Enhancing DoD: 2 - A Wretched Hive *SPOILER*

Whether in planning beforehand or during the game session itself, almost every GM makes changes to a published module. Sometimes the changes are necessary, sometimes they just add to the fun.

What changes have you made to A Wretched Hive? How did they turn out? Would you use these tweaks again or recommend them to another GM?

Feel free to post links to your session threads.

All modules:
The Traitor's Gambit
A Wretched Hive
The Queen of Air and Darkness
Echoes of the Jedi
The First to Strike
The Core of Corruption
A Reckoning of Wraiths
The Gem of Alderaan
The Sword of the Empire
Jaws of the Sarlacc

Changes I made to A wretched Hive:

1) I made the Warrick Radden Encounter a LOT tougher I added LARGE excavation droids that were in the process of demolishing the adjacent buildings - think the big ole bot from "I robot"...

2) - I enhanced the gather information stuff with "I used to be the Viceroy of the trade Federation" signficantly - I fleshed out this NPC into some pretty nice comic relief that also furnished useful info to the PC's ;)

3) I changed the droid racing significantly - laying out a long track in the arena that the players had to "race around" one complete lap. I added debris, for terrain and etc. this was a lot of fun but it had an unanticipated result... the race was a LOT longer then originally designed. and DEMOS wound up getting really whacked... After the race he "retired to his suite to recover from -10 on the condition track due to poor rolling on my part...

4) A new PC was introduced into the game - one that had a ship. The Escape from Dargas palace was modified so that the Banshee folooowed Darga into Orbit and monitored him as he went to hyperspace - recording his hyperspace vectors - that later reveiled he high tailed it to Bespin...

5) I changed the encounter with Demos slightly adding a grenade to each of the gamoreans... Just for effect ;) My PC's rolled badly for initiative and wound up getting "caught" into the secret passageway and took a few stun grenades - that made the encounter a lot more tough for them. The "New" PC's ship was also used as the exit vehicle...
I just fleshed out a bunch of NPC court members for the players to interact with.

A couple of bounty hunters to play cards with,

A couple of colorful dancing girls to flirt with,

An arms dealer to buy modified weapons from,

A spice dealer to party with,

A nikto slave runner to pick fights with,
Well, i'm hoping to start Wretched Hive this weekend. It will be dovetailed onto the end of the Felcuian prison rescue.

A) i'm making the captain of the Resurgence more of a tough-looking customer; the pic in the book just doesn't work for me.

B) i'm adding in a minor subplot with Captain Arno and Luci, his headcrab pet, which has nothing to do with anything, but i hope it's funny.

C) And i'm stealing Jedi_Dade's idea for a BIG excavation droid, i love that, and i have a crab droid mini that will work.

D) I'm going to make Kessra a little more interesting and mysterious, mostly so the PCs will have some sympathy and not kill her outright, so she can return later.

I'm sure there will be more changes, but i won't know until the weeks ahead until i actually sit down and start churning notes out.
A) i'm making the captain of the Resurgence more of a tough-looking customer; the pic in the book just doesn't work for me.

The illustration looks a lot like Nathan Fillion from Firefly. That's who I'm using.
I've got Dennis Franz from NYPD Blue badly photoshopped as Admiral Varth, as well. Who wouldn't trust Dennis Franz?
Looks like Bob Kellso, the a-hole doctor off of Scrubs to me.
You know why he has so many allies?
Because he can't do it all on his own, oh, he's no superman.
Woahohhhhhhhhoh, he's no superman.
:P ;)
Nefandus (and others) discuss some changes to make to DoD2, A Wretched Hive (as well as QoAaD) here.
WINNER OF YOU BUILD THE CHARACTER #6 - Qui-Gon Jinn "For 300 years we prepared, we grew stronger. While you rested in your cradle of power." -Lord Malgus, The Old Republic Trailer "Am I the only one that saw the film and thought Obi-Wan was expressing an opinion of moral superiority/ideological victory with his statement? Y'know, instead of stating to the highly experienced combatant in front of him the obvious fact that he stood a few meters below him on the vertical axis?" -d20 Radio regarding Obi-Wan's comment to Anakin "It's over Anakin. I have the high ground."
Captain Verana’s Interrogation of Vischerra

When we threatened to turn Vischera over to the Felucians he’d been experimenting on, he became very cooperative. I’m not really sure what we should do with him – we can’t let him go. He knows too much already.

As you know, the facility you assaulted was rendition site and an orbital communications relay. We did not know, until now, that it also served as field station for research into black projects such as mutagens and biotoxins.

The mutagenic science was based on military research captured from the Separtists on Nelvana IV. The biotoxin research was something they cooked up on Felucia, a bio-weapon of mass destruction, intended to wipe out all Force-sensitive beings.

Vischera said the bio-weapon was a failure, and that he was likely years away from a significant breakthrough. It only worked on Felucians, and of those, it killed the only the weak and the sick. The Imperial Navy removed his biotoxin stocks, several freighters full, and then switched his priorities to mutagenic research, while cutting his resources. The mutated Felucians you discovered were the prototypes – his newest creation.


Major Varth’s Briefing

Vischera is a monster < looking at Verana - they clearly have had an argument >. So many of our officers lost their way during the war. I’m not sure what we’ll do with him in the meantime.

Before the Empire decided my conscience was a threat, I became involved peripherally in a top-secret plan known as the Sarlacc Project, when I assisted on several duty shifts for another officer, who was off sick. While the details of the project are not known to me, I was involved in the transfers of large sums of credits and resources to the project. Whatever the project entails, it is taking up a lot of the Empire’s time and effort. Moreover, I believe this Sarlacc project is destroying the lives of thousands of sentient beings; casualty reports crossed my desk on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, I don’t know much more than that. However, during my brief brushes with the project, I discovered that the Imperial Navy was hiding the program’s existence from the Senate by transferring resources through secondary sources. Resources were routed through the Corporate Sector through fake contractors and various other means through the criminal underworld to keep a trail from leading back to the project. One such secondary source was a Hutt crime lord named Darga. Like all Hutts, Darga is a slimy gangster whose love of credits is exceeded only by his love of power.

Part of my job involved transferring resources to Darga, in turn arranging for Imperial agents to take control of other resources from the Hutt’s organization. These were not simply credit transfers. The items traded were not specified, but physical resources were definitely exchanged. It’s not much, but it’s the only lead we have.

Captain Verana has charged me to uncover more about the Sarlacc Project, and he has authorized me to use you as my agents. We need you to travel to the planet of Cato Neimoidia and Darga the Hutt, in the city of Zarra. See if you can learn what he is trading and how it relates to the Sarlacc Project.

---------

Detail if asked: Normally Imperial contracts are spread thin, sharing economic benefits widely. This Sarlacc may be an exception. Starting with the smallest suppliers, they systematically terminated their arrangements, while increasing the resource transfers between the remaining suppliers. I suspect they may be in the process of consolidating their suppliers.

GM Notes

In my game, the heroes took Captain Vischera prisoner along with Varth, and Vischera is on the Resurgence. The Capture of Captian Vischera, and/or some of his medical research files, opens interesting opportunities throughout the campaign.

The last point on "Biological Resources" could prove to be an interesting Red Herring in light of Traitor's Gambit. There, the players encountered the mutated Felucians, but also discovered the bio-engineered virus that attacked the Felucian children.

I don't normally like to penalize players for going above and beyond, or needlessly complicate matters, but the capture of Vischera and/or his biowarfare data, or even the knowledge of what he was doing to the Force-sensitive Felucians just opens too many opportunities.

They can learn from Vischerra that the empire had already produced large quantities of biological weapons from Felucia, based on the research they conducted there. The mutagens were experimental, but the virus worked - just not as well as the Empire wanted - it killed the infirm, and young, and it could be adapted to different species easily. Note that the briefing (or his files) indicates that the Empire took freighters full of the "useless" biotoxin off-planet.

I think this is a significant enough threat to introduce uncertainty as to what the eventual reveal will be - with the "biological resources" in A Wretched Hive. At the end of Hive, I recommend that players know for certain that Darga is trading gas, but that they are uncertain what Darga is getting back from the Empire - could be slaves, but could also be the Empire dumping useless weaponized biotoxin aimed at Force-sensetives. That leaves some mystery for the next episode, and offers an interesting revelation at the end of it.

Also, as the campaign progresses, it offers uncertainty about the traitor on board the Resurgance. I'm hoping that having Vischera on board can help draw attention from their already natural suspicion of Varth.


Regarding the detail about the Empire consolidating gas contracts
If the heroes decide to send a message to Switch for more info, as mine did, they may do so after they arrive at Cato Neimoidia. The Resurgance's external communications are forbidden.

The intention in the consolidation is to explain why the Emprei might want to boost its gas supply from Darga, and also to set the stage so the finale of The Queen of Air and Dakness ends with the heroes dealing a more significant setback for the Empire.
The Arrival at Cato Neimoidia

The blue whirl of hyperspace recedes as you enter the Cato system. In a few hours, you approach the greenish hazy planet of Cato Nemoidia. On your approach, the automated Message to Spacers hails The Banshee, you note how little space traffic there appears to be, closer to the planet.

The nav guides direct you toward a landing at the City of Zarra and you descend through the hazy atmosphere. Cato Nemoidia is the oldest of the Trade Federation Purse Worlds, and only the wealthiest of people were allowed to live on it. You see an ocean of white clouds, laced with of mountainous tree covered spires and archways poking above the cloud banks , with citys slung beneath and between them on massive bridge spans. The city is much bigger than you thought it might be, and the buildings are densely populated.

The city was once incredibly opulent, full of ornately carved palaces, crusted with intricate facades, with even the road cobbles carved and often inlaid into mesmerizing patterns, but now is a smoking ruin, ransacked and burned – a product of the Clone Wars. You cruise above crumbled towers and rubble strewn streets, with a sparse population wandering in the desolation.

The automated beacon directs you to a deserted spaceport landing pad that is relatively clear of debris, but you note with alarm as you cruise low, there are areas where you can see through the roads and see sky underneath. The light is beginning to wane. A female Neimoidian voice guides you in to land. You cruise past her starport control tower, which is dimly lit and has broken plasteel windows.

“Welcome to Zarra, Cato Neimoidia. Purse World of the Trade Federation. May your business bring great profits.”

It’s closing on the dinner hour. You smell the spices of cooking fires upwind in the breeze and you can see smoke rising from throughout the city and trailing off the side. There are tents and ramshackle shanties strewn amid the wreckage of the grander structures. You don’t feel the city swaying in the breeze, but you are aware of its position on the massive bridge. There is no horizon. Unlike in coastal cities you visited, you expect to see blue water behind that line, but there is only open sunset blooming in blue across the tops of the clouds. The entire city is shaded by a massive rock arch, which now seems impossibly large.

You see a robed figure approaching from the tower. You recognize the voice as the Spaceport Administrator, a limping female Neimoidian.

“Greetings, travelers. The spaceport fee is 200 credits.”

---------------

Notes
The Nemoidian is legit, but her staff is gone. She needs these credits to survive, and to pay off her "protection" money to Kessra.

The idea behind all citizen encounters is to show just how far this place has fallen from opulence.

Do not have Kessra and the Vipers engage the heroes on the landing platform or within the starport or the encounter will be too easy, because there is no good reason why The Banshee wouldn't fire on them. Instead, allow the heroes a chance to penetrate into the city further, and maybe have a few encounters with the hapless citizens.
Encounters with the Citizens and Gather information

There appears to be a logic/editing error in the module here, in locating Darga.

A Gather Information check DC 25 + 500 creds will get you Darga's man, Raden, but failing that - simply bribing someone with 500 creds appears to offer the same name, without the difficulty check for Gather Info. That doesn't make good game sense.

So, maybe raise the amount of creds needed to get Raden's name without the Gather Info check.

Also, twice now, I've found Gather Information to be a difficult skill to arbitrate. Like Gambling, it seems to be one of those "abstract" skills that applies to the net result of a series of encounters that aren't played individually - though the players' instincts, and even the module itself, suggest that these information-seeking encounters should be roleplayed - and roleplaying should be rewarded with investment in a scene. Perhaps this is a good topic for The Senate, since a Gather Information check would seem to be a sub-function of Persuasion, rather than its own skill (at least with people).

In a case like A Wretched Hive, where there are a series of citizen encounters to be roleplayed, with the goal of finding Darga, it's challenging to figure out how an abstract Gather Information factors into those specific roleplayed encounters, especially when they would likely be using Persuade to modify their attitude to Friendly.

I don't have a solution here, and I wasn't satisfied with my own when I tried to wing it. In my game, I ended up doing a gather info check upon them announcing their intention to ask around. The Gather Info lead them to citizens who'd been shaken down by Raden, where they could try to Persuade these citizens to reveal the name.

I opened a thread to discuss this matter here, if anyone wants to figure out a solution.

In all cases, giving up the name of Raden would be very risky, since these citizens pay protection to him. So they need to be persuaded to the highest attitude. Only then will they accept the bribe (500 creds) to tell them where Raden is. They need the 500 creds to hire their own protection and reduce the risk.

A smart and empathetic party may offer to BE the citizen's protection - a hired gun. Be ready with an answer for that - which is that the citizen knows that once he gives Raden's info, the heroes will want to go and deal with him, and won't be hanging around, long term. The creds are needed to hire their own mercs for protection, in case Raden is the victor.

------

GM Notes:
As for the citizen encounters, I shamelessly did my best/worst caricature of the Vietnemese accent used by the Nemoidians (I believe the voice actors were Vietamese, doing a caricature of their own accent). My players loved it, though it's hard to sustain such a strong accent and imrov rpg scenes, though I had them laughing with the "viceroy" and the bartender who quipped at the merc "Mos' peepo do na' drink i' so fass' " when he slammed his bathtub gin.

Key for the accent is to drop your T's, especially at the end of words.
L's become O's = people to peepo
and it's good to stress odd parts of the sentence, especially the end, while hanging on a word in the middle.

In describing the citizens, I made sure to show that despite their general poverty, they seem to be wearing borrowed opulent robes (ie they've looted their clothes from those left behind). There's squatters in the ruins of much nicer places. Most of the riches are gone, ruined, or stolen. Except for Shass, who is actually still trying to run one of the only legit businesses in the city.
The Vipers

You hear the screeching chorus of a dozen or swoops approaching quickly in the blueish twilight, and you see their headlights first.

“Oh no. Never min’ ” says the citizen, as she hurries away back to her tower.

Swoops begin streaming from between ruined buildings and dim alleys around you, their headlights cutting through the hazy blue twilight. The first ones stop within shouting distance but keep their engines idling while more and more slip through the cracks around you. The bikes cruise over the gaps in the terrain without heed. This is a rough crowd, not a regular security force – but they all have dark, shiny jackets, and each one has an insignia of a green viper.

A slender, darkly clad biker in a smooth enclosed black helmet with metal trim cruises in at last. The biker’s helmet retracts, revealing a hard-looking human woman who is clearly a veteran of many battles. You see numerous scars across her sneering mouth and neck. Her spiky black hair matches the dark armoured clothing she wears. She is armed with a heavy blaster.

“That’s a pretty looking ship you’ve got back there. What’s her name?”



“You know, you set your pretty little ship down in Viper territory. Do you have enough credits to pay for a landing permit? It’s a thousand credits



"Maybe you misunderstood. It’s a thousand credits EACH, to land in this dump.

Consider it insurance – a security fee to ensure your pretty little ship is kept safe. You’re lucky – you landed on the nice side of town."
----------------
[i]Notes:
The bikers have the Skirmisher talent, so don't forget to use it and get the bonus. If you happen to end up flanking the heroes, you can start getting up to +3 on the to hit - it adds up!

Keep Kessra back so she can survive - my players didn't move very far once combat started.

Don't forget the Vehicular Combat feat that they have - they can cause attacks that hit to miss, once per round if successful. So, heroes may have to gang up and hit more than once per round.

As a side benefit, I noted that the Jedi, who had been formerly sailing through encounters on her Force Slam and Deflect , has a glass jaw vs melee attackers. I nearly killed her with the vibroblades. No Block yet.

This was a very tough encounter for our group. [/i]
Raden – Abandoned Warehouse Encounter

[B]Notes[/b]
I used the "Ruined Base" map from the minis set game game for this map - works great, more interesting tactically, and it looks much nicer.


Intro

A pair of excavation droids sift mindlessly through the rubble, digging out a doorway.

Most of the buildings on this street look half destroyed or collapsed, and none of the damage is recent. Dominating one side of the street is a crumbling warehouse. The walls of the warehouse have large chunks taken out of them, exposing the dark building interior to the street.

You see a hunched over Devaronian male with red skin skulking inside, talking on a comlink. You note that he often checks his shoulder, and that he tends to keep to the shadows, taking the long way around windows and gaps in the walls. You see, amid the wreckage of boxcars and crates, a fire pit and some makeshift stools.



Upon capture

You want to see DARGA? I’m not going there. I won’t take you. Do you have any idea of what he will do to us?

I don’t know what your business with the Hutt is, but if you ask me, you’re better off leaving now, while you still can.

[Party will intimidate him]

Background - What is Raden doing there?

Darga has a standing grudge with his henchman Raden, because Raden failed to loot a restricted arms cache for Darga to sell on the black market. Rather than come back to Darga empty handed, Raden looted a Medical Disaster Pod from the Cato Neimoidian government (intended as aid for the ruined city) with a cache of medpacks and medical droid (which is now bartending at the palace).

Raden's consolation prize failed to satisfy Darga. Medical aid had flooded into Cato Neimoidia from the government, but since many of wealthy residents deserted, it made it very difficult for Darga to fence his goods. Darga had banished him from the palace with a team, and told him not to come back without the gun cache.

(It likely won't come up, but the guns were already lifted by Kessra and hidden elsewhere in the city. Kessra was working for Demos, not Darga. This was part of Demos' side business, working secretly to arm and fund his operation for a takeover)

When the players enter with Raden, someone in the crowd throws a medpack at his head and everyone laughs. This will give the players something to talk about when they feast with Darga - good RP opportunity. It also allows me to get a few more medpacks into the palace in case things go terribly badly.

Most importantly, in the Slavers encounter, the players may discover an opportunity to have Darga treat the slaves medically with his underused assets (the droid, the medpack shipments) before they are shipped further downmarket. The unsellable medical aid goes to good use, the slaves live instead of die, and perceptive players at least get some leverage in the negotiation.
The Trip to Darga’s Palace:

GM Notes: Zarra is a city situated on several bridges radiating like irregular spokes under rock arches, from a central rock spire. Most of the city is located on the bridges, but parts are located on the spires as well. It's a big place, and it takes a long time to get around. Part of the reason I mentioned this, is it seemed odd that it should be so hard to find Darga's palace on a small bridge city.


Hopping aboard your new swoop bikes, with a blaster stuck in Raden’s ribs, he leads you on a treacherous and winding journey through the city bridge, to one of the mountain hubs, and out onto another delapitated bridge city.

The trip takes close to an hour, and rarely goes very quickly. It’s a surreal swoop journey that seems to go inside and through ruined buildings and excavations as much as outside through the streets. Several times, he takes you down into the city sublevels, where you find yourself winding through labrynthine tunnels, stairwells, and riding down non-functional conveyer tubes. After a while of this, you realize that you aren’t sure, any longer, of which direction you are pointed. Clearly, Raden doesn’t like to travel in the open.

You finally ascend a long and wide concourse stairway up into a collapsed concourse, with daylight streaming in between the mountains of broken rubble and steel from several destroyed palace compounds, which have all flowed into the streets. There are many gaps in this area where it looks like turbolasers have blown chunks of the road out. He picks his path through towards a massive toppled Neimoidian statue, which hides the remains of a sturdy stone battlement, inset with a pair of massive blast doors 5 meters tall, and carved with elaborate Hutt runes.

Raden walks timidly forward up to a door, which has a small communications panel. He presses a button and sputters some phrases in Huttese



A long moment passes before two Nikto guards with hunting blaster rifles appear on the battlements above the doors, weapons pointed down at you. A metal panel in the blast door scrapes as it slides open. You see a large pair of glowing eyes staring at you from the dark. A gravelly voice speaks from within the doors, again in Huttese

the panel slides closed. A moment later, there is a heavy clank of metal on metal, and the blast doors part to either side. A rush of cool, dry air flows outward from the Hutt palace. Raden motions you to follow.

Entering the palace, there is no seen of who or what might have owned the glowing red eyes. You follow Raden down a long, dark hallway, illuminated at random by torches set into wall sconces. You have a bad feeling about this place, like something is watching you from the darkness. You pass unmarked metal doors. The air is thick with the smell of dust and rotting wood.

As you move deeper, you realize that Darga’s palace seems to be created from the wreckage of two adjacent palaces, which have been hastily retrofitted together. You get the sense that both buildings were once bright and beautiful, and very old. Eventually you hear music and voices, and you realize you must be approaching the throne room.

Entering the large chamber, you realize the throne room was likely a portion of the Great Hall of one of the other palaces, or what is left of it. It is opulent and repulsive. A thick layer of oddly scented smoke and spice drifts through the air, rising out of braziers in the corners of the room. Once beautiful tapestries line the walls, though most have been torn, burned, or stained. Beautiful cornices in the long tubelike hallways have been painted over with tacky gold and purple paint.

A raised hoverdais, plated in polished gold, hovers in the center of the room supports the massive and bejeweled bulk of Darga the Hutt, and he is surrounded by crowds of thugs and servants, while a human band plays and twilek dancers twirl. Behind the dais, you see a large open balcony that opens into a cavernous dark room that seems to have spotlights at riveted at regular intervals into the ceiling.

As you walk into the room, the conversation and music stops. Silence reigns as every eye turns to watch Raden lead you into an open space in front of the opulent dais. There is a filthy rug there. Darga’s eyes roll from you to Raden, and his ringed fingers throw aside his large gold drinking chalice. He Booms something in Huttese to Raden

In Huttese:“What are you doing here? Outsiders? In my palace? Again? I told you before, bring me the weapons shipment I wanted in the first place, or don’t come back. I still can’t able to find a market for your last haul” < someone from the crowd whips a pair of medpacks at him, bopping him in the head. Raden falls to his knees in supplication and begins to grovel>


Calls for droid

A very brightly polished silver protocol droid, with large, pimped out violet eyes and a blinking purple flame-job on his chest, approaches.

“His Swollen Magnificence, Darga the Hutt, demands to know why you have come to his palace, and how you convinced Raden to escort you.”

“Many in this room could not find this place unless they were invited, and some would have trouble if they were drawn a map. Perhaps there is more to you than meets the eye.”

“Enough. Join in my court for a few days. I have many matters to attend to, and I’m expecting visitors besides, but I smell a business opportunity here. Maybe we can explore working on a venture together, after we get to know each other.

Besides, my other associates would be disappointed if they missed an opportunity to take your money in our games

Guards, take Raden to the dungeon to consider his failures.

12 Gamorrean Guards
3 bounty hunters
3 quarrens
A pimped out protocol droid with bling
Another dozen or so Assorted beings

GM Notes:

I wanted to make Darga different from Jabba. I note in the module that he is young and that this is an upstart, and that the module pic shows him to be sporting some bling. So, I kinda like the idea of Darga doing it gangsta style, from the hood. Opulent and tacky bling, pimped out shiny mechanics (his ridiculous pimped out protocol droid - which still has its snooty air. Maybe I'll put polished chrome and fins on the medical droid). I might edit this description more as I study up on Cribs and Pimp my Ride.

For Darga's musical entertainment in this section, I want a definite urban rap theme. I've been thinking of using some of The Fifth Element soundtrack. As a former 80's post-Goth 30-something, don't know much about rap music in general, but I'd love suggestions here to get futuristic, atmospheric and otherworldly gangsta rap, that doesn't have overwhelming vocals.
The Feast

This is an excellent role-playing opportunity. Great for players who have worked on background information and don't mind mixing a little truth into their cover.

Darga will ask:

• Who are you?
• Do you work together?
• Where do you come from?
• What did you do?

What Darga shares
• Darga refers to his trusted agents fondly, pointing out the ones who participate in his gladiator games. He notes that he sponsors them and they compete abroad, and he gets a good cut of the winnings.

• He runs a small but growing organization.

• He runs entrepreneurial ventures in underserviced areas.

• He’s looking for major domos to run his various holdings when he isn’t there

• His dealings with the Empire have been frowned upon by other Hutts, who are obviously jealous of the riches it has brought him.

• If he hasn't already - Darga will discuss Raden and his foolishness in missing out on the Separtist arms cache

"Cato Neimoidia was a good choice to start my organization. Not too close to Hutt space, which is tightly run by established Hutt families. Minimal Empire entanglements since this was just a purse world – little industry or strategic value, once the leadership was defeated and their assets confiscated by the Empire."

“We will see how you enjoy your time in my court, and how much I value your company.

"The next few days will give us a chance to get to know each other and see how much I have to offer you – and you to offer me!”

"This is a startup venture. I’m looking for good advisors who are ambitious, BUT not too ambitious <throwing a look at demos> Brains, to know what to do. Muscle, to keep an organization like this in line."

When the feast is concluded, Darga tells Igren Demos to show you the common quarters, a flophouse garishly stocked with pillows and supplied with spice, stims, deathsticks, and plentiful food and drink. There is also a washroom that is kept surprisingly clean.

-------------
GM notes:
It seems that the players get their passkey to the nicer guest quarters (and the dungeons) only after succeeding in the challenges, so I thought I'd start them out sleeping in the flophouse, where everyone goes to crash after they've dosed on deathsticks, or too much good booze.

In addition to keeping them together at first, the flophouse is close to the throne room, and is a bit more secluded in case they want to talk. It also makes the passkey a more significant win later on, a tangible manifestation of Darga's trust.
The Execution of Warrick Raden

You hear shouting and cheering from the throne room, and the sounds of blaster fire.

You arrive in time to see that the arena area is dimly lit, with Darga’s repulsor crèche gliding back into its place in the throne room. A lot of money is changing hands, and some bodies are carried out of the arena on stretchers, their wounds still smoking. One of the bodies is slapped roughly on the bar for the medical droid to help, but it is too late.

“Ah excellent. It is time to celebrate our guests. As the newest promising members, the honours will be yours.

Guards!

Raden is dumped rudely on the floor in front of you. He’s been roughed up badly. He struggles up to his knees.

“You failed me for the last time Raden. First, you miss our haul on weapons shipments, then you try to make good by looting a Republic medical disaster aid shipment I can’t sell medpacks, and I can’t fight a turf war with a surgical droid. And now you show your face in my court, without my weapons haul.

Your time is over, Raden, and I see it fitting that the newest applicants for your place in my court should have the honour of executing you, personally.

.

If you want to join this court, I would want you dispense my justice. Let's begin!

GM Notes:
I wanted to clearly establish that Darga has a gladiator pit and that it's dangerous. It's an upcoming encounter, but more importantly, I want smart players to see that as an option instead of simply executing Raden.
Nefandus, thank you for providing such in-depth material. *steals it*

If you have any more from any of the other modules (I haven't looked on the other, similar threads yet), I'd love to see it.

Thanks again, you've made an inexperienced GM's life a lot easier.
Nefandus, you are a genius with this sort of stuff! Seriously, I haven't started running DoD yet (won't until the 10th module is out), but I'm shamelessly stealing your stuff and inserting it into my notes as I go!
That's because Saxton has absolutely no idea what he's talking about and is more interested in canonizing his own ridiculous ideas about Star Wars then actually giving a realistic set of data, or at least trying to stay true to the source. And he's got his crowd of fans blowing his ego and promoting his work as if it actually were decent or passable in Star Wars fiction. Everything he's written should be struck, followed by him getting struck a few times. Raul_Torin (Feb 16, 2010)
^^^
Thanks guys, appreciated - though the real kudos should go to Rodney. I've had a lot of fun filling in his excellent adventures, which have provided plenty of places for me to fill in the blanks, without leaving too much uncharted. Seriously, if not for the quality of those adventures, I would not have jumped in. I've also appreciated the many game logs and discussions and arguments over what should happen vs what did happen. These kinds of live play tests help me figure out minor tweaks to keep the game logic sensible, and to keep the momentum going (though I try to discuss those in other threads.)

I've got more material, including lavish illustrations collected from around the web, and flowcharts to help break down the action, and I try to upgrade the maps with stuff I find out there. Our next game starts within Darga's palace, so I'm building those out currently, and trying to figure out the best order for them.

Take whatever you need - I always do - and I'll try to get more up later. I need a good and free place to host pics.
Question - doesn anyone know what the reward is supposed to be for sending the players after Darga? DoD1 was 2000 cred. Anyone know what it is for DoD2?
Everyone has pointed out that the events of AWH threaten to make QoAaD pointless, and great suggestions have help solve that problem.

But I'm about to run AWH with my group, and in going over the events, I'm finding that there is another problem with the module as written. Gome will make the rest of the module unnecessary. I know one of the first things my group will want to do is go snoop around the palace. They will have an opportunity to do so as early as their first night there. They'll most certainly hear the opera music, investigate, and talk up Gome. Gome knows all of the details available for the PC's to discover in this module. He doesn't know that Darga receives slaves, but the PC's never find that out in this module (for sure) anyway.

So there will be no incentive for the group to stay and curry Darga's favor, nor be around for the Imperials' visit.

I've seen several people suggest to limit what Gome knows, and I plan to do so. But it never really made sense to me that Darga's long-time accountant doesn't know the details about the transaction.

So I decided to make Gome in charge of coordinating Darga's travel plans. I.e., he arranges for ships to be ready, personnel movements, etc. That way, it would make sense that he would know that Darga was heading to Bespin soon, and that he does so every month, and that he goes to oversee a transaction where large starhips are used to transfer goods (though he does not know what goods are coming or going).

That way, the PCs know to go to Bespin in the next module, and they know a few details about the transaction, but they'll still need to wait for the Imperials to show up in order to find out that it involves tibanna gas and "biological resources".

I'm sure other GM's have done something similar, but I thought I'd share how I'm going to change Gome a bit to make his knowledge (or lack thereof) more plausible.
Gome will make the rest of the module unnecessary. I know one of the first things my group will want to do is go snoop around the palace. They will have an opportunity to do so as early as their first night there. They'll most certainly hear the opera music, investigate, and talk up Gome. Gome knows all of the details available for the PC's to discover in this module. He doesn't know that Darga receives slaves, but the PC's never find that out in this module (for sure) anyway.

So there will be no incentive for the group to stay and curry Darga's favor, nor be around for the Imperials' visit.

Our next session will likely have Gome. This part needn't be a problem, as long as you limit the party's access to gome until the time is right. Gome, The Imperials, and Denia's whisper, should all be timed to appear on the last day (Denia's encounter is the only combat encounter). Denia's whisper could be delayed, possibly, until just after the Gome encounter - if you are confident your players will linger to investigate.

In my version, the heroes sleep in the common flophouse with everyone else until they distinguish themselves in court, at which point they will be rewarded with his "inner circle" passkey to the turbolift and the guest quarters. Once they have that, they can get to Gome and to Denia. Gome is right around the corner from them.

Also, a number of players have gone straight for Denia on day 1, which is very risky. I'm making it so she isn't even shipped to the palace (by Demos, from Kessra's people) until later on.
I've seen several people suggest to limit what Gome knows, and I plan to do so. But it never really made sense to me that Darga's long-time accountant doesn't know the details about the transaction.

So I decided to make Gome in charge of coordinating Darga's travel plans. I.e., he arranges for ships to be ready, personnel movements, etc. That way, it would make sense that he would know that Darga was heading to Bespin soon, and that he does so every month, and that he goes to oversee a transaction where large starhips are used to transfer goods (though he does not know what goods are coming or going).

That's pretty good actually , especially since it parses out the information they get differently, without redundancy. Gome offers the likely place of the transfer, the Imperials reveal the tibanna gas, and the slavers imply that the biologicals might be slaves. That leaves information to confirm in Queen, and makes each part of the information dispensed in Hive a unique piece of the puzzle. If things go off the rails, then you can save it by having Gome know more. I'm stealing it!
I'm about to GM part 2 of this one. Here's a question.

The Karg Brothers in the Gladiator Pit.
How did everyone handle the non-lethal damage they are supposed to dish out in the first part of this fight. They are armed only with vibro axes and energy balls.
Yeah, that one struck me right off. Presumably, they're restricted to only using energy balls. But that seems pretty dumb to me. To avoid a highly implausible situation, my solution was to simply never have Darga offer the "stun only" option.

I'm not sure that would be the ideal solution, because some groups might not be comfortable agreeing to a lethal match. But my group is fairly aggressive, so it wasn't a problem for us.
Yeah, that one struck me right off. Presumably, they're restricted to only using energy balls.

Oops. I was under the false assumption that energy balls did stun damage. I guess you could replace the energy balls with stun grenades. But I still think the idea of Gamorreans lobbing grenades is pretty lame. They are the prototypical melee fighters.
Without taking into consideration that it's a silly set up you could just switch their weapons for stun batons or stunning gauntlets. Or neuronic whips if you're into that. Or shockstaffs. Maybe an electro net. Or a snare rifle. Or all of them. Hey, seems that you could make this encounter plenty more interesting I think I'd go with stunning gauntlets, stun batons and a couple of electro nets. Nice.
I'm about to GM part 2 of this one. Here's a question.

The Karg Brothers in the Gladiator Pit.
How did everyone handle the non-lethal damage they are supposed to dish out in the first part of this fight. They are armed only with vibro axes and energy balls.

"Vivroblades and blasters and no one ever gets hurt?" - Carth Onasi :D
You know, it occurs to me that maybe the best way to fix the Gome encounter is to move it to QoAaD. Have the players recognize him as one of the background faces from Darga's Palace at the tournament, and have one of the PCs who are just watching have that enlightening conversation with him. Maybe he's come out of the accounting office at the casino for a quick drink or snack, loud Neimoidian opera ringing from the open door to the obviously otherwise soundproof office.

Or eliminate it entirely. The Imperial encounter in AWH establishes the Imperial's slave dealing and QoAaD establishes the Tibanna Gas as the resource the Imperials are trading for. Simply do not have the Imperials mention what it is that is being traded; they wouldn't want it out in the open in front of Darga's court anyway. Have the data passed by datapad and later when Darga asks the PCs for their input, have the lack of exact data be part of their test, with Darga testing their business, security and survival instincts all at once. At the end of QoAaD, have the tidbit about the gas being what the Imperials are after and about the gas hauler be Darga's dying confession (or just confession if interrogated successfully). That puts the last piece of data coinciding with the climax of the first 3 episodes.

-GG
Another player made the suggestion that Ep III can just be about disrupting the transfer of goods at Cloud City and learn destinations if possible. Since that is effectively what happens anyway, having Organa and Verana assign them the sabotage mission makes sense. I like this, since it requires the least amount of change to the story.

--GG
I like this, since it requires the least amount of change to the story.

--GG

yep, this was my suggestion, for specifically that reason.
Question - doesn anyone know what the reward is supposed to be for sending the players after Darga? DoD1 was 2000 cred. Anyone know what it is for DoD2?

I'm still looking for the answer to this one myself.
According to the Core book, it's the

party's average level x 2000 cred, divided by the number of people in the party (minus the value of weapons or salvage goods gained)

So, it's about 12,000/6 = 2000 for a six person group ending at level 6, it seems.
I'm playing through this with my group now and did/am doing some changes,
For starters I used this picture as reference for a bridge city.

IMAGE(http://www.comicbookresources.com/news/preview2.php?image=previews/darkhorse/darktimes/blueharvest.jpg)

So I had a similar cantina downlevel in one of the upsidedown buildings that they went to and negotiated in for information regarding the whereabouts of Raden. I also had a gang of rambunctious Gamorreans there, which they'll encounter i Darga's Palace later. Just for the kicks.

I also made a chase sequence out of Kessra's swoop gang. The heros averted the first encounter with a well placed Mind Trick and by hiding in some alleys, though the gang continued looking for them. After the cantina they went to rent an airspeeder and just when they got out I had the swoopers casually drive by and spot them. The heroes opted to run. Perfect. I had some debris, holes and houses as obstacles for pilot checks and told the players that they could put more or less distance between them and the swooos if they managed to beat all the opposing drivers Pilot ckecks. I described the holes as big enough to fit their vehicle, so I shouldn't have been as surprised as I were when they wanted to dive through one. I let them choose between a DC 15, 20 and 25 hole and told them that the other pilots would have to succeed at the same check. They went for 20 and rolled 26 and dove right through to all the reversed buildings and the bridges between the. To avoid the bridges I had the player pilot make some DC 15 Pilot checks. Some swoops crashed into the sides of the hole, some into the bridges on the way down and some were shot down. The hereos stopped further down and waited for Kessra who didn't crash into anything, Move Object'ed her onto their vehicle, accelerated to make her lose balance and then stunned her into submission. Then they interrogated her and finished up by tape-hanging her under the bridge with a comlink mesh-taped to her face. Very nice sequence.

Then they proceeded to Raden whose thugs they utterly demolished, the droids got carved up by a saber and mowed down by a Duros soldier with strafe and a jet-pack. I gave Raden Angled Throw for a more interesting encounter as we played on the mini map with the destroyed base.

When they get to Dargas Palace I have two ideas.
  • Igren will, if he survives, join the Inquisitorius and be back later.
  • Darga will have some critters. Either a Nexu, soma Akks or a Gorax.


And finally: Thanks Nefandus, I've used some of your ideas. Raden's medical raid failure has been used and the mixed scene with the gladiatoral arena and Raden will be used.
Man...I just saw that picture of Cato Neimoidia yesterday myself (colored version). Wish I'd had it handy when I introduced the planet to my players last week - it's a lot better than the couple I grabbed from Wookieepedia.

We barely got into AWH last week, with the players arriving and checking around for Darga and finally locating and coercing Raden.

I've run this one before and the players had a hard time asking around so I introduced a Rodian courier with a shipment for Darga at the spaceport hotel bar. He'd been waiting around for a couple of days for Raden to show up and pick up the crate and was getting frustrated.

The PCs took it off his hands, paying the delivery fee, and promptly opened it (they too fear the 'biological resources' might be some sort of virus or something the Empire harvested on Felucia). The crate had a built-in repulsor, complex computer-controlled lock, and was climate-controlled. They tried to open it carefully and cover their tracks - got it open but didn't manage to hide the fact. Inside was two 'racks' of BlasTech 45 at a comfortable 45 degrees, just right to cool down your gangsta Hutt barbeque guests. There were a couple of sweaty brows when they opened up the case and a cool mist rolled out exposing row upon row of bottles filled with liquid.

Yeah, I'm going with the urban gangster feel for Darga.

Anyway, they found out where Raden was hiding out. He hadn't picked up the crate as expected because he was laying low and trying like heck to find that weapons cache (thanks Nefandus!) so he could get back in Darga's good graces again. The PCs managed to avoid a fight and convinced Raden to take them to Darga - he knows it might mean troubles but the PCs seem capable and say they want to work for Darga so he hopes it might smooth things over.

Tomorrow they're off to see the Hutt. I think he'll be happy to see his malt liquor 40s but less than pleased to see Raden.
M
M
After finishing our third session on this episode, I've noticed a few themes that are ripe for enhancement.

I've really played up the idea, as stated in the module, that Igren has it out for the players and wants to kill them, but is playing it nice in front of Darga. I've noticed the players seem to view him as dangerous, especially now with the assasination attempts (the Aviary and A knife in the dark). In my version, Igren has conspired with both groups to kill the players (with Kessra, he bought Denia off her, in exchange for allowing her entrance, and with the Slavers, he offered them the chance for revenge and took money for it.)

The Jedi in the group has been discrete in public with her powers, but thinks it certain that Igren knows she's Force Sensetive, especially after the gladiator fight (she used a Force Disarm in close quarters). Here's where it got interesting. When the players decrypted Six Six's message from Igren to the Imperial Relay about "Aquiring the prisoner" (to avoid the players shortcutting straight to Denia, I had Igren arrange to get her partway through their stay). I added material to the message, mentioning that "there may be another person of interest." The players assumed it was the Jedi.

As a result, the players have been getting increasingly paranoid about Igren's plans, and this has created some interesting tension for them, since they don't know when he's going to spring his trap. They are getting so paranoid, that when the Imperial delegation arrives to conduct Sarlaac business, they considered trying to be somewhere else!!! I think they believe that the Imperial delegation that's set to arrive has something to do with Igren's message! It's great tension - between their mission and the desire to avoid being revealed.

Also, I didn't like Draco's end speech, which when you look closely - doesn't make sense. Why would Draco threaten Igren for "dealing with Jedi" when Igren has just turned informer to him. He should be rewarding Igren. I do like the hint of annoyance and the implied punishment for Igren, should he be sending Draco on a fool's errand, so I'm changing it.

Draco: “I am on my way now, with the Assiduous,” the hologram of the
handsome man says. “Pray that you have not summoned the Empire
on a fool’s errand. The Emperor does not want Imperial ships unnecessarily close to known scoundrels such as Darga, and the Inquisitorius is not gentle with those who waste their time chasing phantoms."
Just a note about my last minute mods to this adventure. I ended up not using the Kessra angle as presented. Instead I have her (and some other folks in Darga's court) working covertly for Demos. She and the vipers are supposed to be shaking down offworlders for "landing permits" and "ship insurance" and Demos passes on that money to Darga with a tiny cut for himself - but he has started having her squeeze protection money from the local citizens and merchants, and pocketing all of this money himself.

This has cut into Raden's primary business and he has been unable to pay the protection payments he's supposed to be making to Darga. One of Raden's targets, a small shop-owner, was recently unable to pay and told Raden about a C.I.S. weapons cache he knew about. Raden checked it out, found it was legit, and told Darga about it. Darga consulted with Demos who told Darga that, yes, they could fence the weapons so he told Raden to get it (and his reduced protection payments would be forgiven).

But, behind the scenes, Demos gave this information to Kessra and she liberated the cache - so it wasn't there when Raden went to grab it. Not wanting to report total failure he picked up one of the aid pods and brought it to Darga as a consolation. The old worm was furious and banished him from his court until such time as he could recover the weapons cache.

So, Demos has some side business going on and a bunch of weapons he's trying to move and he has also been in contact with the Empire about their "guest" in the dungeon. He's playing a double-game and Darga doesn't know it yet - though he has attributed some failed business dealings (which were actually successful but Demos pocketed the profits) to Demos' poor judgement and has been mocking the Neimoidian's abilities openly in court. This has only made Demos more determined to move against Darga and replace him as the head of the operation. He's almost in position to do so.


Enter the heroes. They've dragged Raden in to Darga and managed to convince him not to kill the devaronian outright - that they will go track down the weapons cache and save the day. So, Demos has been forced to act precipitously - to avoid the heroes gaining serious status with Darga - and will soon announce this his agent, Kessra, has found the cache. He's going to lose a lot of money on the deal but gain back some status - and he's going to have a big grudge against the PCs (which will manifest in Kessra's ambush and an attempt on their lives by the slavers (who also have a side-deal with Demos).

Chances are my players will never tumble to most of this stuff - only one of them is really all that concerned with details like this - but, for me, it makes the whole thing hang together much better.

Just want to say thanks to all of the messageboard folks I have been able to steal ideas from.
M
snipM

This is all great stuff and I'm going to steal some right back. In the final fight, I'll likely have Demos spill as much as he can, in "You meddling kids have ruined everything!" rage.
Here's a change I made.

It struck me as odd that Darga would give the PCs access to secret passages that lead from the guest quarters to the dungeon. Why would he do this, and why would such passages even exist?

So I changed the "secret passages" to a very obvious turbolift in the hallway. But the turbolift needs a special keycard to operate. The turbolift does go down to the guardroom and to the dungeon, but it also goes up to Darga's VIP casino/spice room. So, once Darga is "pleased" with the PCs (I waited until after the Imperial delagation, in order to remove the temptation of trying to grab Denia too early), he gives them the keycard with the idea that they will go up and enjoy some spice or gamble. Of course, we all know what will *actually* happen.

That makes it at least plausible (to me) that he would give them such access.
I like it. Turbolift access is also easier to track.
I just finished the last part of this adventure and will upload my scripting shortly. I would like to point out that the immediate thing that struck me was that the Jedi Master, even at -5 penalty on the condition track, was still overpowered. In the final confrontation, I blundered by doubling up gamorreans on her, but did not coordinate their attacks - though I don't think it would have mattered. Without ranged weapons, the bunch of them couldn't clear the distance in time. They couldn't hit her without a 20, and she just mowed them down with Force Slam in the smallish room, repeatedly. Demos was unlikely, and in this case unable to rebuke her power (and if he did, it would have only helped himself.) We had 6 heroes, but I boosted the number of bad guys a fair amount, so they were outnumbered by an equivalent ratio, and threw in another Gamorrean warlord.

The players did well - I do credit them for that. They brought her out of the coma at only -5, but I think even a -10 would have overpowered it. They basically protected her until she could get her shots off. Most importantly, the players did have fun, and a couple of them went to zero and spent Force points to stay active until Denia revived them, but I never had a sense of imminent danger. I think it would have been more compelling if Denia's influence was mitigated in that combat somehow - either being occupied with something else, or simply not able to fight effectively.
I'm about to run that part this weekend. We stopped at the point where the PCs had revived Denia, but before they were attacked by the guards. I "dry-ran" the final 2 encounters on my own using my PCs stats before-hand, and found similar results as you: Denia mops the floor with everyone.

So, to mitigate that, I made Denia revive at a persistent -10, regardless of the result of the PC's Treat Injury roll. The PCs didn't know the difference. I described that they had successfully revived Denia, but that she was barely able to stand and walk. That way, when the fighting begins, I suspect that the players will view Denia as someone to be protected, not someone they expect to help beat down the bad guys.

If things start going badly in battle, I'll have her pitch in (it'll be a bit like AotC where Yoda goes from hobbling to leaping around, then back to hobbling), but only as a last resort.

I'll post again once I see how it went.
It struck me as odd that Darga would give the PCs access to secret passages that lead from the guest quarters to the dungeon. Why would he do this, and why would such passages even exist?.

In mine, the better the heroes did, the more Demos hated them, until he tried to assasinate them via Kessra and the Iron Ring. I always had Darga playing them at odds. For example, Darga had Demos post the guards and see to their security, but the guards conveniently went for a sandwich when the Iron Ring showed up. That particular battle demolished their guest quarters.

So, after the success at the Imperial delegation, I had Darga assign the heroes to Demos' quarters temporarily, and Demos to their slagged guest quarters - until the repairs were done. This gave a plausible reason to have the players in one of the deepest sanctums of the palace - with a codestick that gave them carte blanche.

If they'd failed the Imperial challenge, they would have stayed put, and would have had to get past the guard post first.