Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Star Wars RPG solo - Part 11: Welcome to Phaeda

The Kappa-class shuttle sets down in docking bay 49 on the edge of Phaeda's spaceport. The bay looks very much the same as any other on a minor Outer Rim planet, a dingy open-topped dome made of poorly maintained plasticrete. The shuttle's ramp opens, and Wex leads his crew down into the open air. After the stale atmosphere in the shuttle, Phaeda's air is mostly a disappointment; there's not enough industry on this planet for it to be truly polluted, nor enough regulation for it to be truly fresh. The sky is brown and hazy in the late afternoon sun.

Scene 1

Chaos:
Madness (d6)

Setup: Chaos die = 4, Interrupt (was: arrive at Phaeda)
Interrupt: Close a thread - ditch ship - Usurp / Military

NPC list: Morga the Hutt, a mysterious enemy

Threads: ditch ship, make contacts, sell datapad

[This adventure follows right on from the previous one, but to make things easier to track, I started over with Scene 1. The Chaos level remains at Madness (d6), as the world is still against our heroes. The NPC list has been completely cleaned out. The 4 NPCs in the party have all graduated to PC status now. The rest of the NPCs were local to Ord Mantell. I'm keeping Morga the Hutt (i.e. his operation) on the list and adding an enemy (TBD) to deal with random Events.]

A young Imperial lieutenant in a rumpled uniform walks into the docking bay, followed by a squad of stormtroopers. He takes a good look at the ship and her crew before addressing them. "Do you have a licence to fly that ship, citizens?"

"We're the owners," says Wex.

"That's a military vessel. You all look like civilians."

"We bought it surplus," offers Jather. "Needed a cargo vessel, and in the outer rim that means it's got to be armed." [Jather's Con (6D -1D for wounded): 5D=20, sounds legit.]

"Is there a problem, officer?" asks Zil.

"Civilians shouldn't be in possession of military grade ships -- even surplus. I'm afraid we're going to have to impound it until you have all the proper licences. And pay all the fees. If not, we'll be confiscating it for the Imperial garrison's use. Can never have too many troop transports, even older models such as this."

[Wex needs a Moderate (15) Law roll: 4D=17, definitely sounds fishy.
He'll try a Moderate (14) Con roll to sound breezy: 3D=18 (Wild 6+1)]

"We were thinking of getting rid of it, actually," says Wex. "This particular vessel makes it too hard to be taken serious as a shipping concern, as it turns out. Perhaps we could save you -- and us, naturally -- all the  annoying forms to fill in and let the Empire buy it off us. It's an old ship, so I wouldn't expect much. Just a few thousand credits."

"So little? What's wrong with it?"

"Paint's a bit scuffed, but other than that it's a solid ship. You won't find anything out of order. It's just... well, there's no cargo lifters. We're tired of having to carry all the freight up the ramp. Unlike your stormtroopers, the cargo won't walk itself inside!"

"Buying a ship in such an... informal arrangement isn't quite how the Imperial Army likes to operate..."

"We'd rather you had it than anyone else. And if you can help us seal this deal, we'd feel honour-bound to give you a nice finder's fee. Say 40%."

[Q: Is this even possible? 50/50 (4+): O6 C3 - Yes, but...
Wex's Bargain 4D+1 vs. the Officer's 2D, +5 for weirdness: 16 vs. 15]

"I'm afraid I won't be able to allocate more than 2000 credits from our budget."

"Fine by me. What do you say, crew?"

"That low price, Captain," says Oosuu, putting her hands on her hips. The rest don't feign protest at all. Wex turns back round to address the officer.

"Sorry," he says, "Twi'leks are rubbish at maths. Just ignore her. We'll take it."

They shake on the deal.

[Q: Can the money be gotten quickly? Unlikely (5+): O1 C1 - No, and... 2D6=7 days]

"I'll be in touch when the money is ready."

"Of course, Lieutenant...?"

"Nomu."

"Pleasure doing business with you, Lt. Nomu. Here's my comlink codes."


Scene 2

Chaos:
Madness (d6)

Setup: set up housekeeping

NPC list: Morga the Hutt, a mysterious enemy, Lt. Nomu the crooked Imperial

Threads: make contacts, sell datapad (I removed 'ditch ship' even though the thread is not quite played out. If the money doesn't show, they won't be getting it back anyway.)

"The first thing we need," says Zil. "is a base of operations."

"And some supplies," adds Wex.

"Oosuu hungry again," says Oosuu.

"I almost hate to ask," says Jather, "but how are we going to pay for any of this. My credit balance is a bit... underwhelming."

"How underwhelming?" asks Zil.

"550 credits."

"You're better off than me; I've only got 135. All those bribes on Ord Mantell really added up fast."

"Oosuu have 50."

"I got 600," says Wex.

"Lucky for you lot, I just got paid," says Lina. "I was on my way to the bank when Wex called."

All eyes turn to her expectantly. "How much?" asks Wex.

"2000 credits."

"Is that all?"

"Is that all? It's my salary! Most of our money comes from mission bonuses. Besides, it's more than you lot all put together."

"Hey, now, don't get your panties in a bunch. We're all in this together. I'm sure this is all just a temporary state of affairs, and we'll be flush soon. But until then..."

Everyone agrees to swallow their pride and chip in where they can. But even so, Wex manages to get Lina to pay for more even than her fair share, and she can't ever seem to ever tell him no. Zil is disgusted by it, but bites her tongue as she's desperate. Oosuu is very disappointed in Wex, and resolves to take him aside later for a lecture. Jather is either oblivious or apathetic.

[As a simulationist gamer, I did keep careful track of every last credit spent on the PCs' character sheets. It's not terribly exciting, so I won't summarise it in Traveller-style accounting segments, but I will note the expenditures. I went by the price lists in the original (1987, 1st ed.) Star Wars Sourcebook.]

They spend the first night in a miserable spaceport hostel [-50 credits]. The next day is spent finding a flat; the one they get is cramped, but survivable [500cr/month, paid in advance]. Everyone needs some changes of clothes -- nothing flashy, and certainly not haute couture, but the expense adds up fast [75cr x2 sets each x5characters = cr750]. Lina is already down to 700 credits!

Oosuu convinces Wex to stock their larder. He buys 100 credits worth of cheap food [about a week's worth] and raw ingredients. Jather throws 100 credits at a supply of cheap liquor.

Lina sets down a rota of household chores [needing a Moderate (15) Command roll: 4D+1=23, success]. She also drafts a semi-comical list of 'flatmate regulations', and with stunning success; even Oosuu begins putting dirty laundry where it belongs. Jather offers to be the official cook in exchange for not having to clean. They've all witnessed what he can do with meagre materials, and readily agree.

[Q: Any events the first week? 50/50 (4+): O2 C5 - No.]

They take a few days to get their bearings and find a decent local [-100 credits] where the beer isn't too watery. Jather spends most of the time in bed until his wound heals [Natural healing takes 3 days, and requires a Strength roll (against a table): 2D=10, fully healed].


Scene 3

Chaos: Madness (d6)

Setup: meet Lt. Nomu about money
d6=4, Altered

NPC list: Morga the Hutt, a mysterious enemy, Lt. Nomu the crooked Imperial

Threads: make contacts, sell datapad

Alteration?
1 doesn't have money yet
2 has less than promised
3 can't get money
4 won't get money
5 needs favour
6 arrests PCs

Near the end of the first week, Lt. Nomu calls Wex. "Hey, Wex," he says, "we should meet up. I know a great place that does pan-Trianni cuisine. Live music, too; it's really great. Bring your friends, I'll reserve a table for tonight."

[Q: Does he sound suspicious? Unlikely (5+): O6 C4 - No, but...
Moderate (15) Perception roll to detect the edge in his voice: 3D=7, fail]

"It'll probably be just me," says Wex. "Not sure where everyone else is off to. Probably the holo-plex again."

"Their loss. See you at 20:00 Imperial Standard Time." »click«

"You think it's a setup?" asks Zil the moment Wex turns off his comlink.

"No. Sounded pretty legit, honestly. I think your paranoia's just starting to rub off on me."

Oosuu decides she will shadow him and watch the restaurant from a bar nearby, just in case. Zil says she will call at an appointed time -- if he doesn't answer they'll know it's a set up.

[Alteration 1d6=5, he just needs a favour.
Oosuu's Stealth 4D+2 vs. his Perception 2D: 14 vs. 6, she isn't noticed

Thanks to a mention in the Lone Wolf community, I discovered the Augmented Reality PDF, which is a collection of random tables for cyberpunk gaming. Mutatis mutandis, it's been a godsend for this adventure.

To determine the nature of Lt. Nomu's favour, I used the Mr. Johnson Job Generator #1: People (there was a 50/50 chance for people/things). I rolled: Needs to... find... smuggler. Cyberpunk takes little effort to convert to Star Wars.

Q: Will Lt. Nomu use leverage to get Wex to agree to the job? Likely (3+): O2 C3 - No, but...
Q: Does he offer an explanation? 50/50 (4+): O5 C6 - Yes.]

Wex has only been out as far as the Corporate Sector once, but as he steps into the restaurant he is immediately struck by just how non-Trianni it all seems. None of the patrons are Trianni, to say nothing of the staff, and the band is playing a decidedly Mid-Rim blend of synth-wail and Bothan skrive. The hostess who takes him to Lt. Nomu's table is wearing a ridiculous get-up that is probably supposed to be a Ranger uniform.

Lt. Nomu is sitting at his table alone, nervously playing with the silverware. He forgets any sort of pleasantries, and gets right down to business. "Look, I, uh, need a favour and I don't know who else to ask..."

"Ask away," says Wex.

"Here's the thing: I'm being blackmailed by a smuggler calling himself Void Vexxon. The reason isn't important, I just need it to stop. Now, I know your ship's stolen--"

"Really?"

"You offered to sell it to me for 2000 credits. How could I not know?"

"Oh. Um. That was not my finest moment."

"Look, I don't really care. The ship will be impounded one way or another. But if you help me out I can make sure the records are falsified. I'll even give you the full 2000 credits if I can get it. But I need you to bring Vexxon to me. Quietly."

"Dead or alive?"

[1d6: 1-2 dead, 3-4 alive, 5-6 doesn't care]

"Alive! What do you take me for?"

"Sorry, it's just the usual thing you ask in these sorts of favours. And most of my crew aren't assassins... Zil'd do it though, no question."

"That's... reassuring. I hope it won't come to that."

"Me too."

"Excellent. I'll get to work on losing some datafiles. I guess you can consider that your advance for the job."

"I've had weirder. Pleasure doing business with you."


Scene 4

Chaos:
Out of Control (d8)

Setup: d8=3, Interrupt (was: on the trail)
Interrupt: Ambiguous event - Cruelty / The innocent

NPC list: Morga the Hutt, a mysterious enemy, Lt. Nomu the crooked Imperial, Void Vexxon the smuggler

Threads: make contacts, sell datapad, find smuggler

Wex staggers home late that night, and passes out before he can explain the favour they need to do for the good Lieutenant.

The next morning, Jather cooks up his justifiably famous 'Dr. Jather's Hangover Special', which does put Wex to rights. He explains what they need to do, and shows them the holo-picture of Void Vexxon the lieutenant gave him, along with a list of hangouts and possible contacts. Vexxon isn't the sort of character one runs into in daylight hours, so they make a vague plan and wait until evening to head out on his trail.

They finally set out into the city at sunset. The streets are lively with a mixture of beings going home from work or just opening up their taverns and stalls for the evening crowds. As the day's shadows lengthen, streetlamps are coming on, competing with the flashing neon signs to light the market squares and byways.

They are all in good spirits, being both relieved to be out of the flat and elated to be actively doing something for a change. Oosuu is excitedly babbling at Jather about all the colourful things she sees in the market stalls, Wex and Lina are actually laughing over old times, and even Zil has dropped her characteristic aloofness and is just enjoying being out with her mates.

But the crowd abruptly thins out, and several beings push their way through as they hurry towards a side street. Zil stops her friends short, and they all go as quiet as the rest of the crowd who have stopped to look. In front of one of the stalls in the now-empty street, a family of [2d6=] six Grans has just been accosted by a unit of stormtroopers. It seems that the stormtroopers overheard [d6=] the father saying something unkind about the imperial occupation of their world, and stopped to give him a citation and an impromptu civics lesson. The Gran continues to speak his mind, and his wife joins in the argument before the terrified eyes of their children. Then bolts of crimson light flash out, and in the next instant there are six smoking bodies on the pavement. A stormtrooper turns and orders the onlookers to disperse; he does not need to repeat his admonition.

"Oosuu need drink," says Oosuu flatly.

"Let's start a tab," says Jather. "I'm good for it."

"I vote we start working tomorrow," says Zil.

One hundred credits later, they've almost forgotten what they witnessed.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Too many games...

I seem to be bouncing from game to game lately, and starting new ones without continuing current campaigns. I hope to have something turned from raw notes into a polished, postable entry soon, but in the interim here's a summary of what I've been up to...



Wanting to play some old (2nd ed.) Runequest, I went and bought the PDF of Snake Pipe Hollow off Drivethru. I don't like playing modules from the screen, so I printed it out, half-sized to save paper and also see more text all at once. It's also convenient to mark off hit points from the enemies and treasures looted right on the page. Since I didn't need a computer for the module, I went completely analog and took all the session notes on paper too, which is always freeing, but doesn't help with posting later.





Sometimes it's fun to just roll up a bunch of classic Traveller characters using just the basic character generation rules (little black books, Traveller book, etc.) and send them off into a random subsector to seek their fortunes. I'd also been wanting to try out Zozer's new Solo rules for Traveller Cepheus Engine. And I found an inexpensive copy of the original German rulebook to play with.




I also seem to have re-started my solitaire Call of Cthulhu LARP...