From the Files of Dark Nova- Chapter 2: The Ballad of Captain Lawndart
During one of our playtesting sessions, Andrew played the part of a privateer captain who was hot on the trail of a dangerous pirate gang that had kidnapped a woman and stolen two cargo containers of valuable material. After attempting to lure them into a trap aboard a station (a debacle that ended with the invention of Plasma Grenade Golf and the reduction of the Hyatt Acheron hotel by a floor or two in height), they managed to sneak up on their ship in an attempt to board it and take the pirates down. The following took place thereupon-
Andrew (privateer captain): Okay, we need to get close to them, but stay stealthed. Can we ride their jump point and follow them?
GM (me): You’d have to be within a kilometer. They’re flying a Stiletto, which is a Medium-class starship, so the jump points are fairly small. Chances are they’d detect you.
David (Ahrugan mercenary/gunner): We should hit them hard and fast before they jump, use our disruptors to destabilize their jump drives so they can’t open a wormhole.
GM: Andrew, roll sensors.
Andrew: (rolls craptastic failure)
GM: You didn’t catch it in time, they just initiated jump.
Andrew: Dammit. Alright, we know they are most likely aligned with their target star system, so what is in that general direction?
Garoudan Freetrader/fighter pilot (can’t remember the player’s name): I’ve got two habitable systems within the range we think their base will be in, one’s ruled by a paranoid dictator, the other is uninhabited but loaded with dangerous flora and fauna. My people hunt there for predators and Rantors.
Andrew: That’d be it. Alright (punches in coordinates in the nav computer) Let’s go!
GM: Roll Hyperspace Navigation
Andrew: (rolls spectacularly bad navigation roll)
GM: Well, you whiffed, but you didn’t Doink or Ow (an explanation of Whiff, Doink, Ow, etc.), and you come out of the jump point backwards and fall into a flat spin.
Andrew: GAH! (rolls piloting check to recover from the spin)
David: My spleen is in my cheek
Garoudan: Centrifugal…force…overwhelming! …inertial…pull…Shatnerian!
GM: Okay, you recover from the spin. Your NavComp says you’re on target, but your sensors are saying you’re 553 AU outside the Oort cloud of the system.
Andrew: Crap. Okay, we need to get to that planet fast.
Engineer (really need to remember my player’s names): Um… can we do it sub-light? Just askin…
GM: it’d take a few days at top speed.
Entire Crew: (watch Andrew pick up dice to roll another Nav check, and begin praying to a half-dozen different deities and pantheons.)
Andrew: (rolls a failure, but barely)
GM: You scream out of your jump point, and your entire viewport is filled with a planet’s surface, rapidly approaching. You jumped into the upper atmosphere and will be making contact with the surface in three, two, on…
Andrew: Piloting check! (rolls …fails)
GM: The ship bucks as if hit by an asteroid, the lights go out for a moment and the viewscreen goes black. Your shields are down, and you’ve got bitch-box alerts going off from damage control, but none of them are major.
Engineer: WE LIVED!
Garoudan: Damn, I owe him money.
David: We have a viewport, why is it dark? Did we bury ourselves in the ground?
Andrew: External lights, I think we might be…
GM: External lights come on, revealing a very large fish curiously fluttering around the forward spinal mount booms. Several other aquatic creatures- some familiar, some strange- approach, attracted by the lights.
Andrew: NavComp, where the hell are we?
NavComp: Now entering Helsinki, have a nice day!
Engineer: (grabs a hammer) I’m going to have a ‘chat’ with that damned thing (heads down access hatch, beating noises ensue)
Andrew: What happened?
GM: You just lawndarted the ship into the middle of the ocean.
David: Um… there’s a jellyfish-like…. thing…. mating with our port nacelle’s running lights…
Meanwhile, Aboard the Pirate Ship
Pirate Captain: They’ll be popping out any second now, target their likely jump coordinates.
Pirate Crewman: Jump point forming fifteen thousand kilometers off the starboard bow, relative Y-axis pos 12 degrees.
Pirate Captain: Battlestations! ….(watches privateer shoot out of the jump point and straight into the ocean below) …..Nevermind.
Gather round, all ye gentle folk, and hear my heroic tale,
The legend of a captain who’s mission he’d never fail,
I sing of a man strong and bold, with courage in his heart,
Now hear the famous tale of Captain Lawn Dart!