As before, when you game with game with a larger party it is sometimes not possible for them to make it to every game or players might come to the game after a couple of sessions have past. In our third session a player who had hoped to be there from the start finally made it to the game and his character had to have a good reason for joining the part
Without changing too much of his backstory I was able to get Admiral Pallaeon's character in the game right away. Sometimes it is unavoidable but it is not fun for a new player to sit there for most of a game session waiting to join in so the sooner you can get them into the action the better. Instead of having his pilot character be stuck in the city of Skeen at the start I just worked it that Dink had helped rescue him from a previous encounter with the raiders the party fought off the last session. His character guarded the ship while Dink helped the heroes in the last game and Dink had arranged before hand that he would help him pilot the transport. So as the game started his character was introduced to the party and they were good to go.
This session started with a new scroll marking the next Episode of their adventure:
Episode 2 Dark Deal on a Darker Moon
The new GALACTIC EMPIRE
has amassed immense power
in the short time since it's creation.
The final days of the CLONE WAR
against the SEPARATIST are coming
to a close and will soon leave
the EMPIRE in complete power.
The BATTLE of SKEEN on the
planet TAANAB still rages on,
both on the ground and in space.
Both sides have intensified the conflict
and many civilians have died.
Being equal in force there is no sign of
who will win the conflict.
In the small town of KELLOS
a small group of heroes on the run
are saying their final good-byes and
are preparing to leave the planet
aboard the transport ship THE SWEETNESS
for their next destination....
After watching the scroll we were ready to start. The scroll gives a nice recap and setting of the mood and at the start of the game they were still planet side so they could make any last minute additions and role-play their goodbyes.
Episode 2 Dark Deal on a Darker Moon
Adventure 3-Journey to the Hutt Moon
Part 1 Leaving Taanab
The group finishes getting The Sweetness loaded and saying their goodbyes to the towns people they have helped and lived with for the past several days. They are joined by Nix Felleaon, a spacer who lost his fellow crew members and the ship he was serving on to the same raiders the heroes just defeated. Like them, Nix is helping haul the grain in return for passage off Taanab.
After Dink gives them a tour of the ship and introducing them to his R4 unit Y9 (which he calls Whiner and who helps run the ship's high functions in deep space) they update the computer with METOSP info for the jump to take them to their destination. The METOSP informs them that because of the current battle over and in the city of Skeen air space is restricted to military ships only.
At this time I handed out the character sheets for the ship and gave them a chance to look them over and ask any questions. I found this ship character sheet on these boards and it is are really helpful.
Shortly after take off Dink has to hand the controls over because the instruments indicate that the hold doors are open and he has to go to the back of the ship to check on it. Once they leave the atmosphere of the planet they see four Republic V-Wings coming in on an intercept course.
Knowing that they are not suppose to be even in the air, Nix opens fire before they can shot down. O'dian and Xextuss man the guns while Cluad assists in the cockpit. Ar'Ran comes out of his semi-coma and begins to help by rerouting power to the shields. During the intense fight the life support systems begin shutting down and the unusual creature Grem jury-rigs it, saving everyone's lives.
To me space combat is a huge part of Star Wars but talking to many players I have found out that many games do not have it as an element at all. I don't have any of the SSB figs and while talking to a fellow minis player I found out that he had a bunch of the pocketmodel ships that he didn't use anymore and, for the most part, even assembled. So for five dollars I bought his collection, put them together, kit bashed several custom ships and painted the bases black.
I then bought a huge piece of black poster board and splattered white paint with a toothbrush on both sides to create stars. One one side I splattered more stars and on the other I used red and purple spray paint to create some nebulous clouds. I borrowed an large straight edge from Nimzomitch and marked out 1" spaces on one side and 1.5" spaces on the other. I then used a silver Sharpie marker to draw a grid. It came out really well and with the pocketmodel ships I have the most important elements to run any space fight-ships and place for them to fight.
It's important that in space fights that everyone has something to do. By having them create their characters with set duties in mind it helps avoid anyone feeling left out. Throwing in things like the life support going on the fritz and making the NPC unavailable to pilot his own ship helps to add to the drama and give the players a chance to take control.
Space combat can seem daunting but it really plays well with this system. I toss out some stuff that I knew we wouldn't use and don't care for the scale they use for the capital ships compared to the fighters, so I altered it for our use. I kept the battle pretty straight forward so that everyone could get the hang of the differences and not bog it down too much.
At the same time I didn't want it to be too generic and wanted to tie it in to what was happening in the larger picture--so I added the capital ships in the distance and added the threat of more attackers coming at them.
When things look darkest for the group, more trouble arrives in the form of four Separatist Droid Star Fighters. A pair of V-Wing peal off the battle to fight them and are quickly blasted out of the air. The final V-Wing engaged with The Sweetness is destroyed and the crew prepare for a new fight with the droids when they shut down for no apparent reason.
I try to have the events of the movies and EU timed to what is happening with the game. At this point one of the players figured out the reason why the ships had shut-down--Annikin had just taken out the Separatist leaders and shut down all the droids.
Dink is quick to suggest that they can haul them in, wipe their memory and then sell them for a nice profit to be split seven ways. The group agrees and a quick plan is put into action. Working extremely well together, the group makes a four person daring space walk and load them into the empty cargo holds as Grem assist pulling in a ship with the Force and Ar'Ryn and Y9 quickly wipe the droids' programming. After a celebratory drink of vintage Corellian ale they make their first hyper space jump together.
I had printed out a full size, gridded map of the ship and used some Droid Starfighter minis I had made from a model kit for the space walk portion. The players did an amazing job figuring out how to best get the ships into the hold and worked as a tightly trained team. This section of the game was much more fun to play than I had hoped that it was going to be.
The path to their next destination involved two jumps, the first takes four days and the second takes two. During the second jump the action cuts away to the newly built Darth Vader being address by the Emperor. He is informed that he is forming a group of force powered assassins to be known as the Emperor's Hands who will not know of the existence of each other or be fully trained as Sith.
Other minor force users will be used to create an institution known as Prophets of the Dark Side who's purpose will be to instill fear and control over the masses. A final group will become the Inquistorius and this group will be formed by Jedi who are captured and turned to the Dark Side and their purpose will be to assist Vader in hunting down other Jedi and Force users and turn them over to the Dark Side or to kill them.
The Emperor and Vader then prepare to leave for the system of Dyspeare to meet with Tarkin and view their largest secret project.
Much like the timing of having the droids shut down, I wanted to include the scene of Vader being built so it made sense in our game's timeline. Like the hologram announcement in the second episode, I used this as a chance to have the Emperor appear. Because the Heroes will most likely never see these two in person and since they are the biggest baddies during this period; having scenes like this help the players tie their adventure to what it going on in the rest of the galaxy even if they are not there.
Part 2 Arrival on Nar Shaada
The Sweetness arrives at it's destination of Nar Shaada, which is the moon of the Hutt planet Nal Hutta and is known through-out the galaxy as the place of vice and corruption. Dink lands in the Corillian sector and informs them that it is the safest section on the planet. He says they can leave their gear in his ship and can stay on board for the night since he won't be heading back until he resupplies tomorrow and heads back to Kellos.
He tells them to check out the shops and ship lots in the area, try their luck in the casino and that he will meet them later that day. He drops them off and goes to unload the grain and then to find a place to sell the recovered ships. He gives them R4-Y9 as a guide and assurance that he will meet them later.
At this point I passed out a map of the fan made Nar Shaada with the rooms covered with indicators of how high the building were. I placed the actual map on the table and blocked off the gantry from the first section to the other end with steel wool fire. This forced them to explore the area in a circle and let me control what they encountered and when.
When using locations it helps to have several descriptors and to make comparisons. Where Tanaab was quite, clean and rural, this new place was loud, dirty and urban. Nar Shaado is also a good place for people on the run to get lost so it fit in with what the heroes had going on in their adventure. I chose the Corillian sector because it sets up a future game adventure hook.
O'dian makes the suggestion to keep the droids as escort fighters but Dink informs him that he is not a smuggler, just a simple hauler, and that he will be returning to Taanab alone. The group then enters the market center and work their way through the sector. Cluad, Xextuss and Odian make their way to The Gundark's Den, a strip bar full of seedy characters and strong drinks.
After being disappointed by the cost of his weapon of choice and not wanting to risk pick-pocketing, Nix tries his hand at the casino and does rather well.
Ar'Ryn and Grem go to the Holo-Net center where Ar'Ryn attempts to contact his office of antiques only to be informed that with the creation of the Empire that his department has been taken over, his boss imprisoned and that he is to turn Grem over to them and turn in the Jedi and the rest of the group for their actions (made up actions that is) during the battle of Skeen to Imperial forces. Ar'Ryn throws them off the trail saying that they are on Corillia and makes a hasty exit from the Holo-center.
klecser saying they were on Corillia is funny in the fact that unknown to them they would soon be on the that planet. While the other players were in the bar I made sure to describe some of the other patrons and have them make note of it because of how it would effect their players later.
The group gets together and Ar'Ryn informs them of his recent contact with the ISB. After all they have been through --the Battle of Skeen, defeating the raiders in Kellos, Cluad tending to Ar'Ran while he unconscience (even with their early differences), and the trials they went through on the way to Nar Shadda--the group decides to throw in together, protect each other and avoid the new Empire that seems corrupt and power hungry.
For making it known that they were now a group that were going to travel together because they chose to instead of being thrown together they received a Destiny bonus to their rolls for the rest of the encounter.
Dink shows up and lets them know that he has unloaded the grain and has started to arrange the sale for the Droid Star Fighters. He has a claim ticket on a datapad and says that who ever holds it has the authority of the claim. He is to meet his contact at The Gundark's Den and, like most things on Nar Shaada, the Hutts have their paws in this business. He asks that they watch over the deal and cover his back, which the group agrees to do. Dink sends Odian and Y9 back to the ship to guard it.
Here's a case of a player having to leave before the session is over. It timed out nicely and we just had the character guard the ship. Not too inventive but it solves the problem nicely.
Part 3 Good Deal Goes Bad
The group enters and stakes out places in which to watch over the deal. Dink enters and begins negotiations with an Andronian, shortly after the deal begins a Feeorin enters that Cluad, Xextuss and Odian saw in the bar earlier. He quickly exits and before the group can react the stun explosives that were planted earlier by the Feeorin go off knocking everyone in the bar out.
The heroes recover in time to see the Feeorin shooting the Andronian, grabbing the data pad with the claim ticket and fleeing from the bar.
I gave the players the chance to find the stun grenades before hand but failed perception rolls and the descriptions of what their characters were looking at and for made them miss them. It helped to start the chase in a different way than the previous one and having players fighting off debilitating effects is always fun to watch.
The heroes waste no time as they give chase. The Feeorin's fellow brutes are waiting outside the doors and give fight as he flees towards the catwalks. Xextuss blows a hole through the head of his closest attacker, Cluad and Ar'Ran give chase and take down several more and Nix fights his way through while taking some massive hits.
Grem makes a daring jump across the gap from the walkway to the catwalks cutting off the Feeorin's escape. He throws the Feeorin back across as an air speeder arrives to help the thieves make their escape. Their assistance is too late as the group quickly deals with the Feeorin and Grem takes down the speeder.
It's cool to see players making better group choices in battles as well as making insanely heroic attempts. There was plenty of both in this fight and I reward players with extra XP for really pushing their character's limits and doing bold (and dangerous) moves.
After checking on Dink and the Andronian, who are both safe thanks to a blast vest, the group is invited to the office of the bar and left alone for a minute. Dink informs them that the fight can only increase the value of their sale.
The Andronian returns, introduces himself as Tibor and says that he is aware of who they are and that his employer would like to speak to them. A holo-projector produces the image of an extremely old and hairy Hutt. He speaks in Huttesse in a gravely voice which Tibor translates.
He tells them that he is Zorba Desilijic Tiureone, currently wrongly imprisoned on the planet Kip. He thanks them for stopping the assassins sent by a rival "businessman" trying to harm his second in command. Since his imprisonment his competition has tried to cut into his business by any means possible. He can't pay them a reward for it since they are not bounty hunters or part of a guild but will compensate them for their troubles. Also he will give them a good price for the scrap ships they have.
But he has another proposition for them------he can not get into many details because of where he is at, in case his rivals are listening, but he can tell them that he was suppose to have some workers arrive several days ago but the crew he sent to retrieve them has not shown up.
He would like them to find out what happened to that crew and retrieve those workers. At this point Dink informs them that he has already been hired for a job and that he needs to return to Taanab to bring back supplies and can not partake in this venture. Zorba states he understands and in that case he is willing to help the group out even further.
If they do this job for him he will not only get ahold of that footage to clear their names (the Jedi will still be wanted), pay them for the earlier services but he will offer them 9000 each in trade for a total of 54000 credits to use to buy a ship from one of his used-ship yards in exchange for the scrap with no strings attached and no further obligations to work for him in the future.
Ah, the "offer they can't refuse" meets the "deal with the Devil". This adventure and the next is basically the backstory of how they get their own ship. If the ship is to be any good then the players should have to sweat for it. Dealing with shady crime lords, deals that seem too good to be true and the offer of a better reward "if they just do one more small job" is all part of the set up to how they will get their ship and provides a back story that can be mined for further tales down the road.
The group agrees and plan to meet Tibor the next morning. They head back to The Sweetness to stay one final night aboard. Dink wishes them good luck and tells them to beware because deals with Hutts are usually always in the Hutts favor but this looks to be an honest deal, mainly because Zorba is in jail. He also advises that once they are done not to work further for Zorba no matter how legit the work seems to be......
A little warning and some fore-shadowing can go a long way with players, if they listen to it. Another thing is asking the judge questions through NPCs. It is funny but the players had not asked Dink a single question on where it was that they were going when they left Tanaab and again they asked no questions where they were going when they started to deal with the Hutt. After the next adventure and the mess they get into that never happens again.
Important Locations so far...
Kellos-is a small agricultural town located about 450 km south-southeast of Skeen.
Nar Shaddaa-a crime ridden moon of the Hutt planet.
Important NPC so far....
Space Pilot- Dni Nhak "Dink"
Pilot of the freighter "Sweetness". Somewhat gruff but enjoys a good laugh. Not a fighter but will if needed. Appreciates hard workers.
Droid on the ship Sweetness. Has a strong link to the computer on Sweetness so much so that it is basically a part of that ships higher functions while it is flying in space.
Former Administrator of Special Committee of Antiquities (SCoA)-Lacon Gennac
Competent and knowledgeable in his field.
Current Administrator of Special Committee of Antiquities (SCoA)-Wullf Yularen
Just recently the the admiral in the Republic Navy, under the command of Jedi General Anakin Skywalker, and now a member of the newly created Imperial Security Bureau that now oversees the SCoA. Capable but operates under misguided orders.
Black Sun Merc Leader-Rin
Mercenary for the Black Sun. Uses excessive force to get jobs done quick. Explosives expert. Has grayish-purple skin.
Second in command of Zorba Desilijic Tiureone. All business.
Crime Lord-Zorba Desilijic Tiureone
Curently serving a sentence of 45 years on the planet Kip for illegal mining. His imprisonment however is very lax and he views it as a vacation. Cunning, crafty and very old.
It is time for an old fashion dungeon crawl but in Star Wars style. The group gets in over their heads all in an attempt to get a good ship from a bad crime lord...