Thursday, October 21, 2010

Episode I: Mad Science on Tatooine, part 1

Last night I had five players take me up on running an Encounter Critical-fueled Star Wars type game.  There was a little fumbling over the handouts I gave them for chargen.  At least one high-strung player was having a bit of trouble getting his mind wrapped around the idea of rolling ADA, DEX, ESP, INT, LEA, LUC, MAG, ROB, STR without knowing what those things were.  But by maybe 20 or 30 minutes into the game we had the following party:

Tiberius Starwalker, male human Jedi with an Imperial bounty hunter's license
Rand Skystar, male human scoundrel
Amaiza Shadowslayer, female human warrior with a mysterious past and a 'Theopolis class computoface'
Ivuur Pefan, female hammerhead Jedi
Awtoonay, male jawa warrior

I announce that the PCs are all members of a small Rebel cell on Tatooine and their contact with the Alliance is a space satan named Queede Zabalus.  The party is to redezvous with him in a cantina in Mos Eisley for their next assignment.  The PCs then have an initiative roll-off amongst themselves for who gets to cause trouble in the cantina before the adventure proper starts.  Dane wins so he decides that his Hammerhead spots her no-good ex-husband across the bar.  The jerk took off on her, leaving nothing but a note explaining how he was going to fufill his lifelong dream of turning a desert planet into a lush, green world.  Ivuur uses the force to throw a drink in his face, then puts on a blindfold and beats the crap out of him.

The blindfold was an attempt to qualify for level 2.  In Encounter Critical to gain a level you must earn the required XP and perform a specific deed that varies from class to class.  For Psi Witches (i.e. Jedi) to advance they must defeat an equal or better foe using only their blindfight skill.  I'm not sure a gardener who was obviously stoned on whatever was in that double hookah of his really ought to count as an equal foe, but I decided I wanted to go easy the first time around.

Once everyone in the joint turns back to their drinks and the band starts back up everyone slides into a round booth with their pal Satan.  He tells them that people are being kidnapped from moisture farms near the edge of the Dune Sea, in the vicinity of Tosche Station.  All the locals believe the Sand People are to blame but the real culprits are the jerkwads running a secret Imperial research station in the Jundland wastes.  There mission is to find out what the Empire is up to there and to rescue the missing people if possible.  Since the PCs need transport, Queede arranged for a speeder to have the keys left in at a local used car lot.  The vehicle will only be reported stolen if plausible deniability is need on the part of the lot owner.

Rand Skystar volunteers to go get the speeder and meet the rest of the group with it at the city park.  It's the nicest green spot on the planet, as some kind soul has volunteered to maintain it out of the kindness of his heart(s).  Anyway, Rand arrives at the lot after twosundown, hops the fence and heads over to the assigned speeder.  Imagine a late seventies stationwagon painted bright green with a yellow racing stripe.  Trade in the wheels for a floaty forecfield effect and add three jet engines like on Luke's speeder.  The racing stripe was to placate the original owner, as he couldn't believe that his first new speeder purchase was such a doughty family model.

Rand encounters two brief complications in what should be a milk run.  While the used car lot owner gave the tired old Clone War vet that serves as nightwatchman the evening off, he forgot to tell the dude not to release the junkyard lizarddog that usually wanders the place at night.  I thought this was going to be a big hassle, as what kind of a good guy casually blasts a dog?  Turns out Rand is that kind of good guy.  The other problem was that the gate was locked.  I was expecting Rand to use the key on the same ring as the ignition key for the speeder, but he insisted on failing to pick the lock, then kicking the gate down.  The whole operation is a bit of a fiasco, but on the upside Rand has managed to commit a new crime (Grand Theft Speeder, Space Animal Cruelty, Needless Destruction of Private Property, take your pick).  Since he is a criminal that qualifies him for second level.

The party zooms across the wellworn road between Mos Eisley and Tosche Station, where they get in just before the place is shutdown for the night.  The buy a crapload of desert survival gear (with the money I am totally refusing to keep track of) and rent five cots set up in the back room for people who don't want to leave while the Sand People are mucking about.  The next day they get up just in time for the gorgeous sunrise and also managed to catch the blinding second sunrise.  They set out across the blistering landscape for the scene of the most recent attack, the Darklighter homestead.