Saturday, 21 January 2017

Star Wars RPG solo - Part 4 : A curtailed introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

. . .

The next morning...

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

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

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

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

"But what?"

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

"Your slicer hangs out in a diner?"

"Not exactly..."

Scene 11

Out of Control (d8)

Setup: meet slicer

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

Threads: crack datapad

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

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

"Wex! How you? You bring friends."

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

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

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

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

"Will do."

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

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

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

Equipment: blaster comlink datapad 50credits

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

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

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

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

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

"Uh-huh," observes Jather.

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

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

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

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

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

1d6= 4 thugs led by 1 bounty hunter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blaster bolts whiz through the air wildly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Follow Oosuu out back!" she yells.

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

"Oosuu help bring! Hurry!"

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

"Meet at Oosuu flat. Take key!"

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

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

Wex knows better than to argue.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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