Saturday, 21 January 2017

Star Wars RPG solo - Part 4 : A curtailed introduction

Zil decides she should try to call her boss again. She finally gets through after several hours.

[Q: Can Zil get ahold of her boss at all? 50/50 (4+): O6 C3 - Yes, but...
hostile - destruction - current story]

"You've failed me, Zil," comes the Kitonak's nasal voice over the comlink. "I had such hopes for you! I never should have trusted one of you hairy, hot-headed humans! It's all over now. Destroy the datapad and bring the pieces back to me so we can discuss your penalty." »click«

"Great," says Zil, tossing the comlink onto her bed in disgust. "Now what do we do?"

[Q: Does Jather mention he might have another patron? Unlikely (5+): O4 C5 - No.]

"Maybe we should find out what's on the datapad," says Wex.

"Worth a shot, I guess," says Zil. "But maybe we should get some sleep first."

. . .

The next morning...

[It will take a Difficult (16) Computer roll to crack the datapad's security.
Zil 2D+1=10, Jather 2D+2=9, Wex 2D=11]

"So, that was bust," says Zil. "Anyone know a good slicer round here?"

[Q: Does anyone? Unlikely (5+): O5 C5 - Yes. 1d2=Wex
+Event: Introduce a new NPC - Assist / Food]

"I, uh, might know of one," says Wex, "but..."

"But what?"

"But... well... Oh, never mind. I guess we don't have any choice. Come on... let's get some lunch. And hopefully, we'll run into our slicer at the diner."

"Your slicer hangs out in a diner?"

"Not exactly..."

Scene 11

Out of Control (d8)

Setup: meet slicer

NPC list: Porubek the Kitonak crimelord (Zil's boss), Vudlor Taf the Snivvian Black marketeer, Jather Plazeed the Devaronian grifter, Bootleg Bardin the human speeder racer, Wex Enstipo the human gunrunner

Threads: crack datapad

The air inside Xoghlor's Kessellian Eatery smells like stale grease but is somehow still appetising. About three dozen beings of all stripes have stopped in to eat, either going to or coming from their respective factory jobs. The afternoon sunlight streams in through the windows, which are badly in need of a washing, and lends a cheery cast to the otherwise drab surroundings.

The waitress, a rutian Twi'lek, wears her tawdry and tight-fitting uniform with a tranquil audacity, certain of the omnipotence of her flesh. She drifts over to a booth by the window, and her dreamy expression is suddenly replaced by a broad smile.

"Wex! How you? You bring friends."

"Oosuu, hi. It's really not going so great. There's been some... setbacks for me and my compatriots here."

"Whole planet messy. Curfew cut Oosuu hours. Wex have freelance offer?"

"In fact," says Wex, putting the mysterious datapad on the table, "I was wondering if you could crack this for us."

"Oosuu just start shift. You eat, Oosuu help later. Go home at curfew. You come then. Eat dinner here too. Eat lots so boss not mad Oosuu talking, not serving."

"Will do."

The Twi'lek takes their orders on a grease-stained datapad, then flounces happily off towards the kitchen.

Template: Twi'lek outlaw tech
Dexterity 3D
 Dodge 4D
Knowledge 2D+1
 Willpower 4D+1
Mechanical 2D+1
Perception 4D+2
Strength 2D+2
Technical 3D

 Blaster repair 4D
 Computer prog./repair 4D
 Space Transport repair 4D
 Starship weapon repair 4D

Equipment: blaster comlink datapad 50credits

[Oosuu was made from the excised bits of Zil's first draft history. For her stats, I used the Twi'lek co-pilot template from Platt's Smugglers Guide with a slight change to skills. For her description, I adapted Zola's description of the eponymous heroine of Nana: « Elle était nue avec une tranquille audace, certaine de la toute-puissance de sa chair. »]

"I know what you're thinking, Zil," says Wex, "but you need to trust me on this."

"How do you know what I'm thinking?" asks Zil.

"With that face you're pulling," interjects Jather, "the droid outside directing traffic knows what you're thinking. But if I had a worse sabacc face, I  might be looking the same. Wex, just what are you thinking?"

"For one, she's absolutely an independent operator, so she has no loyalties that might make things difficult for us. Plus she kinda owes me a favour for finding her a place to live when she got to Ord Mantell. Look, I've worked with her before; she really knows her stuff."

"Uh-huh," observes Jather.

"So, Wex," begins Zil, "you're telling me this has nothing at all to do with her--"

Zil doesn't get a chance to finish her reproof. A bounty hunter has just walked into the diner, a blast vest visible under her long coat, and wearing a full face mask which conceals her identity and species. Four thugs trail behind her: a male Jenet, a female Rodian, and two male Humans. The bounty hunter scans the diner until she sees Zil, then draws her blaster; her cohort follow suit.

Zil and Jather have noticed their assailants, and are already leaping out of the booth and upturning tables for cover. Wex is still sitting there dumbfounded as the first salvos of red and blue blaster bolts criss-cross the room.

A general panic erupts, and the patrons flee in all directions, upsetting tables and chairs in their flight.

[I had asked the Oracle--
Q: Does anything untoward happen before they meet up? Unlikely (5+): O6 C2 - Yes, and... right now
Q: What happens? 1d6: 1-2 ambush, 3-4 tailed, 5-6 arrested: 1

1d6= 4 thugs led by 1 bounty hunter

Thugs: All attributes 2D; Blaster, Dodge, Streetwise, and Brawl 3D

Bounty hunter: DEX 3D, blaster 4D, dodge 4D; KNO 1D+2; MEC 1D+2, repulsorlift operation 2D+2; PER 2D; STR 2D+2, brawling 3D+2; TEC 1D

I used the Typical Bounty Hunter stats from Tatooine Manhunt. I forget where the Thug stats came from. These were both copied to the bottom of my game notes file before I'd started the adventure.

This was played out theatre-of-the-mind style, but I had a clear image of the diner in my head to start with. Rather than estimating the movements of ~36 bystanders and the overturned furniture they leave behind, I made two tables to handle the effects of a missed shot and to determine Movement difficulties.

For a missed shot, I rolled 1d6, with a modifier of -1 per round after the first.

result miss effect
------ -----------
  1-   clean miss
  2    create minor (+5) hazard*
  3    create major (+5) hazard*
  4+   bystander hit

*Minor hazards only affect the first person to move through/past them. Major hazards remain for the whole encounter. +5 is added to the Movement difficulty in both cases.

die Movement difficulty
--- -------------------
 1  moderate (15)
2-4 easy (10)
5-6 very easy (5)

The party needed Easy (10) Perception rolls to avoid surprise; only Wex failed. The party won the  initiative. I ran the combat by the book, with actions being declared in initiative order then played out, making all the necessary movement rolls &c &c. A lot of dice were thrown, and putting them all in the narrative would make this unreadable, so I'll be truncating most of the mechanics.]

[Round 1]
Zil and Jather leap from the booth, drawing weapons as they move. Each crouches low on the floor and scurries behind an upturned table. All five of the assailants are standing in a rough line and blazing away at them.

[The tables provide about 50% cover, adding +2D to the attack difficulty. Shots that would have hit without the additional dice hit the cover instead (which has 2D Strength), and may injure those behind it if enough damage gets through.]

One blaster bolt takes a chunk out of Zil's table, sending plastic splinters into her hair. Another blows a hole clean through Jather's, knocking him back a little but causing no permanent harm [he's Stunned: -1D to all actions]. Two other shots go into the crowd of fleeing patrons, and two unfortunates are brought low [incapacitated, mortal wound].

The bounty hunter takes aim at Wex, but the bolt sizzles right past his head and impacts on the far wall.

Oosuu had just come from behind the counter with a fresh pot of caf -- steaming hot right out of the maker -- when the thugs pulled their blasters. Without thinking she swings the full pot right at the face of the nearest human thug [Diff 10, damage 2D]. The cheap glass shatters on impact; shards of glass cut his face and burning liquid scalds his eyes. He drops to the floor screaming. [Damage was 13 (Wild die came up a 6, adding +4) vs. 3 (Wild die came up 1, a Complication). He's Incapacitated, and very probably blinded].

[Round 2]
[Q: Anyone turn to attack Oosuu? Likely (3+): O5 C6 - Yes. 1d3=1]

Wex has come to his senses. He turns about in the booth and crouches low [=dodges] behind the tacky vinyl seat as he draws his heavy blaster pistol. Zil and Jather return fire with their hold-out blasters, popping up above the table rims to squeeze off a few shots. The thugs keep firing, but move towards the nearest tables for cover themselves, and the bounty hunter crouches behind the furthest booth.

Zil's shot grazes the Jenet's coat, burning a black stripe in the arm [no damage]. Jather hits one of the miraculously still-standing tables. The shot blows the top clean off as it shreds the metal frame, leaving a mass of sharp, twisted metal [major hazard].

The Rodian's shot sends up another shower of plastic over Zil -- so close that this time she can feel the heat of the sizzling bolt [Zil is Stunned (-1D)]. The Human's shot drops another cowering patron [Mortally wounded]. The bounty hunter once again hits the far wall instead of Wex.

Meanwhile, Oosuu has turned and run to hide behind the lunch counter [full dodge, full cover]. The Jenet is seized with rage at what this waitress has done to his friend. He makes to follow her, and squeezes off a few blaster bolts as he rushes past the twisted metal wreckage towards the counter [made his Movement roll past the hazard, missed his shot]. The poor dishwashing droid attached to the sink is blasted in two as the Twi'lek dives through the swinging counter door.

[Round 3]
[Q: Any weapons behind the counter? Unlikely (5+): O2 C6 - No.]

The Jenet swears as he knocks his knee hard against the little swinging door on his way through. Oosuu realises she's trapped, and takes a flying leap over the edge of the counter where it curves round the bend. Cups and plates go flying as she vaults the counter, head-tails trailing, but she lands gracefully on the other side [Easy (10) move and Dodge, so both actions at -1D, but she rolled a 6 on the wild die for movement, so 2D=11]. The Jenet fires after her, but hits the pie case instead, which ruptures and deposits a mess both savoury and fruity in his path [minor hazard].

Both Zil and Jather blaze away at the assassins, but neither score a hit; hold-out blasters are not terribly accurate at range.

Wex draws a bead on the remaining human, and the heavy blaster pistol barks in his hand. The bolt slams into the man's sternum. He is pushed over backwards to the floor, and lies still [Incapacitated].

A fusillade of blue and red reduces both Zil's and Jather's tables to smoking embers. The two of them are knocked senseless by the explosions of metal and plastic, and soon lie motionless on the floor. [Both of them got a second Stunned result, rendering them unconscious (i.e. number of stuns in a minute equals number of Stamina (defaults to Strength) dice).

[Round 4]
Oosuu grabs a chair, and throws it at the advancing Jenet. The chair bounces over the counter but lands well short of her target. Still, it keeps him from getting a shot off as he fights his way past it, mindful not to slip in the goo on the floor [fails his move to get past the two minor hazards (pie & chair)].

Wex aims a shot at the bounty hunter, and hits her in the sternum as well, but she seems mostly unfazed as the blast is absorbed by her armour vest [Stunned, -1D]. Still, her shot once again goes clean over his head and into the far wall. The Rodian does little better, hitting only the back of the booth, which melts a little rather than splintering.

[Round 5]
Oosuu grabs another chair, and crawls right up to the side of the counter. The Jenet kicks the chair from his path and moves up to bend of the counter.

Blaster bolts whiz through the air wildly.

[Round 6]
As the Jenet leaps over the counter, Oosuu swings the chair at him. He lands hard and bounces for a metre all tangled in the chair legs. He does not get up again [Damage s STR+1D (as a Club); the Jenet rolls poorly and is Incapacitated].

Wex fires again at the bounty hunter. This time the bolt hits her face mask, splitting it asunder in a shower of sparks. She slumps lifeless over the side of the booth [the wild die pushed the damage roll up to 31 vs. her 6; Dead].

But any triumph he feels is short-lived. The Rodian's shot burns a hole straight through the booth's seat back and into Wex's side. He winces from the impact as the smell of burning flesh is added to the reek of scorched vinyl [Wounded].

[Round 7]
Oosuu crawls swiftly down the length of the counter to hide; she's had enough. The Rodian has also had enough, and zigzags toward the exit [Full dodge + 10 metre movement]. Wex's shot goes wild.

[Round 8]
Wex fires again at the fleeing Rodian, but she is already out the door [Full dodge + move]. His last few angry shots spend his rage on the doorframe.

After a few moments of silence, Oosuu peers round the side of the counter. Seeing no movement, she hazards a look over the top. She sees Wex clambering unsteadily out of the booth.

"Follow Oosuu out back!" she yells.

"But... my friends," contests Wex.

"Oosuu help bring! Hurry!"

Oosuu helps Wex drag the unconscious Zil and Jather out the back of the kitchen and into the filthy alleyway, which smells like drunks from a thousand different systems have been pissing here since the birth of the Old Republic.

"Meet at Oosuu flat. Take key!"

"What're you doing?" asks Wex, confused and a little queasy.

"Oosuu wait cops. Oosuu work here. Not trouble if wait. Suspicious if run."

Wex knows better than to argue.

[Q: How long do authorities take to arrive? 2d6=4 minutes - Zil is out for 7.
Q: Do Imperials arrive? 50/50 (4+): O6 C7
Q: Do they search alley? 50/50 (4+): O2 C8 - No.]

He is still slapping Zil awake when he hears the sirens of several repulsorlift vehicles arriving, and the familiar clacking of white-armoured feet and electronically amplified voices. Fortunately, they are concentrating on the front of the diner, and haven't looked round the back yet. As soon as they both can stand, Wex ushers his friends out into the fresh air.

[Each needs to make a Moderate (12) Sneak roll to get away.]

Jather and Wex have just disappeared around the corner into a side-street when Zil hears a shout behind her.

"Hey you!" calls a stormtrooper. "Stop right there!"

Zil freezes. she turns slowly about, hands half-raised. [1d6=] A single stormtrooper stands in the street behind her. "Just where are you going?" he asks.

"Home!" she says. "Thought I'd take a short cut through this way, and look what I almost get caught up in! This neighbourhood just gets worse and worse. I wish you guys would stick around here all the time; clean up the place a bit."

[She needs a Moderate (15) Con roll; 3D=15]

"Go on home, citizen. The Empire is here now to keep you safe."

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Star Wars RPG solo - Part 3 : Certain complications arise

The Trandoshan hefts her oversized blaster rifle. "Nothing I like better then cracking open them little white shells," she says. "Sangley, see our friends out to the tunnel. Hexod and Tova, you're with me."

Scene 7

Out of Control (d8)

Setup: escape

NPC list: Porubek the Kitonak crimelord (Zil's boss), Vudlor Taf the Snivvian Black marketeer, Jather Plazeed the Devaronian grifter, Bootleg Bardin the speeder racer

Threads: deliver datapad

The human guard motions for Zil, Bootleg, and Jather to follow. Zil glances over her shoulder as she leaves the guardroom, and sees the Weequays are hurriedly setting up a repeating blaster on a tripod.

Their guide stops the centre of the warehouse, and trips a hidden catch on one of the countless durasteel shipping containers stacked in tottering rows. The front springs open, revealing a ladder leading down. "We'll hold them off long enough for you to get away, but if they send for reinforcements you're on your own. Go!"

He shuts the crate behind them. The tunnel is in almost complete darkness, but dim glowstrips on one wall mark the way. It runs for about a hundred metres, where it ends in a door leading into one of the municipal storm drains. When the door is closed behind them, they can barely see where it had been.

[Stealth rolls: Zil 4D=15, Jather 4D+2=12, Bootleg 2D=8
vs. the stormtroopers' Search 3D=7!

Q: Any guards caught and blab? Unlikely (5+): O2 C1 - No, and...
Q: Any problems with Bootleg's speeder parked out front? 50/50 (4+): O4 C1 - Yes, and...]

They emerge in an enormous, plasticrete drainage ditch, the kind Bootleg used to race speeder bikes in when he was a kid. When they get back up to the street, they notice quite a few patrols of stormtroopers and local police, but manage to evade their notice.

They spend the night in a miserable hotel, and walk back the next afternoon to check on Bootleg's speeder, which is nowhere to be found.

Scene 8

Out of Control (d8)

Setup: d8=4, Interrupt (was: make contact with someone in Vudlor's organisation)
Interrupt: Remote event - Disrupt / The mundane

All holovid stations and datastream alerts carry the important news that due to planetary unrest caused by renegade union leaders committing acts of sabotage and prolonging the illegal transit strike, and separate incidents of unprovoked attacks on the Empire's peacekeeping forces, a curfew of 19:00 has been imposed. Additional stormtrooper patrols have been committed to the streets to ensure the public's safety.

Scene 9

Out of Control (d8)

Setup: make contact with someone in Vudlor's organisation

NPC list: Porubek the Kitonak crimelord (Zil's boss), Vudlor Taf the Snivvian Black marketeer, Jather Plazeed the Devaronian grifter, Bootleg Bardin the speeder racer

Threads: deliver datapad

They repair to a nearby cantina to discuss their next move over food. Bootleg says he'll gladly stay around for the time being. He's afraid of what Zil might do to him if he just left.

Jather says he might as well stay and help since the curfew has made it impossible to do his own errand.

[Jather's result was via UNE: scheming - plan - previous scene. He needs to make a Con roll: 5D+2=14 vs. Zil's Perception 3D=8; she doesn't know he was/is up to something.]

They start making the rounds as best they can, but the curfew and imposition of martial law are making it hard to find anyone willing to talk.

[A Streetwise roll is required to make contact with the local underworld. The base difficulty is Moderate (15), +10 for Martial Law, -5 since the party work for (or are) criminals: total difficulty is thus 20; Zil has the best skill level, 4D+2=14, failure.

They can make another roll in (1d6=) 5 days, which mostly only impacts their credit balance; I deducted 50 credits per day (each) for the hotel, food, and drinks in seedy establishments.

Since they had 5 days, I cycled them through Travelling Alone again, but there was nothing interesting until I rolled Event #12, Meet new PC.]

Wex Enstipo
Template: Gunrunner (human)
Dexterity 2D+2
 Blaster 4+2
 Dodge 3+2
Knowledge 4D
 Streetwise 5D
 Value 5D
Mechanical 4D
Perception 3D

 Bargain 4D
Strength 2D+1
 Brawl 3D+1
Technical 2D

Equipment: blast vest, hold-out blaster, modified heavy blaster pistol (5D+2 damage), 1000 credits

Five days later, our heroes are sitting dejectedly in what seems like the thousandth sticky-floored dive they've found, when Zil notices a familiar face at the bar. Wex Enstipo is a ruggedly handsome scoundrel from some outer rim hellhole who's made a name for himself smuggling guns and assorted heavy weapons into Imperial worlds for anyone who can pay. Zil is singularly immune to his charms, and he seems unafraid of her, which is as near to mutual respect as she has with anyone.

Zil sneaks up and leans on the bar beside him. "Hey, spacer, buy a lady a drink?"

"A lady? No. But I'll buy you one, Zil," laughs Wex.

After bringing him back to the table and making introductions, Zil doesn't waste any time. "So, Wex, how's the old 'import/export' business going?"

"Pretty terrible," says Wex. "But I can't think why."

"Tell me about it! We've been trying to get ahold of Vudlor Taf. And now that he's the man of the hour, it's proving a trifle difficult."

"Now there's a coincidence. I don't know where Vudlor's gone, but I need to find him too. I got a shipment of goods sitting in a hotel room and costing me money."

"Let's work together to find him, then."

[Wex's streetwise 5D=20, success (only just); 1d3+1 days]

It takes the four of them another three days of hunting up scum and making enquiries, but at last they make contact with someone in Vudlor Taf's organisation, who informs them that Vudlor has gone to ground and is hiding out in the back of one of businesses he uses to launder money through, a sweet shop in the Naslagud Market district [location via Scarlet Heroes: Tattered market].

Fortunately it isn't far to walk, since Bootleg is (still) waiting for the wheels of bureaucracy to turn so he can pay the impound fee to get his speeder back. The market itself is almost empty; many stall owners haven't bothered to open up, and more than a few shops are closed as well. When they get to the sweet shop...

[Q: Is Vudlor there when they arrive? Certain (2+): O1 C1 - No, and...
The building is (1d6): 1-2 swarming with cops, 3 swarming with stormtroopers, 4 swarming with rival gang members, 5-6 a burnt out shell]

...they find it surrounded by a human street gang, the Skull Street Stranglers -- definitely not friends of Vudlor Taf. Our heroes do their best imitation of startled pedestrians and try to leave without attracting any attention.

[Stealth rolls to remain unseen/unnoticed:
Zil 4D=14
Jather 4D+2=15
Bootleg 2D=11
Wex 3D=12
 vs. the thugs collective 3D=12]

"Oi, yer!" shouts a voice. Bootleg stiffens at the sound, then immediately realises his mistake. He turns about slowly, and tries to look casual. But the ganger right behind him does a double take. "Bootleg Bardin! Well, I'll be a rancor's chew toy! What'cha doing out here?"

"Just looking for a place to buy booze. That's still open. But you guys look busy, so I'll just get out of your way. I don't want there to be any misunderstandings." [Con 2D=7, spend a character point for +1d6=6, total 13; the thug rolls 2D=10]

"Quite right. It's best you go. You might get hurt if you stick around. And that'd be a real shame, cuz I gots 500 credits riding on your next race!"

Bootleg quickly rejoins the rest of the party, who have repaired to nearby side street. Zil has already concocted a plan to shadow one of the thugs; she will lead, the rest will lag behind until called for. She has Jather keep watch to see when they start to break up, and will wait for him to tell her which street to head down in pursuit.

[Jather needs a Moderate (14) Perception roll to notice them breaking up
(4D+2=18, success) and a similar Hide roll to stay unnoticed (4D+2=22, also success).

Q: Does one go off alone? 50/50 (4+): O5 C2 - Yes, and...

Zil needs a Sneak roll to tail: 4D=15 vs. Search 2D=9, success]

The plan works better than expected, and a lone ganger wanders off on [d6=]his own. Zil pads up behind him in the empty street, and taps him on shoulder as she presses her blaster into the small of his back.

"Keep your hands where I can see them or you'll be in the market for a new spine." [Intimidation 4D+2=13 vs. Willpower 2D=4]

The thug put his hands up in the air, and freezes as Zil deftly removes the blaster from under his coat. She sticks it in her belt, and calls her friends. She ushers the ganger in to a filthy alleyway , and the others arrive soon after.

"OK, talk," growls Zil, her blaster pressed up under the ganger's neck.

"What about? I nee--"

"Don't play games with me! What were you all doing at the sweet shop? Why are you messing with Vudlor Taf?" [Easy (10) Intimidation roll: 4D+2=13]

"I saw the holonews," says the ganger. "So he's ruined in the eyes of the public -- who cares? He's a criminal. We ruin his operation -- so much the better." [hostile - resentment - enemy]

"What have you got against him?" [Moderate (15) Intimidation roll: 4D+2=17]

"This is personal between our gang and Vudlor. But if his friends want to try hiding him from us, we can't promise that they won't get caught in the crossfire." [hostile - shelter - friends]

"So where the hell is he?"

"Do I look like his mummy?"

"Don't get smart with me. I ask you again: Where. Is. He?" Zil punctuates the words of her question by grabbing his shoulders and slamming him against the wall. But a glazed look suddenly comes over his eyes, and he falls at her feet. Then Zil notices the rusty, protruding pipe she's just managed to impale him upon.

"Ah, hells..." she says.

[She had needed another Intimidation roll, but the Wild die came up as a 1, indicating a complication. Her total was a mere 4D+2=11, so she didn't get any information, either.]

Scene 10

Out of Control (d8)

Setup: regroup & try again

NPC list: Porubek the Kitonak crimelord (Zil's boss), Vudlor Taf the Snivvian Black marketeer, Jather Plazeed the Devaronian grifter, Bootleg Bardin the human speeder racer, Wex Enstipo the human gunrunner

Threads: deliver datapad

[Time for another Streetwise roll: the difficulty increases by +5 to 25 (Very Difficult) due to things getting generally worse. Wex rolls 5D=21, failure.]

They spend another [1d6=] 5 days trying to find someone who can put them in touch with Vudlor Taf, but the martial law and repeated attacks on Taf's holdings make it a seemingly impossible task. Nerves within their little band are also beginning to fray. Zil and Wex are determined to find Vudlor Taf for their own ends, but both Jather and Bootleg are having second thoughts about sticking round.

[Q: Do either of them bail? 50/50 (4+): O6 C8 - Yes.
Q: Why is Jather staying on, then? Imitate / A path]

Jather seriously considers leaving, then thinks better of it. He feels he must make Zil think he's still helping. Besides, he's been pretending too long to back out now, and the delay is well past the point he was paid to effect.

[Q: Any trouble with Bootleg leaving? Unlikely (5+): O6 C6 - Yes.
From? 1-2 J, 3-4 W, 5-6 J&W: 2
+Event: Close a thread (deliver datapad) - Change / Danger (rival gang now after party -- see below)]

On the morning of the 5th day, Zil's comlink buzzes. She answers excitedly, hoping it's a lead.

"Hey Bootleg," she says a little dejectedly, "that was the impound lot. They said you can come in this afternoon to pay the fee and get your speeder back."

"Finally!" he says. "In that case, I'll be seeing you guys."

"What do you mean?" asks Jather.

"I mean I'm done with this mess. I'm heading back to the track to get some practice laps in before my next race. This has been fun and all, but you guys are seriously bad news. I'm lucky I didn't lose my speeder. Or my head!"

"I thought you were trying to help us for real," says Jather. "You telling me you've just been dead weight this whole time?"

"Dead weight? You sleemos wouldn't even be over here if I hadn't of took pity on you! [sic]"

Jather can hardly find words to reply, but moves towards Bootleg with menace screaming behind his eyes. Zil's never seen him like this before, and decides she should step in before things get ugly. [She needs a Moderate (15) Intimidation roll to separate them: 4D+2 =15]

Zil stands between them and pushes them apart. After a moment's hesitation, Bootleg storms off without uttering another word. Jather retreats to the toilet to sulk.

"Phew!" says Wex, holstering his blaster, "I was afraid I was going to have to shoot one of 'em."

The rest of the day is uneventful. But on the following morning, whilst waiting for Wex to be done in the shower, Zil and Jather are absently watching the hotel room's holovid. The trashy talkshow (my husband left me -- for an astromech droid!) is interrupted for an important news bulletin: notorious crimelord Vudlor Taf has been [1-3 captured, 4-6 killed] captured by Imperial forces. A speedy trial and swift restitution to his victims is promised by the Imperial planetary governor, in the name of public order.

Upon hearing the news, Zil steps outside to call her boss.

[Q: Can Zil get hold of Porubek? Likely (3+): O1 C5 - No.]

"Any Luck?" asks Jather when she comes back in.

"None. It's prolly the increased Imperial presence, though. He'll want to stay hidden too, and he does tend to think the Empire is listening in on his calls."

They aren't sure what to do next, but decide to leave the hotel room for the day as usual in order to stay sane. Whilst they're out and about...

[Party's best Perception (Jather 4D+2) vs. Mysterious pursuers' Sneak (3D): 15 vs. 12]

"Don't turn round, but we're being followed," says Jather quietly.

"Who by?" asks Zil,

"It's [1d6+1=] a pair of heavies."

"Can we lose them?"

"We can try..."

[Their Search (2D) vs. the party's worst Sneak (Wex -- also 2D): 5 vs. 11]

Jather leads them into a crowded street, and when he thinks there are enough beings between them and the heavies, he says to split up and double back to the cantina they just left. Our heroes lose the heavies in the crowd, and make their way cautiously back to their hotel before curfew.

"Now what?" asks Jather.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Star Wars RPG solo - Part 2 : Looking for Vudlor Taf

"...that was the Modal Nodes' classic, Outer Rim Lady. You're listening to Smooth Night Sounds on frequency 80956-ab, Ord Mantell's favourite audi-cast station. We've got another request coming up in a moment, but first, this important news bulletin:

"The Imperial authorities have graciously agreed to step in and assist the beleaguered civilian government of Ord Mantell in ending the illegal strike which has been causing so much chaos for the planet. The OMTransit Union leaders who have struck this blow against planetary security and harmony are even now being arrested, and will be tried as befits criminals of their calibre. A return to normal transit operation is expected within the week.

"Well, they're finally sending in the stormtroopers to get this sorted. I don't know about you, my loyal listeners, but my pseudopods are killing me from walking to work every day.

"Our next request goes out to Yzisklo from Hhajan-dal. She says she's sorry she put hydrogen sulphate in your Type-1 atmosphere respirator, and she hopes the two of you can work things out..."

Scene 4

Average (d10)

Setup: crossing the planet

[Q: Any complications? Certain (2+) O1 C1 - No, and...
+Event: Remote event - Oppress / Hope: Empire arresting union leaders to break strike (see above)]

Scene 5

Average (d10)

Setup: looking for Vudlor Taf

NPC list: Porubek the Kitonak crimelord (Zil's boss), Vudlor Taf the Snivvian Black marketeer, Jather Plazeed the Devaronian grifter, Bootleg Bardin the speeder racer

Threads: deliver datapad

The trip across the continent is mostly uneventful. Bootleg Bardin is an expert racer, so weaving in and out of traffic to get to the open roadway is second nature to him, and the speeder's flight ceiling allows them to stay in the lesser-used top zone (100m) for most of the trip. They'd have made record time if Jather hadn't had to make them stop at almost every services to use the facilities.

The Henxell district is evenly divided between factories, warehouses, and low-rent workers' accommodation blocks. Offworlders rarely venture this far, though there is a minor starport for freight transfers. The lines between legal and criminal activity are blurred here, as many crime bosses own the warehouses which see a large number of perfectly mundane goods in and out in order to mask smuggling operations. Some of the minor bosses accidentally went legit when pursuing lucrative Imperial contracts.

The dashboard clock reads 24:17 as Bootleg is finding a place to park his speeder next to their destination, [rolling on the Scarlet Heroes urban location table], a large, unmarked warehouse. Despite the late hour, the streets are full of beings; swing shift has just let off. 

[Q: Random encounter? 50/50 (4+): O4 C2 - Yes, and...
BOLD Waylay: easy foes - mooks - leeching
solution: strong attribute

Zil's Intimidation (4D+2=17) vs. the thugs Willpower (+5 since they outnumbered the party: 2D+5=13]

They exit the speeder, stretch a little, then Zil leads them (she hopes) in the direction of the nearest entrance. An unkempt human youth crosses the street and begins following them. Another joins him. Then an angry rodian girl, and a scruffy squib. An equal number of hoods approach them from the front.

The ostensible leader, a young barabel, swaggers forth to address the weary travellers. "Got us some new faces in the district, I see. You shlorms must not have got the message yet, but anyone what wants to cross the Grey Gundarks' turf has to--"

"Shut up, child!" shouts Zil. The barabel winces in surprise, and fumbles for her next words. Zil continues in a more measured tone. "I'm sure Vudlor Taf would love to know his HQ is in the middle of Grey Gundark territory. We've got pressing business with him, but I'll make sure to let him know. I'm sure he'll send a couple of his people out to settle up with you."

"Hey, sorry, we made a mistake--"

"I suggest you run along home before you make another. And if we find so much as a fingerprint on my friend's speeder, he'll have your hides for seat covers."

[Q: Is Vudlor there? 50/50 (4+): O1 C9 - No.]

Zil leads her friends to the entrance, and buzzes to be let in.

"Yeah?" crackles the reply over the speaker.

"It's Zil Lhahon. I need to see Vudlor Taf."

A few moments later, the door slides open to reveal an enormous trandoshan, standing over two metres tall. He right arm has been replaced with a heavy, industrial strength hydraulic prosthesis. She looks Zil up and down, then glances at her companions.

"He ain't here."

"Porubek sent me. I need to give Vudlor this datapad. In person. Urgently. It's time-sensitive, so I had to get myself a racer to play chauffeur." [Zil needs to make a Moderate (12) Persuasion roll: 4D=15, success]

"Yeah, ok. You know where the Henxell power substation is...?"

Scene 6

Average (d10)

Setup: looking for Vudlor Taf redux
d10=2, Altered - Cruelty / Extravagance

NPC list: Porubek the Kitonak crimelord (Zil's boss), Vudlor Taf the Snivvian Black marketeer, Jather Plazeed the Devaronian grifter, Bootleg Bardin the speeder racer

Threads: deliver datapad

The trandoshan gives them directions according to landmarks, for this part of urban Ord Mantell has no address markings, not being intended for offworlders. They go back to Bootleg's speeder, and he follows the route precisely to their destination, one of Vudlor Taf's reeking sweatshops [according to the Scarlet Heroes location table].

As they get nearer, they see a column of black smoke rising into the sky, and soon realise it is marking the very building they seek. The fire still rages out of control, in spite of the efforts of dozens of civil defence droids.

They flit back to Vudlor's warehouse before the police -- or worse, the Imperials -- cordon off the streets. The trandoshan opens the door again when they buzz, her mien as surly ever.

"Now what?"

"Uh, there's been a slight problem," says Zil. "Someone had torched the place before we got there. The streets are crawling with droids and it looks like the news crews were on their way." [Zil needs a Moderate (15) Persuasion roll to get anything from the guards: 4D=20, she would have made a Difficult roll, so gets full cooperation.]

"Come in. We can talk."

[Q: Do Vudlor's guards know anything? Unlikely (5+): O1 C1 - No, and... just as surprised as the party.
+Event: Move away from a thread - Care / The public]

They go into the guards' smoky room, where two weequay and a human are sitting round a table, having suddenly lost interest in the game of sabaac they were playing. One of the weequays turns up the volume on the holovid player, where our heroes see a familiar scene being played out.

"...coming to you live from the scene of the fire which has gutted several tenements in the Henxell district. The fire is believed to have started in an illegal droid refurbishing shop, operated by the property owner, notorious criminal Vudlor Taf. This being's negligence in failing provide the most basic safety precautions has resulted in the blaze which has left a hundred families homeless tonight, and..."

"Turn it off," says the trandoshan, as the screen shows a wretched Bith clutching several malnourished younglings, who begins an emotional plea to the Empire to bring Vudlor Taf to account for his crimes.

[Q: Cops on the way? 50/50 (4+): O6 C9 - Yes]

The door buzzer sounds again, and the trandoshan peers at the spycam feed. She mutters a word under her breath in a language none of the others understand, but whose meaning could not be more clear, then grabs up her heavy blaster rifle leaning against the wall.

"Stormtroopers," she says.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Star Wars RPG solo - setup & Part 1

After an unplanned hiatus, I'm back to chronicling solo adventures with (yet another) new campaign, using the old Star Wars RPG.

I'd been playing a lot of published solitaire adventures (mostly for T&T and DSA) and as the excitement of a new Star Wars film was building I thought I might have another go at some of the old D6 Star Wars solos. Years ago, before starting this blog, I had been messing about with Star Wars character ideas and made a PC that I never ended up using. I thought I might just dust her off, but part of the reason I never used her was that her history seemed to have two major threads that didn't mesh all that well, and which also spread her skills pretty thin. The most interesting part of the story was how and why she came to join the Rebellion. Now that I've discovered Mythic, it seems like that would be a better story to play through. So then,

Setting & Character

The game will be set during the Rebellion period, some time before the battle of Yavin. I will leave it a bit vague to start. The events of A New Hope would make good Remote Events in Mythic parlance, should the Oracle seem to suggest it, and they might be catalyzing factors in the life of our someday-heroine.

The game will start amongst the criminal element in an urban sprawl on Ord Mantell, which seems an appropriately dismal planet in the Mid-rim. And here it is that I should probably mention that my usual mode of running Star Wars has a lot in common with cyberpunk adventures, seasoned with a hefty dose of film noir; I once ran a game wherein my friend's minor jedi PC had to meet his underworld contact in Riq's Café Alderaan.

So then, onto the character creation. I'm using the 2nd edition (blue cover) WEG Star Wars D6 rules, more-or-less as written, because last year after The Force Awakens came out I bought a second-hand copy of the rulebook in a fit of nostalgia (and remorse for giving my original one away, though it at least went to a good home). Character creation was completely standard (18D attributes, 7D skills), though I did make a custom Template.

Zil Lhahon 
Template: fixer; human female
Dexterity 3D+1
 Blaster 4D+1
 Dodge 4D+1
Knowledge 3D+2
 Intimidation 4D+2
 Streetwise 4D+2
 Willpower 4D+2
Mechanical 3D
Perception 3D

 Persuasion 4D
 Sneak 4D
Strength 2D+2
Technical 2D+1

Equipment: datapad, comlink, hold-out blaster, 1000 credits

- - -

My toolkit for the game will be:
  • D6 Star Wars (2nd ed.) for the rules
  • tons of supplements for the above
  • Mythic GME with my MCSV for the oracle
  • UNE & BOLD for NPCs and events
  • Scarlet Heroes for the random urban tables
  • Wookiepedia for additional information, mostly about aliens races and planets (though if you don't know what an particular alien species looks like, a simple google search turns up plenty of pictures)

I wasn't sure what to do for the first adventure, so I turned to the Travelling Alone charts to see what would fall out naturally; it's worked well before. I didn't quite get to the end of the first week before I had current events on the planet and a mission. So then...

The adventure begins:

Night was settling over the plasticrete jungle that was Ord Mantell City. Zil Lhahon was already up and walking through the market square. She was looking at a night off if her comlink stayed silent, but she couldn't rightly think of how to spend it. There was an uneasy feeling in her stomach, but she put it down to the liquor she'd had for breakfast -- certainly not that nagging conscience thing again. Either way, she figured, some food couldn't hurt.

She fought her way through the market square, scarcely having to break her long stride as the crowd seemed to recoil from her. Perhaps it was the brutal confidence in her unyielding gait. Maybe the livid circles under her eyes just made her look like she'd caught the Tarxian plague.

She went up to her favourite kiosk, jumped the queue, and ordered a #4 with extra purple sauce, hold the zlonks.

"You sure 'bout that, Zil?" asked the aged Arcona behind the counter. "They're fresh today."

"I'm sure, Nallo," she replied. "Fresh or not, I think they taste nasty."

"You're missing out," said the Arcona, scooping out shredded meat onto the thermacooker. "But speaking of nasty, can you believe the repulsortube strike has been going on for six days?"

"Lucky I walk to work."

"I heard the union think they got the backing of the Imperial Governor."

"Seems unlikely."

"You're telling me! Way I see it, They just don't want to send in stormtroopers to break the strike. Can't risk damaging the planetary infrastructure. You want it wrapped?"

"Nah, too hungry. I'll eat and walk." Zil threw down ten credits on the counter and told him to keep the change.

"You're my best customer, you are."

Zil waved goodbye to the vendor, who was already extolling the virtues of fresh zlonks to a sceptical Trandoshan who was next in the queue. True to her word, Zil already had a mouthful of the steaming stew as she began wading back through the throng. She wasn't sure what animal provided the meat protein for this feast, but the sauce was flavourful and not just loaded with salt like at the other stalls.

She'd barely gotten 50 metres when a hand clamped down firmly on her shoulder from behind. Zil wheeled about, shot a death glare at the scarred Zabrak who'd grabbed her, then voiced her displeasure at the alien.

"Ahngi' ngrafung ahm ee ung!"


"I said, 'Dammit Krasstun, I'm eating!'"

"Boss asked me to find you. I was just going to have some food myself, then call you up. But since you're here..."

"Since I'm here..."

The Zabrak slipped a cheap datapad into her jacket pocket. "You need to take this to Vudlor Taf. Quickly."

"But he's halfway across the continent. How am I supposed to get there with this strike on?"

"Not my problem. Later, Zil."

- - -

Writing that out in the strict sequence of how the dice fell would have been a terribly bland way to start, but for the sake of recent discussions on session notes in the Lone Wolf community, I present here the completely unedited transcript (it's short; scroll down to Scene 1 if you prefer to skip it).

Trav alone
-Upkeep: ~break even as still employed~
-buy equip: wander through market on day off
-Event: 64 Asked to carry message
 run into $runner, says boss wants this datapad to go to...?
SH: Within a week’s ride (= a few hours by the repulsortube network)
    take to Vudlor Taf, snivvian Black marketeer

Q: Does Zil know much about person? 50/50: O5 C5 - yes, +Event
Move away from a thread - Adversity / Adversities

tube network shutdown
reason: 1-2 strike 3 rebels 4-5 construction 6 sabotage: 1

Shit, how am I supposed to get there with this strike on?
Not my problem.

-seek patron (not looking)
-rumour: location data, planet; minor, annoyance  -1, Lie / Allies

The strikers think they have the backing of the local Imperial governor, who's really just trying to avoid using troops to break the strike because of the potential for planetary infrastructure damage

-Options. May take any Action, initiate new project, take a job etc.

And from there the adventure went into scenes.

Scene 1

Average (d10)

Setup: prepare for journey

NPC list: Porubek the Kitonak crime lord (Zil's boss), Vudlor Taf the Snivvian Black marketeer

Threads: find private transport, deliver datapad

"So," thinks Zil to herself as she tucks into her #4 with renewed zeal, "just how in the hell am I going to cross half the planet when the repulsortube network is out of commission? Taxis are chartered through to next year... who do I know that has a speeder?"

[Q: Does Zil know someone who might have a speeder? Likely (3+): O3 C3 - Yes, but... not on good terms with them.
+Event: Introduce a new NPC - Procrastinate / Tactics

For Introduce a new NPC events, I am selecting random character templates and giving them 7D worth of skills as starting characters if they look like they'll be sticking round. For now, I'm pulling them from the Platt's Smugglers Guide and the Independents section of Heroes & Rogues (50% chance of either).]

Zil finishes her food and wends her way through the multitudes out of the market. She is drifting up the main street and absently looking in the shop windows when she hears a familiar voice call out to her.

"Heya, Zil, long time no see."

Zil stiffens, hoping she'll see anyone else when she turns round. But no, there he is, just as she'd feared. Jather Plazeed looks shifty, even by Devaronian standards. His eyes are always flicking this way and that, as if he's expecting to be jumped at any second. Then there's the rictus grin, exposing his sharp, uneven teeth, the stooping posture, the nervous hand-rubbing, and a sartorial sense that can only be described as having-gotten-dressed-in-the-dark.

Zil sighed inwardly. "What d'ya want, Jather? I'm really busy."

"Really? You don't look it."

"I'm out running an errand."

"You don't say. For our mutual friend?"

"Yes. Definitely in the name of friendship. Call me a big softie."

NPC Relationship: distrustful
Conversation Mood: neutral
inquisitive - scepticism - skills
Rolling 1d6 to determine a controlling attribute for the skill in question came up with Technical; the Security skill made the most sense.]

"I'm surprised he'd tap you," says the Devaronian.

"And just what is that supposed to mean?"

"I heard you weren't exactly in his good books, what with you making such a mess playing infiltrator t'other day."

"Infiltrator? What--? Who've you been talking to?"

[Q: Does he say? Unlikely (5+): O5 C1 - Yes, and...
random template = Outlaw Tech; d6=m]

"It was Walout Etch. And he should know."

"That grubby mynock! You actually believe a word he says?"

[Q: Does he? 50/50: O1 C7 - No.]

"Well of course not! But he was there to see it. And you know, other people might not be so perspicacious about his account."

[Q: Is there anything to this? rather than using the oracle, it makes more sense to roll a Security skill check. I set the difficulty at Moderate, so she'd need a 12 or better. Her skill is at the default level of her Technical attribute: 2D+1=9, which would be a failure, but the Wild Die came up a 6, so she gets to add another 1d6 to her total; 1d6=3, so she (just barely) succeeded.]

"Look, I made a mistake," Zil practically shouts, and the Devaronian takes a step back in spite of himself. "I almost tripped the alarm in that foreman's office. Could 'a happened to anyone. But --and here's the thing-- I didn't, and I got us in and out with the goods. 'Twas a non-event. And I never said I was no sneak thief anyways."

Zil takes a deep breath and Jather pretends to brush some dirt off his wide, yellow plaid collar.

NPC Relationship: neutral
Conversation Mood: sociable
scheming - proposition - last action]

"Why'd the boss ask you to do it, then?" asks Jather.

"I dunno. Maybe because I don't mess these things up."

"That why you're being sent on a trip?"

"That was fast... how'd you know?"

"It's no great mystery. Krasstun told me he's just seen you."

"Make your point."

"It just so happens I need to get to that part of the planet as well. I was wondering how you're going to get there. What with the strike and all."

"I was thinking of asking Ghrohhji for a lift."

[Q: Is Jather on good terms with Ghrohhji? Unlikely (5+): O5 C9 - Yes.]

"Good idea, Zil! You're lucky to have me along, then. Ghrohhji likes me much better than you."

"Let's go see him then."

Jather Plazeed
Template: Devaronian grifter
Dexterity 3D
 Dodge 4D
Knowledge 3D+2
 Streetwise 4D+2
 Value 4D+2
Mechanical 2D
 Repulsorlift operation 3D
Perception 4D+2
 Con 5D+2
 Gambling 5D+2
 Persuasion 5D+2
Strength 2D
Technical 2D+2

Equipment: 3 fake IDs, datapad, hold-out blaster, chronometer, 1000 credits

Scene 2

Average (d10)

Setup: can we get a lift?

NPC list: Porubek the Kitonak crime lord (Zil's boss), Vudlor Taf the Snivvian Black marketeer, Jather Plazeed the Devaronian grifter, Ghrohhji

Threads: find private transport, deliver datapad

"So, are you going to call him first?" asks Zil expectantly.

"Ghrohhji only lives a few kilometres away," replies Jather. "It's not a bad walk. It might be better if we drop in on him unannounced. Give him less time to make up an excuse."

"Good thinking."

It takes them about an hour to get to their destination, a duracrete flat block with fading glowstrips on the outside walkways and a perpetually broken turbolift. Jather says he'll go in alone, as he'll have a better chance of getting Ghrohhji's help if Zil isn't there.

She waits on the pavement out front, and when Jather doesn't come right back she knows that at least he's made it in Ghrohhji's front door. Then she waits. And waits. And waits some more. Once she thinks she sees eyes peering out from behind window blinds, and hopes it's just the nosey Ithorian that lives above Ghrohhji, and that the look doesn't spell doom for her enterprise.

[If you will recall, the Event that introduced Jather was explained by the Oracle as Procrastinate / Tactics, so, for reasons I didn't actually figure out until much later, he is really trying to work against her. Therefore, Jather is going to do his best to make sure Ghrohhji doesn't help them. Ghrohhji has just been a name until now, so I made him an average member of an alien species selected at random: Dresselian (aka Prune Face).

Asking for help when you are trying to be turned down sounds like the example in the rulebook of using Persuasion for a low-level con, so there's a one die penalty to Jather's skill: 4D+2=23 (the wild die helped). Ghrohhji resists with Perception: 2D=4]

Jather walks out of the building looking even more stooped than usual. Zil isn't sure she's ever seen him without a smile before.

"That shrivelled prat won't lift a finger to help us. I tried begging, flattery, offered him money... nothing! Some people!"

[His Con 5D+2=29 (the wild die again!) vs. her Perception 3D=6]

Zil believes him.

Scene 3

Out of Control (d8)

Setup: d8=3, Interrupt (was: look for other transport)
Interrupt: Introduce a new NPC - Excitement / Vehicle

NPC list: Porubek the Kitonak crime lord (Zil's boss), Vudlor Taf the Snivvian Black marketeer, Jather Plazeed the Devaronian grifter

Threads: find private transport, deliver datapad

Zil and Jather have retired to a quiet cantina to discuss what to do next in order to secure transport. Zil even pays for Jather's drink to let him know there's no hard feelings for failing to convince Ghrohhji to lend them his speeder. She'd known it was a long shot.

A young man walks towards the exit, wearing a milk-blue jumpsuit festooned with racing patches and logos of repulsorlift parts manufacturers. He does a double-take when he sees our heroes sitting in their booth, and his face brightens.

"Hey! Hey [1d2=] Jather! How's it going?" he calls out, striding over to them.

"Oh... Bootleg. Hi."

"Say, what brings you out this way?"

"Oh, you know," mumbles Jather. "Social calls."

"Ghrohhji has something we want," interrupts Zil, "but he's holding out."

"You know how intractable he is," says Jather.

"I see. I, uh, hope you didn't have to bust his knees or anything like that," says the young man, hazarding a glance at Zil.

"No," she says thoughtfully. "But now that you mention it: how's the old speeder racing business these days?"

"Fine, fine. I'm in the black with your boss, still, aren't I? I just don't want to have to throw any more races, y'know."

"Well, if you do us a favour, you'll really keep him on side!"

[Zil's Persuasion 4D vs. Bootleg's Willpower (defaulting to Knowledge) 2D: 19 vs. 8, she succeeds.]

"Favour?" he asks.

"We need to go to the Henxell district. You do have a working speeder, don't you?"

"Sure do! Let me just drop by Ghrohhji's gaff and drop off this power converter I borrowed. Then I'm all yours."

[Q: Does Jather have a way to stall? unknown odds, 1d6=5, Unlikely (5+): O2 C8 - No.]

"Great. Where do we meet?"

"I'll come back here. Gimme a couple hours, then we can go."

"See you then."

[The Excitement / Vehicle result made the choice of template for the new NPC obvious.

Crammer "Bootleg" Bardin
Template: Speeder Racer, human male
Dexterity 3D+1
 Dodge 4D+1
Knowledge 2D
 Business 3D
Mechanical 4D
 Repulsorlift operation 6D
Perception 2D
 Bargain 3D
Strength 2D+2
Technical 4D

 Repulsorlift repair 6D

Equipment: blaster pistol, Racing airspeeder, flight suit, crash vest, crash helmet, 500 credits

Jather couldn't be obstructive when Zil was watching. He'll have to delay elsewhere. Also, these first few scenes were making me wonder if the actual genre of this adventure was less cyberpunk and more 90s slacker film. But that will change soon enough.]

Monday, 31 October 2016


I always write a ghost spooky story for Halloween.

You can read it here. The link should take you to the English translation. Scroll down if it doesn't.

(At si latine legere mavis, hoc vinculo utere.)

Saturday, 22 October 2016

House Rules for LotFP Magic in the Early Modern Period

The study of magic as both art and science is the subject of countless treatises, both laudable and infamous. Wildly varying opinions on its use and origin -- whether it be truly Inspired of God or all a great Enticement of the Divell -- have caused both saints (Albertus Magnus) and sinners (Iohannes Faustus) alike to be viewed as great magicians.

For our purposes, O Viator, the distinction is of little importance. All magic has some commonalities, and it is the approach to its practice which needs must concern us.

The pious Cleric, then, must be contrasted with the profane Magic-User, for they both command the same forces. The cleric's path is that of Natural Magic, whereas the magic-user seeks to subvert the natural order by force of will. Both, in the end, call upon spirits and the occult forces in nature to work their spells, whether Thaumaturgical or Theurgical.

I like the distinction between clerics and magic-users, but I also want the magic in the game to seem more like actual early modern magic than just D&D. To wit, I've devised a few house rules. The intent was to make only minor adjustments so as to leave as much of the rulebook intact as possible. I've still erred on the side of more game-like than realistic, else transcribing spells would be measured in turns and casting in days.

First level cleric spells can function as written, and are "memorised" through prayer as in the book. For second level spells and higher, clerics will need a spellbook exactly as do magic-users.

Spellbooks are written in natural languages, though the writing may be hidden or obscured by various means: steganography, substitute alphabets, codes, enchantments, or simple bad handwriting. Read Magic is thus no longer needed (strike from the spell list), but Comprehend Languages may be.

Furthermore, clerics and magic-users may learn spells off each other's lists, but the spells will count as being one level higher. Thus, a cleric may learn and prepare Magic Missile as a second level spell from their spellbook, and a magic-user may learn and prepare Cure Light wounds as a second level spell from theirs (n.b. as a second level spell, it must be memorised through study, not prayer). The rules for spell casting can remain as is (though see Ritual Magic below), with the spell list from which the spell is taken determining the procedure. Thus, the Encumbrance restrictions for casting spells on the Magic-User list apply to Clerics casting them as well.

Clerics start with access to their whole first level list, but gain second level and higher spells exactly as do magic-users. Spells gained for "free" when gaining a character level must be rolled on one's own class list.

Clerics casting lots of magic-user spells -- or even just higher level cleric ones -- will most certainly run afoul of the Church authorities.

Note that these rules are meant to apply to PCs and NPCs using spells from the main rulebook. Magic discovered in mysterious tomes from other worlds can and should function differently.

Now, as to individual rules changes (page references to the Rules & Magic book)...

Beginning Spells (p.79)
Read Magic is no longer needed, so a beginning Magic-User's spellbook just contains three random first level spells (an elf's would contain just one).

Preparing Spells Each Day (p.79)
~as written~

Spell Scrolls (p.80)
Scrolls are written in natural languages, so magic-users use the cleric rules. Additionally, magic-users and clerics can now use each other's scrolls interchangeably. Like a spellbook, the language of a scroll may be disguised with obscure alphabets or written in code, requiring a bit of decipherment (or a Comprehend Languages spell) to use.

The spell scroll is a D&D convention rather than a real-world one. The Greek magical papyri may look like the classical D&D scroll, but they are in fact spellbooks. In a campaign grounded more in the real world than a fantasy one, scrolls may not appear, or be very rare items. In their stead, I have created rules for Talismans.

An instance of the Divination spell (PGM II 141-175, LotFP Rules and Magic p.101)

Talismans ~new~
A Talisman, usually a scrap of parchment or small charm, may be enchanted with a one-use spell that affects the item's user (only). Use the rules for creating Spell Scrolls for time and cost. A parchment talisman requires the use of a library, others will require a laboratory. A non-spellcaster may use a talisman, but must make a saving throw vs. magic in order to "cast" the spell. If the save is failed, the magic simply does not activate, and a new attempt may be made on the next round.

Curse tablets may be made in the same way. The magic (specifically, the Bestow Curse spell) is released when the subject of the curse passes through a certain area wherein the tablet lies buried. Alternately, if a part of the victim (hair, nail clippings, blood, etc.) is affixed to a poppet or wax figure, the curse can be sent over a small distance (e.g. within the same city).

Writing a scroll (p.80)
~as written~

Transcribing Spells (p.80)
...from a Scroll to a Spellbook
This is not really possible, as only the end process will be visible, and much of the theory behind it will not be recorded. A spell scroll (or parchment talisman) will reduce the total research time to learn a new spell by Spell Level x 1d6 Days. This process uses up the magic of the scroll.

...from Spellbook to Spellbook
As written, provided the magic-user can read the language of the spellbook (Read Magic is no longer needed).

Alternately, you can hire a scholar to do the transcription for you. Roll time normally with no INT modifiers, and add the cost to the normal rate for a scholar shown on the retainers table. There is a 10% chance that an error or an idiosyncrasy of the transcriber will creep in, rendering a spell useless by the PC spellcaster. Check for each spell the first time it is cast.

Researching a Spell (p.80)
~as written~

Creating a Potion (p.81)
As written, though the magic-user will not necessarily need the help of a cleric.

Creating a Staff or Wand (p.81)
~as written~

Ritual casting ~new~
A spell may be cast as a ritual. Use the costs and times for Writing a Scroll as indicated in the rule book, but treat the spell as being one level lower (thus, a Magic-User casting a 3rd level cleric spell as a ritual treats it as a 3rd level spell).

Option: Ritual magic may even be attempted by non-spellcasters, though it is much less certain. They treat all spells as two levels higher, and have an effective caster level of half their actual level (round all fractions down, minimum level equivalent of one). They must also make a saving throw versus magic or the ritual simply fails and all preparations are wasted.

Time of Magical Activities (p.82)
Transcription and Research need not be completed all at once; however, each interruption adds 1 day per spell level to the time remaining. All other operations fail if interrupted.

Rolling for time taken: Intelligence modifiers are now applied to the die rolls BEFORE multiplying by spell levels, but all operations other than creating a staff or wand have a minimum of 1 day per spell level. Supplies must be purchased in advance (at the indicated costs). Running out will cause the operation to be interrupted. If more supplies are purchased than are needed, the excess can be used for the next research or enchanting procedure, but will only count as 1d100% of their purchased value  due to the differing requirements of each individual operation. Transcription from one book to another does not require a library, but neither can it be aided by the services of a hired scholar (all other rules for libraries, laboratories, and retainers are unchanged).

Option: Change the cost of transcription from book to book (only) to copper pieces. Even coloured ink isn't that expensive.

Libraries and Laboratories (p.83)
As written, but note that Clerics will need these now as well.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

LotFP solo - Horror adventure : epilogue

When Lalie and Éliane finally wake up the next morning, the sun is streaming in the window of their room at the village inn. Éliane sits up, stretches and yawns heartily. Lalie is still half-hiding under the covers in her bed across the room. Éliane moves to the small window and peers out. "How long did we sleep?" she asks.

"Dunno," says Lalie. "Can't be past ten. We asked the landlady to wake us."

"I think she forgot. The sun's way too high for it to still be morning."

"After what we've been through, I wouldn't be surprised if she did try to wake us and we just slept through it."

Éliane just yawns again in reply, and rubs the sleep from her eyes. After a few moments she throws on a cloak over her shift. "Well I'm going to make her bring us breakfast anyways," she says.

She unbolts the door and pushes it ajar then recoils, wrinkling her nose. "Ugh! it smells like someone's been picking wildflowers..."

[You know that part of the horror movie where it looks like everything is over, but the monster shows up that one more time...? It's harder to do in a blog, but I like to play with formats--

surprise rolls: PCs 5, it 1]

Suddenly, Éliane slams the door and throws the bolt.

"What? What's wrong?" asks Lalie, sitting bolt upright.

Éliane snatches the pistols from the night table. "It's followed us here. That... that thing!"

Lalie grabs a pistol and her sword belt, strapping it haphazardly over her night shift. "Do you think it saw you?"

The door rattles as a heavy form smashes against it.

"I'd say it did."

Lalie and Éliane back onto their beds away from the door. Lalie puts her pistols down in easy reach, and prepares to use her magic.

The thing smashes against the door once, twice, and on the third go the door bursts open as the bolt is ripped free from the frame.

[Round 1 - initiative: PCs 6, it 3]
Lalie speaks a quick incantation as the thing bursts into the room. Greenish flames leap from her fingertips and play over the beast, eating away at its gruesome hide [casts magic missile for 2d4=7 damage; it's down to 11hp]. Éliane discharges a pistol even as it leaps at her. The ball rips into its shoulder, and putrid brown ooze sprays from the wound [3 damage puts it at 8hp]. It contorts in pain and its jaws snap shut well short of Éliane [rolled a 5, missed].

[Round 2]
Éliane fires her second pistol right between its shoulders. It whimpers once and loses all the strength in its limbs, flopping down senseless on the floor [8 damage puts it a 0hp]. Lalie draws her rapier and leaps down atop it, piercing its torso and ramming the point of her blade into the floorboards beneath it [4 damage kills it].

She wipes the steaming gore from her sword on the blankets. Éliane is already reloading her pistols. Both dress in haste and run out of the room, gagging from the overpowering smell of honeysuckle radiating from the slain abomination.

All the other inhabitants of the inn have either been slaughtered or fled, but there are still horses in the stable. Our heroines help themselves to a fine pair, and ride hard for Amiens.

~ fin ~