Many people start their games with characters at a higher level to give the players more options but I wanted to start from first level so that the challenges would be more intense. After the first session everyone had leveled up so between games I had the players make the adjustments with the exception of hit points. Again we rolled those as a group using a house rule I came up with.
Instead of rolling just one die for hit points I had them roll the number equal to the level they are now at and pick the best. Since you get Force points at this time, they could decide to re-roll one of the die by spending a force point. So at second level they could roll up to three times and pick the best roll. This worked really well and we continue to use this system.
I didn't create an opening scroll for this adventure. Every session having an opening would be a bit too much and I have found that a scroll every two to three sessions works best depending on the story. Since they were on the same planet as last time there was no new galactic map. I did however update my Character Reference Sheet with the changes they made to their characters.
Below is the summary of the session, again with notes on how the game was run highlighted in purple.Episode 1 Order 66
Adventure 2-Raiders of KellosPart 1 Arrival in Kellos
Because of the damage taken in the chase the transport breaks down in the early morning hours but the curious, strange creature simple called Grem somehow manages to get it running again. Apparently because of the stress of the battle and the smoke from the explosion he inhaled, the Bothan slips into unconsciousness.It is important that players fill certain roles that fit your campaign. In mine, I let them know beforehand that it would be important that at least one character be able to do each of the following--pilot, heal the party, slice computers, act as mechanic, have a heavy gunner and no more than one true Jedi. They did a great job splitting up the duties and I wanted to make sure that the skills they picked did not go to waste. Having the transport breakdown in the middle of no where gave the mechanic character a chance to shine.
Because we all have other obligations and the fact that klecser lives out of town, I knew that there would be times he or others could not make a regular session when everyone else could. This session was one of those cases so I used the events of the last session to explain why his character would not be around to help. Some people don;t mind others playing their characters but I find that diminishes the rpg experience more than just giving a valid reason why the character can't be active.
The heroes do what they can for Ar'Ryn as they drive past three story harvest droids working non-stop in the fields. Having solved the lock on the ancient box in the his meditative trance, O'dian comes to as the sun begins to rise and they see a small town in the distance.Dread had solved the puzzle on his own but decided not to open the box in front of the group.
Just as they pull into the town, located hundreds of miles from Skeen, the transport completely breaks down. The towns people have rifles pointed at them from windows through-out the town. The leader of the town, a young, pretty human named Sarri Karrde walks out to meet them and asked their business. A crusty farmer and mechanic, named Ret Guchat, continues to accuse them of being raiders and that if they don't leave they will be shot. Sarri calms everyone down and asks them to come in for breakfast.The tension was really pushed up by the players' reactions at this point. Having NPCs at odds with each other helps make them believable and gives the players clues to what is going on. I unveiled the maps at this point which consisted of two Rebel Storm Ultimate Missions Mos Eisley Maps placed end to end.
They meet the Gotal pilot of the transport shipping the town's harvest off planet, Dni Nhak who goes by the nickname of "Dink" ; Quassh Neetakka, nickamed "Qua", a pregnant Rodian who was recently widowed when her own town was raided; and Corra Dawn, a young, Twi'lek, orphan whose family was killed five years ago by raiders and is being raised by Sarri and the rest of the town, named Kellos. I like to make use of the different races of aliens. It gives the campaign some flavor and makes the adventure feel more like Star Wars. Having the motives and possible actions of key NPCs figured out before hand helps speed things along.
The heroes are forth coming about who they are and what they are escaping but don't mention that O'dian is a Jedi. Sarri explains that they are a farming town and are on edge ever since they got word from her father Kennic and her brother Talon about how their grain supplies in her old home town were attacked just days ago once the harvest was in the processor and they fear that once the harvest droids are done loading their town's processor that the raiders will attack their town next. For the past two and half weeks all the towns around them have been hit as soon as the crops are brought into the processor.
The reason for the attacks is that the raiders are working for corporate farming companies from another planet and by destroying their crops it helps to raise the prices and gets rid of competition. In the past, the Taanab Planetary Civil Corp have prevented raiders but with them in charge of the excavation of Skeen the towns have had to defend themselves. She tells them that the crops should be completely in the processor (condenses the grain to maximize freshness and condense it for shipping) in the next three to four days. It takes two days for the processor to complete the batch and another day to load it in the freighter.
Sarri offers them a choice--if they help defend the processor they will take them to the where they want to go--the next large city or they can ride with the freighter to the planet of delivery. In addition they will pay them for helping load the freighter. The heroes agree to help and Sarri puts them in charge of planning the defences since none of the townspeople have any combat experience.Sometimes having a clear cut choice for the heroes to make can lead to party unity. At this point I gave the players a printout of the town with notes on what everything is. This wasn't a dungeon crawl or city explore adventure so I didn't want them to feel that they were wasting time having to figure out every nook and building.Part 2 Preparing for Battle
Cluade goes to work right away collecting as much medical supplies as possible and setting up a triage facility with the help of Corra. This seems to put the young orphan greatly at ease. Her past experience losing her family to raiders had her skittish on the point of fleeing but having something to do has gives her a sense of calm.
O'dian uses his charm to help sway Ret into using his fix-it shop and helping to remove the mounted guns on the transport and making tripod guns to be placed on top of the silos holding the grain.
Grem begins collecting cable from the junk piles that the towns folk had set up as a barrier and begins crafting a net. The towns people see what he is doing and take up the work. He tried to mind-link with a really old Duros named Tannak who runs the town's bar/cafe to communicate that he wanted to create some explosives to place on the out-side perimeter. However at the sight of Grem the Duros freaks out and flees the other way.
Xextuss talks to Qua about her recent experience with the raiders and not only gets a better idea of what they are facing but helps her in her grief. While talking with Dink, Xextuss gets suspicious of his intentions since he refuses to use his ship for recon or to defend the town but instead of jumping to conclusions he instead asks Sarri about him. She informs Xextuss that Dink is an old family friend from her old home town and although a bit crass is very trust worthy. Dink then explains to them that the raiders will attack the ship so he has it safely hidden and if there is no ship then defending the silo processors will not matter.I had planned that the preparations that the players made before hand would greatly influence the outcome of the battle. If they didn't calm Corra down before hand she would have fled and possible died. If they didn't take precautions to protect the non-combat able citizens like Qua then they would have possibly been killed or taken hostage in the battle. If they didn't win Ret to their side he could have possible turned traitor in the middle of battle. they did a great job and made solid plans which paid off big time for them in the later fight.
At dinner that night the heroes talk to the towns people and give them directions and insight about the rest of their plans. They organize the people into groups to fulfill certain duties. After a long day of escaping and planning the heroes finally get some rest except O'dian who finally opens the box to reveal a Jedi holocron. The image of his late master Xarrex is projected and he informs his former padawan that this holocron has been passed from master to apprentice for several thousand generations and that he can use it to continue his instruction in the Jedi arts, to seek out others who can use the Force and to learn how to hide his Jedi abilities from those that are hunting him.At this point I had Dread show me his solution which was correct. I had him make an additional Use the Force check to open the hidden latch on the inside and the box open to uncover the holocron within.
The solution is to put the odd color symbol on each dial to the left and arrange them so that they symbols line up to match one another. When completed there is a completed circuit in the middle of the design. Here's the answer key:With an object this important for the further teaching of the Jedi in the group I wanted to make an actual prop. Here's the paper model I designed that can be printed on cardstocked and easily assembled.Just cut the white section away and fold it along the the lines. Cut slits on the flaps for the tabs and either tape or glue it closed. When finished you will have something that looks like this.
The next day the heroes continue the prepartions when Cluade lets slip that O'dian is a Jedi but the town people have no reason to distrust him at that time. Grem finally mind links with Sarri and communicates his idea of creating explosives which they get started on right away. Xextuss trains as many people as he can in weapons use. They rearrange the junk piles to better defend the silos and to block access from the side streets.Letting players create their own drama is a great tool for GMs. Never let those moments go to wate. Again, these preparations really helped determine the final outcome.
They take a break for lunch in Tannak's bar when the holoprojector comes on with breaking news. The witness the speech by Palpatine declaring the formation of the first Galactic Empire, himself the Emperor, of the supposed betrayal of the Jedi against the Republic and how the Clone Wars are coming to an end. Then the local holo-feed news goes on to describe the battle in Skeen. Using holo-footage from inside Ven's shop as well as from the probe droids the sequence is cut in an improper order to show what appears to be O'dian attacking the Duros in the shop, the Duros dying and then being helped to escape by the rest of the heroes. The report goes on to say that that the Jedi is wanted for murder and the rest for questioning. They only one not appearing in the report is Grem who had hidden during the encounter. The report is followed by an interview with Clone Commander Dust who promises to bring them to justice.When I decided that the players would be framed up it occurred to me that I had those droids flying around helping the Clonetroopers in the first game and could go back and use them as recording devices. They weren't planned that way at the start but really lent them selves for that use.
By having more than just the Jedi being wanted by the EMpire it helps create another group bond and pushes up the danger for the group. Since it is really hard to have the EMperor and Vader throwing down against low level heroes it is useful to tie their actions from the movies into the player's story. It makes a connection to the villains, gives them an appearance and reminds the players that they are part of a larger story. Having the minor villain also make an appearance ties him to the Star Wars myth and when the players face him it will make that confrontation that much more enjoyable.
Fearing the reaction of the towns people the heroes try to explain the truth but fail. However Sarri and Dink both speak on their behalf and the towns people have all come to trust and know the heroes for how they really are. Tannak points out that the Duros in the video is not Vens but his younger brother and that it is typical of Humans not to be able to tell one Duros from another. Before any more can be said on the matter the alarm that the Raiders are attacking sounds and everyone races to prepare for the fight.This is a case of not letting the dice always decide the outcome. The players rolls on their persuation checks were 1s and 2s. But the characters just spent the last two days showing their intentions and winning over key NPCs and that was what really mattered more so than their awful rolls.
Here is a revised map showing the preparations that the players made.The "A" and "B" indicate where they placed their home-made webs. The purple line is the netting they made and had pulled by lift droids. The brown squares are where they blocked off side streets with junk. The blue squares are where they used junk to make barricades. The "C" is the location that set up a triage.Part 3 The Raiders Attack
As the battle starts the net traps work great and takes out a couple of bikers. Xextuss leads the front line in battle taking out the few survivors before they can reach the silos. Grem instructs the gunners on top of the silos and stops many of the raider on foot. O'dian leads another group to stop the attack from the other side of town. Unarmed, Cluade entered the battle to perform field medicine, saving the life of one of the towns people.Unlike the first session which was one battle after the other, this session was a slow build to just one fight. And unlike the first session where the fight was a long chase this fight was a defensive one. By making the fights have a purpose (the first to flee danger and this one to stop an attack) it keeps the battles fresh.
Each player had one key NPCs and 5 regular NPCs to move and shoot with as they pleased. This makes the players think in a group dynamic,gives them more options and lets the characters actually lead in the battle.
I really enjoyed the fact that DJ played up the non-combat side of his character and poured all his effort in to his character's healing role. Diving into battle to save people unarmed is a pretty heroic action for a character to make.
After several waves of attackers, the leader of the raiders rides his swoop in for one final attempt to destroy the silos. Using the force O'dian pulls him from his bike to him. Cluade continued to remove the injured from the battle field. Xextuss leads his group to cut off the leader's escape and scored a massive hit on him. Grem closes off his other possible escape and his group finishes off the remaining raiders. The leader does not go down easily as pulls out two vibro knives and scores serious cuts on the Jedi. Finally the group battles the leader into unconsciousness and lock him and the other living raiders up.During the course of the battle each player had a stand out moment to shine. This won't always happen but it is something I try to shoot for. The first wave came from the spot indicated by the "1" on the map. Each following wave came from the opposite and a different corner. There was a skiff that dropped off raiders on foot and as each biker was destroyed I used the steel wool flames indicate it and to add to the battle. The "2" indicates where the Cluade was saving a wounded townsfolk with gun fire flying over his head. The "3" is where the final fight took place with the leader of the raiders. Below is the Encounter Sheet I used for this fight.
An impromptu celebration breaks out and the group are treated like the heroes they are. Some party more than others, some try liquor for the first time and a well earned victory is celebrated. The heroes spend the next few days recovering, healing the injured, and loading the harvest onto Dink's ship, the Sweetness
. They are given gifts of appreciation, Cluade gets a surgery kit and med paks, Xextuss is given the leader of the Raider's swoop bike which Ret will repair, Grem is given a modified blaster and ammo, and O'dian is told that his secret of being a Jedi is safe with all of the people of the town. Sarri thanks them for all their help, tells them that they should think of Kellos as their home away from and to visit them soon and often.
With that the heroes board the Sweetness
and prepare the the next leg of their adventure......Not all players are in it to see there character go up levels and instead are more interested in items their character can use. When appropriate I try to tie special items to the adventure, wether they find them or they are given as a reward.
During this time Cluade also hits it off with Sarri. When players have their characters make personal connections to NPCs that is always good. Connections like this can be used for adventure hooks and for great rpg moments.
I used the same galaxy map and image of the planet from the first session but used a new NPC image sheet. If I can't find an image that matches what I have in mind I find it useful to use an actor that best represents them.
In the time between sessions I sent them their experience along with the recap from above. We all use gmail so it helps the discussion move along and keeps things in order. I include jpegs of all the handouts and list an update of important locations and NPCs.Important Locations so far...
Taanab-An agricultural world, near a major hyper-space route, that has not been a part of the Clone Wars until the end of the war. A common stopping place for many spacers traveling the nearby hyper-space lane.
Skeen-is the second largest city on Taanab and is 350 km Southwest from the capital city of Pandath. Because of the agricultural nature of the planet the city does not have individual living spaces and the buildings are surrounded by fields instead of urban sprawl.
Kellos-is a small agricultural town located about 450 km south-southeast of Skeen.Important NPC so far....
Town Leader- Sarri Karrde
Likable and surprisingly young leader of the town of Kellos. Brash, witty and intelligent. Father is Kennic Karrde and warns her of the upcoming attack. Has a little brother named Talon.
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.
Dismissive farmer who doesn't trust any outsiders. Also runs a "fix-it" shop in town.
Farmer-Quassh Neetakka "Qua"
Pregnant farmer who lost her husband to raiders less than a three weeks ago in the near by village of Avevac. Very brave.
An orphan who is being raised by the whole town. She stays with Sarri. Her parents died in a raid on the town Balic five years ago.Next Time
I'll post the stats for the Sweetness and we'll see what happens when a player joins in late. It might be a while before the next update as I have to plan for our next session.