, looks for a vision that cannot be seen, and her face goes ashen grey. She mutters to herself.

    "Oh no. Stars, please, no."

    Spoiler: Actions:
    Show
    Attuning to photon mode
    Move action to draw rifle
    Move action to activate solar armor: EAC is now 15, KAC 16
    Last edited by BramsesII; 2019-10-21 at 02:24 PM.
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    Default Re: Attack of the Swarm, Episode #1: The Fate of the Fifth

    Valiant calmly aims his rifle and shoots at the dredger attacking rainca. Not getting close to melee range to keep options open.

    Saying Stay calm and focus fire. Finish the one on rainca then provide Katara support.
    Spoiler: His shot
    Show
    (1d20+6)[21]
    (1d8)[5].

    Edit nice.
    Last edited by ~Siegfried~; 2019-10-21 at 04:20 PM.

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    Delta Escarpment, North of Dethomar River
    Nightfall 10th Cycle, Dead Winter, 319 AG


    Combat: Round One:

    Atrus' knife flashes out, targetting the base of the neck, where it's sensory organs were according to Jaldamarrak's briefing on their opposition, the creatures movement trying to bypass Rainca's defense, cause the blade to slice lower on it's thorax, and while a thick viscous ichor seeps from the wound it isn't the debilitating attack the veteran of Verces had desired. The LT's Azimoth rifle flashes driving a beam of yellow-white energy into the creatures abdomen, eliciting a clattering scream from the dredger. Pressed by three assailants it is unable to charge towards and attack the young Larkison, and so rips into it's original target, Rainca.

    Meanwhile, the dredger attached to Katara's shoulder plate begins to viciously drive it's mandibles into the armor and the soft flesh beneath.

    Combat: Round Two:

    Ice Hawks are up!


    OOC: Dredger #1, attacking Rainca, has taken 10 damage, 5 from Atrus & 5 from Larkison, but is still up; Attacking Rainca with a mandible [roll]1d20+7[roll]; rolled in the Dice thread due to an error in formatting, a 20; if successful, (1d6+3)[7]. Meanwhile, the dredger on Katara attacks with a +2 from successfully being attached, (1d20+9)[10]; and if successful (1d6+3)[9]. Players are up at top of Round 2.
    Last edited by Zero Prime; 2019-10-22 at 04:13 AM.

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    Default Re: Attack of the Swarm, Episode #1: The Fate of the Fifth

    Valiant seeing the Dredger continue to attack Rainca fires another shot as he surveys the battlefield to see if there are any other threats.

    Spoiler
    Show
    (1d20+6)[19]
    (1d8)[5]

    If would be an improvised perception as I don’t have the skill if you allow it lol
    (1d20)[14]

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    Default Re: Attack of the Swarm, Episode #1: The Fate of the Fifth

    With the first Dredger finished off and the second impotently scratching away at her armour, Katara turns towards finishing off this little ambush. "Gr. Get off me, you filthy insect." She tries to rip the Dredger off of her to make it an easier target for her two-handed weapon.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show

    Move Action to try to remove the Dredger. Strength check result: (1d20+4)[6]
    Standard Action to attack the Dredger with a Doshko: (1d20+5)[25] vs KAC for (1d12+4)[8] damage. Edit: Critical hit - plus 9 damage for a total of 17. I think that's a dead Dredger.

    Status:
    Stamina: 3/8
    HP: 13/13
    Resolve: 5/5

    EAC 16, KAC 18

    Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +2 (+4 vs Fear)

    Last edited by DaedalusMkV; 2019-10-22 at 01:49 PM.
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    Default Re: Attack of the Swarm, Episode #1: The Fate of the Fifth

    With dead dredgers dripping their detritus into the dirt Atrus let a devilish grin form under the dark glass of his helmets wind screen.

    “I give them a D- for effort.”

    Wiping the blade of his knife clean Atrus sheathes it with a soft click.

    “Lieutenant. I recommend we continue to our destination. HQ will want an update on this flank and the port is to far away for any effort of our own to be worth a damn. And unless we grow wings there’s nothing we can do about *that* either.” He says jamming a thumb up towards the space battle in the sky.
    All Hail Fun!
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