This adventure took place in the science-fiction realm my friend and I have been working on for some time with the crew of the Endeavour, an exploration starship. This adventure was a different style than I had done before, being more of a collection of minor incidents than one overall adventure. Essentially, the crew had been asked to visit a neutral trade station that had been in this exploration sector for a long time, allowing them to meet and establish relations with many of the nearby civilizations. It wouldn't take them long to learn that this was something of a troubled sector, possessing a few imperialistic powers and a number of others who engaged in various dubious business or criminal affairs. Most of the other more stable and lawful civilizations had other problems, including one in a full-scale civil war.
In this case, three of the Endeavour crew were about to have an unpleasant encounter with three Vinsar soldiers. It was an extremely busy day in a tightly crowded part of the station, and everyone was finding it difficult to move through the dense crowds. This already made things tense, as nearly everyone was frustrated and stressed. Three Vinsar soldiers, not paying too much attention to where they were going, kept pushing their way through the crowds, who seemed to be well motivated to make way for them if they could. The player characters weren't fortunate enough to be in a position where they could make way, though, and accidentally ended up bumping into the soldiers with enough force to knock them down.
Under other circumstances, this would have simply been a tense moment. There might have been a moment of anger, an apology, and both groups would likely have moved on. The problem was that Vinsar soldiers have a special combat implant that releases various hormones and stimulants when the soldiers enter a combat situation. Naturally, since there is really only one reaction to stressful situations, these combat implants have a tendency to activate at inappropriate times, making the soldiers highly aggressive and reducing their ability to control their tempers. This is why everyone nearby had been trying so hard to make way for them, and the player characters had been warned about this as well.
Naturally, a fight was about to occur, but I had some question about how it would go. The rules of the game were of my own design and still pretty experimental at this time. In many ways, they still are, though the system is getting more and more stable. Thus, balance has been a tricky issue thus far; I try to ensure that the enemies are able to put up a good fight, but that the player characters are going to win in the end. Most of the time, I tend to err one way or the other. When the fights are too hard, I usually have to improvise, typically making the enemies fight less intelligently to give the players a chance to recover and win. There's little I can do when the fights are too easy but move on. At any rate, with these combat implants giving the Vinsar bonuses, it seemed important to make sure they were less experienced and less capable than the players, so I tried to tweak it that an overall basis, they'd be just below the player characters' level of skill. Still, I didn't really know how things were going to go when the Vinsar in charge threw the first punch.