Monday, August 20, 2007

Rebel Scum, session 1, part 2

Having departed Neldanis IV with a KT-57 Repair Shuttle, our heroes set the hyperdrive for the Urgonia system. Effo, the party's astromech, follows the party in the Green Thirteen. Effo parks the Y-Wing on a comet in Urgonia's Oort cloud and awaits the return of our heroes. Meanwhile, Cee-Lo and Boyd change into black stormtrooper armor with markings indicating that they are members of Imperial Intelligence. Cee-Lo's a Rodian, like Greedo. So I give a flat 1 in 6 chance his helmet just won't fit. Pat makes the roll, but we agree that sometimes the helmet shifts on his antennae, giving him the appearance of a bobbleheaded stormtrooper.

Kip puts on a spooky black robe. During pre-play email discussion Doug (Boyd's player) asked me how common darkside force users would be in the campaign. I basically responded that I wanted to keep the Force a special asset only available to a few, but that they could expect a lot of dodgy Sith types working in Imperial Intelligence. That's how Doug came up with this plan. What Doug didn't know was that before we had this conversation with him I had already statted up a couple of I.I. agents who would appear in the scenario. More on that in a bit.


So the disguised PCs and their Repair Shuttle zoom into the orbital shipyards of Urgonia, which I describe as full of skytraffic like rush hour on Coruscant. Finding Repair Dreadnought Reconstructor wasn't hard, as it was one of the largest ships in dock and the flat slab of a prow littered with space-ship scale Swiss Army Knife tools is unmistakable. Our heroes must now choose between landing in the upper repair shuttle access area or the lower one. They go for the upper shuttlelocks because it is slightly closer to their target, the Main Computer.

Since the Reconstructor no longer uses KT-57 Repair Shuttles, the space devoted to their maintenance and supplies had been assigned to other functions. The upper shuttle access had been turned into a janitor's supply closet, with crates of cleaning materials just on the other side of the airlock. Had the players used the lower shuttle access area, they would have walked right into an illicit cantina run by some rogue supply officers. That would have been an interesting encounter, given that all the PCs were wearing the colors of the S.S. of Outer Space.

Just outside the broomcloset the PCs encounter three dudes in the standard red jumpsuits of Urgonia Maintenance. I wanted to give the PCs one last chance to dump their disguises for something less eye-catching. Instead, the player's use this as an opportunity to boss around people that normally wouldn't take orders from them. This will become an ongoing theme throughout the rest of the run. Some GMs might turn up their nose at the abuse of faux authority by the good guys. Me, I think scenes where you boss people around are fun when done in moderation.

Let's talk for a moment about this huge ship the PCs are infilitrating. The Reconstructor, like the Death Star, is based on plans drawn up by winged aliens. So lots of gangways traversing large horizontal shafts. Not all of these gangways have safety rails. The aliens who designed the deckplans have a thing for Y-shaped intersections, making many of the decks confusing to people accustomed to floorplans laid out on a square grid. Here's my map of how all the encounter areas fit together.One of the PC's hacked a general purpose computer terminal to get good directions to the Main Computer, so we ended up using only a small fraction of the overall map. They started in area 3, the Repair Shuttle Access/Janitorial Supplies, and took the turboshaft nearby down to area 7, the Main Reactor. Here they encountered the First Officer overseeing the reactor maintenance schedule. The Internet kinda failed me at this point, because I really wanted to hold up a picture of Leslie Bevis as Commanderette Zircon in SpaceBalls. But Google image search found no pictures of her from that cinematic masterpiece. Fortunately 2 of the three players knew who I was talking about. The First Officer acted as if she totally expected three I.I. personnel to barge into the main reactor, "Can I help you, sir?" she says to Kip. Stuart was pretty fast on his feet here, as he immediately responds with a snappish "See that my ship is fueled immediately." So the Commanderette gets on her comlink and orders the Imperial Intelligence shuttle to be refueled. While she's talking into the mic the PCs get the heck out of the Main Reactor before they are asked any questions that can't answer.

From the Main Reactor is a short walk through a series of confusing Y-intersections to get to the Main Computer. A pair of stormtroopers are posted as guards here, as the Death Star plans are considered a very valuable commodity. Incidentally, that's why I.I. is on the ship, to audit the security procedures surrounding the Main Computer. Unbeknownst to the PCs, these stormtroopers have been recently briefed by Vaj Kerlac, badass I.I. agent, to the effect that even the Emperor himself must show his ID to get into the Main Computer room. But again Stuart came through in a pinch, as he immediately went for the Jedi Mind Trick. "Your First Officer has seen our passes." For the lack of hesitation and the invocation of the First Officer (who much of the crew fear) I awarded a +2 on the roll, which allowed Kip to easily trounce the Will Defense of these two armored goons. They get inside.

Here's a paraphrase of what I say next to the PCs:

"Cut to another part of the ship. Commanderette Zircon walks up to a dark hooded figure flanked by a pair of black-armoured stormtroopers. 'Your ship is fueled, as requested, sir.'"

The tension in the room became palpable as the players immediately grasped that the Jig Was Up.

Back to the computer room. A couple of ship's flunkies are doing some maintenance on the computer. One is on his back working in a small access panel, like a mechanic under a car. The other is up on a catwalk about 20 feet above the level the PCs entered on. There's a door up there that doesn't provide a means of escape, but the PCs don't know that. After milling about trying to figure out a clever way to steal the data while the NPCs continue to work, they just decide to get rid of the poor schmucks. They knock out the guy on his back by beating him with a rifle butt. The other guy makes his way for the upper door, with the idea being that he might be able to lock himself in and call his CO for help. But a couple of stun blasts put him down.

The two stormtroopers at the door bust in at this point. And again Stuart fakes them out, ordering them to 'dispose of this trash', i.e. the unconscious maintenance guys. The stormtroopers make sure the maintenance guys are dead and stuff them in a nearby trash chute. Meanwhile, Cee-Lo tries to hack into the main computer to steal the Death Star data. That doesn't go so well, so they eventually pull the main computer Data Core and get ready to leave. The big doors slide open and facing them are a dude in a dark cloak and two blackclad stormtroopers. And it's on like Diddy Kong.

This far from the session I can't give you a play-by-play of the action. The PCs and the black stormtroopers exchange a lot of blaster fire in and near the computer room. The white stormtroopers that were guarding the door have a lot of trouble figuring out who is on their side and they are eventually tricked into chasing one of the Imperial Intelligence troopers down the hall in a running gun battle. Vaj Kerlac, the guy in the cloak, takes a bad blaster hit early in the fight, so he hides behind a corner at one point, applying a bacta patch to his zorch wound and yelling into his comlink for someone named 'Ozzie' to get down to him.

Eventually, Kip pulls out his lightsabre, which is Vaj's cue to go after him. Vaj hates Jedi. He pulls out a wicked crackling electrolash. It's like a flexible yellow lightsabre that has reach and a stun setting. You'll find it on page 32 of Star Wars: Complete Guide to Stuff Jeff Totally Made Up, the latest hardbound not available anywhere. Anyway, Vaj was whipping this thing around like crazy but not scoring any hits, right up until the point where Boyd shot him in the back of the head with a blaster and totally explodified his skull.

Boyd retrieved Kerlac's comlink and tried to talk down whoever this 'Ozzie' fellow was, but all he got back was a bunch of Wookie howling. It turns out that Vaj Kerlac is based upon answering the ages-old question "What if Thundarr the Barbarian worked for Darth Vader?" Ozzie (short for 'Ozzitowa') is Vaj's Ookla the Mok. And Ozzie knows that his good buddy Vaj is in trouble.

Look back up at my map for a second. There are 20 numbered locations, so I can roll a d20 to randomly place NPCs. Not all NPCs in the scenario were so randomly placed. Zircon started in Engineering section. The Captain (who was a total tool) could only be encountered in areas 1 or 2. Ozzie was one of those d20 roll guys. The PCs are in area 8 and want to get back to their ship near area 3, but the shortest route there currently is host to a running gun battle between some very confused stormtroopers. So they take the alternate route, which leads them directly into the path of the angry wookie. I totally did not fudge that one bit. Had the die roll gone differently or had the party taken a different route, the pissed-off furball could have been totally avoided.

So our final fight of the night is a shoot-out in a Y-shaped intersection with the 3 PCs taking on a rampaging wookie armed with a one-handed Light Bowcaster (totally made up as well) and a Sikurdian Battle-Axe (first seen in the original Marvel Star Wars comic, issue 7). The wookie charges the PCs, firing his bowcaster as he closes the gap with them. They pepper poor Ozzie with blasters until the dude's fur catches on fire. He manages to get a few nearly-fatal axe swings in before falling over dead.

At this point we're a few minutes past 10pm, which is when I like to stop my sessions. But we're all having a good time so we take a few more minutes to wrap things up. Boyd starts the Main Reactor on a build-up to meltdown. Klaxons are blaring and red lights flashing throughout the ship. The party ends up in the main shuttle bay, where they see a Lambda class Imperial Shuttle customized with gattling lasers and a red racing stripe. They correctly guess that this vessel belonged to the dude with the lightning whip and totally jack it for themselves, blasting out of the shuttle bay just in time for the whole effin' ship to explode. A couple of escape pods jettison just before the blast, one of which holds Commanderette Zircon. No doubt several people made it out of the ship via the main airlock docked to the shipyard, but being right next to an exploding starship rather than in it has got to be almost as deadly.

The party meets up with Effo and the two vessels zoom into hyperspace to rendezvous with the Tantive IV. End of session.