Fringe Bounty Hunting – Ep01

A solo RPG adventure in the Unified Space setting using the Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer’s Edition ruleset (this is the older SW version, but I have it on print and prefer it in several rules). I’ll be adding gear and information as required by both Five Parsecs from Home and the Savage Worlds Science Fiction Companion.

First of all I decided to help a bit with the background and motivation and roll on the Five Parsecs From Home tables in Crew Genaration. So I get:
Background: Orphan Utility Program
Motivation: Loyalty

I used BOLD waylays to write down a backstory:

  • Stale Power Play solved by The People
  • Eccentric The Wild solved by Strong Attribute
  • Unlikely Trap solved by Strong Attribute

Unity Subject Short Record 9571483XD45-5.
Assigned Name: Randy Barnes
Species Classification: Human
Estimated age: 23 TSY
Registered Location: 6814 Hasta V; 8648 Anuradha System
Outstanding Warrants: None
Registered Infractions: 324X; 45D-1; 923
Outstanding Infractions: None
Height: 177 CM
Mass: 82 KG
Parent Records: Not Relevant; Orphan Utility Program Record 9934614123DFXa
Licenses: 221 Basic Education; D2-Speeder License; 021 Sidearm Class II; 53F PPGear; 11-8 Enforcement

Strength: d6, Agility: d6, Vigor: d6, Smarts: d6, Spirit: d6
Skills: Driving d6, Fighting d6, Intimidation d6, Healing d4, Notice d4, Shooting d8, Streetwise d6, Survival d4
Edges: Brawny, Quick
Hindrances: Loyal, Phobia (Minor-Rodents)
Gear: Body Armor, Blaster Pistol, Hover motorcycle (still on debt)

Randy looked at the officer’s datapad display as the Unity law enforcer scanned his ID. All his life in just a few lines. Could these lines represent his story? No more than the lines on the palm of his hand could predict his future, like some pseudo-psykers try to con credits out of the pockets of unsuspecting passerbys.
He could not remember his parents. All he knew is that he was taken in by a Unity Orphanage. The closest thing he had to a loving hug was a DR-B9 Upbringing Utility Droid. At least they had given the darn thing a teddy bear look and it was fluffy.
As soon as he was of working age, he boarded a Class 9 Long Haul Freighter and jumped to the first Fringe world with breathable atmosphere. Hasta V was the first place that felt like home. He found work chasing some moon rats away from the fry-corn farms using a speeder. It was only his perseverance that helped him survive when the speeder brakes broke down and he was left stranded 5 days walk away from ‘civilization’.
Life on the farms was not idyllic but it felt safe. Until Unity decided Hasta V was of no importance. They disbanded the Naval base and disappeared overnight. Soon after the first raiders appeared, who got what they wanted. Then again, and again. In the end the people of Hasta V decided to make a stand against the pirates. Blood. Chaos. Carnage. Unity was nowhere. The mercenaries they had hired to face off the raiders betrayed them. They trapped Randy and some other Fringe colonists in a warehouse, and he had to bend a durasteel lock with his hands to escape.
That’s how he tore two muscles in his right arm. He had to replace the entire muscle and tendons with cybernetics. It still feels weird, but he’s stronger now.
He could no longer live with the indifference. He registered for receiving Enforcement warrants and started bounty hunting. The fringe may be unlawful. But the wicked will fear.

“…you’re a long way from Hasta V, Mr Barnes.” The officer said.
“What?” Randy was lost in his thoughts.
“You must update your records. Hasta V is no longer habitated.” He said annoyed.
“Hasta V is home. Is that all officer?”

[Likely] (2d10 => (8,6) => 8) does the officer let Randy go?

“Move along, move along.” The officer closes the datapad and along with his partner continue their stroll down roads of the City World of Leko.

[Either Way] (1d10 => 6) does Randy have a mark?
Yes, but…
he’s not near the mark, but to meet an informant

[Likely] (2d10 => (8,9) => 9) is the informant in a cantina?
[Either Way] (1d10 => 3) is everything as expected?
TWENE: Decrease Simple Element
[Either Way] (1d10 => 9) is the informant there?
[Either Way] (1d10 => 10) is the informant an alien?
Yes, and…
She’s a Feral

He enters the Half-full Bottle cantina, and it seems to be less than half-full. Probably half-empty. He looks around and sees the only the bartender and one wolf-lady sporting her canines, sitting by the end of the bar. She snorts as she sees Randy.

Reaction: Neutral

Let’s see who the mark is, before establishing anything further.

Donjon: Lipaul Riffin: Male Explorer. Lipaul has cropped copper hair and light blue eyes, and small ears. He wears a silver jumpsuit and carries a tablet computer. Lipaul is wrongly sought by the law for murder.

Haha awesome. We’ll still have to establish if this is true or not though.

Randy sits by her and motions to the bartender. “I’ll have what she has.” The bartender smiles and Randy wonders what kind of piss he’ll drink.
He turns to the feral. “So how does this work? do I give you something to sniff and you follow the trail?”
“You talk big words. I take big bites. You insult me again. You find him on your own.” she replies.
Randy nods.
“50 Unity Credits. Upfront.” she adds.
Randy puts some coin on the table. “Your info better be worth it.”

[Somewhat Likely] (1d10 => 6) is the information good?
[Either Way] (1d10 => 4) does he lay low?

So he runs.

“Your guy, Lipaul is a scout. He has a ship.” She says.
“Tell me something I don’t know. Been there. It’s impounded. He must have killed someone important to get Unity on his ass, and a bounty on his head.” Randy cuts her off.
“Let me finish you impatient bipedal piece of pork. He has another way off world. He used to be part of the omegaCorp Scouts. From what I hear one of his friends should be taking off as soon as the vessel is refueled.” She adds.
“The name. Save me the time to find it on my own.” Randy asks as the bartender serves him a black-colored drink. Randy looks at the drink in disgust, as the Feral smiles, enjoying his reaction.

donjon: Brinia Sones: Female Explorer. Brinia has a long face, with curly green hair and sharp hazel eyes. She wears a gray jumpsuit and carries a tablet computer. Brinia wants to be left alone.

Since I’ve got the opening scene kicking off the adventure, it’s time to decide on my solo gaming tools.
I used the discord GM emulator bot for the oracle questions so far, but I am finding it lacking since it has no option for out-of-the box surprises. No chaos factor, interventions, false presuppositions, random events, or altered scenes. Therefore I’ll be switching to Mythic Variations II as a core. I think Mythic will fit best in this game style, as it’s scene-based.
I’ll be adding the “…but” answers to the oracle for when the numbers are both ODD and the Chaos Die is above the Chaos Factor.
If I find a nice way to integrate False Presuppositions I’ll add it too. I’m thinking that if the Chaos Die equals the Chaos Factor, then you get a False Presupposition. But I’ll have a side rule that if I cannot come up with something in the next few seconds, I’ll disregard it.

So, I’m setting the Chaos Factor to 5 and go ahead.

Q: Does the Feral provide the name? (Very Likely)
A: False Presupposition. Nothing comes to mind. It’s an Exceptional No, and a Random Event.
Exceptional No: The Feral doesn’t know the name.
Random Event: PC Positive: Proceedings Goals. Maybe some news on the holo-tv about his target’s location.
Descriptor: Loyally Mighty

“I don’t have the name…” the feral starts but Randy cuts her off, and motions for the bartender to raise the volume on the holo-screen.
“…with the Unity warrant approved by the Leko administration, a City-wide arrest warrant was issued and approved by the court. Leko enforcement officers have started a manhunt as Lipaul Riffin was last seen in the naval base district.”
Randy is angry. “Your information is no good! No name, only rumours for 50 credits.”
The feral sports her canines. “You payed for information, you got information.”

Intimidation (4,1)/Spirit (3): Success

Randy grabs her throat. “Listen to me you dog-face. You think I’m afraid of you? I have the likes of you for breakfast.”
She whimpers and puts some coin back on the counter. “Here take half.”
Randy takes the coin, leaves some for the bartender and jumps of to his hover motorcycle and heads off to find his mark.

Mid-scene: Using streetwise to find the location of the omegaCorp landing pad.
Streewise (5,4): Success

For the next scene I imagine that Randy will have arrived at the landing pad and wait for Riffin to arrive.

Is the Scene Modified?: Yes: Interrupt Scene: PC Positive: Arrive Plans

Okay so, Randy has gotten the schematics of the landing pad and knows exactly where Lipaul will come from, so he can lie in wait.

Randy takes position behind some fuel crates at the landing pad. The Dali Gupsy is a TTR-5 Mark 1 Scout Class Shuttle for short range exploration. It has an aerodyne hull and inefficient sublight engines. Randy can see the antenna of the planetary sensor system and a defensive laser cannon.

Q: Does Lipaul arrive? (Likely)
A: Yes
Lipaul: Notice (3): Failure

Q: Is there anyone else around there? (I wanted to ask this before Lipaul arrives, but whatever)
A: Yes`
Detail Check: Combatively Aromatic

Someone has arrived and they throw gas grenades.

Notice (5,4): Success

Q: Does he know if it’s lethal?
A: Yes, it is.

As Randy is ready to make his move on the unsuspecting Lipaul, he smells something odd. A weird sweet almond smell covers the room. He tries to remember basic chemistry… sweet almond… cyanide!
He attempts to grab Lipaul and get out of there. “Come!” He puts his blaster on his ribs and drags him out.

Intimidation (5,3)/ Spirit (1): Success

Q: Do they make it out in time?
A: Yes, no harm roll will be made

Under gunpoint, the mark moves out of the landing pad willingly.
Randy cuffs him and locks the cuffs to the rear of the hover motorcycle, and then sets off to ride away to the precinct.

Q: Does anyone chase them?
A: Yes

Q: Is it law enforcement?
A: No, but it’s another bounty hunter

Looking at the mirrors, Randy notices another hovercycle after him. ‘Another bounty hunter’, he thinks to himself. Not all hunters abide by the rules. When you’re in the Fringe long enough, it’s easy to break a few of them, here and there, if that means making a payday and a full meal in your stomach.

I’m going to be using the Chase rules. They’re not my favorite, but they’ll have to do. This is a standard chase of Five Rounds.

Round 1

Randy: Driving (3,2): Failure
Bounty Hunter: Driving (4): Success: 9S: Long Range
Bounty Hunter: Shooting (1-4:-3): Miss

Round 2

Randy: Driving (2,10): Raise: 10H, 5S: Long Range
Bounty Hunter: Driving (4): Success: 5H: Long Range
Randy: Shooting (5-4,1-4: 1,-3): Miss
Bounty Hunter: Shooting (11-4:7): Hit: 11/8: Randy is Shaken: Out of Control roll: Skid 4″

Q: Does it collide with something (Very Likely)
A: Yes
Q: Is the vehicle moving at top speed?
A: Yes

Okay so damage is.. 9D6: 19: Randy receives 2 Wounds, the hovercycle is ruined, and Lipaul is down. The chase ends.
Soak Roll: Vigor (2,5): Success. Received 1 Wound instead.

Randy tries to go as fast as possible in the tight strees and alleys, while staying in cover. This works for a while as he keeps his distance from his pursuer and any shots go stray. He makes a quick left turn, and again another and finds an opening to shoot back at their hunter, but the pursuer ducks out of the way of the fire. They continue the high speed chase, and the bounty hunter puts his rifle at an aiming position, he locks on to his target and hits randy with his blaster. The accelerated particles are absorbed by Randy’s armor, but the hit is strong enough to make him lose control. They skid onto a street light, crashing the hovercycle.
Randy flies off the vehicle, but Lipaul is still chained to the wreck of the vehicle. The collision was too much for him. He doesn’t seem to react at all.

Round 3

Initiative: Randy 8D, Bounty Hunter KH

Q: Has the bounty hunter closed in on them?
A: Yes, random event: PC Negative: Release Normal
I interpret that it means that the bounty hunter has eliminated the mark.

I need some inspiration with regards to the bounty hunter.
Donjon: Heley Johnson: Female Mercenary. Heley has black hair and red eyes. She wears classical fashion and carries a laser pistol. Heley is hunting the aliens who murdered her family.

With Randy still trying to recover from the bruises, the bounty hunter parks next to the crash. She steps off her hover cycle, aims with his blaster rifle right at the head of the mark, and shoots. Then she turns her attention to Randy. Randy knows what this means. No witnesses.

Bounty Hunter: Shooting (15): Hit with a raise: 15/8: 1 Wound
Soak Roll: Vigor (2,2): Failure
Randy: spends Benny to recover from Shaken. Shooting (3-2,2-2:1,0): Miss

She blasts of her rifle at him. Randy scimpers next to a crate, but a shot got him at his leg. He shoots back but misses.

Round 4

Initiative: Randy JD, Bounty Hunter 4S

Q: Is there any cover around there?
A: Yes
Randy move behind cover and shoot: Double Tap: Shooting (4-2, 4-2: 2,2): Miss

Bounty Hunter: Shooting (2-2): Miss

Round 5

Initiative: Randy 8S, Bounty Hunter 2D

“I give the warrant to you! The mark is yours! You don’t want the cops after you as well for my murder!” Randy shouts in an attempt to save himself.

Q: Does the hunter agree? (Unlikely)
A: Yes

Randy waits for an answer but hears none. He listens to a hover cycle skid away, and then peeks out of cover. She’s gone. So is Lipaul’s body.
He coughs some blood. “Crap.” He swears. He looks at his ride in pieces. “Shit.” He adds. He hadn’t even finished paying for the darn thing. No money, no ride. Things aren’t going his way.

Healing (5-4,5-4:1,1): Failure

Randy tries to bandage himself and recover his pieces, but it’s all a mess. His head still dizzy when the local officers arrive at the scene.

Q: Do they take him downtown for questioning?
A: No, but they note down reckless driving infractions.

Randy explains to them as best as he can the sequence of events. Provides them with the necessary documents and the warrant. They still don’t care about who caused it all. In true Unity bureaucracy, they write him down for Infraction DRF-212, reckless driving. 100 credits fine. Doubled if not payed in 15 days.
He owes already 3000 credits for the destroyed hover cycle. And now he has to visit the local hospital, which will set him back another 200 credits. This wasn’t a good day.

Session Summary

A fun, short one-shot. It could have evolved into a full-fledged adventure, if the mark wasn’t killed by the bounty hunter lady. Alas, things turned sour for Randy, and it all ended pretty quickly.
I was eager to run a sci-fi RPG solo again, but this was short and left me hungry for more. The good news is that even though the adventure is on a stale point, I can easily pick it up with a new warrant. Just hoping it won’t grow old. Maybe a different class of character would be more adventure friendly. It’s easier for action to come at your way if you play a smuggler.
Also I’m kinda becoming bored of the same tough guy trope that I run in 90% of my solo adventures. Maybe I should look into some more intellectual fellas, or non-human stereotypes.
The curious thing is that what I enjoyed the most was the chase scene. I had found that the chase rules were a bit boring, but so far the chases I run were on foot. Vehicle combat is much more interesting (even though I had to house rule some issues, like the Out-of-control effects on the abstract chase rules), and a crash was almost lethal.
The Unified Space is interesting, and I find that it can be a fun way to get me more acquainted with the setting, which will in turn help me define the scenes in my Five Parsecs from Home campaigns, as I’ll be more experienced with it.