Ambush at landing bay Xi-292-41

An METT-TC scenario exercise

Following my post about using army doctrine as a scenario design checklist, my friend Comrade Patrick invited me to walk through the process with him, start to finish, to create a narrative skirmish scenario. Here is the result! We decided to keep the scenario rules-neutral, gaining flexibility at the cost of specificity.


While following up a routine lead at spaceport landing bay Xi-292-41, Interrogator Kurgdor has been ambushed by cultists! To prevail, Kurgdor’s team must call for emergency evac, receive landing zone coordinates, and escape the area with at least one team member.

The cultists prepared the ambush to secure an inquisitorial override cypher, and a tech savant is standing by to use the cypher for unrighteousness. To transmit the cypher, a cultist must physically access an inquisition badge from a fallen agent before the cyphers are remotely wiped.

Victory conditions

The evacuation request is transmitted at the start of the first turn. After five or more minutes have passed (see “Time” below), the inquisition team receives landing zone coordinates. Number each edge of the play area and roll a d4 to determine which board edge the inquisition team must escape from. The inquisition team achieves its victory condition by moving at least one model off of that edge.

Interrogator Kurgdor achieves his victory condition by moving off the designated edge.

Every time an inquisition agent is taken out of action, place a token where the model last stood. Models from either side may retrieve that agent’s inquisition badge by spending an action in base contact with the token. Remove that token if an inquisition agent retrieves the badge; remove all tokens if a cultist does. The cultists achieve their victory condition by retrieving one badge.

A cultist achieves his victory condition by retrieving a badge from a fallen agent.

A side wins by achieving its victory condition while preventing the opposing side’s victory condition. If both sides achieve their victory conditions, the game is a draw.


The inquisition has a small, elite team equipped with sidearms and melee weapons. They are terrifying up close, but vulnerable to long range fire.

Example inquisition team

The cultists double the inquisition team’s strength, but don’t match the agents’ skill. They compensate by deploying long range autoguns.

Example cultist team spread out in ambush positions
Cultists up close

Cultists activate first.

Terrain and Weather

The ambush occurs in an enclosed landing bay at a starport. Arrange cargo containers and other logistics paraphernalia in a manner both players agree to, subject to these guidelines:

  • The center of each edge of the play area represents a potential egress route for the inquisition team. These should remain unobstructed or be furnished with a door or hatch representing escape.
  • Each corner should provide a decent firing position for the ambushers, with a good line of sight to the center of the play area. The ambushers chose their moment carefully.
  • The center area should offer some cover for the inquisition team, but not completely obscure them.

The inquisition team deploys in the center of the play area. Then the cultists deploy in the four corners, divided up however the cultist player likes. The cultist player also places two tokens in the inquisition deployment zone, representing the bodies of Probators Clemule and Jebson, who were killed while providing cover fire for the other agents just before the scenario begins.

Example terrain set up with deployment zones and potential objectives marked. Note my creative interpretation of the cultist deployment zone. Good fields of fire took precedence over “in the four corners.”

The weather inside the enclosed bay is typically grim, dark, and damp, but offers no in-game effects. Outside the dome is a perpetual torrent of polluted rain that could be made to affect the game (see Civil Considerations below).


Both victory conditions hinge on time. At the start of each game turn after the first, roll a d6 to determine how many minutes have passed.

Evac coordinates arrive after 5 minutes have passed. Override cyphers are wiped out after 15 minutes have passed.

Civil Considerations

Landing Bay Xi-292-41 is sheltered by a retractable dome roof. At any point, the inquisition team may spend an action to remotely override the roof controls, retracting the dome. This reduces the range of all ranged weapons to 9 inches as a toxic downpour erupts into the bay; however, retracting the roof will ruin a large shipment of imported foodstuffs, causing a shortage exploitable by cultist propaganda.

Don’t spoil dinner

Though this has no direct outcome on scenario victory, retracting the roof will have consequences in subsequent scenarios, or at least provide the cultist player with bragging rights.

Thoughts on the experience

I enjoyed this and I am pleased with the result. It might be overkill to include some element of every category every time, but having the reminders there really helped foster a thoughtful design cycle.

Though Patrick and I marched through the checklist in roughly the order presented here, the discussion branched and iterated, as ideas emerging in later steps would replace or modify those from earlier. You could probably go through the checklist in any order.

Developing the scenario without specific game rules in mind, I unconsciously imagined a small skirmish like Space Weirdos, but Patrick pictured a larger game like Grimdark Future. We discovered this about midway through our conversation. I presented the small version, but I bet a larger unit-based version would work just as well. I would like to playtest this scenario with Rogue Hammer, since unit size is quite flexible in that ruleset. I can imagine two dozen cultist models and six inquisition models still being a fair fight.

Would you play this scenario? What ruleset would you use? If you manage to get a game in, or if you try using METT-TC to design your own scenario, I would love to hear how it goes!





3 responses to “Ambush at landing bay Xi-292-41”

  1. Comrade Avatar

    Thanks for writing this up! I really liked seeing the terrain setup come to life – it really helped crystallize the scenario for me. Let’s play this one soon!

    1. orcs_illustrated Avatar

      Absolutely! How many cultists do you have? 😁

      1. Comrade Avatar

        More by the hour!!

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