Enhancing DoD: 5 - The First to Strike *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 The First to Strike? 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

Fast reading, i didn´t like the way the PCs find about the sarlacc project - in a dataship with the bounty hunter. it doesn´t make sense to me. it should be with some high officer, that the heroes find about (sartok maybe) and go after to interrogate and slice his personal computer.
These aren't exactly changes for the most part, but they are ideas on what I'm going to add.

1.) At the biggining, when Denia gives her little mission briefing, I'm going to either change her last paragraph, or have the Captain add a little to it. She essentially lays out two goals for the players. One, investigate the treatment of the Nizon so maybe Organa can use it for political clout. And two, see if they might be favorable to the idea of a revolt. I'm going to alter this so those ideas are either gone or placed secondary to getting information on the Sarlaac project. Basically, I want to keep it on focus somewhat.

2.) I haven't decided on the order of encounters, but I'm going to set them up as barriers to getting to Mount Antas and the com center. That way there is some logical order to them, and a reason for them all happening.

3.) I need to have a good reaon to rescue Sartok. I think I'mgoing to add a bit of information in the form of a rumor the players hear. Sartok has been dealing with the slavers, seems he's been selling his own people out. A few of the natives are willing to tell the players of a secret way into the Mount Antas compound if the heroes bring them Sartok so they can punish his their way. Sartok also knows a lot about the slaving operation, and the heroes are welcome to sit in on the interrogation.

Thw twist will be that Sartok protest his own innosence after being freed, and has friends who come and vouch for him. They will say that the idea of Sartok selling out his own people was Imperial propoganda designed to weaken the forming resistance. This is the truth, but it's up to the players to decide who to believe. This also adds a nice non-combat encounter to the adventure.

4.) The whole weapon battery at Mount Antas I'm going to have to downplay. If it is capable of blownig holes big enough to get ships in through the belt, then a Star Destroyer could do the same from outside. If the battery is that powerful, then the players will realize that this planet won't be able to protect itself.

5.) And lastly, the RT-STs are going to have a bit of sniper help. Alone they are too weak.
"And the TL;DR award goes to Raul Torin!" - CorranHornIsAwesome Official SAGA Edition Errata Dawn of Defiance Other Articles Thanks to GreySword for compiling these
3.) I need to have a good reaon to rescue Sartok. I think I'mgoing to add a bit of information in the form of a rumor the players hear. Sartok has been dealing with the slavers, seems he's been selling his own people out. A few of the natives are willing to tell the players of a secret way into the Mount Antas compound if the heroes bring them Sartok so they can punish his their way. Sartok also knows a lot about the slaving operation, and the heroes are welcome to sit in on the interrogation.

Thw twist will be that Sartok protest his own innosence after being freed, and has friends who come and vouch for him. They will say that the idea of Sartok selling out his own people was Imperial propoganda designed to weaken the forming resistance. This is the truth, but it's up to the players to decide who to believe. This also adds a nice non-combat encounter to the adventure.

This is brillant - totally snatched...


...Karsil
So, just like I did for the enhancing DoD4 thread, I'm going to ask, if you wanted to work Switch into this adventure how would you do it?

I think this is even more of a stretch for this module than it was for the last one, but think of it as a thought experiment. Let's see what cooks up!
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."
So, just like I did for the enhancing DoD4 thread, I'm going to ask, if you wanted to work Switch into this adventure how would you do it?

It's actually far less of a problem than with DoD 4. Switch can do arms and equipment smuggling to help support Nizon. He makes a ton of money and the Nazren get supplies and spare parts for all that Imperial gear they will soon acquire when the kick the Impies off their planet.

The PCs can get involved in setting up the deal, and if they feel brave, in running goods through the gauntlet. They can do this until the players (or the GM) get tired of running space battles.
I don't see Switch taking sides... for any longer than he can make money of both sides...

But luckily he knows a guy, who knows a droid who knows a guy...

And he will MORE than happy to set up an appointment... for say... 20K?

:D

I looooove Switch... my players too, but their characters gets freaked EVERYTIME they talk to him... :D He sold them out once actually - no bad feelings. They know he does his job, and they do theirs. The only one that goes free is the PC Markin, as he agreed to work for Switch!

...Karsil
5.) And lastly, the RT-STs are going to have a bit of sniper help. Alone they are too weak.

you mean AT-ST?

what about the bounty hunter being entrusted a datachip about the sarlacc project, isn´t that odd? or maybe it´s intended to call the PCs attention, so they won´t run away from the bounty hunter. OK, i get it! and since he will be expecting the PCs i´ll have him set up a trap with explosives.
you mean AT-ST?

Actually I think Raul meant AT-RT.
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."
you mean AT-ST?

Solo got it, I meant AT-RT. RT-ST just flowed so well, I hope I don't say that while I'm running the game. :embarrass

what about the bounty hunter being entrusted a datachip about the sarlacc project, isn´t that odd? or maybe it´s intended to call the PCs attention, so they won´t run away from the bounty hunter. OK, i get it! and since he will be expecting the PCs i´ll have him set up a trap with explosives.

I don't know. It seems like he is working pretty close with the Imperials, he might be trusted with data like that. It's not like he had anything terribly critical with him. Honestly, if your players haven't quite figuered out what they are after, you might want to start kicking them. It helps, really.
"And the TL;DR award goes to Raul Torin!" - CorranHornIsAwesome Official SAGA Edition Errata Dawn of Defiance Other Articles Thanks to GreySword for compiling these
One possibility I have been tinkering with is the slicer briefly mentioned on page 10:

He could be one of the reasons why the party was sent in the first place.

He could have been the bounty hunter's original quarry.

He could replace the datachip as the "prize" possessed by the Zabrak B. Hunter at the conclusion.

Obviously, still plenty of fleshing out to do here. But great stuff so far, guys. Thanks.
I thought about a quick encounter that I'm gonna run next Sunday

Since my group has a Bounty Hunter-type character (ex-Clone, changed armor, has false BH Guild credentials), when the heroes arrive at the city they'll be challenged by some Trandoshan slavers who think the PCs are there to hunt Nazren and meddle with their business venture.

You know, the typical saloon showdown in the likes of "this town is not big enough for all of us"
Honestly, if your players haven't quite figuered out what they are after, you might want to start kicking them. It helps, really

Yeah, they have, but despite what i wrote before it still doesn´t make sense to me this bounty hunter´s datachip. although, if i don´t come up with something better (the slicer might be better), i´ll stick to this line of thought.

for the begining of the player´s help in the revolt, i had that first encounter when the stormtroopers drag the mother a hook. a officer was shouting loudly at her, asking for their rebels leader, she answered she knew nothing. the jedi player said: OK, that´s enough (they already had seen a lot of atrocities), and attacked. the woman then took them to a shelter where revolters where gathering. the end. on the next session, i´ll have the empire attacking them, the rebels will hold them back in order to have the players go after Sartok.
My party will be walking into the mod with the Blood Brother, perhaps with Heavy Concussion Missiles. So they may take down the Dragon in the opening fight. Weather they do or don't, I don't really care. Bottom line is I have to run the mod largely from the air. There simply is no way they are going to hide a flaming red capital ship from imperial dawn patrols.

Any last moments thoughts on how I can run the mod from the Air. Well, as much as can be?
Pax Pro Eo Optimus Arma Teabeeyea
I thought of this a while ago, not sure why I didn't post it. For the skill encounter involving the communications array, when the heroes reach the top I thought I would add some token resistance to show that the Imperials know the comm array is important. I was thinking two stormtroopers and an Imperial comm operator (see DoD1, pg. 36).

I know, I know, it's supposed to be a non-combat, skill encounter, but I would think that if you could not only keep the Imperials from signaling the Arkanian Dragon but also take control of it and use it to coordinate resistance over the entire planet, the Imps would have somebody there. At the very least, I would say a comm operator.
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."
My party will be walking into the mod with the Blood Brother

Does your party have enough crew to run the Blood Brother?
Well it wasn't an intentonal change to the story but I had a TPK situation arise during the dust cloud race at the beginning. I thought it was kinda anti-climatic to simply vap them even though that was the dice roll... I like to kill heros heroically, and this was not heroic...

I had their ship break apart instead of vaporizing - the back 1/2 vap'ed - something akin to the crash of the invisible hand at the beginning of ROTS, only there were no fireships and zero control... I then allowed the jedi to throw the gunslinger via MO at the nearest v-wing, where a piton equipped liquid cable dispenser was used to attach to the vwing. he then was drug behind the vwing (think speedboat towing a water-skier that has fallen down) He then make climb checks to pull himsel up to the ship (took 4 rounds and) where he took a ton of damage form being in the ion ehaust of the vwing - 9hp left. The gunslinger then made hide and climb checks to sneak over to the R2 unit unoticed (the vwing has a cowl over the R2 area so I figured it had "some" chance of being successful - you gotta reward players coming up with cool ideas right...) The gunslinger then made a mechanics check to engage the cround crew controls to eject the r2-unit, he then sliced the r2 port to trick the pilot (computer use and deception checks) into thinking that the ship was going to explode... he ejected. The gunslinger then entered the cockpit and piloted (at a severe penalty) the vwing. The Jedi on the ship was rescued and the the other player flying a z-95 (compliments of Darga) fended off the other v-wings.

I was a little iffy about it as it was not really very realistic - however my players REALLY liked it, despite losing their ship they found it to be a very exciting resolution, and universally expressed their enjoyment of the session. Just so you know - I do kill players, I just like it to be a climatic moment not the opening encounter of an adventure...

I'm sure I've left out some details out but that's the gist of what happened... and the players enjoyed it so I thought I'd share...

Jedi Dade
My party will be walking into the mod with the Blood Brother, perhaps with Heavy Concussion Missiles. So they may take down the Dragon in the opening fight. Weather they do or don't, I don't really care. Bottom line is I have to run the mod largely from the air. There simply is no way they are going to hide a flaming red capital ship from imperial dawn patrols.

Any last moments thoughts on how I can run the mod from the Air. Well, as much as can be?

Having just run that encounter ... See above... I can not beleive that the Blood Brother ship will last more then a round or two against the SD... the turbolasers really lay the smack down against ships of decent size...

Jedi Dade
One thing that I changed - it was minor but I think added a bit of sense...

As expected the players start their gather information, I gave them the usual stuff from the module... but in added into the beaten mother combat that the mother said the only reason that she knew of that the imperials would be coming after her was that her husband was the cousin of Sartok, and that they were rounding up his family to apply pressure to him and/or head off any likely martyr promoters if they killed him... role played a family history, I also had fun using non-sense words in the transaltion as the Nazren would occassioanly not have a direct translation of their words, I told the players that Sartok had a title - but they didn't have a good translation for it - they deemed it to be "mayor" It added a good roleplaying encounter, and gave them reasons to think Sartok is an important figure since they had 2 independent sources of info about him.

Jedi Dade
This is brillant - totally snatched...


...Karsil

I totally agree. Brillant.
For me, the biggest problem I had with the module is that it seems a bit unbelievable that the "revolt" results in a permanently free planet. If the Empire took control before, why can't it just do so again?

I also agree with Raul's point about the Turbolaser on Mount Antas. If turbolasers can clear a path through the debris field, the Empire could very easily re-claim the planet.

So here's my solution:

1) There is no way to clear a path through the debris field.
2) Capital ships cannot pass through the debris field without being destroyed.
3) Smaller ships can try to pass through on their own, but run the risk of being destroyed.
4) Ground control can provide coordinates for a safe path (as described in the module as-written), but this does not come from a computer program as is written.

The safe path is provided by the Nazren's Head Shaman, who is Force Sensitive (although they don't call it the "Force"), and who can "feel" the safe paths to take. In my game, the Nazren are technologically primitive (compared to the rest of the galaxy), but they're not idiots. They have an obervatory on Mount Antas, and have studied the debris fields for centuries. The Head Shaman has a special connection with the world around him (including the debris field) and can intuitively predict the movements of the field. He teaches this ability to his son, who takes over when he dies.

Currently, the Imperials have the Head Shaman captive, and are forcing him to provide their ships with safe passages. If he does not comply, the Imperials kill 10 Nazren for every 1 Imperial that dies as a result of his non-compliance.

Freeing the Head Shaman could be one of the PCs tasks during the revolt.

This would provide a bit more rationale as to why the Empire can't simply figure out a way through the debris field after the revolt is over.

Anyway, thought I'd share that idea, in case anybody else was having the same problem I was having.
^
Love it. How do the players get to the planet in the first place though? Presumably they don't have access to the shaman, and are an unexpected arrival.
Well, as written, the PCs have to go through the field without assistance (lots of Pilot checks), so I figured I'd just leave that part the same. There's a sidebar on page 8 that describes how to do that, and what the possible consequences are.
In my game, the Mount Antas Turbolift was under construction and not able to fire until now. The whole base is much a "slave starport" than a full power imperial base for now.

The path through asteroids is calculated in the Forward Command Center under the plazza. There's a high fee to pay to the Empire to be able to come and make some slave market here.

So there a lot of slavers from all over the galaxy there... And my trandoshan slavers came with wookies.

PLANET NIZON
PC land away from the city, hide their ship. In their way to the city, they save a young wookie from a scorpion blade assault. He's the son of a tribe leader named Narful, who is kept prisonnier in the market camp. He flew away from the trandoshan when they landed on Nizon.

INSURRECTION
I tried to mix encounters and skills challenged suggested in the adventure to create something logical.

1 - THE BREAK OUT :
Trandoshan bounty hunter are here with their wookie. They replace the stupid cyber dogg from darkempire saga. Sartok is here as said in the script.
BH Vrath is up there, watching and tracking pcs. He shoots them at long rang when they escape in the streets and fight troopers.
Wookie chief narful tell them his tribe is prisonner in the garnison.

2 - CHECKPOINT GAMMA
mission : get the garnison entry code from sartok tech specialist hidden in the other part of the city.
- barrage encounter againt ATRT +4 heavy troopers sniping.
- gather information to locate the nazren hacker (fight 2 crab droids)
- enter garnison : deception, stealth... Take the anti-aerial weapon, then free the remaining wookies from the tribe.

REST STOP
2 crab droids, 2 bounty hunter working for Vrath.

COLATERAL DAMAGE
Objective : reach the parabole on the roof of a building to stop communication from the command center and isolate the planet with the asteroid field.
- reach the parabole, jam impies communications, send a revolt message.
- fight a 4v-wing patrol with anti aerial weapons
- defend the parabole from the warehouse encounter.
- escape the building in fire, save 10 nazren children and wifes.
- coordonate first revolt assaults with wookies freedom fighters and nazren civilians.

Sartok goes to Mount Antas with the young wookie scout saved earlier.
Chief Wookies Narful + nazren hacker and PCs go to Martyr's plazza.

MARTYR'S PLAZZA
- Vrath get out of CC et shoot deadly a PC. Narful sacrifies himself. Vrath escape with its Cloakshape fighter piloted by his young ally.
- plazza encounter
- CC encounter : techies and an officier driven crazy in the Deep Core (same madness than the imperial noble contact in Ep III). He has got some clues about Sarlacc Project to go on Episode VI.

HACKING THE CC :
- guiding program has been sent to Mount Antas when they attacked.
- Vrath downloaded the Program too.
- An erasing program is going on... They save some datas : big construction in the deep core, slaves are sent there, the engineering is made on Coruscant (some quite precise location)

Sartok is at Mount Antas. A slaver galofree transport has arrived. Trandoshan are taking on a last pack of nazren slaves.
Sartok fight imperials in the base.

THE BLACK SHIP
- PCs go their ship with a landspeeder and are attacked by a V-wing patrol. They reach their ship and fight back.
- landing encounter : 9 trandoshan slavers, nazrens slaves, 2 trandoshan mercenaries (CW p182)...
- starship encounter : free 10 slaves, 9 slavers inside, Vrath shoot the transport from outside with its starship... Escape alive (acrobatics etc...).

Excuse my english...
I tried to make it quick and to do my best with the "speak english" part
Your English is great, willmanx.

In my group, the party Jedi says that he doesn't know whether his old master is alive or dead. I'll take Vril Vrakth and turn him into the old master, who's fallen to the dark side and is trying to prove to Draco that he's worthy to join the Inquisitorius. During the fight, he'll say things like, "I sense you've been learning from a powerful Jedi. Break off the Jedi yoke. Embrace the dark side and learn the true power of the Force, as my mentor Draco did. Ah, you know that name? Valin Draco, the student of Jedi Denia, now a Jedi scourge himself?"

That kills two birds with one stone--you bring back the old master and learn the relationship between Denia and Draco, which apparently the PCs won't find out unless you come up with a way to tell them.

Then I'll probably bring Vrakth back in Sword of the Empire...I guess that means I'd have to write out his Trando apprentice who vows hatred of the PCs for killing his mentor, since I think having two incidences of didn't-we-already-kill-this-guy in one campaign is too much. Or maybe I'll have him be at the head of the mercs in The Gem of Alderaan, blaming the PCs for his failure to be accepted into the Inquisitorius--epic duel on top of a runaway train, anyone? Maybe I'll have him escape from that and then have the PCs have to rescue him in Sword.

Hmm, I sense a possible Redemption destiny here...too bad the player's already got Rescue...maybe I can talk him out of it...
Well it wasn't an intentonal change to the story but I had a TPK situation arise during the dust cloud race at the beginning. I thought it was kinda anti-climatic to simply vap them even though that was the dice roll... I like to kill heros heroically, and this was not heroic...

I had their ship break apart instead of vaporizing - the back 1/2 vap'ed - something akin to the crash of the invisible hand at the beginning of ROTS, only there were no fireships and zero control... I then allowed the jedi to throw the gunslinger via MO at the nearest v-wing, where a piton equipped liquid cable dispenser was used to attach to the vwing. he then was drug behind the vwing (think speedboat towing a water-skier that has fallen down) He then make climb checks to pull himsel up to the ship (took 4 rounds and) where he took a ton of damage form being in the ion ehaust of the vwing - 9hp left. The gunslinger then made hide and climb checks to sneak over to the R2 unit unoticed (the vwing has a cowl over the R2 area so I figured it had "some" chance of being successful - you gotta reward players coming up with cool ideas right...) The gunslinger then made a mechanics check to engage the cround crew controls to eject the r2-unit, he then sliced the r2 port to trick the pilot (computer use and deception checks) into thinking that the ship was going to explode... he ejected. The gunslinger then entered the cockpit and piloted (at a severe penalty) the vwing. The Jedi on the ship was rescued and the the other player flying a z-95 (compliments of Darga) fended off the other v-wings.

I was a little iffy about it as it was not really very realistic - however my players REALLY liked it, despite losing their ship they found it to be a very exciting resolution, and universally expressed their enjoyment of the session. Just so you know - I do kill players, I just like it to be a climatic moment not the opening encounter of an adventure...

I'm sure I've left out some details out but that's the gist of what happened... and the players enjoyed it so I thought I'd share...

Jedi Dade

This is almost the same thing that just happened to me. My crew had two different ships though. The smaller, faster ship avoided the Star Destroyer on round 1. But the other ship with 3 of the 4 party members got totally creamed by the first shot of the Star Destroyer! (And am I reading it right that this thing can make 12 attacks per round?!? I had it split 6 and 6 to attack each ship, but one has Ref of 18 and the other Ref 13. Our ship had 120 HP's, 55 SR, and 15 DR. After the shields and the DR the ship still had 150 damage coming its way from the first of 6 hits in round 1 (they made it right to the outer edge of the dust cloud but not into it). So the ship should be destroyed and each PC should take 75 damage. That leaves all of them alive after the first hit. But from the hit rolls there were 3 other turbolaser blasts, 2 Ion blasts, and 1 tractor beam shot coming their way still...

So I figure my options are like this:
1- 3 PC's dead and make 3 new PC's.
2- Ship destroyed, but PC's live after crash landing or via escape pods.
3- Remains of ship captured by Star Destroyer, but PC's escape via pods.
4- Remains of ship and PC's captured via tractor beam by Star Destroyer.

I know its really up to our group to decide, but I wanted to see what people thought here as well. On the bright side, there are enough other races in the city on Nizon that any character concept might be there and ready to join the one remaining member of the party to fight the Empire. So what do the rest of you think? What would you do. We ended the session there until we can decide what we are doing.
Unless the larger ship is much bigger than it should be, even a Ref 13 should be difficult for the SD to hit, since it would be at -6 to hit, so only hitting on a 19 or 20, rather than on any roll but a 1.

+14 for a capital ship translates, as mentioned in the stats, to a -6 to hit anything smaller than Colossal in size, and I don't think a typical DoD PC group, especially if there are only 3 on the ship, could man anything that big.
Yep, I found out after the fact that the listing in the stats meant that the star destroyer had a -20 penalty on the attack roll (I had thought the -6 in the stats was the penalty adjusting the normal +14 down to a +8). Since I knew I hadn't rolled a 20 but couldn't remember exactly what my 6 rolls were we decided to reroll the attack rolls in the open and see if there even was a hit. I managed to roll a 19 on the 3rd attack. So we were back to square one. After a little discussion we discovered that the players wouldn't mind new PC's though so we are rolling up new characters now. Luckily, one PC survived. So he will be able to round up the new party on the planet somehow. Gonna be a little darker party I believe.
Well, as the module states under the "Total Defeat" section, if the PC's ship is "destroyed", the module says that you should have the ship crash land outside the city.

Admittedly, it might be too late for that option in your case, depending upon how you described the damage to the ship.

But that's how the module itself says to handle it.
Unless the larger ship is much bigger than it should be, even a Ref 13 should be difficult for the SD to hit, since it would be at -6 to hit, so only hitting on a 19 or 20, rather than on any roll but a 1.

+14 for a capital ship translates, as mentioned in the stats, to a -6 to hit anything smaller than Colossal in size, and I don't think a typical DoD PC group, especially if there are only 3 on the ship, could man anything that big.

unless they are all flying in fighters - Colossal is acheived by fairly small ships... heck a YT-1300 is collossal... Which means unless they run straight into the debris feild the SD lays some serious smack down on the PCs ship... which it "should" PCs should be very frightened of taking on an SD. It's basically a 1 hit death at 7D10x5 = average 190 points of damage - for a stock YT-1300 it is an instant vaporization... For the Millenium Falcon its a 60 HP left and -1 down the Condition track... on the AVERAGE damamge... Heaven forbid the GM should roll well for damage!

My players had NO idea how bad an SD really is until this encounter Now they live in Mortal fear - as they should...

However back on topic - I wound up changing a few more things...

I had the turbo lasers on Mount Antas be functional, and I had the Arkanian Dragon come into low orbit to bombard the city once the Rioting began... Coinceidentally I had this happen just after they had taken care of Vril (losing one of the Jedi in the process). The players took Vrils Cloak shape fighter and ran cabeling to the turbo lasers hacked the fire control and took out the low orbitting SD. I had it crash in the plains between the city and the mountain. The players then spent a little time helping the Nazren scavenge the SD and build planetary defenses...
unless they are all flying in fighters - Colossal is acheived by fairly small ships... heck a YT-1300 is collossal... Which means unless they run straight into the debris feild the SD lays some serious smack down on the PCs ship... which it "should" PCs should be very frightened of taking on an SD. It's basically a 1 hit death at 7D10x5 = average 190 points of damage - for a stock YT-1300 it is an instant vaporization... For the Millenium Falcon its a 60 HP left and -1 down the Condition track... on the AVERAGE damamge... Heaven forbid the GM should roll well for damage!

My players had NO idea how bad an SD really is until this encounter Now they live in Mortal fear - as they should...

However back on topic - I wound up changing a few more things...

I had the turbo lasers on Mount Antas be functional, and I had the Arkanian Dragon come into low orbit to bombard the city once the Rioting began... Coinceidentally I had this happen just after they had taken care of Vril (losing one of the Jedi in the process). The players took Vrils Cloak shape fighter and ran cabeling to the turbo lasers hacked the fire control and took out the low orbitting SD. I had it crash in the plains between the city and the mountain. The players then spent a little time helping the Nazren scavenge the SD and build planetary defenses...

How could the SD make it through the asteroid field ? it's colossal and the Command Center underMartyr's Plaza should be insufficient to help it approach the planet...
How could the SD make it through the asteroid field ? it's colossal and the Command Center underMartyr's Plaza should be insufficient to help it approach the planet...

4d6+20/failed pilot roll << SR of 150.
Colossal and larger ships with maxed shields get to ignore the asteroid field.
My group is still in the very beginning of this adventure. During the encounter with the Arkanian Dragon their ship was disabled and captured. 3 out of the 4 players are force users and they decided to hide their lightsabers on their YT-1300 so the Imps won't find them. I will start them in a detention camp with Sartok. I think what I will do is have their ship in Imperial impoundment for the rest of this adventure and make them rely on their force powers or other equipment that is available. Then I will run another mini adventure between 5 and 6 in which they will have to rescue their ship and lightsabers if they wish.

Another issue that has come up is one of the force users is getting dark side heavy. With this Denia has not trained him in anyway making him a force adept. Out of the other 2 force users one is pretty grey and the last is total light side. I have been playing with the idea that during EotJ the darker force user recovered a archaic lightsaber that he has yet to really toy with. I thought about placing a possessed dark side crystal inside of it that has a trapped force spirit that will start to communicate with him in secret. My players are good sports about story and I think this will lead to a conflict between the dark and light side heroes. If all goes well I think the 3rd hero will try and redeem the dark sider and thus leaving me with a good inner party story arc with him being saved or some of them being killed. I'm a little unsure if I want to do this so any ideas or comments from other GM's and players I would like some advice.

I decided my seventh-level party (a Jedi/soldier/Jedi Knight, a scout/soldier/ace pilot, the scout follower a Gungan blaster sponge, a noble/soldier/gunslinger, and a IG-86 soldier/elite trooper) was becoming a tad complacent and decided to make Nizon a scary, very rugged planet.  I ramped up the encounter after the party landed and instead of the auxiliary challenge with a blade scorpion, I substitued an encounter with five beings I termed "land squids" based on the five minis I used (they resembled illithids.)  Basically I used the acklay stats for each monster and had the party encounter them on a map with pits and a precarious bridge.  The rationale was that the monsters would drag prey into their pits or drag them off the bridge where they would beat them into submission.  The party grossly underestimated their opponents and just to make it that much clearer that Nizon was far from a friendly vacation spot, I threw in an encounter with a recurring bounty hunter nemesis who tossed a thermal detonator into the fracas at a key moment and spent a few more rounds sniping at them before taking off.


This party has a recurring motif of droid destruction, and sure enough the thermal detonator reduced "Seven-A", rescued from Episode 4 and brought along for translation duties, to a cigar box's worth of scrap.  I also threw in their first crab droid encounter.  There was a humorous series of die rolls in which a PC rolled a "1" to hit a monster, and house rule was that he had a threat of hitting an adjacent PC, but his subsequent to hit roll for the PC was another "1" which GM ruled was a threat to hit an unintended monster target which ended the sequence with a "20" for a critical hit on another adjacent monster.


By the time the shooting stopped, both the party's healers (Jedi and noble) as well as the Gungan NPC were down, the IG-86 was nearly a scrap pile, and the scout was on his third wind.  The encounter was a few die rolls away from resulting in a total party kill, which was not my intent.  However, it did serve to drive home the point that taking seemindly trivial encounters lightly was not an option.  The party was not using their talents nor their feats to great effect but were relying on brute force and learned that this is a foolish strategy to pursue at high levels.


I like ramping up random encounters as a method of keeping PCs on their collective toes.  It should not always be the boss fights that keep them guessing.

My players are good sports about story and I think this will lead to a conflict between the dark and light side heroes. If all goes well I think the 3rd hero will try and redeem the dark sider and thus leaving me with a good inner party story arc with him being saved or some of them being killed. I'm a little unsure if I want to do this so any ideas or comments from other GM's and players I would like some advice.



I suppose it depends on your style. I tend to try to hew closely to the established story. I don't like intra-party conflict at that level because it tends to step on the game, and removes any semblence of order and control I have at the table - because there is no external challenge. It also subverts the narrative plausibility - unless you make a good reason for good heroes to be adventuring with evil characters. It depletes the party too much for when they engage the external challenge.

I would be more likely to interject an evil NPC, an apprentice, recurring Inquisitor - something like that, to pull the story back in a direction so that the group can work together toward the common goal - be it redemption or whatever. Or twist it so that Draco sways an NPC, perhaps even Denia, and it's up to the party to win her back. But that's a lot of work, and I'm not sure it's much better than the existing story.

I am going to be running this module soon, and I find myself wondering if my players are going to even try to go planet-side.

As written, the PCs don't really know whether to go to Nizon or Centares (unless I'm missing something).  And Nizon has 3 star destroyers (1 of which begins advancing towards the PCs immediately) and dozens of starfighters.  Centares only has 1 star destroyer, although it's a larger version.

Throw in the fact that both planets are surrounded by an almost non-navigatable asteroid/dust field, what reasonable PCs will simply decide to try to put down on Nizon?

Obviously, others have run this module, and since nobody has said otherwise, I'm assuming your groups went to Nizon as expected without any hesitation.

I'm just not so sure my group will make that same decision.

How did you handle this?  How did you make it clear that your players need to go to the surface of Nizon?

This adventure screams for a big picture city tactical map with keyed and hidden locations and floating encounters --something that the players can look at, study, and  make decisions on the best way to plan the insurrection, rather than being led by the nose. Especially with the floating encounters in the module - as written, the GM presents them according to his whim. If so, then why not allow the players to have some hand in picking their fate there. It's an opportunity to put them in the drivers seat and allow them to earn the assets they use in the final assault.

Players should be able to look at the map and determine assets, opportunities, threats, and prioritize targets and risks. The map should be organized with some thought given to keeping a certain order to the encounters. For example, my players will be tempted to sack the quarterback and go straight to the mountain, so carrots and sticks will be needed to ensure that this doesn't happen right away.

Has anyone done something like this so far?

My first reaction was the same as yours: I wanted to create a city-sized map and let the players go where they wanted, and plan it all out.

Then, as I started trying to do it, I realized that the sheer amount of work and detail needed would be prohibitive (at least, for me).  So, I'm only mapping out the local areas around each encounter (I'm not using the maps provided by the module -- they're too small for a group of 6 PCs).

In essence, they'll be "led by the nose".  But before the whole riot starts, I'll use the conversation with Sartok in the cave as an opportunity to let the PCs voice their concerns and offer their suggestions.  I know that my group will be very concerned that the whole operation is a fool's errand.  They will need to be convinced that the Nazren have a legit hope of not only re-taking the planet, but of keeping the Imps out.  So they're likely to ask a lot of questions about the dust cloud, defenses, troop strengths, air strikes, etc.    When they do, I will make it seem as though they are helping Sartok plan the riots and future defense of the city.  Sartok will even ask for their advice.  But then once things start, they'll be led by the nose (effectively, reacting to events that occur around them).

I also agree with you that you'll need a reason why the PCs don't just go right to Martyr's Plaza to start things there.  In the module, it says that there are normally more AT-STs there.  Only the chaos makes some of them leave.  Only then is the plaza relatively undefended enough to attack.

In addition to that, I plan to have the PCs come up with the idea (yes, I am quite certain I can make them come to this conclusion on their own during their talk with Sartok) that they need to start by knocking out communications with the Arkanian Dragon.  Indeed, Sartok won't signal the start of the riots until a comm dish is knocked out.

The comm dish is the primary means of being able to communicate through the dust cloud.  Other dishes just aren't strong enough.  The Empire will eventually get a replacement up and running, but knocking this one out should provide a window of comm blackout between the planet and the orbiting ships.

Here's what I came up with:

Comm Tower
Show
The Comm Tower is 2 stories taller than the surrounding buildings, and it stands in the middle of an otherwise empty lot.  There is a 2 meter tall chain-link fence around the tower.  There are 4 heavy stormtroopers standing to the west of the fenced perimeter, though their body movement suggests that they are bored.  Though you can’t hear them, their heads move in such a way that you suspect they are talking amongst themselves. 

The fence:
The fence is electrified.  Touching it causes 3d6 damage.  Jumping over it is a Jump DC 24.  Safely cutting a hole with a lightsaber takes a full round.


The tower:
The comm dish is supported by 4 fairly thick beams.  A thick cable runs up out of the ground, and snakes up each of the 4 beams, and connects to the comm dish at the top.


(Cutting the cables will disable the dish.  Cutting the beams will cause the tower to fall, disabling the dish.  Mechanics DC15 is enough to splice the wires together, frying the comm dish.)


(If the 4 heavy troopers live longer than 1 round, they call for reinforcements which arrive in 4 rounds.)



This is not intended to be a difficult encounter.  It's just a chance for the players to be creative in how they choose to solve the problem, and it's a reason to have them start here, and not somewhere more critical like Martyr's Plaza or Mount Antas.


Bottom line: I hope to have some up-front planning make the players feel that they had input into the operation and had some effect on the potential success/failure of it.  I'm afraid I'd have to have too many maps ready to go if I allowed them true freedom in going anywhere they want and doing anything they choose.


But, on the other hand, if anyone DOES make a giant map of the city, I'd certainly be interested...


EDIT: FYI, here's the order of the encounters I plan to run during the riots:

1) Comm dish
2) Checkpoint Gamma
3) Kids in Burning Building
4) Rest Stop (as written, that encounter is triggered by V-wings strafing the city)
5) Rescue Nazren from a Detention Facility (in order to free 2 captives who know where they stashed Anti-aircraft weaponry)
6) Retrieve and assemble AA weaponry
7) The Black Ship
8) Martyr's Plaza
9) Mount Antas
And, if anyone is interested, here are my notes for encounters 5) and 6) mentioned at the end of the previous post. 

It is basically a fleshed out version of a couple of the ideas presented in the module.  At its most basic level, it is a chance for the group's stealth expert to shine.   And then allows the group's mechanic(s) to do their thing.

Show
Detention Facility:

If Sartok is with PCs:  A Nazren runs up to Sartok and speaks to him in their native language.  Sartok then turns to you and says…


If Sartok is not with PCs: Your comlinks beep.  Sartok says, “I have just received word from one of my allies…


“We did, at one point, have some anti-aircraft weapons hidden away.  But in an effort to keep vital information away from the Imperials, only two people knew where it was hidden.  Both of them were detained a few days ago.  But I have just received word that the riots have forced a sizable portion of their guards out into the streets.  I believe we now have a good chance of freeing them.  And as you can tell, we are in desperate need of such weapons.  Will you help us?”


Sartok guides you about a mile west of your current position, until you find yourselves in a back alley behind a group of buildings.  Sartok indicates one of the buildings – “That is where they are held.  That building used to belong to a friend of mine who was trying to tame blade scorpions.  The basement had two holding cells for the creatures, but when the Empire took over, they commandeered the building to use as a detention facility.  Because the cells were meant for blade scorpions, there was a fail-safe mechanism to ensure that the vicious creatures never escaped – activating the mechanism will send poison gas into the cells, killing whatever is in the cells.  The Empire has threatened that if there is ever any attempt to free our brethren, they will activate the fail-safe and kill them.  So I fear that a direct assault will only end in their deaths.  We know of a secret way in – my friend was wary of the Empire from the moment they came to our planet, and he made an escape route just in case.  We believe that the Empire has not yet found this route.”  Sartok directs you to a manhole cover – “Enter that, and follow the tunnel, and you will emerge in the basement of the building.  That is where the prisoners are held.  I’m afraid I can’t offer much more guidance than that, since nobody has seen the conditions and troop movements in that area.  But many troops were seen leaving the building a short time ago.  They should be understaffed at the moment.  We would undertake the effort ourselves, but as you might guess, we are not particularly suited for stealth.  If any of you are skilled at stealth, I believe you would have a much better chance of success.”


Entering the building:
You crawl through a tunnel that is narrow, but is large enough for you to move comfortably and looks large enough for a Nazren to navigate with little difficulty.  At the end of the tunnel, there is a grate above your head, and through it you can make out that the walls and ceiling in the passage above you is made of stone and cement.  The grate itself looks like a waste drain, probably originally used to dump excrement from the blade scorpions.  The grate looks firmly in place, but as you touch it, it is surprisingly loose.  It would take no effort whatsoever to lift it and climb out of this tunnel.


When attempting to exit the tunnel:  Stealth DC15 to open grate silently – You lift the grate and move it to the side, silently setting it on the floor.  As you peek over the lip of the hole, you see that you are at the end of a short passageway, and several empty crates shelter you from view and also prevent you from seeing further down the passage.


Perception DC15: You don’t hear any sudden sounds that would indicate that anyone heard you. 


-and-


DC20: You hear steady footsteps that sound like they are coming from another room.  They sound like plastoid on stone, and while it is difficult to guess exactly how many there are, you estimate that there are perhaps around 3 people walking around.


DC25: You hear steady footsteps that sound like they are coming from another room.  They sound like plastoid on stone, and while it is difficult to guess exactly how many there are, you estimate that there are perhaps 2 people walking around.


GM Note: There are several troops in the room to the east (only 1 has LOS to the passageway with the secret grate).  They will come running at the first sign of trouble, and will attempt to trigger the fail-safe mechanism.   There are 2 stormtroopers patroling the room to the south.  1 is walking north along the eastern walkway, and 1 is walking south along the western walkway.  The 2 cells are in the middle of the room.  By cleverly walking with stealth in the same direction as the troopers are walking, it might be possible to reach a cell withouth being detected.  Once the cell is opened, it is unlikely that the Nazren inside would be able to move with enough stealth.  Once they are heard, the alarm will be sounded.


Stealth DC15: You slowly peak your head above the nearest crate, and you see that the passage you’re in extends to the east, up a few steps into a much larger room where you see a stormtrooper looking north.  There is also an arch leading to another room to the south.  The room to the south is where you hear footsteps coming from.  On the inside of the arch, there is a rudimentary computer console set into the wall.


Perception DC20: From the sounds of the footsteps, you’d guess that there are 2 people: 1 slowly walking towards you, and 1 slowly walking away from you.


Moving from your current position: Stealth DC vs. Perc of Stormtrooper (+9, but give +2 stealth bonus for him not looking in this direction) in eastern room.


When at the arch:
Perc: DC15: As you approach the arch, you see that the screen on the computer console is very basic.  You doubt that it is connected to any sort of network.  It shows that the status of the fail-safe is currently armed.

DC20: As you approach the arch, you see that the screen on the computer console is very basic.  You doubt that it is connected to any sort of network.  It shows that the status of the fail-safe is currently armed.  You hear two sets of footsteps, 1 moving closer and 1 moving away.  Neither is right on top of you, but the one moving towards you might come around the corner in one or two rounds.  The echoing nature of the stone hallways makes it difficult to determine which hallway the approaching footsteps are coming from.

DC25: As you approach the arch, you see that the screen on the computer console is very basic.  You doubt that it is connected to any sort of network.  It shows that the status of the fail-safe is currently armed.  You hear two sets of footsteps, 1 moving closer and 1 moving away.  Neither is right on top of you, but the one moving towards you might come around the corner in one or two rounds.  The approaching steps are coming from the eastern-most hallway leading to the south.  The receding steps are coming from the western-most hallway leading to the south.


If attempting to disarm the fail-safe:
Use Comp: DC10: You disarm the fail-safe, but you are unable to determine any way to prevent someone from simply re-arming it.  At best, you have bought the prisoners an extra round or two, should someone attempt to trigger the fail-safe.


Use Comp: DC15: You disarm the fail-safe, but you are unable to determine any way to prevent someone from simply re-arming it.  You exit out of several menus, which will force another user to get back to the correct menu before being able to re-arm and activate the fail-safe.  You have bought the prisoners an extra two or three rounds, should someone attempt to trigger the fail-safe.


Use Comp: DC20: You disarm the fail-safe, and then place the computer in a recursive loop, making it unresponsive to most commands.  It would take a very knowledgeable user to correct the error and be able to again access the fail-safe controls.


Approaching a cell:
As you approach the small cell, you see that there is a force field in place, imprisoning 5 Nazren. They look shocked to see a non-Imperial, and they glance nervously from side to side, as though suspecting a trap.


Opening a cell door:
The cell door is locked, but the controls are easy to understand.  You open the door without any difficulty.


When freeing the first cell:
The Nazren look grateful, but still wary of any nearby Imperials.  They feverishly motion (towards the other cell).


Leaving: (to get Anti-Aircraft)
The Nazren squeeze through the hole in the floor, and wriggle their way through the tunnel.  They are able to move through the tunnel with surprising speed, considering the tight fit for their large frames.  In a matter of moments all of the Nazren have made it, and are now standing behind the detention facility.  When they hear the explosions and blaster fire nearby in the city, they speak quickly amongst themselves.  One of them addresses you: “Thank you for freeing us.  It sounds as though the fight has begun.  We are eager to join it.  I suspect I know why Sartok had you free us.  Rattaka and I will take you to the anti-aircraft weapons.  We know how to use such weapons, but we do not know how to assemble it.  We could use your assistance in that regard.  The rest of us are eager to join the fighting directly.  Do you have any weapons they could use?”      (After the answer is given) Eight of the Nazren run off to join the riots.  The other 2 lead you a few blocks away, to a run-down area of the city.  They quickly enter one of the small buildings, and once inside, you can see that there are 6 other Nazren already inside.  They are armed with blaster rifles, and 2 of them are injured, though they look determined to fight through the pain they must obviously feel.  One of the 6 Nazren speaks to the 2 newcomers: “Sartok told us to come.  Once the weapons are set up, we will protect them.”  Rattaka pulls back a rug, revealing a trap door.  She opens it, and several of the Nazren work together to lift out 2 heavy-looking crates.  “We will need to assemble these on a rooftop so we can bring down any Imperial craft that attempt to attack.  I will take one to the neighboring building – it is taller than the others in the area.  My brother Marrak will take the other one some distance away – that way we can cover a larger area.  Do you have 2 people who can assemble these for us?”  (She wants you to split your group.)


Rattaka leads you next door to a building three stories tall.  3 of the armed Nazren follow her, carrying the large crate between them.   


Marrak leads the other group a couple blocks away.  You hear sounds of fighting all around you, but whether through luck, or by a thorough knowledge of the city, Marrak’s path does not encounter any Imperials.


Rattaka’s group makes it to the roof top, though the Nazren are visibly exhausted from carrying the heavy crate up 3 flights of stairs.  They set the crate down with a loud thud.  Rattaka opens the crate, revealing multiple pieces of equipment.


Knowledge(Technology) DC10: You can tell that the parts will fit together to form a surface-to-air concussion missile launcher.


Mechanics DC15: There are no instructions for how to put this thing together.  You work for several minutes, and are able to construct the base that steadies the weapon, but the launching mechanism itself is proving difficult to put together.


Mechanics DC20: There are no instructions for how to put this thing together.  Nevertheless, you are able to see how each part relates to each other, and you quickly construct the entire weapon.  You have constructed a surface-to-air concussion missile launcher.  The missiles are smaller versions of those used in starships, but they look formidable nonetheless. 


Marrak’s group finally makes it to one of the taller buildings in this area, and after climbing the stairs and emerging onto the roof, Marrak opens the crate, looking at you expectantly.


After setting up the AA:
The Nazren eagerly take the controls of the missile launcher once you have completed it. “Thank you for your help.  We should be able to keep those Imperial ships from making air attacks so freely.  Go -- I am sure your presence is needed elsewhere.”

Cool! Don't forget the list of floating skill challenges as well.

I don't think I'd do a detailed giant map, but what I'd focus on at least at first would be something where the detail is removed, but where Sartok might know about an asset that can be gained. For example - Prisoners marked for execution are here at A, while buildings XY and Z have anti-aircraft parts, and there is a whole garrison with weapons in that section over there. Maybe they don't need to choose the route - they just choose the area within the zone they have access to.

 It would be a kind of paper napkin map in the first iteration. I'd need to place carrots, sticks and roadblocks up to keep the players from shortcutting, but it would put some of the decisions in the players hands. I guess I'd need to start with first identifying the things that MUST happen within a certain sequence, and the others that can happen any time.

I'm thinking some kind of coencentric zonal defense, like a keep within a citadel wall. Minis Tirith or Helms Deep, if you will. The players should be able to feel a sense of progress and threat.

In the D&D module The Red Hand of Doom, apparently there is a point system whereby the assets available to town defense are determined by earlier victories within the campaign. Also, there is a crash planning session with the town elders where the players participate with 3 strategic choices for allotment of resources - and these have some bearing on how difficult the encounter will be.

I don't think I'd do a detailed giant map, but what I'd focus on at least at first would be something where the detail is removed, but where Sartok might know about an asset that can be gained. For example - Prisoners marked for execution are here at A, while buildings XY and Z have anti-aircraft parts, and there is a whole garrison with weapons in that section over there. Maybe they don't need to choose the route - they just choose the area within the zone they have access to.

 It would be a kind of paper napkin map in the first iteration. I'd need to place carrots, sticks and roadblocks up to keep the players from shortcutting, but it would put some of the decisions in the players hands. I guess I'd need to start with first identifying the things that MUST happen within a certain sequence, and the others that can happen any time.

In the D&D module The Red Hand of Doom, apparently there is a point system whereby the assets available to town defense are determined by earlier victories within the campaign. Also, there is a crash planning session with the town elders where the players participate with 3 strategic choices for allotment of resources - and these have some bearing on how difficult the encounter will be.



I certainly like your idea.  I think what I had in mind is pretty much what you're describing, except that I could probably put a stronger emphasis on the planning portion of it, and I like the idea that their choices/successes/failures will have some bearing on how difficult the Martyr's plaza encounter will be.  I think I'll present them will several objectives (if they don't think of them on their own), in addition to taking Martyr's plaza:

1) Disable/destroy the comm dish to cut support from Arkanian Dragon
2) Rescue prisoners to get AA
3) Rescue slaves from slave pens (the Black Ship encounter) to gain manpower

I'll let the PCs decide which to accomplish first.  If they don't do #1 first, that will mean that there will be more V-wings to worry about.  I'm not sure how to have them deal with that.  I really don't want them to have to deal with V-wings directly.  But I'm hopeful that they'll realize that #1 has to be done first.

If they choose to forego any of these 3 objectives (or if they fail any of them), the Imps don't have to spread their forces so thinly, and there will be one additional AT-ST at Martyr's plaza for each objective not met.

Along the way, they'll be presented with the burning building, checkpoint Gamma, and Rest Stop encounters.

I hesitate to present any more objectives than that, because they're already going to be facing a large number of encounters in a single day, and they'll be out of healing opportunities pretty quickly.



Cool! Don't forget the list of floating skill challenges as well.



Yeah, that list is where I got the "comm dish", "free the prisoners", and "set up the AA" ideas.  Some options in that list aren't really suited for my group, so I nixed those.  Others I felt just weren't terribly believable.  In the middle of a riot, with heightened security in place, you're really supposed to be able to con your way into a garrison and walk off with enough weapons to arm a group of Nazren?  I think that may be pushing it a bit.  And I didn't like the idea of using Gather Info to try to locate a group of Nazren during a riot.

Oh, and I changed the comm dish from being on a rooftop (as written) to being on a tower in an empty lot because there were just too many things happening on a roof.  Having the burning building encounter, setting up the AA, and the comm dish all involve climbing onto a roof seemed a bit excessive.

And Nefandus, if you come up with any details regarding your "carrots, sticks, and roadblocks", as well as any ideas regarding what the benefits/consequences are for achieving/failing any of your objectives, I'd love to hear them.  (Especially if you presented them before I start this episode! )
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