Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Star Wars RPG solo - Part 5 : Revelations and secrets

Wex and Jather keep walking when the stormtrooper stops Zil. Their pace doesn't even slacken until they round another corner into a main thoroughfare, where they decide to wait. Fortunately, Zil is not that far behind them, and they are soon reunited. Wex seems to know where he's going, and the other two follow wordlessly for a while.

When Wex is leading them down a deserted side street, Zil finally asks, "So what are we going to do now?"

"Oosuu gave me her key," explains Wex, "and told us to wait at her flat."

"Gave you her key?" asks Zil, arching an eyebrow.

"And you just happen to know where her flat is?" adds Jather.

"You two were unconscious when we made the plan... and I already told you I helped her find a place. She's subletting it from my old pal Dz'ghazz'kl, whilst she's out prospecting on the Rim."

Scene 12

Madness (d6)

Setup: Chaos die=3, Interrupt (was: Oosuu returns home)
Interrupt: NPC action - Jather's mysterious patron - Betray / Disruption

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, Jather's mysterious patron, rival crime boss

Threads: datapad, find out who's after them, what to do about Porubek

Wex's teasing interrogation is interrupted by his announcement that they have reached Oosuu's flat. The building occupies the whole of a city block, and towers at least 40 stories high. Its architectural style can best be described as municipal prison, with duracrete slabs and exposed plastisteel girders. When they get into the south lobby, Wex lets out a great sigh. "That turbolift's been out of order since Dz'ghazz'kl moved in," he says. "I hope you two like stairs."

Despite hi bravado, the 20-flight climb is almost more than he can manage in his wounded state.

"You going to make it?" asks Zil, with genuine concern.

"Yeah. But I guess the adrenaline has finally worn off."

They finally find flat No. 20-284, and Wex touches the key to the pad. The room beyond has all the charm and dimensions of a bulk shipping container. There's a sagging sofa, a filthy kitchenette, a warped retractable breakfast counter that will no longer retract. The air smells like dirty laundry and desperation. Being in the middle of the giant flat block, there are no windows; the giant viewscreen that once gave an illusion of looking out on a peaceful landscape is cracked. An artless painting of a sunset bought from a market stall hangs over it, concealing the worst of the damage. But in case they doubted their host's slicer credentials, almost every flat surface is covered in tools and bits of nameless technology in varying states of disassembly. Well... technology and pants.

As they are taking it all in, Jather's comlink sounds. "I'd better answer this," says Jather, and goes into the bathroom for privacy.

[UNE: insane - chaos - current story]

"What are you doing?" crackles the voice over the comlink. "Things have gone mad over there! I didn't want Vudlor arrested. He'll be killed!"

"That wasn't me!" protests Jather.

"This complicates things greatly."

"I'm just trying to--"

"In my experience, when things get this complicated it is best to distance oneself." [prejudiced - difference - experience]

"Wait, I can--"

"Your fee is forfeit, Jather. Just be glad it isn't your life." »click«

Jather opens the door to see Wex and Zil looking pointedly at him. He suddenly realises how thin the walls are here...

"Who was that, Jather?" says Zil.

"Oh, er, ah, no one in particular."

[His Con 5D+2 vs. her Perception: 5 vs. 17 (Wild dice were 1 & 6 respectively!)]

Zil pulls her blaster on Jather. "You set me up! Give me one good reason why I shouldn't blast you right here and now."

Jather backs away, his hands where she can see them. "It's not like that at all! I was supposed to see that you didn't get the datapad to Vudlor on time. I admit it. Krasstun was in on it -- he's on Xzag-Xzan's payroll too. I wasn't even sure how I was supposed to stop you. Well, not stop, but just delay a couple days. And it turns out I didn't have to!"

"I'm not hearing a good reason not to waste you."

"It'd make a big mess, which you can't afford right now. And besides, you don't have too many friends at the moment. I stayed and tried to help out. Even when I could'a split like ol' Bootleg."

"He's right about that," says Wex. "Plus Oosuu would kill me if we make a mess in her place."

"A mess?" asks Zil, putting down her gun. "How would she even notice? Alright, Jather, consider this your warning. The next betrayal is your last."

Scene 13

Madness (d6)

Setup: waiting at Oosuu's flat

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, Jather's mysterious patron, rival crime boss

Threads: datapad, find out who's after them, what to do about Porubek

[N.B. Oosuu's skill rolls for dealing with the Empire were all made at the end of scene 11, but rather than narrating events then, I moved the mechanics to the appropriate parts of her narrative below.]

It's very late -- well past curfew -- when the front door buzzer finally sounds. Wex goes over to answer it. The intercom crackles to life, and the viewer shows a fuzzy image of Oosuu waiting at street level.

"Oosuu home. Let in now."

Wex pushes door entry button, and sees Oosuu pause to wave energetically at someone off camera before it goes dark. He grabs his blaster and goes to wait by the door to her flat. Zil readies her hold-out blaster. Jather decides to hide in the loo.

It's a very long, nervous wait. They are more than relieved to see Oosuu come into the flat alone, carrying her shoes in one hand.

"Oh! What time Oosuu had! Stormtroopers rush diner like assault, Oosuu stand hands up long time. Lucky Oosuu dress in waitress uniform. So many questions. Oosuu play scared -- not too hard, all those guns pointing. Commander come, ask Oosuu questions. Oosuu answer, cry a little [she needed an Easy Con roll: 4D+2=14, success]. Then med droids come in, Oosuu point out thugs, all survivors taken to station.

"Wait," says Zil, "how'd you get home after curfew? Who were you waving at?"

"Is funny. So late, not go in streets alone. Commander tell stormtroopers take Oosuu home in patrol speeder. Oosuu so tired, not make much sense, but stormtroopers laugh. So Oosuu keep going. Look! stormtroopers give Oosuu comlink number, say 'call if more tips for Empire'. [She needed a Moderate (15) Persuasion roll to distract them so they don't wonder why she hasn't got her key. 4D+2=32! (Wild die came up 6,6,6,3)]

"I didn't know stormtroopers could laugh," says Wex.

"Oh yes! Driver laugh so hard almost crash speeder. But where was story? Oh, at station. Many many hours, many many questions. [Easy (10) Con roll to keep up appearances: 4D+2=17, success]. So boring, tell same story over and over. Commander ask, lieutenant ask, guy in hat ask, why not all listen first time? Three goons captured, hurt bad. One escape, Poof! disappear. Leader dead so Imperials sad, no good information. But others wake up, talk lots. Scream more..."

"Does this story have a point?" growls Zil.

[Moderate (15) Perception roll to espy something useful: 4D+2=18, success]

"Hey, Wex, friend need better manners! Oosuu save you, give you time escape, give you Oosuu flat, let you drink Oosuu beer. Meanwhile Oosuu go talk Imperials, hear conversation, peek data readouts. Oosuu know things, maybe not tell now. Hey, Wex, you sit. Look hurt, sit here. Oosuu put gun on table, safe here now. Oh, blaster good work! Nice mods, balance good, sight aligned. Where got?"

"On Vorzyd 5."

[Easy (10) Planetary systems roll 2D+1=6]

"Oosuu not know system. Is good work. Probably no need Oosuu there. Oosuu need new job. Diner closed. Wex have money? Oosuu only got 50 credits. Buy medpac tomorrow. Wex not get infection."

"I've got a bit left," says Wex, wincing. Oosuu peers carefully at Wex's injury as Zil bites her lip to avoid lashing out at their host again.

"Imperials looking for you," continues Oosuu. "Not have good description. You lucky, leader killed. Goons know little. Oosuu say not see you clearly, only goons. Tomorrow Wex give Oosuu money, Oosuu go buy medpac. Not safe go out with blaster burn. Why Chruighok want kill Zil?"

"What?!" shouts Zil, suddenly attentive.

"Goons say target human woman, Zil name. Not know more, see holopicture once, follow leader's order: 'Kill her and any one with her'. Chruighok order."

"Didn't you do a little work for him a while back?" asks Wex

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

"Chruighok send box blasters, Oosuu upgrade galven patterns. Oosuu always upgrading galven patterns, gangs want lots. Oosuu dream galven patterns! Oosuu rather make beam splitter. Wex want? Oosuu have crystals somewhere." Oosuu begins digging through her kitchen drawers, finding everything but the beam gems she has in mind.

"Uh, later maybe. What I -- what we -- really need is for you to crack the security on this datapad."

Oosuu seems to forget what she was looking for, then goes to examine the datapad. She turns it over in her hands then abruptly gives it back. "Oosuu tired. So many stormtroopers! So many questions! Oosuu sleep now."

She wanders off into her sleeping cubicle, flops on the bed, closes the door and falls immediately asleep.

"What the hell just happened?" says Zil.

"Zil, meet Oosuu," says Wex.

-- -- --

The next morning, a chorus of groans meets Oosuu as she emerges from her sleeping cubicle. Wex's injuries meant he got to sleep on the sofa (uncontested), so  Zil and Jather had to make do with the bare, metal floor. Oosuu notes that they disturbed her careful arrangement of spare parts and discarded knickers, but elects to be a good hostess by remaining silent.

Her guests cannot help but stare at the half-dressed Twi'lek moving about her flat with utter insouciance. She is muttering to herself in a language none of them recognise, and evidently searching for something. She has a momentary look of triumph when she finds a shirt in the kitchen, but her nose wrinkles when she sniffs it, and it is discarded unceremoniously on the kitchen floor. She finally finds one that passes muster in a pile between her sleeping cubicle and the loo. She pulls it over her head, and Zil can barely suppress a laugh at the sight of the absurd little dance she does to get both lekku free of the back.

"I'm getting kinda hungry," announces Jather. "And I suspect the others are too. I'd cook us something, but everything in your kitchen looks... a bit suspect."

"Oosuu work in diner, eat there. Not keep food in flat."
Wex gives Oosuu 120 credits, and Jather provides her with a shopping list. She promises not to be gone long.

[Q: Any surveillance on her flat? Doubtful (6): O4 C6 - No.]

True to her word, she's back within the hour. Jather has meanwhile managed to disinfect little corner of her kitchen so he can cook breakfast. Soon the smell of sautéed granzib fills the little flat, and Zil is left to wonder at Jather's hidden talent.

Oosuu attends to Wex's wound with the medpac, [Easy (10) First Aid: 3D=10, healed] and soon has him put to rights. Then she takes the data pad and sits over it on the floor, intent on extracting its secrets with her home-made computer spike.

[Difficult (16) Computer roll: 4D=20, success]

"Oosuu," says Zil, "your food is getting cold."

"Oosuu," says Oosuu pointedly.


"Zil say wrong. Oosuu. Not Oosoo."

"I don't hear a difference."

"Oosuu. OO-SUU."

"I don't think humans can hear the difference," offers Jather.

"Wex say right. Why not Zil?"

"I don't hear a difference either," says Wex.

"But say right."

"Maybe it's a regional thing," says Jather. "Wex, where're you from?"


"Huh. There a lot of Twi'leks there?"

"Not more than most places. But she didn't grow up a--"

"Oh look! Oosuu slice datapad!" exclaims Oosuu suddenly. "Oh, no...wait...still one more... no... almost... now got!"

If any of them noticed she cut off Wex on purpose, they don't show it as they crowd round to look at the datapad's screen.

[Q: Is the info contained on the datapad valuable? 50/50 (4+): O6 C5 - Yes.
Q: How? Violate / Balance - Could seriously swing the balance of underworld power
Q: Because of? Mistrust / Illusions - it contains info on Imperial infiltrators & informants in the major crime families & gangs]

The screen displays a list of names and mugshots, notes which crime families they serve, and the scope of their contribution to the Empire's security forces. Some are just low-level informants, but others are deep cover agents planted by no less an organisation than the ISB.

[Jather needs to make a Moderate (15) Value roll: 4D+2=20]

"Do you have any idea what that's worth?" says Jather, a bit awed. "We're looking at 10,000 credits, even if we don't try to auction it off."

"Porubek said to destroy it," says Zil. "He obviously doesn't trust me with it."

"Hey, let me see a minute," says Jather, grabbing it and scrolling through the dossiers.

[Q: Is Krasstun (Zil's contact) or Xzag-Xzan (Jather's other boss) on the list? Unlikely (5+): O2 C6 - No.]

"Will you look at that!" exclaims Jather. "I always knew there was something off about V'kzz'zzk. Never thought it was Imperial sympathies, but there you go. Sometimes you just don't know a bug..."

"So now what?" asks Zil.

"Look at [1d6=6] all these names in Chruighok's operation. We could trade this to have [d6=] her call off her gunsels."

"Wow, Jather. That's a more magnanimous suggestion than I expected out of you."

"I'm pretty sure being your associate has marked me for death as well. As much as I'd like a share of 10,000 credits, I'd rather it didn't go towards my coffin."

"I've got a time limit with Porubek -- he's pretty impatient for a Kitonak. And he wants it destroyed. What about your mysterious employer, Jather?"

[Q: Will Jather be forthcoming? Likely (3+): O4 C 6 - Yes]

"Xzag-Xzan? I was hoping to avoid him for a while. He, uh, makes me nervous even when he's in a good mood."

"We could copy the file. Spread it round...." says Wex.

[Oosuu gets a Moderate (15) Computer roll to respond to that suggestion: 4D=18]

"Copy not easy," says Oosuu. "Lose authenticode. Then just list names."

"Hell of a list, though," says Wex. "Oosuu, could you make contact with Chruighok? I got a case of blasters need to move fast. If she's not after me, I could broker a deal for clemency."

[Easy (8) Streetwise to make contact: 2D+1=6]

"Oosuu not know. Chruighok only send goons to Oosuu flat. Goons with boxes, goons with credits. Not meet in person."

"What about her people on the list?" asks Jather. "Oosuu, do you recognise any of these names?"

[Q: Does she? 50/50: O2 C5 - No.
Q: Does she know all her usual contacts? 50/50: No, and...]

"Oosuu not know. Goons not big on introductions."

[What do the party members each wish to do next? 1d6:
1. flee back to Porubek
2. trade datapad to Chruighok for clemency
3. use Wex to sound out Chruighok & broker deal
4. copy data & distribute
5. flee offworld
6. find powerful patron

Z6 O5 W2 J2]

"I'm sure I can convince Chruighok to call off her goons," says Wex. "This is a pretty good bargaining chip."

"I have to admit, that sounds like our best shot," says Jather.

"Oosuu want off planet. Maybe go Expansion Regions, so closer Core."

"We're in deep poodoo here, but we're sitting on a goldmine," says Zil. "We should find a bigger player to hand it over to in exchange for protection. That way we can definitely continue to stay alive, and probably come out of this pretty solvent."

[Zil rolls her Persuasion, 4D=19, vs. everyone else's Willpower (Knowledge):
Jather 3D+2=16
Wex 4D=5 (wild die=1)
Oosuu 4D+1=8 (just a bad roll)]

Everyone looks at one another following Zil's suggestion, and a feeling of unanimity settles over them.

"Who did you have in mind?" asks Wex.

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