5150: Science Fiction

Screaming in the Dark

Previously…

Nine months ago, I introduced the Pink Pixies, a rag tag Salvage Support Company assigned to support salvage operations. You can find the post here: Pink Pixies

I will be using 5150 Star Army – Citizen Soldier rules from Two Hour Wargames plus a few items from a couple of other sources. Now, you might ask, Floozy, Two Hour Wargames has new sci-fi ground combat rules, why don’t you use them? Well, I don’t own the new rules and I have at least a couple of dozen Two Hour Wargames rules I haven’t yet played, so forgive me if I show a little love to older games. This scenario should be easily played with the newer rules. Besides, it’s the nature of Floozies to be cheap!

As usual, I’ll present the story generated by the game first and then follow the story with how the game was played.

Mission One – Locate the Elevator

Our first deployment was to the city of Urdom, or what used to be the city of Urdom. The plan was simple, our platoon was assigned to the advance party, while the rest of the company guarded the salvage operations to repair the railway to the city. The advance party’s job was to determine where to set up salvage operations in the city itself. The transport circled over miles of ruins and scorched earth while looking for the landing zone. The pilot said Urdom had been a domed city with buildings over one hundred stories high. His statement was hard to believe because I didn’t see a ruin higher than four or five stories. In fact, I had yet to see an intact building of any kind. 

Most of the cities on Solongos were domed.  The slightly caustic atmosphere was breathable, but if you weren’t in a controlled environment like under a dome, you had to wear a respirator – that is if you wanted a life with any longevity.

As we approached the center of the city, the damage done by orbital bombardment had created an absolute hellscape. Nikki Nails whistled. My eyes grew wide as I exclaimed “What the fuck?” Among the ruins, I’d seen numerous blast craters of various sizes, but here was a crater at least three kilometers wide and seemed two kilometers deep or deeper, exposing floor upon floor of mangled ruin. “That, baby sis, is what being nuked from orbit looks like,” said Nikki Nails.

Mystic Rhaine laughed and said, “You don’t know anything about domed cities, do you? Over half of a domed city is underground. That’s where all the good salvage lies – industrial assets and resources.” She added, “Hope you’re not claustrophobic – or afraid of the dark.”

The transport began descending into the huge crater. Our squad’s mission was to locate the Eastern heavy service elevator and tag it with a beacon, while the rest of the platoon secured a landing zone topside for the advance salvage party. Lieutenant Sherry “Cherry” Dewine’s voice came over the comm-set, “Third Squad, get ready.”

The wind from the transport’s fans was making ripples in the water of the small lake at the bottom of the crater as it sped straight toward its coast of rubble. Bam-Bam Bambini, our squad leader, shouted, “Lock and load, ladies.” When the transport cleared the small lake, it was only a meter above the ground. The Lieutenant gave the word, Mystic Rhaine, Nikki Nails, and I bailed out of the port side while Sergeant Bambini, Robonatrix, and Neon Siyeon jumped out of the starboard hatch. We hunkered down as the prop wash swept over us as the transport lifted away.

Our section took point – Nikki Nails, Mystic Rhaine, Pee Stain

As the dust settled, the only noise was the distant sound of the transport as it dropped the rest of the platoon far above the crater’s floor. Soon there was no sound at all, no breeze, and no sign of life, not even a blade of grass. We moved across the field of rubble toward the yawning darkness of the city’s lowest levels.

We took a short break in the twilight zone to check equipment and fasten lights in place before heading into the dark zone. Our squad was divided into two sections, I was in Mystic Rhaine’s section, and we took the point.

There is something unsettling about total darkness, even with torchlight emanating from the shoulders of our vests. Even on the darkest night, there is enough ambient light to be able to see. Without our torches, we’d be completely blind. I fought the primal instinct to turn around and head toward light.

We trudged through the dark for what seemed like an eternity. We seldom spoke, it was just too intense. Mystic Rhaine’s proximity alarm beeped. “What the – Nikki, two o’clock!” she shouted.

Nikki Nails pivoted; her torchlight revealed slavering monsters running straight for us. Nikki, being the worst shot among us, fired wildly missing everything. I fired at the creature closest to me causing it to pause long enough for Mystic Rhaine to take it and another monster down.

“Xenomorphs!” shouted Mystic Rhaine as the monsters continued to charge us. I pulled my dirk and braced myself. In my peripheral vision, I could see a grotesque female form grab Nikki. Nikki screamed as the stinger on the beast’s tail plunged through her body.

But I had my own worries, one of the creatures grabbed my right forearm, its grip was so tight, it was all I could do to keep from dropping my gun. I parried a clawed hand trying to grab my left arm. I slashed across its ribs with no effect. It snarled at me, but I found the sweet spot. I plunged my dirk into its abdomen right under the ribs. Hissing in pain, it raked its claws down my left arm from shoulder to elbow. I plunged the dirk a second time angling the blade up. I gave the blade a twist as I pulled it out for a third strike. The creature fell to the ground spraying acid from its wounds. I stepped back and found cover behind a wall.

Nikki Nails was still screaming as the xenomorph disappeared with her into darkness. More xenomorphs of the monsters appeared. Mystic Rhaine pumped three shots into one, each bullet hole erupting with a spray of acid as it fell to the floor. Robonatrix swept the corridor with the light machine gun, but only one went down. Sergeant Bambini and Neon Siyeon added their fire taking down another.

The monsters didn’t pause, they climbed over their dead and crashed into my squad. I stood helpless against the wall trying to staunch the blood flowing down my arm. I wanted to help my squad mates, but I was also scared witless that I would be next.

One warrior killed Neon Siyeon outright and seemed to hiss in disappointment. I began to think these monsters rather torture us to death. Robonatrix, being a large woman, grappled her opponent into position and then slit the creature’s throat. The spray of acid sent Robonatrix scrambling over a low wall for protection. Sergeant Bambini was pitted against a monster with a feminine form, a nymph, I would later learn. She was cunning and like the other, very adept at using her tail. She speared the Sergeant and quickly dragged her away. That left Mystic Rhaine struggling with a much bigger monster, but in the end, she gutted the creature and managed to avoid the acid spray.

I managed to regain my senses and as I raised my pistol, three shots rang out. Mystic Rhaine drooped the warrior. We looked down the corridor and saw even more monsters.

Mystic Rhaine said one word, “Run.”

Playing the Game

Like a lot of gamers, I often find a published scenario or encounter doesn’t exactly fit the game I want to play. Luckily, games from Two Hour Wargames are designed to easily plug in components and concepts from other games. For this game, I’ve used 5150 Star Army – Citizen Soldier as the core rules, a mechanism from an encounter in 5150 Missions, Xenomorph rules from 5150 Book One, a couple of attributes from Grimdark Future Alien Hives Army List, and a very old Aliens PDF file for Chain Reaction/Guns & Girls.

Defining Characters

My star, the character that represents me, isn’t a leader in this game, she doesn’t give orders, she follows them. She’s a member of a squad in a platoon of a Salvage Support Company – a type of Free Company. Here’s the composition of the 3rd squad of a platoon of the Pink Pixies:

NameRankRepWeaponArmorAttributes
Bam Bam BambiniNCO5B-2 PistolHBRage
RobonatrixSAW4A-4 LMGSBCrack Shot
Neon SiyeonPvt4A-3 AutoSBRage
Mystic RhaineJr. NCO4A-3 AutoSBResilient
Nikki NailsPvt4A-3 AutoSBBad Shot
Pee StainPvt5B-2 PistolSBResilient, Rage
* All squad members have a dirk & 1 grenade
Xenomorph Group A

Next task is to define the Xenomorphs and load them into PEFs. Xenomorphs are not Bugs. To define Xenomorphs, I had to go all the way back to 5150 Book One. Since the Xenomorphs do not form armies, they did not appear in the Star Army books. I also found two intriguing attributes in the Grimdark Future Alien Hives army list.

TypeRepWeaponArmorAttributes
Queen6Claws, TailHBRage, Resilient, Pheromones
Nymph5Claws, TailHBRage, Pheromones
Drone5Claws, TailHBRage, Psi-barrier
Warrior4Claws, TailHBRage
Stalker4ClawsHBRage
Face Hugger3NoneNoneResilient
* when a Xenomorph is obviously dead, its body sprays acid on anyone within 1 inch
Xenomorph Group B

Xenomorph Special Rules

  • Face Huggers can only move 6″ and cannot fast move.
  • All other Xenomorphs move 12″.
  • Claws and Tail count as a +2d6 bonus in melee.
  • Claws count as a melee weapon.
  • Pheromones: once per game a female Xenomorph may release Pheromones. Roll 1d6, on a success all PEFs & Xenomorphs will move 12″ toward the female.
  • Psi-Barrier: once per game a Drone may raise a Psi-Barrier. Roll 1d6, on a success all Xenomorphs within 6″ of the Drone are immune from all Psi attacks until the Xenomorphs next activation.
  • Acid Spray: Acid from a dying Xenomorph counts as a shot from a Rep 3 shooter and has the range of one inch.
  • A Xenomorph who moves into contact with an Out of the Fight (OOF) character can capture the character and leave the fight with it.
Xenomorph Group C

Loading the PEFs

To save time, I load the PEFs in advance. There will be three PEFs.

  • PEF A – 1 Drone, 6 Warriors
  • PEF B – 1 Nymph, 4 Warriors
  • PEF C – 1 Nymph, 1 Warrior, 3 Stalkers
The squad – Bam Bam Bambini, Neo Siyeon, Robonatrix, Mystic Rhaine, Pee Stain, Nikki Nails

Mission One – Locate the Elevator

Objective

  • Your objective is to find the heavy service elevator and place a beacon.
  • To be successful you must spend one activation 6″ from the table edge in sections 1, 2, or 3 looking for the elevator. Roll 1/2d6, if the result is less than or equal to the number of attempts made, you have found the elevator, otherwise move to another section and try again. After the elevator is found, the beacon is placed, and you must exit the table in sections 7, 8, or 9.

Forces

  • You will use a single squad.
  • Enemy forces will be Xenomorphs.

Terrain

  • Sections 1, 2, & 3 consist of 75% buildings and 25% ruins.
  • Sections 4, 5, & 6 consist of 25% buildings and 75% ruins.
  • Sections 7, 8 & 9 consist of ruins.

Deployment

  • Your force will enter on the edge of sections 7, 8, & 9.
  • PEFs are generated and deployed as outlined in the PEF section.

Special Instructions

  • Move your force onto section 7, 8, and 9, or any combination of those sections if you choose to split your force.
  • After you have entered the table, place the PEFs.
  • Time of day doesn’t matter the lower levels of the ruined city are completely dark. Line of sight is limited to 12″.
  • The enemy force will use the NPE Attack tactics.
  • Roll for Activation.
  • When the enemy activates go to the PEF Movement Table.
  • Resolve PEFs as needed.
  • Play continues until player has completed the mission, been destroyed, or leaves the table.

I’ve created this scenario from a few different sources to play a game that will last a couple of hours. It may seem like a lot of work, but it is what game masters do. Now, it is time to take off the game master’s hat and play the game. Will this be “another glorious day in the corps” or “game over, man”?

Turn One

The Pink Pixies are deployed in section 7. PEF A is in section 3, PEF B is in section 2, and PEF C is in section 4.

The Pixies win activation and move 8″ toward the center of section 7. Though Xenomorps can move 12″, PEFs can only move 8″. PEF A moves toward the Pixies and ends in section 5. PEF B doesn’t move. PEF C moves to the edge of section 4.

Turn Two

The Pixies fail to activate. PEF A and PEF B don’t move. PEF C moves into sight and resolves into a group of Xenomorphs led by a Nymph, an immature queen. The Nymph releases pheromones, PEFs A and B immediately move 12″ and end movement in section 5.

Group C charges the Pixies. Nikki fires and misses. Pee Stain fires and causes one Xenomorph Stalker to halt in place. Mystic Rhaine fires and causes two Stalkers to go Out of the Fight and one to halt in place. The Warrior makes contact with Pee Stain and the Nymph attacks Nikki Nails.

In melee, Nikki Nails goes OOF and is captured by the Nymph. Pee Stain causes the Warrior to go OOF. The Warrior’s wounds spray acid forcing Pee Stain to duck back.

Pixies and Xenomorphs both pass the Will to Fight test.

Turn 3

The Xenomorphs win the activation roll. PEF A doesn’t move. PEF B moves into sight and resolves into a group led by another Nymph. The Nymph releases pheromones and PEF A moves into section 7, but not into sight.

The Xenomorphs charge. Mystic Rhaine fires all three shots at the remaining Stalker from group C. The Stalker died releasing a spray of acid. Robonatrix fired the LMG one Warrior became obviously dead. Neon Siyeon fired next sending one Xeno OOF. Bam Bam Bambini fired, but her pistol shots had no effect.

In melee, Robonatrix caused a Warrior to go OOF, but its acid spray forced her to duck back. Neon Siyeon wasn’t as lucky, she was killed. Sgt. Bambini went OOF and was captured by the Nymph. Mystic Rhaine managed to send another warrior OOF.

Pixies activation. Pee Stain recovers from duck back. Mystic Rhaine fires at the remaining Warrior sending it OOF.

There’s no need to roll for Will to Fight. With half the squad gone and more than twice the number of Xenomorphs in the remaining group, the Pixies leave the table.

After Game Thoughts

Wow! My squad didn’t even make it out of the first section. Did I make the Xenomorphs too tough? Well, if the Aliens movies are anything to go by, maybe not. Of course, my squad having only soft body armor did not help at all. What do you think, were the Xenomorphs too tough?

I hope I’ll never encounter a xenomorph. I’ve experienced total darkness once. We were in the bottom of Carlsbad Caverns when the park ranger turned off the lights so we could discover what it was like. We all gasped and small children in the group began crying. It was very unsettling.

As always, your comments and thoughts are greatly appreciated. Until next time, be sure to check under your bed for aliens before turning out the lights!

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3 thoughts on “Screaming in the Dark”

  1. Xenos are certainly deadly, I’m guessing that the any Intel wasn’t shared with the squad beforehand/

  2. Of course INTEL is never shared with combat squads? Intel is safe and sound at REAR HQ where they “re safe and protected not out on patrol or in the field to be checked out for PEF”S positions That’s my experience in CHARLIE’S CHAN’S Land (VIETNAM) NUFF SAID?

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