This is the story of how I (almost) died in session three of the on-going Rogue Trader campaign I’m playing in. It was, at least, a glorious near-death experience. The only reason I wasn’t rolling up a new character there and then, was use of the fate point mechanic and a Teleportarium.
It was meant to be a simple operation. Grav-chute out of shuttle at high altitude to avoid detection, land on the roof of a temple, break in, grab the Armour of Sanguine and get out out. The temple was circular, with a 10 kilometre diameter dome with 8 tunnel-like structures radiating from it. The target area we were aiming for was a two kilometre wide area of stained glass in the centre of the dome. A true masterpiece of pre-Imperium engineering.
Vendigroth and Anastasia (the party’s Astropath and Rogue Trader respectively) both landed successfully, near the edge of the dome. Both myself and Salia (a powerfist and chainsword wielding ball of psychopathic fury), landed with slightly less grace. Salia was headed towards a collection of unpleasantly spiky structures on the dome, until I knocked into her sending us both towards the stained glass in the middle of the dome.
Then things got slightly nasty. After failing two rolls to correct my decent, I hit the dome at speed, taking critical damage. I then rolled down the dome, failing five rolls (one per kilometre plunged). Eventually I passed out, shooting off the edge of the dome and plunging through a multi-storey hovel, much to the surprise of a number of mutants within. On the upside, they are now the proud owners of a bag of Mechanicus equipment, a Boltgun and an optical mechadendrite.
At that point the Teleportarium finally locked on to my bubbling and broken body, transporting me to the ship’s Medicae bay. I played my Servo-Skull familiar for most of the rest of the session.
For those who doubt my lack of luck when it comes to dice rolling, I made 9 rolls (1 initial roll, 1 re-roll, 1 correction roll, 1 re-roll, 5 rolls as I fell). Of those, all but one was more then 90, with at most of them coming within Rogue Trader’s ‘probably fatal’ band between 96 and 99. It was a wonderful and glorious piece of action.
It also demonstrates my favourite part of the fate point mechanic. In addition to the standard rules, which allows fate points to be spent to re-roll a skill check, house rules allow a fate point to be burnt permanently, avoiding certain death by the skin of the teeth. This does allow for quite wonderful, action-movie style events such as this, without cheapening death to the point that it’s an inconvenience rather then a serious consideration (as in some games where a revive spell doesn’t cost much).