Friday, 10 March 2017

Liber sine titulo / Invocatio Pallidae Mortis : a treasure for LotFP

I had a strange nightmare last night. As the fear began to ebb from my sleep-addled brain, I realised that the book at the core of it presented an excellent idea for a Lamentations of the Flame Princess treasure & spell. If you don't mine your nightmares for weird fantasy inspiration, what good are they?

The following assumes the standard LotFP setting of 17th century Europe.



Liber sine titulo

This slender and unassuming codex is bound in simple, dark brown leather. The pages inside are of worm-eaten vellum, which bear water damage along the bottom edges, and obviously antedate the binding by at least 100 years. It bears no title within nor without.

Inside the book is a curious text written in Latin in an Italian notorial cursive. The text starts on the first page with no title nor any words of introduction, and seemingly in the midst of sentence. It begins with the unknown author either fleeing or being driven out of the city of his birth, and setting out upon the road alone. He wanders through northern Italy as a vagabond, consumed by thoughts of revenge, until at last he calls upon the devil at a twilit crossroads, entreating him for the power to exact his retribution. The devil says that he will teach him an incantation to summon Pale Death herself to drag his enemies to hell, body and soul.

Here there is an abrupt shift in the text. The next dozen or so pages detail a ritual by which the devil may be summoned, and the steps required to bargain with him without immediately signing over one's immortal soul. Thereafter is appended a short incantation for summoning Pale Death, though it stresses that the incantation alone will not work without knowledge of some several secret signs, which only the Devil himself may impart.

The narrative then resumes for a handful of pages, telling how the narrator journeyed back to his native city, and delighted to watch the first of his enemies snatched away by the apparition of Death, who moved as though a great and terrible marionette manipulated by that master puppeteer, Satan. The narrative cuts off abruptly at the very bottom of the last page. The first and last quires of the book were evidently lost or discarded when the book was rebound.


Invocatio Pallidae Mortis (Summoning Pale Death)
Magic-User & Cleric Level 1
Duration: 6 rounds
Range: 30’

Intoning the voces magicae and making the prescribed gestures of power summons Death to drag a single specified foe down to Hell. Death appears as a 7' tall bleached white skeleton. Onlookers may see translucent, silvery filaments holding the skeleton up like some sort of giant marionette, and if they follow these upwards the suggestion of a reddish, clawed hand -- the Devil's own -- will be seen manipulating it like a puppet. The hand and filaments are entirely insubstantial, and do not hamper the skeleton's movement in any way.

When the spell is cast (which takes a full round), Pale Death will immediately rush towards the designated victim and attempt to grapple them. Should it hold the victim in its clutches for 3 successive rounds, it disappears, taking the victim away to never be seen again. The skeleton can only remain material for 6 rounds. Should it fail to catch its victim in 3 rounds, or should the victim escape its grasp on round 4 or later, it will disappear immediately. It also disappears if somehow destroyed.

Pallida Mors (AC: 18, HD 10, Move: 150', 1 attack, Dmg: grapple, ML: 12, Special: Immune to cold, paralysis, turning, and mind-effecting spells)

Refer to the Pursuit rules on pp 61-2 and the Wrestling rules on pp 62-3 of the LotFP Rules & Magic book.

Only humans may be declared as victims. A victim taken away by Death is forever dead and cannot be brought back by any means.

--- --- --- players stop reading here --- --- ---


Referee Notes


The Book

The narrative contained in this accursed volume is essentially true, with but two exceptions. The narrator did not meet the devil at the crossroads, but rather a malevolent extra-dimensional entity from the Outer Darkness, one whose name could not be pronounced by the vocal apparatus of any creature which ever has or which ever shall walk the Earth. Similarly, the incantation does not summon Death, but rather a manifestation of the entity's power in Earth's local 11-dimension spacetime. These are, however, essentially minor points.

The book is not magical, though it may be possible to detect an aura of Evil, depending on your interpretation of the spell; it is no more -- and no less -- evil than any other treatise of black magic.

The codex has no intrinsic worth, but for the knowledge it contains it could fetch 1000sp from the right sort of person.

The Ritual

The ritual must be performed at evening twilight at a crossroads. It takes half an hour to perform, and uses up 750sp worth of supplies. The "Devil" will appear to the onlookers in whatever form they expect him to take. He will treat with them as they might expect, for the Entity has a reasonable knowledge of human history and belief -- certainly enough to pull off this deception. A cleric might be able to catch him out by revealing his ignorance of the minutia of Christian doctrine, but demanding proofs from him are far more likely to arouse the Entity's wrath before the con can be revealed. The Entity will offer to teach the secret gestures that accompany the incantation of summoning death, in exchange for the spellcaster's immortal soul. The caster is advised to adhere to the following dialogue:

Magus: But by bringing Doom upon my enemies, I send their Souls to thy Kingdom in mine's stead.

Diabolus: Yet thy enemies are wicked, and bound for my Kingdom by their own Will.

Magus: Verily, but may they not someday repent? I shall send them to thy House unshriven, that they cannot escape Damnation.

Diabolus: But may'st thou not also seek Absolution in the Church?

Magus: By this very Bargain do I turn my face ever from Salvation.

The Entity will of course relent, as it has no interest in Earthly religion. Any suitably religious person will know that salvation is always an option for those who earnestly repent, and even the worldly will know of a handful of tales whereby a clever person outsmarts the Devil thus. Once the Entity teaches the secret gestures to accompany the incantation, it will depart.

Should the PC(s) attempt to trick the Entity, they will most likely end up dead. Harassing it with questions or subjecting it to cross-examination is likely to arouse its ire, as are any spells being used against it. Most magic will simply not effect it, though spells such as ESP or Detect Evil will cause the caster's brain to explode from the overwhelming feedback (no save); anyone within 5' will suffer 1d3 damage from skull fragments (save vs. Breath Weapon negates). Anyone else offending the Entity will suffer an instant, messy demise; allow a Death save, with success indicating their remains are at least able to be identified.

The spell

The above spell description can be passed to the player(s) once this spell is learnt. It does function exactly as written, save that the whole appearance of the hand and skeleton is illusory. Its true appearance, should it actually be seen (Detect Illusion works), is a roiling black mass of energy, spinning at hundreds of rotations per second.

On the face of it, this seems very powerful for a first level spell. And it is, but there's a catch. The more it's used, the more likely it is that the Entity will have collected enough bodies/souls for its strange purpose. For each casting after the first, roll 1d6. If the roll is less than the total number of castings (including the current one), the skeleton will attack the caster instead of the designated victim. Should the caster escape, there will be no further repercussions, but if the spell is cast again, the skeleton will continue to go after the caster. Should the caster escape a second time and try the spell yet again, it will still try to attack the caster, and you should strongly consider running a game for smarter players.

The ultimate fate of those spirited away by this spell is left to the referee; they could simply be devoured body and soul by the strange Entity, used as slaves, made to fight for its amusement, or simply deposited in a different place and time (to reappear as N/PCs in a different campaign world) for inscrutable purposes.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Star Wars RPG solo - Part 10 : Interlude on Koora

The dizzying blue-white tunnel of hyperspace illuminates the inside of the turret. Zil breathes a sigh of relief and climbs down into the main cabin, where Oosuu is sitting uncomfortably in an acceleration couch, across from the unconscious forms of Jather and the mercenary Lieutenant.

"You look terrible," says Zil. "Let me see if I can find the first aid supplies in this crate before you join the lot of them."

Oosuu merely gives Zil a weak, teary smile.


Scene 26

Chaos:
Abject Chaos (d5)

Setup: d5=3, Interrupt (was: deal with Lieutenant)
Interrupt: PC negative - Expose / Danger

NPC list: Porubek the Kitonak crimelord (Zil's boss), Jather Plazeed the Devaronian grifter, Bootleg Bardin the human speeder racer, Wex Enstipo the human gunrunner, Oosuu the Twi'lek waitress, Xzag-Xzan the crime boss (Jather's sometime patron), Chruighok the rival crime boss, Major Riilina Cazerdy the human mercenary (Wex's ex-flame), Mr. Kuththuk the genteel Trandoshan (Morga the Hutt's lieutenant), Lt. Glorrisk the Duros mercenary

Threads: escape, datapad

[The Interrupt will occur 1d6-1=0 hours into hyperspace, so first...

Q: Are there medpacs aboard? Likely (3+): O6 C2 - Yes, and... Biotech FastFlesh medpacs (Cracken's Rebel Field Guide); 1d6=4

Difficulty to heal a Wounded character is a mere 5; Zil rolls 2D+1=10.]

Zil feels their luck may be improving when she opens the first aid locker to find four Biotech FastFlesh medpacs inside. She gingerly helps Oosuu remove her coat to get at the wound, and shudders a bit to see the blackened, charred gouge in the soft blue of the Twi'lek's flesh.

Meanwhile in the cockpit, a significantly less tender scene is unfolding.

"So Lina," says Wex, "what're we to do with this associate of yours?"

"Gee, Wex, I dunno. Why did you say to bring him in the first place?"

"I thought we might need a hostage."

"Why?"

"Seemed like a good idea at the time. Now, I'm not so sure."

"Great, just beautiful. Just-- what's that smell?"

They rush out into the main cabin to see Oosuu and Zil pulling up the floor grating, from beneath which a noxious plume of yellow smoke is rising.

Lina panics and starts barking orders. "We've got to fix this before it poisons the air! Zil, the hydrospanners are under the bulkhead in the rear bay! Wex, get the diagnostic computer. No, the other one! And find the breathers! Oosuu, the red conduits are holding, fix the green one first..."

[A Difficult (20) Space Transport Repair roll is needed. Lina is trying to use her Command skill (Easy, diff. 5) to coordinate: 4D+1=18: success grants a +1D bonus, but the average skill level is only 3D, so it ends up the same as if Oosuu had worked alone. 4D=17, Oosuu spends a character point for (1d6=) +5, success.]

After a few minutes of frenzied activity, the damage has been patched, and the fuel system is no longer venting toxic gas into the life support recyclers. Wex, Lina, and Zil are cheering with relief as Oosuu climbs out from under the decking, but the Twi'lek does not share their exuberance.

"What's wrong?" asks Lina, as Oosuu stomps up before her.

"Next time let Oosuu do self. Opinions not help."


Scene 27

Chaos:
Abject Chaos (d5)

Setup: deal with Lieutenant

NPC list: Porubek the Kitonak crimelord (Zil's boss), Jather Plazeed the Devaronian grifter, Bootleg Bardin the human speeder racer, Wex Enstipo the human gunrunner, Oosuu the Twi'lek waitress, Xzag-Xzan the crime boss (Jather's sometime patron), Chruighok the rival crime boss, Major Riilina Cazerdy the human mercenary (Wex's ex-flame), Mr. Kuththuk the genteel Trandoshan (Morga the Hutt's lieutenant), Lt. Glorrisk the Duros mercenary

Threads: escape, datapad

"So, Wex," says Lina, "can I talk to you in the cockpit for a mo? Privately?"

"Yeah, sure. What's, uh... what's up?"

[They'll get 2d6=7 bits of dialogue before being interrupted]
"What's up? Really? I dunno: kidnapping, theft of a starship, a shootout with stormtroopers, a dogfight with Imperial fighters..."

"So it's not the day I had planned."

"You're going to be the end of me, you know that? Even if I stay out of prison, my career's done for."

"I didn't mean for--"

"Of course you didn't! You never do! But this is a massive screw up even by your standards, which is saying a lot. You think the Lieutenant is going to just forget all of this? What are you going to do about him, huh? Tell me, what's your great plan?"

"I'm not in charge here. I don't make the plan myself."

"Way to avoid responsibility. You didn't mean this to happen. You're not in charge of this farce. It's never your fault."

Just then Zil appears in the doorway. "Heya," she says. "What's with the big secret meeting? You're making me paranoid."

"It's not a secret meeting," replies Wex. "Lina's just venting."

"...," fumes Lina.

"Can it wait? We've got some serious discussions that need to be had before we get to our destination. Including, 'Just where is our destination?', though that might not be the most immediately pressing. I left Oosuu watching your merc buddy with my blaster."

"You're afraid she'll shoot him?"

"I'm more afraid she won't..."

"What are we going to do with him?" asks Lina.

"I know my vote," says Zil. "But I bet you all try to talk me out of it." She turns and walks back out of the cockpit.

"Why are you even friends with her?" asks Lina.

In the main cabin, Lt. Glorrisk is sitting quietly, still buckled in to the acceleration couch but not otherwise restrained. He is conscious, but still groggy from the effects of the stun blast. Oosuu is once again sitting opposite him, holding a blaster in two hands.

"You can give me that back now," says Zil. "I think it's safe to assume our guest won't try anything against the four of us. But just in case I'm setting it back to stun, so there's no possibility for friendly fire."

"Blaster not stun?!" asks Oosuu, offended.

"I was sort of hoping for an easy out. But since we didn't get one, we need to discuss what to do about the good Lieutenant, here."

"Shouldn't we wake up Jather? asks Wex."

"He'll vote with me, I'm sure."

"All the same," says Lina, "I think we should probably give him a say. I'll see what there is in the way of medical equipment."

"Zil find medpacs already," says Oosuu. "Only three left."

[FastFlesh medpac; Difficulty 10 to treat Incapacitated; 3D=10 heals to Wounded]

Lina applies the medpac to Jather, and within a minute the colour has returned to his face and he's sitting up unaided, blinking, and looking around in bewilderment.

"Bleurrrrg," says Jather. "Where are we? What'd I miss?"

"We're in a stolen mercenary shuttle somewhere in hyperspace. Heading towards... Lina?"

"Dantooine," says Lina.

"Dantooine. And Wex had us bring a mercenary along as a hostage."

"Oh. Great."

"So, Mr. mercenary," says Zil, turning to the captive Duros, "what are we to do with you?"

"Major! This is sheer insanity," shouts Lt. Glorrisk. "How could you ever have fallen in with this lot?" [UNE: insane - madness - last scene]

"Fallen in?" begins Lina, "I was just doing a favour! I haven't--"

"Like it or not," says Zil, "you're one of us now. That is, unless we convince your friend to drop us off and the two of you go back to Ord Mantell and make up some story to get the Empire off your backs. And ours."

"I, uh, I mean, that the Lieutenant and I, um, it would be kinda--"

"Out of the question!" says the Lieutenant. "I see no reason you should all get away with this -- with these -- crimes!"

"See?" says Zil. "You're one of us."

"Congratulations," says Jather. "So, who are you anyway?"

"I'm a mercenary," says Lina. "Was. And I, um, I used to know Wex. Slightly. Can't we just let Lt. Glorrisk off somewhere? Or leave him with the shuttle, even?"

"Lieutenant," asks Zil, "are you even going to pretend for a moment you wouldn't alert the Empire?"

"If it's the only way I can avoid murder at your hands, I suppose I must."

"Duros lie bad," says Oosuu.

"Yeah, it wasn't a real question."

"What if we dropped him off somewhere really far out of the way?" offers Lina. "Give him time to sit and wait for a ship to come round, so we'll be long gone--"

"How far are you thinking of running?" asks Jather.

"We could make it look like he was one of us," says Wex.

"Masterminding a plot to steal a ship?" asks Zil.

"Aiding and abetting at any rate."

"Sell ship, put money Duros account. Oosuu like; is less mean."

"Please, just let me go," pleads Lt. Glorrisk. "I can't take any more of this. A battlefield is one thing. This pit of ravening nexu is quite another." [insane - fear - last scene]

"How 'bout we put this to a vote?" says Zil. "I say it's too risky to leave witnesses behind."

"You can't really mean that!" says Lina. "What's wrong with you? Please, let's just let him go."

"We have a vote for abandonment then. Wex?"

"Make it look like he helped steal the ship and cut him loose. Can't blab without implicating himself that way."

"Oosuu agree Wex."

"Fine. Jather?"

[Jather's vote was the only one I wasn't 100% sure of as a player, so (1d6): 1-3 kill, 4-5 set up, 6 abandon: 1]

"I'm with you, Zil."

"Well, we're tied 2:2," says Zil. "I guess that means if Lina changes her vote, we go with Wex and Oosuu's plan."

"She could see reason," says Jather.

"She's too soft. We all agreed then? Since no one's speaking up, I guess we are. Welcome to your new life of crime, Lieutenant."


Scene 28

Chaos:
Abject Chaos (d5)

Setup: drop out of hyperspace (astrogation mishap from scene 24)

NPC list: Porubek the Kitonak crimelord (Zil's boss), Jather Plazeed the Devaronian grifter, Bootleg Bardin the human speeder racer, Wex Enstipo the human gunrunner, Oosuu the Twi'lek waitress, Xzag-Xzan the crime boss (Jather's sometime patron), Chruighok the rival crime boss, Major Riilina Cazerdy the human mercenary (Wex's ex-flame), Mr. Kuththuk the genteel Trandoshan (Morga the Hutt's lieutenant), Lt. Glorrisk the Duros mercenary

Threads: escape, datapad

After the vote, an uneasy silence settles over the ship. Lina tries a few times to engage Wex in conversation, but he rebuffs her in favour of monitoring their course from the bridge and running systems diagnostics. The Lieutenant is too frightened to speak, and Oosuu can't stop looking at Zil like she's some kind of monster. Zil wishes she could talk to Jather privately; she's not sure if he backed her because he knew she was bluffing or if deep down he's really as vicious as she pretends to be. Or might he just feel some sort of loyalty towards her...? For his part, Jather has stretched out on one of the acceleration couches and is having a nap.

Oosuu suddenly stiffens, and cocks her head to one side. "Zil, listen. What that noise...?"

"I don't hear anything."

"Zil, listen hard."

"I'm telling you, I don't--"

»ZOOP ZOOP ZOop zoop whine... sputter«

Wex's voice comes over the intercom: "Everyone to the bridge!"

Oosuu was already heading that way, and Lina is right behind her. Zil shakes Jather awake, and drags him along. Even Lt. Glorrisk goes in, last, to see what the matter is.

"What happened?" asks Zil.

"Hyper drive's cut out," says Wex. "Can't say I'm shocked. It's a wonder the ship made it this far."

"Where even are we?"

"Good question..."

Wex's voice trails off as he starts a sensor scan and runs some analysis programmes from the astrogation console.

[They have come out of hyperspace in a random, out-of-the-way system I generated via http://donjon.bin.sh/scifi/swsg/
The only thing it doesn't tell me is whether the population is (1d6): 1-2 human, 3-4 alien, 5 mixed (few), 6 mixed (many): 6
Wex needs a Difficult (18) Planetary Systems roll: 4D=20, success.]

Wex looks up from the screens. "Looks like we're at Koora."

"Never heard of it," says Zil.

"Former mining colony. Once the mines played out the corporations went away, and now..."

"Now?"

"I'd say this is how most people visit -- by accident."

"We need food," says Lina.

"And repairs," adds Oosuu.

"Let's set down near a settlement and see what we can do about those things."

"You find us a place to land," says Zil. "The rest of us should go through the cargo compartments and see what we have of value in this crate."

[Q: Any weapons aboard? 50/50 (4+): O2 C4 - No, but... some armour]

Lt. Glorrisk protests that there should be nothing in the shuttle, as they were on Ord Mantell not just for training recruits but for a complete re-supply. And his prophetic words come true: there is almost nothing of value left in the shuttle. Lina finds a meagre cache of [1d6=] four blast vests and helmets, stowed carelessly in the aft section.

Wex lands the shuttle on a flat, rocky desert plain, about a kilometre from a large settlement. Zil throws the bag full of armour over her shoulder and walks down the ramp onto the arid plain. The giant orange sun is directly overhead; it's going to be a hot, dusty walk.

Wex offers to go with Zil, whilst Oosuu and Lina stay behind to repair the ship. Jather stays to guard the Lieutenant.

"Check in every hour," says Lina as Wex is walking down the ramp, "or we'll know there's a problem."

"And?"

"We'll fly the ship into town to rescue you!"


--- --- ---


It takes Zil and Wex an hour to reach the settlement, which is primarily composed of decaying temporary structures left behind when the corporations pulled out, reinforced with local wood and stone.

[Q: Market open? Likely (3+): O2 C3 - No, but...
Diff (17) Streetwise to find someone willing to trade: 5D=18
Mod (12) Bargain to get enough food/water: 4D=13 ok

Q: Anything happen in town? Likely (3+): O4 C2 - Yes, and...
Q: What? PC negative - Violate / Tension
(1d6) 1-2 Wex, 3-4 Zil, 5-6 both: 6, outsiders unwelcome here
Opponents? (1d6) 1-2 d6, 3-4 2d6, 5-6 angry mob: 1; d6=5 toughs
Q: Any have blasters? Unlikely (5+): O4 C1 - No, and... clubs at best]

The market square is empty, and most of the shops seem to be closed for some holiday or other, but Wex finds a merchant willing to barter. Zil calls back to the ship with the good news. But as she and Wex are about to drag their makeshift cart full of produce, grain, and clay water jugs back through the desert, a group of five scraggly youths surround them, each holding an angry-looking farm tool with evident menace.

Zil puts her hands on her hips and stares at them for a moment. "Are you for real?" she says. "Go back home to your parents before I send you there in tears."  [Intimidate 4D+2=14 vs. Willpower 2D=7]

"Really, offworlder?" says the leader, a muscle-bound Togruta. "There's a lot more of us than you." [adds +10 to their roll for outnumbering the party]

Zil and Wex draw their blasters. "There won't be for very long," sneers Zil. [+5 for superior weaponry; totals are thus 19 vs. 17]

The thugs scatter in all directions. Zil and Wex resume their trek out of the settlement, but a few scant minutes later they find themselves surrounded by nine constables armed with slugthrowers and swords.

"You'd better put your hands up and come with us, offworlders."

[Zil's Wild die on the Intimidation roll came up a 1, for a complication.]


--- --- ---


Meanwhile, back at the ship...

Oosuu climbs up on top of the ship to repair the turret, whilst Lina gets at the damaged power lines leading to the front-mounted cannons from a hatch underneath the main console in the bridge. She soon has it reconnected, and moves onto the hyperdrive, which proves as stubborn to bring back online as does the scarred and blasted turret.

Oosuu finishes up, then climbs back through the roof hatch and into the ship. She goes straight into the turret and fires it up, and is please to see that she can instantly swivel it round in all directions, and even get a target lock on a distant outcropping of rock. She goes back into the aft section of the ship to see how Lina is getting on with the hyperdrive.

"Lina doing good work. Oosuu think not need help. Oosuu sorry about before, when yell after repairs. Fumes just go to Oosuu head."

Lina smiles and mumbles something; she's still not sure about any of this. She is glad of the praise, but hopes that Oosuu doesn't ask about the repairs too closely -- she made a lot of lucky guesses about reconnecting the secondary ignition baffles.

She lets Oosuu help her put away all the tools, and then they both go back into the main compartment...

[The first go at the turret took 15 minutes and needed a Moderate (15) Starship Weapon Repair roll; Oosuu rolled 4D=6. A second attempt takes 1 hour: 4D=16, fixed.

The front blasters only took Light damage (diff. 10); Lina rolled 3D=12, fixing them in 15 minutes. The Hyperdrive cut out after the ship was Heavily damaged, so the difficulty was 15.
3D=8 fail (15 minutes); second attempt (1 hour) 3D=18 (Wild die 6+4), fixed.

Q: Does anything else happen back at ship? 50/50 (4+): O6 C1 - Yes, and...
Q: What? NPC positive - Bestow / Liberty]

...where they find Jather asleep in one of the acceleration couches, and Lt. Glorrisk is nowhere to be seen. Lina prods the Devaronian roughly, and he awakes with a start.

"Ow! I'm still injured you know."

"Jather, where Duros?" asks Oosuu.

"He's... uh, he's just right... oh, hell."

The three scramble down the ramp and scan the horizon in every direction.

"Great. I don't see him," says Jather.

"Now what?" asks Lina.

"We'd better start looking for him," says Jather.

"Can't we just let him go?"

"Lina want explain Zil?" asks Oosuu.

"Uh, no. Not really," replies Lina. "But how do we catch him? He's had survival training, same as all of us in the Unit, and he'll be covering his tracks."

"Not doing good job," says Oosuu, pointing at the ground.

[Oosuu rolls Search in order to track: 4D+2=17. Covering ones tracks uses Sneak, and the terrain is worth a +5 to Lt. Glorrisk's roll. But 3D+2=5 (1,1,1; nasty Complication)
Q: Does the party arrive in time? 50/50 (4+): O2 C2 - No, and...
+Event (see below)]

About 800 metres from the ship, Oosuu suddenly points at the ground in alarm.

"Look! Blood on dirt!"

"Oh, no...." moans Lina.

"Quick! Keep follow trail!"

The trail turns into a wide, twisting path dragged through over the rocky soil, and turns sharply down into a shallow gully. At the bottom, a brownish-red, eight-legged, twin-tailed lizard creature is about to disappear into its cave with the bloodied and torn Duros. Its auditory membranes vibrate visibly as it detects more prey behind it, and it turns to face them. It readies for a pounce as Lina brings her rifle up to her shoulder, and blasts its head apart.

[Q: G still alive? 50/50 (4+): O1 C1 - No, and... can't be revived]

She runs up to the body of her former comrade, but stops short several metres away.

"No hope?" asks Jather.

"None at all."


--- --- ---


[Event(from above): PC positive (Zil) - Haggle / Status quo
Q: What do they want? Control / Leadership]

Zil and Wex come back to the ship empty-handed, but the others hardly notice. Jather owns up to what happened, and says it was all his fault.

"Jather," says Zil, "I'm not sure whether to be mad at you or proud to have you on our team. But that's not important right now. Thing is, we ran into a bit of trouble too. Long story short: we lost the armour and all the supplies we traded it for. We ended up in the nick, and the village headwoman wanted to do a deal to let us go free, plus recoup our losses on top of that. She wasn't going to keep Wex as assurance, but I talked her out of it." [Persuasion 4D=27! (wild 6+6+2)]

"What does she want?" asks Jather.

"She wants us to knock off her political rival in the next settlement."

"Great!" cries Lina. "Just brilliant! So we're assassins too?"

"Oosuu not like destabilise planet."

"Hold on just a second!" says Zil. "That's just what I agreed to get us out of the cell. I don't care one way or t'other about this planet or getting my hands dirty. But I know a bad deal when I smell one. Way I see it, we have two sensible options. One is go somewhere we can buy food with credits. Two is fly to the next settlement and trade medpacs for food."

"We could tell the target about this Director's offer," says Jather. "Trade food for information -- and non-interference."

 "Medpacs safer," says Oosuu, "and Oosuu hungry."

"How far is the next system?" asks Lina.

"At least 15 hours," says Wex. "And that's if we leave now."

"Medpacs?" asks Zil.

"Motion carried," says Wex.


Scene 29

Chaos:
Abject Chaos (d5)

Setup: sell Medpacs
Chaos die = 1, Altered (harder than expected)

NPC list: Porubek the Kitonak crimelord (Zil's boss), Jather Plazeed the Devaronian grifter, Bootleg Bardin the human speeder racer, Wex Enstipo the human gunrunner, Oosuu the Twi'lek waitress, Xzag-Xzan the crime boss (Jather's sometime patron), Chruighok the rival crime boss, Major Riilina Cazerdy the human mercenary (Wex's ex-flame), Mr. Kuththuk the genteel Trandoshan (Morga the Hutt's lieutenant)

Threads: escape, datapad

Wex flies the shuttle for about an hour until he spots a reasonably large settlement that is well removed from the first one they visited. He and Zil go into town with the medpacs to trade, whilst Lina, Oosuu, and Jather stay behind to guard the ship.

[Difficult (20) Streetwise to find buyer: Wex 5D=20, ok
Wex's Bargain 4D vs. merchant's 6D: 13 vs. 23]

Wex and Zil are soon back from their excursion, with a plastic sack full of food and an old Republic military jerrycan full of water. "We got a bad deal," says Wex,  "but decided to just take it and leave this crappy planet."

"Oooh, let's see," says Jather, poking his head in the bag, "is this fruit or veg? Doesn't matter, I think I can work it!"

Zil catches sight of a strange assembly made of a bit of interior hull plating atop a tripod with a blaster suspended underneath. "What is that for?" she asks.

"Oosuu made us a camp stove," says Lina. "Isn't it great? She tweaked the blaster powerpack to release a minimum of power and adjusted the timing gauge so it emits a continuous--"

"I know how it works," says Zil.

"Oh. Sorry, Zil, I didn't realise you were so outdoorsy."

"I'm not. She's got rigged to do something called 'The Burning'. Oosuu, where'd you learn--?"

"Oosuu not want discuss past. Just made camp stove, Zil." So saying, she walks straight out of the shuttle to sit outside on the bottom of the ramp. Zil makes to go after her, but Wex stops her short.

"I wouldn't," says Wex. "You'll only make it worse. Just let her brood it out and she'll be fine."

Zil relents at once; she hadn't been sure what she was even going to say to her. Lina, watching the whole exchange, feels a pang of jealousy and hurt. Wex has never interceded for her like that with anyone. Even if, as she now is mostly sure, there wasn't ever anything going on between Wex and the Twi'lek, it still pains her to see.

Jather is once again either oblivious to the emotional state of everyone around him, or else is very clever at turning it round. "I could use some help here," he says, as he begins placing the green, oblong vegetables on the sizzling stovetop. "Zil, peel the blue things. Lina see about mashing up the red ones a bit. Wex, figure out what we can use for plates."

Soon, the smell of frying whatevers tempts Oosuu back inside, and they all sit down to a sumptuous repast. No one wants to spoil it with talk of their immediate situation, but as the last of the mystery feast has disappeared, Jather unaccountably brings all of their thoughts right back to the present. "If we're ever back this way," he says, "I need to find out what those blue things are called."

"Speaking of coming back here," says Zil, "just where are we headed?"

They repair to the cockpit, and Wex calls up their location on the navi-computer, studying the nearby systems and hoping for a flash of inspiration.

[He needs a Moderate (14) Planetary Systems roll to think of a safe haven: 4D=16, success.
And a Moderate (12) Astrogation roll to plot the course: 4D=17, success.]

"Phaeda," says Wex definitively.

"Is that a good idea?" asks Zil.

"It's under Imperial control, but the local garrison is full of criminals. I'm counting on their general incompetence to give us long enough to get rid of this ship before anyone there adds the transponder code to the watch list. And their greed to let us bribe our way past if it already has been."

"Ok, so we ditch the ship. Then what?"

"Why's everybody looking at me?"

"You seemed to have an idea," says Lina.

"Well, we still have the datapad," offers Jather. "Might be worth using it to get Morga the Hutt's people off our backs. Shouldn't be hard to contact the underworld there."

"Any dissenters?" asks Zil. "No? Phaeda it is then."


---------------------------------


And with that, the first adventure came to a close. The next will pick up with the characters on Phaeda. But for now, it's time for XP -- er, Character Points.

The great advantage to OSR games for the soloist is that XP are earned in discrete units for combat and/or treasure. D6 Star Wars suggests awards based on adventure length, goals completed, and special awards for bravery, good role-playing, etc, soooooo......

I feel like Zil deserves about 12xp for the adventure, and it would be simplest to give the rest of the party XP pro rata, based on how many scenes each took part in. Scenes 8, 17, and 25 were interrupts that did not involve PCs, so the adventure had 26 effective scenes. Of those, Zil sat out scenes 14-16, making 12xp for 23 scenes, or a simple 1/2, rounding up. For the rest:

Jather, like Zil, was there from scene 1, and sat out 14-16. He was also Incapacitated from  19-26: 16 scenes = 8xp
Wex was there from scene 9 onwards: 19/2=10xp
Oosuu was there from scene 11 onwards: 17/2=9xp
Lina was there from scene (realistically): 7/2=4xp

Everyone started with 5 character points, and all but Lina spent a few to improve their rolls during the adventure.

Skills may be increased by 1 pip between adventures, which costs a number of character points equal to the number before the current die code. No training time is required if the skill was used in the last adventure. The next adventure begins ~36 hours later, so there isn't any downtime for training available.

Zil now has 16 character points. She improves Intimidate from 4D+2 to 5D (4pts), Persuasion to 4D+1 (4 points), and Starship gunnery to 3D+1 (3 pts); 16-11=4 remaining.

Jather has 12. He increases Con to 6D (5pts), and Dodge to 4D+1 (4pts); 12-9=3 remaining.

Wex also has 12. He improves Dodge to 4D (3pts), and Bargain to 4D+1 (4pts); 12-7=5 left.

Oosuu has 13. She improves Blaster to 3D+1 (3pts), First aid to 3D+1 (3pts), and Dodge to 4D+1 (4pts); 13-10=3 left.

Lina has 9. She increases Space Transport Repair to 3D+1 (3pts). 9-3=6 remaining.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Star Wars RPG solo - Part 9 : Escape from Ord Mantell

Wex and Lina drag the unconscious quartermaster up the ramp into the shuttle. Lina straps him into an acceleration couch as Wex goes into the cockpit, powers up the engines and hurriedly begins the pre-flight checks. Meanwhile Zil and Oosuu have helped Jather out of the repulsortruck. They each throw one of his arms round their shoulders to help him stumble over to the launch pad.

But the moment they reach it...


Scene 24

Chaos:
increased to Abject Chaos (d5)

N.B. This Chaos Level is listed as optional in my MCSV, since the excessive number of And.../But... Oracle results and Altered/Interrupt scenes seems a trifle unmanageable (though the odds of a random Event remain 1 in 6). I've never actually tried it before... nor had such an overwhelming reason to do.

Setup: fly away
chaos die =1, Altered

NPC list: Porubek the Kitonak crimelord (Zil's boss), Jather Plazeed the Devaronian grifter, Bootleg Bardin the human speeder racer, Wex Enstipo the human gunrunner, Oosuu the Twi'lek waitress, Xzag-Xzan the crime boss (Jather's sometime patron), Chruighok the rival crime boss, Major Riilina Cazerdy the human mercenary (Wex's ex-flame), Mr. Kuththuk the genteel Trandoshan (Morga the Hutt's lieutenant), Lt. Glorrisk the Duros mercenary

Threads: escape system alive

[This scene required some set-up:

Alteration (1d6)
1. can't start ship
2. low fuel
3. mercs try to stop ship
4. stormtroopers try to stop ship
5. someone's still aboard
6. roll 1d5 twice (re-roll duplicates)


d6=4, Unit of two officers & 6 stormtroopers arrive in an RTT, aka Imperial Troop Transport(er); Party has a Kappa-class Troop Shuttle (Rules of Engagement pp.46-7)

#obstacles on landing pad 1d6+2=5

Wex needs 1d6=5 rounds to get the ship flying]


...the whine of an approaching repulsorlift vehicle is heard, an Imperial Troop Transport. It pulls up near the launch pad, and a commanding voice comes over the loudspeaker: "You there! Halt in the name of the Empire!"

[Round 1]
Oosuu and Zil quicken their pace, rushing up to the shuttle's boarding ramp. Jather cannot move at such a pace, and his feet scrape limply along the tarmac as the two women just carry him. [They need an Easy (10) Strength roll: 2D+2 +1D for combining their action =12, success]

The six travelling racks on the sides of the transport spring open, deploying six stormtroopers, who scramble into attack position.

[Round 2]
Three of the stormtroopers must move round the front of the transport to have line-of-sight, but the other three have a clear shot between stacks of crates.

Oosuu and Zil have just reached the shuttle and are scrambling to get Jather inside as laser bolts begin flashing around them. They are halfway up the ramp when one of the blasts hits Oosuu squarely in the shoulder. She buckles at the knees and pitches forward, losing her grip on Jather and just barely arresting her own fall.

Zil summons up a tremendous surge of strength and carries Jather the rest of the way into the ship by herself, leaving the cursing Oosuu behind.

[Z&O needed another Easy (10) STR roll 2D+2 +1D=11, success.

Three stormtroopers attacked (3D blaster skill), range is 50m (Medium), difficulty 13 since no one was dodging. Only one rolled a hit, on (1-3 O, 4-6 Z) Oosuu.

She rolled Strength 2D+2=10, and spent a character point for (1d6)+2 = 12. Damage for an E-11 blaster rifle is 5D=17; Oosuu is Wounded.

Zil needed to make an emergency Easy (10) Strength check not to drop Jather: 2D+2=11]

[Round 3]
The other three stormtroopers are in position, and all six concentrate their fire on the wounded Twi'lek as she scrambles on all fours up rest of ramp. She's up in a flash of blue, as the red flashes from the stormtroopers' rifles leave what seem like burnt footprints in the ramp behind her.

[Oosuu made a full Dodge to get up the ramp. Since she could easily cover the distance in less than a round, I treated being mostly inside the shuttle this round as 50% cover.
4D(dodge) -1D(wound) +2D(cover) +13(range) =21, a bad roll...

The stormtroopers Combined fire on her, gaining +3D for there being 6 of them.
3D (skill) +3D (combining bonus)=12, also a bad roll; they miss]

[Round 4]
Zil had already hit the button to raise the ramp the moment she saw Oosuu's head come up past the bulkhead. The stormtroopers continue firing on the ship, but their blasts bounce harmlessly of its armoured hull.

The commander of the Troop Transport takes command of its dual blaster turret, bringing it to bear on the ship. The first shots go wild and streak past the shuttle into the air as the turret hasn't quite spun all the way round. The other blasts rake over the shuttle's hull, but the damage is largely cosmetic.

[The shuttle is just inside Short range and isn't moving, so attack difficulty is simply 10. The commander has 4D skill and gets +2D for the turret's Fire Control, but takes a -3D penalty for taking 4 shots, so gets to roll (4D+2D-3D=) 3D for each attack; 2 hit, 2 missed.

The weapon does 5D damage at Speeder scale, so against a Starship-sized target the damage dice are capped at 3 (i.e. any die rolling 4-6 only counts as a 3). So a rather impressive-looking damage roll of {6,6,5,3,2} 28 becomes a mere {3,3,3,3,2} 14. The shuttle rolls its Hull code, 4D=16, and sustains no damage. The second hit (11 vs. 16) similarly does no damage.]

[Round 5]
Laser blasts continue to play over the surface of the shuttle as the gunner moves the turret about, seeking to hit a vulnerable system. A lucky shot rips through the plating bolted over an old battle scar, and shorts out the power couplings beneath, disabling the forward blasters just as the shuttle's engines are powering on.

[3 hits from turret this round. Two did nothing, but one scored a Light Damage result: 1 weapon emplacement disabled due to power failure.]

[Round 6]
Wex at the controls, the shuttle lifts off from the platform. It hovers about 20m in the air, then tilts forward to train its turret on the Troop Transport. Wex  fires...

[Base difficulty is 10; Wex has 4D Starship Gunnery skill, -1D for the manoeuvre (i.e. 2 actions), +2D fire control; there's a die cap of 4 for a starship attacking a speeder-scale target, but 5D=17, a hit.

The turret does 4D damage vs. the Transporter's 3D body roll, which has a die cap of 3): 4D=24(wild die 6+5) vs. 3D=9, Severe damage, which gives a result of (1d6=) destroyed]

...and the twin blast rips through the Transport, shattering its reactor which erupts in a tremendous explosion. The stormtroopers before it are flattened by the blast, some being thrown a dozen metres forward by its force. [11D damage to the occupants, applying even half damage to the stormtroopers will kill or incapacitate most of them.]

Wex pivots the shuttle toward the sky and blasts off at full acceleration. "We're not out of this yet," he says. "Lina, this is your people's ship. I need you to get up here and make the calculation for the jump to light speed. And someone else needs to take over the guns!"

"I'll take 'em," says Zil. She pauses to help Oosuu finish strapping Jather into an acceleration couch. "Here," she says to the Twi'lek, "take my blaster. If the Lieutenant comes round and gives you any grief, just stun him again." Oosuu nods, then straps herself into the couch opposite the lieutenant, wincing as she leans back too far and presses her wounded shoulder into the seat.

Zil climbs up into the turret, takes over manual control and begins a sensor sweep of the skies. She gets her headset on, and scowls at the conversation she can hear in the cockpit.

"...just staring at the navi-computer," says Wex

"What course should I set?" asks Lina.

"I don't think that matters at this point," says Wex. "Just pick one."

"There's a few preset--"

"It really isn't important now."

"Where were you going to get that E-WEB? If we go there, maybe we can placate Lt. G--"

"I made that up. Just pick something before our company arrives"

"TIE fighters on the scopes," interjects Zil over the commo, "closing from extreme range."

"How many?" asks Wex.

"Only three."

"There's no way we can out run them," says Wex.

"We don't have to. I'll hold them off until we can make the jump to light speed. Just try to keep us from getting hit. Lina, just pick the first damn preset and lock it in!"

[It takes 1 minute to calculate a jump with a pre-loaded route, and about 5 minutes to fly out of a planet's gravity well.

Zil used the ship's sensors to search each of the 4 fire arcs in turn; Search range is 80, +2D bonus from the sensors; 3D+2D=16, success. The (1d6=) 3 TIE fighters are coming from (1d4=) the rear arc. Their lasers have a maximum range of 25 (abstract space units). This being Star Wars, I opted for an exciting escape scene rather than doing tons of maths. Thus, the TIEs come into firing range 2d6=7 rounds before jump.]

"Look!" exclaims Lina, pointing to the flashing commo light. "They're hailing us!"

"Probably to tell us to turn back," replies Wex.

"Almost in range..." says Zil.

"Here we go!"

[Round 1]
Wex banks the shuttle hard to starboard, but the more manoeuvrable TIEs follow with ease, and begin to close the gap. Bolts of green flash out from their cannons, streaking through the blackness around the shuttle and off into the distance. Zil turns the turret round and lets off shot to gauge the range, and more by chance than skill the beam sears into the front of one of the fighters, whose guns abruptly stop.

[The Party won initiative.

Zil made a single attack the three TIEs did likewise. The one she attacked made a combat dodge as a reaction. The base attack difficulty was 20, but the TIE rolled starship dodge of 25 (5D skill +2D manoeuvrability -1D for two actions). Zil's attack was 29 (3D skill +2D fire control, and an over-active Wild die). Damage 4D=17 vs. Hull 2D=11; light damage: weapon destroyed.

Wex rolled a full starship dodge 4D=14, +20 for range; neither TIE rolled a 34 on their attack.]

[Rounds 2-4]
The TIEs continue to close on the shuttle, firing all the while. Zil returns fire, but luck is against them all.

Zil shouts for Wex to angle the deflector shields towards the rear as a shot nearly grazes their ship.

The TIEs close to optimum firing range. Wex keeps flying erratically to stay out of their sights. They try again and again to catch him in a crossfire [+1D for combined action], but he evades their lasers. The skilful Imperial pilots present Zil with no clear targets, even at this range.

[Round 5]
One of the TIEs moves in, screaming past on a strafing run. Too late, Wex realises that the attack was a feint designed to draw him through the other's field of fire. Flaming green bolts rip into the shuttle's hull. Zil swears over the com as the turret suddenly seizes up in mid-turn, and her fire control console goes dark. "Turret's blown," says Zil. "If you were planning on taking us into hyperspace, now would be a good time."

[The combined fire hit. Damage is 5D=26 vs. Hull 4D=17, Heavy damage: turret destroyed. For being in the turret, Zil takes 3D damage but STR 2D+2=6 vs. 3D=5 leaves her unharmed.]

[Round 6]
Now that he's caught in their trap, Wex can't seem to extricate the shuttle from the criss-crossing streams of laser fire. This time, fortunately they only clip the wing, and the damage is mostly cosmetic. [Hull 4D=23 vs. damage 5D=22, no effect.]

[Round 7]
At last the navi-computer emits a cheerful little chime, and Wex pulls back on the throttle. The stars before them lengthen and shine with an impossible brilliance, then the ship slips away into hyperspace.

[Lina would need to make an Easy (10) Astrogation roll, but the Heavy damage to the ship increases the difficulty by +10. She rolls 2D+2=12. Failing by less than 10 means the ship jumps, but brings a required roll on the mishap table: 2d6=2, Hyperdrive cut-out & damaged.

Q: Do they make it out of the system? 50/50 (4+): O5 C2 - Yes, and... the cut-out happens after 2d6=7 hours.]


Scene 25

Chaos:
Abject Chaos (d5)

Setup: d5=4, Interrupt (was: deal with Lieutenant)
Interrupt: NPC action - Mr. Kuththuk - Recruit / Bureaucracy

Meanwhile, back on Ord Mantell...

Mr. Kuththuk is in his hotel room, standing idly by the wardrobe as his butler droid searches for a cravat that matches his favourite evening jacket, the one he had made for his last trip to Rodia. The crystal atop his ebony cane begins flashing insistently, and he raps the butt soundly against the floor, activating the holographic communicator. The crystal emits a bluish light which coalesces into the flickering image of a Verpine.

"Ah, Ms. Stictoz't," says the Trandoshan, "I take it from the dejected cast to your antennae that you haven't good news for me."

"Sorry, boss, we--"

"Ms. Stictoz't, I think you should find it easier for me to forgive your failures if you would desist from speaking like a gangster in a children's holo-vid."

"Sorry, Mr. Kuththuk. We were waiting across the street from Ms. Lhahon's hotel when they came out this morning and jumped into a military speedertruck. We were just going to follow them, but a couple of Porubek's agents started shooting up the street. So we followed at a distance, but they disabled the homing beacon. We traced the speeder to a mercenary base outside of town, but the Imperials got there ahead of us."

"And now they have Ms. Lhahon in custody?"

"No, b-- Mr. Kuththuk. They took a shuttle and blasted their way out."

"So, the inimitable Ms. Lhahon escapes!" says the Trandoshan. "Excellent. Ms. Stictoz't, I want you to call that journalist friend of yours. Give him the 'scoop' in exchange for information -- and have him leave names out of it when it goes to press; we don't want Ms. Lhahon going into hiding."

"Yes, Mr. Kuththuk. You can count on me, Mr. Kuththuk."

"Yes, Ms. Stictoz't, I am sure that this is only a temporary setback. Good afternoon." Mr. Kuththuk raps his cane once again against the floor, and the hologram winks out. "Well, Q-9-h, it looks like brunch at the Hortological Society will have to be postponed. I believe you'd better find me a darker jacket and perhaps just a plain tie, as I shall be sending a number of formal communiqués over the galactic holonet this afternoon. And get me the number of that Gand Findsman, Hulsgech. One way or another, I'm going to track down that Zil Lhahon."

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Star Wars RPG solo - Part 8 : Seems Like Old Times

The boxy double room contains two large, sagging beds and a small table with mismatched chairs. Even with the bedside lamps extinguished, the room is dimly illumined by the neon signs outside, their flickering light streaming through the flimsy plastic blinds. The room's own bitter mildewy smell vies for supremacy with the savoury odour wafting up from empty Rodian takeaway containers, the remains of the feast Wex brought back.

Jather has been carefully arranged in one bed, whilst Wex sprawls in the other, sleeping on his front following Zil's pointed threats about snoring. Zil alternates between sitting on the corner of his bed and pacing the floor. She's too on edge to sleep, and hasn't even bothered to wake Wex for his turn at standing watch. Oosuu is sitting in a low armchair facing the door. She too had pronounced herself too agitated to sleep, and vowed to keep watch all night. But sleep did come for the Twi'lek, and she has slid down with her head resting on the seat back, her lekku trailing onto the carpet.

Zil gently prises the blaster out of Oosuu's hands, and covers her with a blanket.

Scene 21

Chaos:
Madness (d6)

Setup: Now what? redux

NPC list: Porubek the Kitonak crimelord (Zil's boss), Jather Plazeed the Devaronian grifter, Bootleg Bardin the human speeder racer, Wex Enstipo the human gunrunner, Oosuu the Twi'lek waitress, Xzag-Xzan the crime boss (Jather's sometime patron), Chruighok the rival crime boss, Major Riilina Cazerdy the human mercenary (Wex's ex-flame), Mr. Kuththuk the genteel Trandoshan (Morga the Hutt's lieutenant)

Threads: escape system alive

[Q: Quiet night? Unlikely (5+): O5 C1 - Yes, and... bad guys were regrouping too]

The next morning, Wex passes round some biscuits that he'd wisely bought for breakfast. The room's complementary caf maker was broken, but Oosuu managed to get it working again using some wires she'd ripped out of the thermostat [Easy (7) Tech roll: 3D=12].

"Well," asks Zil as they wait for it to brew, "anyone got any brilliant ideas for what we do next?"

[They each get a Very Difficult (25) Streetwise roll to think of someone/thing to help:

Z 4D+2= 13
O 2D+1= 7
J 4D+2= 17
W 5D  = 15

A success would have resulted in using a Mythic complex question to figure out the great idea. As they all failed, the solution would have to come from something already on the table. The answer was suddenly clear:]

Zil asks twice more, getting only silence in answer. But Wex finally speaks up. "I was  really hoping to avoid this, but since no one else has any ideas, I don't think I have a choice."

He takes his comlink out of his pocket, but Zil stops him short. "What are you doing?" she asks angrily.

"Don't be so paranoid, Zil. If I was gonna sell you out, I'd like to think I'd be smart enough not to do it when you're in the same room."

"Fine. Make the call, then."

Wex punches up a number on the comlink, and soon it crackles to life. The officious woman's voice that comes over it causes Wex's companions to look on with ever increasing curiosity.

"Major Cazerdy."

"Lina, it's me. I n--"

"Wex? I thought you said you were deleting my code."

"I changed my mind. But I don't have time to re-hash the past right now. I'm in a lot of trouble."

"When aren't you?"

"This is serious. My friends and I really need your help. Please, Lina, if I ever meant anything to you at all..."

[His Persuasion roll is 3D=10; he spends a character point for (1d6=) +4 to his total. She gets a Willpower roll to resist, with a +5 bonus for being sick of his shite: 2D+2 +5 =13, and the wild die came up a 1. The Complication is obviously that she isn't over him.]

"Dammit, Wex. Why do I just know I'm going to regret helping you out of this mess."

"Regret... or enjoy?"

"Don't make me change my mind, sleemo."

"I thought we agreed: no pet names in front of the hired guns."

"Ha ha, very funny. Seriously, who are they?"

"A couple mates who are in the same jam as me, right now."

"The angry Twi'lek from earlier?"

"Yeah. And two others that you haven't met."

"And just how am I supposed to help?"

"There's no action on Ord Mantell. So your company has to ship out before too long, don't it? Just get us outsystem quietly. That's all we need."

"Oh, is that all? And just how am I supposed to do that?"

"Hire us on."

"We have standards you know. And a procedure..."

"But you've got clout."

"We need to meet, Wex. To discuss this... like adults."

"Agreed. Can you pick us up?"

"»sigh...«"


Scene 22

Chaos:
Madness (d6)

Setup: Meeting Lina

NPC list: Porubek the Kitonak crimelord (Zil's boss), Jather Plazeed the Devaronian grifter, Bootleg Bardin the human speeder racer, Wex Enstipo the human gunrunner, Oosuu the Twi'lek waitress, Xzag-Xzan the crime boss (Jather's sometime patron), Chruighok the rival crime boss, Major Riilina Cazerdy the human mercenary (Wex's ex-flame), Mr. Kuththuk the genteel Trandoshan (Morga the Hutt's lieutenant)

Threads: escape system alive

Major Riilina Cazerdy
Template:  Merc
Dexterity 3D+2
 Blaster 4D+2
 Dodge 4D+2
 Grenade 4D+2
Knowledge 2D+2
 Survival 3D+2
Mechanical 2D+2
Perception 2D+1

 Command 4D+1
Strength 3D+2
 Brawling 4D+2
Technical 3D

Equipment: uniform, blaster rifle, bayonet, comlink, backpack, helmet, 2000 credits


[A bit of setting up:

I rolled 1d6 on the unit size chart in Traveller's Mercenary book (MGT): Lina is part of a Company of ~100 members
Q: Can she borrow a speeder? Likely (3+): O6 C1 - Yes, and... a big one
Q: Is there a back exit to the hotel? 50/50 (4+): O1 C5 - No.
Q: Is the hotel being watched? likely (3+): O6 C2 - Yes, and... by 2 groups; Porubek's thugs are watching Morga's thugs watching the party

Oosuu's Perception (4D+2) vs. thugs' Hide (3D)
Morga's: 11 vs. 13; Porubek's: 9 vs. 8

Her sneak (4D+2) vs. their Perception (2D):
Morga's: 14 vs. 14; Porubek's: 7+5(they don't know her) vs. 8.

Q: Are the thugs she spotted (Porubek's) in the hotel lobby? Unlikely (5+): O2 C4 - No, but...

N.B. Porubek's thugs are going to make a mess of things, following the random Event in Scene 18. Morga's are presumably more competent and professional, especially if they work directly under Mr. Kuththuk. Since the party now numbers 5 and there are 2 characters with reasonable combat skills, the thugs all have 'Typical Bounty Hunter' stats.]


Oosuu goes to the lobby to have a quick look round. She rushes back to the room almost immediately, with news that a pair of thugs are sitting in the sidewalk café next door. Wex calls Lina, and tells her they're being watched, and says to pull right up on the kerb so they can rush in.

They loiter in the hall, so that they have a clear view out the front, but won't arouse the concièrge's suspicions. There can be no question that their ride has arrived when they see a 5-tonne military transport speeder pull up. Wex runs out to open the side hatch as Oosuu and Zil carry the barely-conscious Jather.

[Both have Strength 2D+2, so they get +1d6 for the coordinated effort. It's an Easy (10) task to get Jather through the lobby and into the speeder: 3D+2=10, success.

Porubek's thugs each need an easy (8) Perception roll to react in time: 2D=10,4]

One of the thugs in the sidewalk café, a Vurk in an old-fashioned flight suit, panics when [d6=]she sees Zil. She draws her blaster, knocking her fruxxon juice into the lap of her partner, a mangy-looking Bothan. Despite her initial clumsiness, her aim is true, and the blast catches Zil squarely in the shoulder.

[Strength 2D+2=8, she spends a character point for (+1d6=) 9 total; damage roll is 14, so Zil is Wounded.]

Zil loses her hold on Jather and falls into the side of the speeder, steadying herself with her uninjured arm.

[Round 2]
Oosuu pulls Jather quickly inside the spacious cargo area. Zil, cursing through her teeth, is right behind them. Wex jumps inside, then leans out and squeezes a shot off at their assailant [-1D move, -1D draw], but hits only a nearby empty table.

Both the thugs have their blasters out now, and train them on Wex. One bolt misses completely, the other thuds into the rim of the hatchway, sending a shower of sparks into his face and forcing him to recoil into the speeder.

[His Strength (2D+1) roll got a 1 on the Wild Die, cancelling the other die's result for a total of 1. He spent 2 character points getting +2 and +6+5 (these dice explode when a 6 is rolled), for 14 total. Damage=16, Stun (-1D).]

[Round 3]
There is a confusion of voices behind her, but Lina divines their collective wishes and pulls quickly into traffic as Wex slams the hatch shut. A few blasts hit the speeder's sturdy hull, with but little effect.

[The speeder's stats are as the Rebel Armoured Freerunner, but unarmed. It's +1D manoeuvrability gives her an effective 3D+2 repulsorlift operation skill. She needed a Moderate (12) roll to zip into traffic, and another Moderate (14) roll to lose pursuit: 13 & 18 respectively succeed.]

Lina manoeuvres the heavy speeder in and out of traffic until she can find a clear lane. She slows down to a less obvious pace, and meanders through the back streets of the urban sprawl. Wex crawls up into the co-pilot's seat, and Zil makes sure Jather is buckled down to the long passengers seat beside her.

"How did they find us again?" asks Zil.

[Q: Anyone think of the comlink? 50/50 (4+): O5 C3 - Yes, but...]

"Oosuu have idea. Wex, give Oosuu comlink... No -- special comlink."

"What are you doing?" asks Zil as Wex hands it back.

"Zil still not trust Oosuu? Shame, Zil."

The comlink is, like most things designed for use by Trandoshans, a bit large and clunky. Oosuu manages to force the speaking plate off in order to see inside the casing. "Oh!" she exclaims, and Zil is left to wonder in silence for a few moments at her discovery, as Oosuu rummages around in her travel bag for a few moments, the comlink rolling about on the seat beside her. There is a sound of ripping fabric, and then Oosuu produces a long, flat, semi-circular metal rod with which she begins probing the electronics inside the open comlink. "Oosuu need buy portable toolkit," she remarks. "Ruin fewer bras that way."

[She needs an Easy (10) Tech roll to find the homing device: 3D=14, success.
And a Moderate (13) one to disable it: 3D=13, just.]

A minute later Oosuu has broken off a pair of tiny wires and pulled free a small circuit board with a faintly blinking light. She holds it up to show Zil.

"Is that what I think it is?"

"Homing device," says Oosuu, and then throws it out the window.

Lina drives on for another half hour, winding through the city to make sure they aren't still being followed. At length she pulls into the parking lot of a large shopping complex, and turns off the speeder. She turns toward Wex, and opens her mouth to speak, but at first the words won't come. Oosuu opens up the spare medpac and begins treating Zil's wound, in a vain effort at giving them the illusion of privacy [First Aid 3D=17 heals her Wound]. Lina finally finds her voice.

"What the hell, Wex? What sort of mess are you in?"

"The kind that gets me shot at in broad daylight...?"

"This is ridiculous. When I agreed to help, I figured you'd just had a deal go bust and were dodging creditors until you could make up the difference you owed. Again. I swear half the reason I agreed to help you out was to give you grief about being a lousy businessman."

"And the other half...?"

"Don't push me. That half is seeming less important by the minute. You'd better come clean right now or I let you and your friends out here and we're done."

"It's not my fault!"

"Whose is it then?"

"Er... assigning blame isn't going to help."

"He means it's my fault," says Zil, jumping in, "but he's afraid to say it in front of me."

"Actually," says Wex, "I was thinking it was more Jather's..."

"Oosuu say synergy."

"We got caught up in some nonsense between Chruighok and Porubek and Vudlor," says Wex.

"And Xzag-Xzan," adds Zil, "thanks to Jather."

[Lina needs an Easy (10) Streetwise roll to know those names: 2D+2=10]

"Wow, Wex. That's... all kinds of special."

"And we tried going to Morga the Hutt for protection, only it didn't go to plan."

Lina goes silent for a few moments, turning it all over in her head. Then, with evident consternation, she asks, "How did you get mixed up in all this? These aren't your usual sort of friends. Or clients." [UNE: knowing - speech - friends]

"I needed Vudlor to get me some licences pushed through locally. We had a one-off deal. Only I couldn't find him to hand over the goods I'd promised. I ran into these fine people looking for him too, so I decided it would be easier if we all were looking together. Then things went kinda sour and the three of us needed a slicer, and a place to hide out, and..."

"Oosuu slicer," interjects Oosuu. "And Oosuu have hideout. Wex help Oosuu get flat once, so when ask help, let stay. Oosuu do Wex."

"What?!" cries Lina. "Last time I intimated as much you slapped me."

"No! Not that. Oosuu do... Wex. Ethical dative! Augh! Sometimes Oosuu hate speak Basic."

"So you see," continues Wex, "we're all in this together."

"Why didn't you just bail?"

"You know I couldn't do that."

"No, Wex, I really don't."

"I, um... that was different."

"»sigh«...... I know it was."

"So you'll help?"

[Q: How long until Lina's unit ships out? 1-2 d6 days, 3-4 d6 weeks, 5-6 d6 months]

"I'm not sure how I can. We're not due to ship out for 3 months yet. We're on Ord Mantell to do a full resupply and train some new recruits. I don't think I can keep you hidden that long..."

"Probably not. Are there any offworld errand that need run?"

[Q: Are there? 50/50 (4+): O6 C3 - Yes, but...]

"Of course there are. But not by me."

"Who's going?"

"Various people. On various errands."

"Anyone who could use our help?"

[Q: Anyone? Doubtful (6): O3 C2 - No, and...]

"Hardly!"

"Then maybe we could just hitch a ride..."

[Q: Does Lina think this is even possible? Unlikely (5+): O2 C6 - No.]

"We're mercs, not a shuttle service."

"We could borrow a shuttle."

"Be serious."

"You could borrow one. Don't you get any furlough?"

[Q: Does she? 50/50 (4+): O6 C5 - Yes]

"Well, of course. But I don't know if I can convince anyone to lend me a ship..."


Scene 23

Chaos:
Madness (d6)

Setup: try to convince quartermaster to release a ship
chaos die =2, Altered

NPC list: Porubek the Kitonak crimelord (Zil's boss), Jather Plazeed the Devaronian grifter, Bootleg Bardin the human speeder racer, Wex Enstipo the human gunrunner, Oosuu the Twi'lek waitress, Xzag-Xzan the crime boss (Jather's sometime patron), Chruighok the rival crime boss, Major Riilina Cazerdy the human mercenary (Wex's ex-flame), Mr. Kuththuk the genteel Trandoshan (Morga the Hutt's lieutenant)

Threads: escape system alive

[Setting up the scene--

Alteration (d6):
1. party were followed (too much time spent on tracker in comlink)
2. holonews: party sought for questioning
3. authorities have contacted mercs (speeder truck ID'ed by witness)
4. quartermaster unavailable
5. quartermaster overly suspicious
6. quartermaster hates Lina 


1d6=3

Q: Are stormtroopers there now? 50/50 (4+): O2 C3 - No, but...
Q: Will the quartermaster divulge the fact they're en route? Likely (3+): O5 C6 - Yes
Q: Was the report a good eyewitness account? 50/50 (4+): O3 C3- No, but...]


Lina's unit has deployed a temporary base in the grasslands outside of the urban sprawl. Lina drives the transport past a row of speeder bikes and a group of recruits learning to operate an old Atgar tower by blasting targets on a distant hillside. She parks in the heavy vehicle pool, not far from a 50m square landing pad, on which a Kappa-class Troop Shuttle [Rules of Engagement pp.46-7] sits, surrounded by pile after pile of supply crates.

She walks out to the pad to talk to the quartermaster, a harried-seeming Duros, who is currently scowling at his datapad and recounting the crates marked 'Shield Generator, part __of 9'.

"Lieutenant! A word, if you don't mind," says Lina.

"Major Cazerdy. Just got back?"

"Yeah I was out for a bit. Look, I--"

"You weren't... you didn't take out a Zt-80r, did you?"

"I had some errands to run, so yeah. It was the fastest way. I did sign for it."

"Oh dear. Major, I've just been on the comlink with some very angry Imperials. Someone reported to them that a repulsortruck with our unit markings was involved in a crime in the factory district. Something about a Wroonian being kidnapped in front of a hotel, and shots being fired."

"Uh, I assure you nothing of the sort happened."

"You don't need to reassure me, Major. An Imperial security detail is on its way. I'll let you give them a statement, seeing as how you were the one in the Zt-80r. And judging by the  carbon scoring I can see from here, they'll be very interested in your version of events."

"I, uh... that is..."

"And who are your friends still hiding over there in the Zt-80r? Shall we go see? I wonder just what the odds will be of seeing that Enstipo character inside." [prejudiced - discrimination - last story]

"OK, I admit, I'm trying to help him out of a spot of trouble--"

"How many people have to tell you he's no good for you before it sinks in?"

"I don't have time for this lecture right now."

"It may be too late. This isn't just making you look bad this time, Major. This is going to reflect on the whole Company."

Wex has noticed Lt. Glorrisk pointing in his direction, and senses that the game might be up. He climbs out of the speedertruck and starts walking towards the landing pad. Zil leaves Jather in Oosuu's care and goes after him. Lina and the Lieutenant watch them coming, and lapse into silence. Both the Human's unease and the Duros' chagrin could be seen from orbit.

"Not going too well?" asks Zil.

"I, er..." stammers Lina.

"Oh look!" exclaims the Lieutenant. "Wex Enstipo. So sorry, we've just finished purchasing all our supplies on Ord Mantell. But next time we need some more defective repeating blasters, I'll be certain to give you a call."

Wex attempts his broadest, most disarming smile. "Look, Glorrisk--"

"That's Lieutenant Glorrisk!"

"Sorry. Look, Lieutenant Glorrisk, If you do us this one little favour I can hook you up with a surplus E-WEB. Top grade, nothing funny, and all the licences are legit. Just let Lina -- I mean, Major Cazerdy -- take us for a quick jaunt in one of your shuttles. She can bring the E-WEB back with her as payment."

[Wex must pit his Bargain (4D) vs. Lt. Glorrisk's (3D+2, +5 for bad relationship); We rolls an 11, and spends a character point for +1d6=4: 15 vs. 19 fails]

"You're not worth the hassle. Even if I thought you could come through, it's nowhere near enough to make it worth my while."

"There's Imperial security troops on the way," says Lina. "Someone reported our repulsortruck being in a firefight."

"Blast it!" says Zil through gritted teeth. "We can't sit around here and wait for them. We've got to go, and I mean now."

"I don't advise it," says Lt. Glorrisk. "I intend to cooperate fully."

"Please," says Lina, "just let them go."

"You need to finally learn your lesson, Major."

Zil pulls her blaster.

"You wouldn't," says Lt. Glorrisk. "Not here. You'd never get out of here alive."

[Q: Are any other mercs about? Likely (3+): O2 C4 - No, but...]

Zil hesitates, then flicks her blaster over to stun. Lt. Glorrisk opens his mouth to speak, but stops short as Zil raises her gun and fires. He tries to duck behind the shield generator crates...

[Zil's blaster (4D+1) vs. his Full Dodge (skill 3D+2, +2 for range (~1.5m): 18 vs. 14 hits damage 4D=13 vs. 3D=9, KO for 2d6 minutes]

...but the blast of blue light enfolds him, and he tumbles onto the tarmac.

"What are you doing?!" shouts Lina.

"Getting us out of here. You two get on the shuttle and prep for takeoff. I'll help with Jather."

"Lina, help me drag the Lieutenant up the ramp," says Wex.

"Are you mad?"

"Trust me, I know what I'm doing."

"But--"

"You're welcome to stay behind and chat with the Imperials."

"Wex, we're going to have a really long talk when this is all over..."

Monday, 30 January 2017

Star Wars RPG solo - Part 7 : A change or two of scenery

Their meeting with the urbane Mr. Kuththuk concluded, Wex and Oosuu head back out into the streets. Oosuu says she needs to run some errands since they're in this part of town. They wander down a  few streets to find an electronics shop, where Oosuu has Wex buy her some odds & ends. Browsing the shop affords ample opportunity to see if they're being followed.

[Q: Are they being followed? unknown odd 1d6=1, 100%; chaos die = 3, but... the tail is concentrating on Oosuu rather than Wex, as she does not blend in as well to the crowd.
Her Search (4D+2) vs. the tail's Sneak (4D): 18 vs. 10, spotted
Her Sneak (4D+2) vs. the tail's Search (4D): 20 vs. 18
Q: Do they know where Oosuu lives? Unlikely (5+): O1 C5 - No. (she's subletting the flat, so no public records)]

They head back to Oosuu's through a public market, where they easily give their pursuer the slip amongst the stalls.

Scene 17

Chaos:
back down to Madness (d6)

Setup: d6=4, Interrupt (was: new plans)
Interrupt: Remote event - Celebrate / Dispute

This just in!

Following weeks of unrest caused by rebellious minority factions attempting to subvert the legitimate government of Ord Mantell, the Imperial Governor is delighted to announce the complete restoration of order and harmony to our planet. The repulsortube network is once again operating at peak efficiency, and the planetary curfew has now been officially lifted. The Governor hopes that you will once again enjoy Ord Mantell's diverse and exciting nightlife, and join him in raising a glass to the 296th Stormtrooper division, whose decisive actions took the fight right into the insurgent's lair, and cleansed our planet of the miasma of their insidious plot. When asked if Stormtrooper patrols would remain in force, the Governor responded, "although I had intended to greatly scale back their numbers now that the crisis is past, my office has been flooded with entreaties from members of the public to keep them on the streets. I have therefore signed an order to maintain the patrols at their current levels, and have petitioned the Moff for an increased number to troops to be stationed at the planetary garrison. The Empire is concerned only for your safety, citizen."



Scene 18

Chaos:
Madness (d6)

Setup: new plans

NPC list: Porubek the Kitonak crimelord (Zil's boss), Jather Plazeed the Devaronian grifter, Bootleg Bardin the human speeder racer, Wex Enstipo the human gunrunner, Oosuu the Twi'lek waitress, Xzag-Xzan the crime boss (Jather's sometime patron), Chruighok the rival crime boss, Major Riilina Cazerdy the human mercenary (Wex's ex-flame), Mr. Kuththuk the genteel Trandoshan (Morga the Hutt's lieutenant)

Threads: find powerful patron

Back at the flat, Wex relates the circumstances of their meeting with Mr. Kuththuk.

"I still think we should try to broker a deal with Morga, " says Zil. "We can offer the datapad in exchange for protection."

"It's a real long shot," says Wex. "Couldn't we go to someone else?"

"Like who?" says Jather. "Morga's in a different class than anyone locally. Doesn't matter how they feel about Chruigok; they hear that Morga's looking for us on her behalf, they'd give us up in a second just to keep Morga sweet."

"Call him, then. Tell him we can make clemency worth Morga's while."

[Zil needs a Moderate (15) Persuasion roll: 4D=16, success; but the Wild die =1, complication]

Wex makes the call that same evening, with Zil, Jather, and Oosuu sitting silently by. He calls well before (he hopes) Mr. Kuththuk will be at the opera. It wouldn't do to disturb him! The call gets through at once, but unbeknownst to them all, activating the comlink triggers a homing device planted within it [the complication from Zil's skill check].

"Mr. Enstipo," says the Trandoshan, "so good to hear from you. And so promptly!"

"Yeah. Look, I know where Zil is, but she wanted me to tell you she has something to trade, something infinitely more valuable than Chriugok's little vendetta."

[Wex needs a Moderate (15) Persuasion roll to pique the Trandoshan's interest: 3D=9, failure.

UNE--
NPC Relationship: distrustful
Conversation Mood: neutral
knowing - records - flaws]

"I was afraid this might happen. Really, Mr. Enstipo, if you know where she is you should hand her over. Whom would you prefer as a friend, the great Morga, or that awful Ms. Lhahon. And conversely, whom would you prefer as an enemy?"

"But she's got something special to offer. Something big."

"Find her for me, Mr. Enstipo. I do not intend to tell you again."

"Fine. I'll see what I can do."

[Q: Time limit? 50/50 (4+): O5 C6 - Yes.
1d6: 1-2 1d6 hours, 3-4 1 day, 5-6 1d6 days
Q: Time limit explicitly stated? 50/50 (4+): O4 C5 - Yes.]

"You have 24 hours, Mr. Enstipo." »click«

"That went well," says Zil.

"I'd say he knows we're allies," says Wex.

"You sure about that?" asks Jather.

"It's safe to assume. I don't like our chances if we split up, so..."

"Wex good person," says the Twi'lek. "Oosuu glad have Wex on side."

"Lovely," says Zil. "But how do I know he won't sell me out to the Hutt to save you. And himself."

"Because, my dear paranoid Zil, I took out some of Chruighok's hoods alongside you. I think that makes us a package deal."

"He's got a point, Zil," says Jather. "Even if Morga goes away happy, Chruigok won't. Don't forget, one got away..."

"So now what do we do?" asks Zil. "We can't hide in this dump forev--"

"What you call dump?!"

"Please, not now Oosuu."

"Sorry, Wex."

"I didn't mean anything by it, Oosuu," says Zil. "Just a little stir crazy from being cooped up in here for so long. but I repeat: now what do we do? Anyone got any brilliant ideas?"

[It will take a Difficult (20) Streetwise roll to think of someone/thing to help:

Z 4D+2= 13
O 2D+1= 12
J 4D+2= 20 but wild die=1, complication
W 5D  = 17]

"It's a long shot," says Jather, "but I might know [1d6=] a guy."

"Who?" asks Zil.

"Drubal Has."

[random template = Quarren Swindler, Heroes and Rogues p82]
Q: Does anyone know the name? Doubtful (6): O5 C6 - No.]

"Who?"

"An old buddy of mine. He owns an antique shop in Skestl District. Some of his pieces are even genuine."

"That does sound like one of your friends, Jather," says Zil.

"I was thinking," continues Jather, ignoring Zil's comment, "how he's always shipping stuff offworld, so..."

"That's your plan?"

"I'm pretty sure we need to go. Somewhere far, far away from here."

"He's right," says Wex. "Things are far too hot here."

"Oosuu say go all along."

Jather calls his friend...

[Q: Gets through? 50/50 (4+): O4 C6 - Yes]

...and explains that he and a few mates need a place to hide and from which they can make a sneaky trip offworld. Drubal agrees, saying they can come this evening and stay in the back of his shop whilst he arranges transport offworld.

[Q: Problem getting there? 50/50 (4+): O5 C1 - Yes, and...
rolling Perception (Oosuu 4D+2) vs. stealth (2D): 17 vs. 7]

Oosuu throws a few things in a bag -- she owns nothing of sentimental value anymore -- and leads the way out. She gets barely ten steps down the [3d6x10=] 110m long corridor when she suddenly turns about.

"Quick. Back to room! Shhh! Tell when inside," she says.

"We're being watched, then?" says Jather.

"Blast!" curses Zil.

"Are [d6=4] four goons loitering in corridor. Not neighbours. Bulgy guns in coats! Oosuu see even far off."

"How do we get past them?" asks Wex.

"Two both sides! Not know!"

"Where are the exits?" asks Zil.

"Turbolift broken. Stairs near, or far other way. Goons block both sides!

"We need a diversion," says Zil.

"Oosuu make diversion. But then run!"

"What did you have in mind?"

"Jather, where put Oosuu molecular bonding tape?"

"I arranged all your supplies in the empty kitchen cabinet."

"That why Oosuu not find anything. Get, please. Wex, Zil, get power packs out of rubbish blasters."

[Q: Are there enough spare power packs with energy left in them? 50/50 (4+): O6 C6 - Yes. 2d6=8
+Event: NPC action - Porubek - Violate / Tension (sending thugs who will make a mess)]

As each power pack is handed to her, Oosuu adjusts the pack for maximum intensity. She divides the treated power packs into two groups of four, which she binds together using the tape, and loosens an overload strum dowel in a power pack in each set.

[She is making 2 blaster power pack bombs (Cracken's Rebel Field guide, p.76). She needs an Easy (10) blaster repair roll for each: 4D= 19, 14.]

"Very unstable. Pull dowel out and throw. Who good arm?"

Zil and Jather volunteer. Oosuu opens the door, and they pull the pins, step out in to the corridor and throw the bombs, ducking quickly back inside. One explodes almost immediately, the other about 15 seconds later.

[The two sets of goons have moved to within 3d6m of Oosuu's front door: 7m & 9m, making the throw difficulty 10 & 15 respectively. The nearest stairs are 50m to the left.

after pulling the 'pins', it takes 1 round to move & throw. The bombs explode on round 1d6= 4 & 2 (rolling a 1 would have been disastrous for our heroes).
Attack rolls were Zil 3D+1=14, Jather 3D=23! (Wild die 6+5+2)

Typical bounty hunters: 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.

The two down the corridor to the right take full (4D) damage: one wounded, one killed. The two on the left have 3 rounds to back out of the blast radius, so are unharmed.]

As soon as the second explosion rips through the corridor, our heroes rush out, blasters at the ready. Wex and Oosuu turn to the right, where they see a single Nikto in a long dark coat standing about 10m away. Her companion is sprawled motionless beside her. Zil and Jather face left, where they see a pair of Klatoonians beyond the scorched section of hallway where the second bomb exploded.

[Round 1 - party wins initiative]
Red and green streaks of light flash out down the corridor. Wex and Zil dart across the corridor as they fire, trying not to present a good target. Oosuu and Jather fire from the doorway for cover. The Nikto flattens herself against a doorway to make somewhat less of a target. The two Klatoonians stand their ground, blazing away. [all fire&dodge, except the Klatoonians]

A stray shot singes the Nikto's coat, but she is otherwise unharmed [damage < Strength roll]. Jather leans just a bit too far out form the door, and a blaster bolt hits him full in the chest.

[Jather has 2D Strength, and rolls snake eyes; the wild die cancels the highest (only) other die, so his total is 0. He can spend up to 5 character points to increase his total by 1d6 each, before damage is rolled. He spends 1 (+4), 2 (+1), 3(+3) points for a total of 8; damage is 4D=17; he's Incapacitated.]

The blaster drops from Jather's limp fingers and he collapses into the hall.

[Round 2]
The Nikto tries to evade the bolts streaking towards her as she squeezes off another shot. Wex and Oosuu catch her in a crossfire, and she is dead before she hits the floor. [Damage rolls were Dead & Incapacitated]

Zil is shocked to see Jather go down, and almost forgets to move. She and the Klatoonians all simply stand and fire shot after shot at one another. One of the Klatoonians is wounded in the exchange, but scarcely flinches.

[Round 3]
Wex and Oosuu turn about and fire on the Klatoonians. Wex grazes the unwounded one [damage < Strength roll], Zil drops the other with a shot to the gut [Incapacitated].

[Round 4
Q: Does the thug flee? Certain (2+): O2 C1 - Yes, and... won't report back soon]

The remaining Klatoonian turns and sprints into the stairwell as blaster bolts thud into the walls and floor on all about her. [She only had to move 10m to make the stairs, so she could make a full dodge with the movement. 4D=11(dodge) + 15(range) = 26; the party all missed.]

Zil is on her knees beside the motionless Devaronian. "Don't you dare die on me you bastard! No one's allowed to kill you but me!"

"He's still breathing," offers Wex. "But we gotta go now, before the police arrive. Or worse -- the Empire."

"Oosuu carry. Wex, Zil, lead way."

She puts her blaster into the inside pocket of her coat, then hefts the unconscious Jather with a groan. Zil and Wex are already heading to the stairwell, guns draw in case of ambush. They see no one, and motion for Oosuu to follow. "She's stronger than she looks," thinks Zil, but this is only partly true. She's just very determined.

[Oosuu needed an Easy (10) Stamina roll to carry him down to street level: 2D+2=7, failure. But when a Stamina roll is failed, a character can roll Willpower at +5 to the difficulty modifier: 4D+1=21, success.

Jather will be unconscious for 10D=33mins.

Q: Any problems getting away? Likely (3+): O1 C5 - No.]

Wex rushes out of the building and into the street to hail a cab. Zil and Oosuu hurriedly usher the senseless Jather into the back seat with them.

"Just drive," shouts Zil. [Intimidation 4D+2=23]

The driver, a young and dishevelled Aleena, does as he is told, heading away from the flat at speed.

"I didn't say, 'follow that speeder'," barks Zil. "Drive casually."

"Drop us off in the Skestl District," says Wex suddenly, realising they are but [1d6=]10 minutes away.

"In a public park," says Zil. "I seem to remember there is one there."

"Near chemists," says Oosuu. "Please."

The driver does his best to accommodate their requests. Zil gives him 250 credits for the fare, and says to forget he ever saw them.

[Q: Is anyone suspicious of the comlink yet? Unlikely (5+): O2 C4 - No, but... probably will think of it soon.
Q: Any problems when being dropped off? Unlikely (5+): O4 C6 - No.]

Zil and Wex wait on a bench with Jather, who is starting to come round. Oosuu hurries off with 200 of Wex's credits, on the theory that they might need a second medpac for later. They wait an agonising [2Dx5=] 25 minutes for her return.

Zil catches sight of Oosuu's return with relief. "I almost thought she'd done a runner," she says.

"Stop worrying already," says Wex "She's probably the most trustworthy of any of us. What's your problem with her?"

"I dunno. Either I'm going to kill her or I'm beginning to like her."

[Q: Is there somewhere out of sight close by? 50/50 (4+): O5 C6 - Yes.
Oosuu needs a Moderate (15) First Aid roll: 3D=10, failure: Jather is still Incapacitated.]

There is a bantha-sized lump of vaguely mountain-shaped bronze -- as anodyne an example of civic art as ever was -- not far from the park bench. Zil helps Jather limp behind it, and Oosuu gets to work with the medpac.

"Well?" asks Zil when the Twi'lek has finished her ministrations.

"I feel awful," groans Jather.

"Can you move?"

"I don't know."

"Oosuu help walk."

"Where's your friend's shop?" asks Zil.

"Half hour on foot..." [d6x10 = 30 minutes]

"He come get us?"

"Doubtful."

"Another taxi then. Wex, try and get a droid this time. They ask fewer questions."

[Q: Can he get a droid taxi? 50/50 (4+): O5 C4 - Yes, but... (2d6x5= 30)]

"»Bzt« Where to? »Bzt«," says the taxi droid as they are clambering in the back."

"Has & Sons Fine Antiques," says Jather through gritted teeth.

"»Bzt« Of course. »Bzt« Are you sure you wouldn't prefer the sector hospital? »Bzt«"

"We're fine," says Zil. "Just drive."

"»Bzt« My programming requires me to report suspicious activity to the authorities. »Bzt«"

"How much would it cost to override your programming?"

"»Bzt« I must have malfunctioned. »Bzt« 30 credits should be enough for a nice oil bath. »Bzt« I mean, remedial logic circuit repairs. »Bzt«"


Scene 19

Chaos:
Madness (d6)

Setup: betrayal at Drubal's shop (complication from Jather's streetwise roll in scene 18)
Chaos die=2, Altered (how? Inspect / Riches)

NPC list: Porubek the Kitonak crimelord (Zil's boss), Jather Plazeed the Devaronian grifter, Bootleg Bardin the human speeder racer, Wex Enstipo the human gunrunner, Oosuu the Twi'lek waitress, Xzag-Xzan the crime boss (Jather's sometime patron), Chruighok the rival crime boss, Major Riilina Cazerdy the human mercenary (Wex's ex-flame), Mr. Kuththuk the genteel Trandoshan (Morga the Hutt's lieutenant)

Threads: escape system alive

The back room of Drubal Has' antique shop is piled floor to ceiling with junk and old furniture from half a hundred worlds. There is a prickly feeling to the air, as ioniser units spaced evenly about the walls fill the room with a weak charge, assisting dust particles to adhere to the objets d'art. In one corner, a solitary droid is applying a laser welder at minimum power to a Ruurian pupa bed, to give it that well-used look.

The one empty space in the labyrinth of clutter is given over to Drubal's desk, though even this is coated with dust, and pile upon pile of hardcopy shipping manifests. The Quarren sits behind his desk in his shirt sleeves, his heavy crimson robes thrown over the back of his chair. He is lost in thought, considering the request put to him by his old friend Jather, slumped in a chair before him, and the three other ragged-looking beings with him. Finally he breaks his silence.

"How much money do you have, Jather?"

"Between »cough« all of us? »cough« Less'n »cough« 2000 credits."

"Oh dear. That's hardly enough."

"We don't want first class tickets," says Zil, "just a packing crate with life support to get us offworld."

"It's not the cost of getting you offworld. It's the cost of not telling Morga the Hutt I have his fugitives."

"You »cough« bastard."

"What do you want?" says Zil.

"To keep my working relationship with Morga intact. And all my limbs..."

Drubal makes a move to activate a comlink switch on his desk. Wex has his blaster out from under his coat in a flash. The shot thunders in the enclosed space, and Drubal slumps in his seat, his suckered fingers a scant few centimetres from the button.

[Wex won the initiative, and got his shot off before Drubal reached the button. He was Incapacitated from the damage.]

But moments later [1d6=] a pair of brutish looking Quarren, Drubal's security guards, rush into the back room, blasters drawn.

[Round 1 - thugs have initiative]
The Quarren open fire as Wex and Zil dodge behind piles of furniture. Oosuu pulls Jather down to the floor, behind the desk and out of the Quarren's field of fire.

[Wex and Zil's declared actions are Dodge & shoot; thugs are shooting now and will use Dodge skills as a reaction (i.e. full dice roll for attacks, -1D for dodges only. Range is barely 5m.]

The first Quarren's shot catches Wex in the shoulder, but the bolt is absorbed by the concealed blast vest he wears under his coat [damage roll 4D=10 vs. Strength 2D+1, +1 for the vest =11, no damage].

The other Quarren's blaster splutters and emits a few sparks; someone forgot to change the power pack! [His attack roll (3D) was 1,1,1.]

Both Wex and Zil return fire, dropping one Quarren and seriously wounding the other [#1 Incapacitated, #2 Wounded].

[Round 2]
The wounded Quarren drops his useless blaster as he dashes back through the door. Zil and Wex fire after him, but he is lost amongst the chaos of the showroom, and soon has escaped into the street.

The work droid is oblivious to the firefight, and is still slowly antiquing away in its corner. Wex trots out through the gloomy shop to look out the front door, but the Quarren has already disappeared into the city.

Zil calmly finishes off the two injured Quarren in the back room. Oosuu flinches at each blast, but busies herself tending to Jather.

Wex appears in the doorway. "We gotta get out of here," he says.

"I saw Drubal's »cough« speeder out front. Find »cough cough« keys..."

[Easy (10) Search roll: Zil 3D=14]

Zil finds Drubal's keys in his desk drawer. She throws them to Wex, saying "You're driving." She and Oosuu help Jather stumble outside and they have soon put the antique shop well behind them.

[Q: Problems with getaway? Unlikely (5+): O1 C4 - No, but... heat will increase]

Wex drives to the factory district, and drops the rest off in front of a seedy hotel. "I'm going to ditch the speeder pretty far away," he says as they are helping Jather out. "and come back on foot. I'll call you when I'm nearly here. I should be at least an hour, though."

"Get some dinner whilst you're out," says Zil. "I'm starved."

[Wex Sneaks (3D=18 (wild die=6,4)) back unnoticed.
Zil needs to roll an Easy (10) Con check to pass off Jather as her drunk friend: 3D=12, which would have been a success, had I not rolled the following Interrupt for the next scene.]


Scene 20

Chaos:
Madness (d6)

Setup: chaos die=3, Interrupt (was: Now what? redux)
Interrupt: PC negative - Spy / Weapons

NPC list: Porubek the Kitonak crimelord (Zil's boss), Jather Plazeed the Devaronian grifter, Bootleg Bardin the human speeder racer, Wex Enstipo the human gunrunner, Oosuu the Twi'lek waitress, Xzag-Xzan the crime boss (Jather's sometime patron), Chruighok the rival crime boss, Major Riilina Cazerdy the human mercenary (Wex's ex-flame), Mr. Kuththuk the genteel Trandoshan (Morga the Hutt's lieutenant)

Threads: escape system alive

The hotel lobby makes Oosuu's flat block seem like the Ritz Imperial on Coruscant. The carpets are threadbare and torn in places, the public information terminal's electronics seem to have lost a battle with someone's cheap wine, and the single flickering fluorescent ceiling lamp gives off a weak light, obscured by the carcasses of generations of insects. There's a janitorial droid powered down in the corner, and missing one of its arms.

The gum-chewing Zelosian girl behind the front desk looks up from her holographic fashion magazine and greets Zil with a peevish, "What?"

"We need a room for four, so either a double, or a suite."

"For the whole night or just an hour?"

Oosuu is keeping Jather walking round the lobby, both doing their best to continue the charade of drunkenness on his part whilst Zil handles the registration. It is all going fine, until the Zelosian girl's chronic apathy suddenly fades.

"Hey!" she exclaims, "Are those blasters under your coats? What're you bringing that arsenal in here for?"

"It's nothing," says Zil calmly. "Just ignore it."

"This is a respectable place. We don't want no trouble."

"I believe one of those statements," says Zil.

"Look, Miss..." begins the girl, glancing at the register terminal, "...Miss Antilles, in my experience people toting that sort of hardware around with a friend who can barely stand is a recipe for trouble."

"How about I give you 200 credits to help ease your worries." [Easy (8) Bargain, 3D=12]

"Ok, but no pets."