Category Archives: Star Wars Saga Edition

Campaign Journal – Star Wars Saga Edition #4

In this installment, we finally get into the action that I’ve been promising for a little while. So without further ado…

You know how the song goes.

The story begins on the planet of Haalthor, a small colony world in space still controlled by the ousted Emperor Roan Fel. The party is called to the office of the colony administrator and sent on what should be a blue milk run, being sent to a nearby colony to pick up a surplus of foodstuffs and medical supplies. They board their transport, an antiquated Ghtroc 720 held together by mostly string and mesh tape.

Gives you strong bones and a strong connection to the Force. Doesn’t do anything for whining though.

The captain of the ship takes them to their destination, but when they get there, they find no signs of life coming from the colony. No communications. Nothing. As they get closer, they pick up a very low powered distress call, but nothing else. No communications they send get any sort of response, and they fail to see many signs of power. They land the shuttle a short distance from the actual colony and head into the area on foot where their fears and suspicions are confirmed. There is no one alive in the colony. The strangest thing is that there doesn’t appear to have been any kind of battle. There are no blaster marks on the walls, no signs of explosion, no signs of struggle, period. The only thing left in the colony are a few droids, who appear to have been tampered with, as they don’t recall anyone besides the party having been on the colony.

Rann takes the group to the administrative building of the colony where further investigation yields the source of the distress call. The colony administrator managed to get the distress signal activated before he disappeared, but something tampered with the power output, be it whatever screwed with the droids or an actual hacker turning it down couldn’t be determined.

The party decided to head to the landing pad to see if the supplies were still there and at least complete that part of their mission before returning to Haalthor to share this sudden turn of events. As they got there they noticed several stacks of crates that were most likely the cargo they were supposed to have picked up sitting on the pads. As they began to look through some of them, they heard the noise of a ship’s engine overhead, and they saw a landing craft begin to approach the colony. Skai, Niera, Rann, and Kiri all ran for cover, but Jasem decided to see who was aboard the ship and see if they knew anything. As the ship landed, several men in armor came out holding several beasts on leashes. They were followed by a Rodian in an officer’s uniform. They all bore the markings of the Crimson Buzzards, a gang of not quite pirates who made most of their money selling scavenged tech from derelict ships. The Rodian demanded to know who Jasem was and what they were doing here, and the Caamasi related his name and the purpose of their visit as well as telling them they were from Haalthor. The Rodian ordered his men to kill the Caamasi, prompting the rest of the party into action. The ensuing battle and it’s results will be discussed in the next installment as well as commentary on the threats and tactics used.

Originally posted at Word of the Nerd Online.

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Campaign Journal – Star Wars Saga Edition #3

I know I promised that we would get into the action on this post, but I would be remiss if I didn’t take this entry to talk about something that has grown to be super important to me as a GM since I learned of them. Something known as the Three Questions.

GM Chris, host of the Order 66 Podcast came up with these questions, believing that a good answer to these three simple questions can be more important than any amount of back story when looking at a game from a GM’s perspective, because they immediately provide hooks he can use to draw the character, and by extension the player, into the game.

So what are these three magical questions? Well, I’m no bridge keeper, but I’ll ask you anyway.

1. What does you character Love? With a capital L. Even the most reviled, evil despot has something, somewhere they care about a great deal, and would give of themselves to protect – perhaps even sacrificing their life to protect and care for. This could be a friend, family member, or lover. Perhaps a homeworld, a group of people, or a village that once sheltered you. Maybe you have a soft-spot for kittens.

2. What does you character Hate? With a capital H. Even the most benevolent and well-meaning character has something, somewhere they hate, would go out of their way to harm, or would irrationally distrust. This could be an individual in the character’s past, or a group of people. Even a planet. Perhaps the character has a prejudice against Trandoshans, or has sworn to destroy the bounty hunter clan that destroyed his village as a child.

3. Why is your character willingly (and eagerly) working for the [rebellion/empire/guild/organization/order/etc./whatever-group-the-PCs-are-actively-working-with]? Why is your character an active participant in what this group does, and willing to work with the rest of the party? Are they devoted to the cause? Do they have a simple love of credits? Are they devoted to stamping out a threat?

They are three short questions, but there is a lot there a skilled GM can work with and build off of, providing hours and hours of drama and entertainment that the players are going to care about, because their characters are directly involved somehow. But I would go so far as to add in a fourth question just to round it out.

4. Your character has a connection with one of the other characters. What is it? Were they childhood friends (or rivals)? Were they sweethearts growing up? Are they related? Did one help another out of a jam (by saving them from slavers or Imperial troops)? Are they mentoring another character?

This kicks the entire notion of “you meet in a tavern” right in the teeth, something that I am happy to do. Yes, it’s a sacred cow in the world of RPGs, but it’s fatted to the point where it’s well past time for slaughter. This begins the game with the PCs already knowing at least one of the other party members in some way, and already begins building  relationships before the first session and gives the players something to work off of. In fact, this idea is so important, that the wildly popular Spirit of the Century has it as a built-in mechanic during character creation.

I tried the three questions in a campaign, and I haven’t gone back since.

So, to finish rounding out the cast, and to make help make sense of things that are going to be put in motion later, I’d like to present to you the abridged versions of my players answers to the questions three.

Skai Kasian

Directly related to events in his past, Skai has been on his own, and has grown to love the freedom that comes from never knowing where your next job is going to come from. For this reason, he hates those that would prey on others and take away that freedom, be they pirates or slavers, believing them to be the worst kind of coward. His lifestyle has led him to the less regulated Outer Rim where he took a job on the growing colony world of Haalthor.

Kirikinerry-tovante

Holovids have always been an escape for Kiri, and have become his one true constant companion and love through a life of constant upheaval. Kiri also maintains a strict code of honor and has a strong distaste for those who don’t play “fair,” which granted, sounds a little strange coming from someone with criminal tendencies. If you’re going to lie, cheat, and steal, then at least be elegant about it. Unfortunately for Kiri, the law finally caught up with him, and he was forced to sell his ship to get enough bribe money to get the charges dropped. This has effectively stranded him on the colony of Haalthor.

Rann Antilles

Rann still carries a torch for his first love, Seela, a Twi’lek dancing girl. When he left Corellia, they drifted apart, but the peace officer still cares deeply for the spirited young woman. Coming from a long line of decorated CorSec officers, the thing he hates above all is dirty cops and the politics that follow in their wake, catching everyone else in the waves. In fact, this sort of led to him losing his position in CorSec. “Pressure from upstairs” for busting an Imperial loyalists son on a drug charge lost him his job and he drifted away from Corellian space, taking his particular set of skills and knowledge to work on a security detail on a small Outer Rim colony.

Jasem Osar

If Jasem could choose one word to define perfection for himself it would be this. Harmony. His  time with the Revwien and his time studying the way of the Tyia Adepts have taught him that nothing is more important in this world, and the peace-loving ways of his species play to that particularly well. Because of this, he hates being required to perform a violent act. He will do so if the act is necessary, but it tends to push him into a cycle of self-loathing and hatred that tends to lead to further destructive actions and hatred of the person who necessitated the action. After being exiled from his homeworld and being trained as a Tyia Adept, he traveled the Outer Rim, seeking to bring harmony back to those that had suffered at the hands of this new war, moving from planet to planet, eventually leading him to Haalthor.

Niera Kurucz

Niera has always loved droids, more so than even a normal droid technician would. She has always been surrounded by droids and has even gone so far as to take steps to make herself more droid like, putting her at odds with her own people and other organics in general. This has led to a hatred of disrespect, stemming from the disrespect she got from her own people as well as from seeing so many people use and abuse droids as nothing more than simple tools. She was sent to the colony of Haalthor by her company to act as a technician for the colony.

Next time – The First Session.

Originally posted on Word of the Nerd Online

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Campaign Journal #2 – Star Wars Saga Edition

In the last installment, I discussed the very inception of the my latest Star Wars Saga Edition campaign. In this installment, I am going to introduce the cast.

The players are all people from the d20 Radio boards, some of whom I have gamed with before, and a couple who I have not. After deciding on some character creation guidelines, I let them cut loose, and was very excited when I saw what they had come up with.

I decided to allow the characters both a Background and Destiny for this game. The Destiny system was introduced when the game launched. Each character has a destiny they are working towards completing. In doing so, they get a small number of Destiny Points, which allow them to do incredibly powerful things in the game ranging from completely negating a hit to causing an automatic critical hit to changing when you act in combat.

The Background system was included in the Rebellion Era Campaign Guide and was intended to replace the Destiny system. Instead of focusing on where your character is going, it focuses on where you character came from. You choose a defining event, a job you worked at before you became a hero or a different planet of origin for your species. You draw certain abilities from your background, as well as the ability to draw from certain skills that may not normally be in your classes list, a powerful ability to be sure when used correctly.

I also decided that I was going to run a little experiment with this game. Those of you with an ear to the ground within the RPG industry have no doubt heard of the FATE system, which has been generating a lot of talk lately for their intriguing system. The crux of that system is what they call “aspects,” certain phrases, characteristics, or even quotes that describe a character. They can be invoked for bonuses or compelled to make situations interesting. I have decided to try something similar for this game (and so far, it seems to be working pretty well). Instead of Fate Points as FATE uses, the players use and get Force Points when invoking or compelling their aspects instead.

But enough of that system talk. Onto the characters!

We have Skai Kasian, a Zabrak mercenary who suffered a terrible loss at the hands of pirates. He was marooned on a remote planet after pirates shot down and killed the entire crew of the transport ship he was on. He was left alive to be hunted as sport and through skill and a little bit of luck he killed the pirates and was able to escape, dedicating his life to making life as difficult as possible for pirates and others that would prey on those less powerful than them. He is a survivor through and through, and more than a little superstitious, due in large part to a trinket that he discovered while he was being hunted by the pirates. Mechanically, he is a solid fighter, a Scout/Soldier build with the focus on survival, allowing him to avoid some damage as well as push his defenses higher. His aspects are Survivor, Superstitious, and Merc With a Heart of Gold

Next we have Kirikinerry-tovante, or Kiri for short. He is a Squib who was forced into a life on the Outer Rim through his own actions. He had a long and profitable career with the Squib Reclamation Fleet as a scavenger until war plunged the galaxy into chaos again. While the business was still profitable, Kiri was uncomfortable throwing himself in the middle of galactic events, especially those involving the Sith. He took his skills and went into business for himself as a smuggler until the authorities caught up with him. He was able to pay off the officials to look the other way, but it involved him selling his ship and effectively stranding himself on the colony world of Haalthor. Mechanically, he is a pure Scoundrel, focused on stealth and deception. His aspects are Outer-Rim Lifestyle, Caught in the Middle, and Holovid Junkie.

Then we have Rann Antilles, the near-human from Corellia. Rann was a cop, and a good one at that, working for CorSec until he found his commission revoked for busting an Imperial official’s son on drug charges. Finding himself unable to do anything else, he left his former life and bounced around from security position to security position, eventually finding himself signed up on an Outer Rim colony as part of the local defense. Though cocky and smart-mouthed, Rann is an honest cop through and through and actively hates those that give his profession a bad name. Mechanically, Rann is a Scout/Soldier build, another fighter, though this one more focused towards offense as well as some tricks up his sleeve outside of combat. His aspects are An Honest Cop, Chronic Wiseass, and Streetwise.

Next, there is Jasem Osar, the Caamasi Force user was exiled from his tribe after an incident with some slavers. A race that is wildly pacifistic, often to the point of complete and total non-violence, Jasem broke those tenets when he stood up to a group of slavers intent to take some of his people away. Though the results were appreciated, his actions could not be tolerated, and he was exiled from his clan. He drifted for a while before discovering and being discovered by the Tyia Adepts, a Force-using tradition that exemplified harmony and peace, but also showed him how to use his gifts to non-violently handle situations should the need arise. Since then, he has been moving about the Outer Rim, seeking to keep himself out of the war as well as to promote his new doctrine. Mechanically, Jasem is a very interesting character. He is a Noble/Soldier build, and the words used to describe him are “Force Tank.” Despite his lower than average hp, he is built to focus enemy fire on himself and absorb it through various talents and Force powers. His aspects are Peacekeep, Wise Man on the Mountain, and Stubborn Old Fool

Finally, we have Niera Kurucz, the Arkanian Tech Specialist. She always loved machines, and spent more of her childhood with droids and circuits than with other children, tinkering both with a droid that has become a personal companion as well as with herself, going so far as to remove one of her hands to replace it with a cybernetic prosthetic. As she grew, she found herself more and more distanced from her people, she left her homeworld after some “encouragement” from the leaders of her community. She eventually found employment with a very large droid and cybernetics firm that paid her incredibly well to do the things she loved to do. Most recently, they sent her to Haalthor to oversee the installation of several devices that the Imperials had paid the company for. Mechanically, she is another interesting concept. While Force-sensitive, she doesn’t show any signs of it yet, but she is focused on being able to affect the minds of droids with mind-affecting powers which they are normally immune to. At the moment, she is simply a very talented droid mechanic. Her aspects are Uncomfortable Around Organics, Droid-Lover, and Internal Encyclopedia.

So there you have the cast of this adventure. Next time, we’ll finally dive into the story so far. Keep your eyes peeled, and remember – let go of your conscious self, and act on instinct.

Originally posted on Word of the Nerd Online.

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Campaign Journal – Star Wars Saga Edition #1

It’s always difficult for me to commit to starting a new campaign when it comes to tabletop games. It’s because I usually have so many ideas bouncing around my head that I feel that I am never going to be able to do them all justice.

However, I have had an idea in my head for a campaign for several years now, one I have tried to run several times. Neither of them got off the ground, unfortunately.

So, when I saw that several people on the d20 Radio boards were looking for a GM to run a Star Wars Saga Edition game over Skype, I figured “what the heck,” and tossed my hat in to GM, knowing that several of them were very committed role players.

This time I had no problem deciding what I was going to run.

This particular campaign I have tried to set in numerous eras. It’s first incarnation was in the Old Republic as a one-on-one game with my wife. The second was a Play by Post experiment that existed completely out of the canon timeline, but would have taken place right after the New Sith Wars and the implementation of Darth Bane’s Rule of Two. After doing a lot of thinking on how I was going to pursue it this time, I decided on the Legacy era, having just re-read the Legacy comics from Dark Horse publishing.

For the uninitiated, the Legacy Era is set over 130 years after the events of Episodes IV, V, and VI and shows us a galaxy once again dominated by a Sith Empire. However, this is not the Sith of the classical era. Instead of the Rule of Two, the Rule of One has been instituted – one ruler, one order. There are numerous Sith Lords across the galaxy, pursuing their own agendas, all the while working for the Sith Lord on the throne.

The Jedi Order is once again a shadow of it’s former strength, and Jedi are hunted mercilessly due to a large standing bounty placed on their heads by the Empire. The Sith Empire is in a state of near constant warfare with the Empire in Exile, the legitimate rulers the Sith betrayed to take power in the first place after helping them in the last great war. The Sith Empire is also forced to deal with the remnants of the Galactic Alliance, the government that existed before the last Empire was established by the Fel dynasty some 80 years previous.

As you can see, the Legacy era puts a lot on the table and in the toolbox of any aspiring GM. All the major pieces of previous eras are taken, put into a blender, and set to “frappe.” It gives a lot of opportunity for both the players and the GM to take the Star Wars sandbox and build what they want with it, and for this particular reason is becoming a fan favorite.

At the time this campaign begins, the galaxy is in a state of turmoil. The Sith Emperor, Darth Krayt has supposedly been assassinated by a Jedi of the name Skywalker, and a series of deadly power games is taking place within the ranks of the Sith Empire. The Empire in Exile as well as the Alliance Remnant have stepped up their pressure on the Sith Empire as well, even going so far as to set aside their differences after the last war and fight as allies.

It is into this mess that five strangers take the stage, working to uncover a sinister plot from an unknown faction deep in Imperial space. Hailing from the Imperial colony world of Haalthor, their story is about to begin.

Be sure to keep checking back as the story of this campaign is told. I want to give you all a peek behind the GM screen. I plan on speaking a little bit about my thought process on encounter creation, house rules that I’m implementing, as well as general system thoughts. But most importantly, I hope to entertain you all with the story of six people who come together for a few hours every couple of weeks and play make believe over the internet.

Next time, you will be introduced to the main players on this stage. Until then, remember to fly casual, and may the Force be with you.

Originally posted at Word of the Nerd Online.

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The Predator Skill Challenge

Maybe I’ve been playing too much Batman: Arkham City, or maybe after all this time playing Star Wars Saga Edition, I’m really starting to stretch my arms in regards to encounter design. Either way you slice it, I was struck tonight with a concept for an encounter for a module I’ve been working on, and it does draw a lot of inspiration from way that the Dark Knight’s latest two console/PC releases have handled the gameplay.

There are times in the game where it is better to be stealthy that it is to run in, fists swinging, dropping foes one at a time from various areas and degrees of cover and stealth, be it dropping down from the rafters and grabbing a hapless foe, dangling him from your perch until he passes out, or dropping down behind one as he passes you and putting him in a sleeper hold. Meanwhile, the enemies patrol the area you’re in (usually contained to a single room or area of the map), and will occasionally do searches of the room, and go on alert if and when they find the body of another goon.

This led me to envision a new type of encounter for a GM to run – a Covert Ops Skill Challenge, or a Predator Skill Challenge. Here’s the basic concept as I’m seeing it:

You stat out the CL as normal. The goal of the PCs however is not to hit a certain number of successes before accruing three failures however. Instead, this is run as a pseudo combat encounter, with the PCs either needed to make it to a certain spot on the map, or defeating all of the enemies before accruing a certain number of failures (I’m thinking five or maybe even a few more to account for the increased risk inherent in running this kind of encounter).

Every one rolls for initiative, and you break out the battle map. The enemies, on their turns move in a set patrol route on their Initiative. If, from the direction they are facing, any of the PCs enter their line of sight, the PCs earn a failure and must immediately move back to the nearest square on the map where they are out of line of sight. That enemy (or enemies if they’re linked by radio) also enters into the “alert” condition (more on that below).

Restrict the skill list to ones that make sense in the situation and assign them DCs as normal. If they’re in a shipping yard, Knowledge (social sciences) and Survival probably aren’t going to be useful to the task at hand. For skills like Stealth, or Deception (to create diversions) or wherever it’s appropriate, assign them an opposed Perception check from the nearby patrols. If you want, you can have the patrols all make Perception checks and not the results down when their turn in the initiative comes up.

When the player starts his turn, he can take a move action and a standard action. The standard action is to make a skill check, or to take out of an opponent should he be positioned to do so (more on that below as well). With his move action, he can well… move. There should be a discernible location on the map that they should be moving towards (unless the encounter design is “take out all of the bad guys in this room”). If they all make it there before accruing the requisite number of failures, they succeed. If they take out all of the enemies on the map, they succeed. If they fail the challenge, the alarm gets raised and they have a fight on their hands.

Should the PC be in position to take out an enemy, he can do so with his standard action in lieu of making a skill check. He needs to be adjacent to the enemy and not have been noticed (sneaking behind him, around a corner, above him, etc). The PC then makes an attack roll against the target’s Reflex Defense. A hit means the opponent’s down, regardless of what his hit points are normally. But should another patrol find the body, he and any nearby patrols gain the “alert” condition.

Just what is this “alert” condition? Well, it can mean what you want it to mean. Maybe they get a +2 circumstance bonus to their Perception checks. Maybe they get a Perception reroll, keeping the second result. Maybe they alter their patrol routes. Maybe they pair up. Maybe some combination of any or all of the above.

I plan on putting this idea to the test in the module I’m currently working on, with the PCs needing to escape a shipping yard after smuggling themselves onto an Imperial Detention World without being seen to avoid mucking up the entire operation. Should make for an interesting encounter at the very least.

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Karkarodon – New Species

Inspired by the recent episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, I decided to stat out the Karkarodon, of which Riff Tamson is a member. After some initial feedback and editing on the d20 Radio Boards, I give you the following stats for use in your home games.

Karkarodon

Image
Ability Modifiers: +2 Int, -2 Wis, -2 Cha. Karkarodon possess a keen predatory intellect, but are capable of being goaded into very rash actions.

Medium Size: As Medium creatures, Karkarodon have no special bonuses to penalties due to their size.

Speed: Karkarodon base speed is 4 squares. They have a swim speed of 6 squares.

Water Dweller: The Karkarodon cannot breathe air, and require special suits to survive in a non-water environment. Without these suits, they begin to sufficate (see Endurance page 66 SECR). Replacement suits cost 3,000 credits, and are difficult to find off of their home planet. Karkarodon characters start play with a suit at no additional cost.

Breathe Underwater: As aquatic creatures, Karkarodon can’t drown in water.

Expert Swimmer: A Karkarodon may choose to reroll any Swim check, but the result of the reroll must be accepted even if it is worse. In addition, a Karkarodon may choose to take 10 on Swim checks even when distracted or threatened.

Rage: Once per day, a Karkarodon can fly into a rage as a swift action. While raging, the Karkarodon temporarily gains a +2 rage bonus on melee attack rolls and melee damage rolls but cannot use skills that require patience and concentration, such as Mechanics, Stealth, or Use the Force. A fit of rage lasts for a number of rounds equal to 5 + the Karkarodon’s Constitution modifier. At the end of its rage, a Karkarodon moves -1 persistent step along the condition track. The penalties imposed by this condition persist until the Karkarodon takes at least 10 minutes to recuperate, during which time the Karkarodon can’t engage in any strenuous activity.

Natural Weapon: The Karkarodon have a natural weapon in the form of a powerful bite attack. When making an unarmed attack, a Karkarodon can choose to use their natural weapon, dealing 1d6 points of piercing damage. Karkarodon are always considered armed with their natural weapons.

Scent: Karkarodon have a keen sense of smell. At close range (within 10 squares), Karkarodon ignore concealment and cover for purposes of Perception checks, and they take no penalty for poor visibility when tracking. The range increases to 15 squares if the Karkarodon is underwater.

Automatic Languages: Basic, Karkarodon

Big thanks to Flagwaver, angelicdoctor, PiercedGeek, Smugglers_Paradise, and FULONGAMER over at the d20 Radio boards for their input.

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Star Wars Legacies: The Story So Far…

Yeah. I’ve been really terrible at keeping up with these session recaps. Many apologies for those that have been reading them. The game has not faded, I’ve just been lazy about keeping up on documenting them. So, what you get now is a short recap of the last six or so sessions that have been played in the interim.

Legacy Era

The party was given the assignment of bringing several members of the gang who had left mysteriously down and “made an example of.” They had been going on an absolute spree through the city, murdering and kidnapping dozens of people. Infiltrating the city’s law enforcement office, they were able to find the location of the last set of murders. Talutah was able to track the four rogue gangsters down thanks to her Anzati heritage, following the trail to an abandoned warehouse, wherein, they encountered their targets. The battle was an intense one, and it left all but one of the gangsters dead and the fourth, a Togorian, unconscious. They questioned him as to what was going on, but the bewildered gang banger had absolutely no idea where he was or what he had been doing for the past few days. The last thing he remembered was being contacted by Tsun, and meeting someone else in his office from the larger syndicate. After knocking him out and leaving him for the police, the party returned to their base to find that the source of the money transfers to Tsun’s account had been traced to the next city over, one that was ruled by the larger syndicate family.

Gathering their things, they left to go and find out what they could. As they entered the city, the began hearing rumors about lights coming from a droid shop in the industrial park that had been recently shut down. The party made a plan of attack and moved to investigate, encountering only one man in the shop. After stunning him, they began to search the place, finding it completely abandoned. The security cameras were not live and there was no sign of people having been in the building for a little while. Talutah however entered a second floor above the garage to find dried blood on the wall and a large area that appeared to have been the place for some sort of large object. As they explored the area, they caught sight of the guy they had stunned earlier fleeing the area. They gave chase and wound up at an operational droid factory. Trying to head inside, they were stopped by the foreman who asked what was going on. When they explained that they were chasing a possible fugitive who may have ducked in to hide, he let them into the building to look around, saying that he might have used the turbolift to escape and hide out in the upstairs. The PCs took the turbolift up to be greeted by two men, one in a smart business suit the other wearing heavy armor, both of them glowing malevolently in the Force. The man in the business suit shook his head at the PCs, claiming that they just didn’t know when to leave well enough alone, claiming that his apprentice would prove to be more than enough for them. Then he revealed his insurance policy, and several hidden turbolifts opened behind him and a small squad of stormtroopers stepped out of them. He left the room as the armored man drew a large two handed lightsaber and ignited a crimson red blade.

What could have been a really tough battle was made easier as Talutah gave into her darker emotions and grabbed the apprentice by the throat with the Force, dangling him a few inches above the ground slowly choking the life out of him. R-66Y moved to engage him with his lightsabers after he was effectively defenseless while Jacob revealed a silver bladed lightsaber that no one had seen yet, attacking the stormtroopers with a vengeance, screaming at them for being traitors. The apprentice eventually sagged in Talutah’s grasp and R-66Y ended his life at the point of his lightsaber. The party however was forced to evacuate quickly as one of the stormtroopers leveled his repeater at the open core that powered the plant, and unloading into it. They party barely made it out before the place blew as the core overloaded.

As they were escaping, they found themselves suddenly surrounded by three robed figures. A tense situation was resolved when the assailants identified themselves as Jedi. They brought the party to their hideout before laying into them for blowing their investigation with their brash action. They had been tracking down the Sith Lord who had laid the trap for them for months and had been about to move in and take him out when the PCs interfered. Their contact at port authority had contacted them shortly after the battle telling them that a small ship had taken off. Believing it to be the Sith Lord fleeing, the Jedi told the PCs they would have to go after him while they reported back to their superior and find out what to do next. They were given a ship and the Sith’s transponder codes so he could be tracked and took off, quickly finding out his escape vector and some approximate coordinates to his new location, one that took them deep into the Unknown Regions. They jumped, spending the next week or so in hyperspace.

During the travel, several things came up, including the fact that Talutah was on the run from her Master and that Jacob shared the family name of Fel, that of the current Emperor in Exile.

The party eventually came out of hyperspace and were immediately struck by two things. One was an aging satellite orbiting around a terrestrial world. The second was the gutted hulk of a Venator-class Destroyer used by the Republic during the Clone Wars. They were ordered to land in the satellite where they would be transported to the planet below. Inside the dock, they found the stolen ship, but the few crew they talked to inside didn’t know who it belonged to. They got permission to search the station, even though most of it had been sealed off for years after a battle aboard the station. However, they broke the seals and took a turbolift down into the station, where they encountered a number of creatures they had never seen before. They carried no sense of life, but a strong presence in the dark side of the Force. However, they were quickly dispatched and turned their attention towards a blinking monitor on the wall. They found a video recording of a security feed from years ago. The hit play and watched a small group exit the turbolift into the bowels of the warehouse.

Clone Wars Era

The party quickly began moving through the hallways, the sound of fighting coming from deeper inside the station. After being cut off from Hurrgh when a part of the station collapsed between them, they pressed on, finding a Gungan Jedi knight locked in a fierce battle with several large red-skinned warriors. They joined the battle and dispatched their foes, regrouping afterwards. The Gungan introduced himself as Commander Gee Dan who had been sent over to the station to check it out while the PCs did their thing on the surface.

They pressed deeper into the station, taking another turbolift down to a small room at the bottom. There they encountered a man in heavy armor standing behind what appeared to be an altar of black stone. He looked up at the PCs and without any preamble, drew and ignited a red lightsaber, engaging the PCs. He was a tough foe, but they took him down through superior numbers. As he succumbed to his wounds, he cursed the PCs, telling them that the Eternal Empire would not stop, could not be stopped, and would return.

Legacy Era

The video feed ended the party moved further down into the station, taking the same turbolift to the bottom of the station they had seen in the video. In the same room, they encountered the Sith Lord they had been chasing standing next to the same altar that had been in the security footage. But it seemed to have grown. It now appeared as a column, extending from the floor to the ceiling. Surrounding the column was several bodies, that suddenly jerked and spasmed as something animated their bodies. They attacked the Sith Lord, but at the height of the battle, the station around them shook and the party found themselves bounced around the room before they fell unconscious, the station falling out of the sky.

——————-

And that will have to be enough for now. I’ll finish bringing you up to speed on the two most recent sessions in another post. I’ll make sure to do it before another six months has passed though. Promise. Until then Gamer Nation.

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Star Wars: Legacies; Session Five Write Up

Session Five Write-Up

Dramatis Personae

Tahluta – Anzat Force Wizard

Luro Clan Voltan – Mandalorian Forward Scout

Jacob – Human Force Sensitive Warrior

R66-Y – Droid

 

The morning dawns on the planet Rikosh, and the party finds themselves in one of the garages that one of the local city gangs uses as a base. For whatever reason, they’ve found themselves forced into hiding on this planet and forced into the service of one of the local gang bosses. They stand in front of one of their direct superiors who has a very bewildered looking ASP Series Labor Droid standing next to him. They are told they need to deliver the droid to a contact on the other side of the city, where he will have some necessary data retrieved from his memory core. Unfortunately, the droid has some “issues” as their superior terms it with its internal systems. If the droid is jostled too much, the memory core might be disrupted and the data contained within lost. For that reason, they need to walk the droid across town instead of taking an air or landspeeder. With that, he leaves the party with the droid, who finally seems to notice them, and asks them a question they will come to hate really quickly.

 

“What do you require of me?”

 

Jacob answers “Nothing right now. Just sit there.” The droid then proceeds to sit down on the floor as the rest of the PCs look on dumbfounded, and beginning to have a growing sense of dread for the walk across town.

 

The walk was fairly uneventful, the droid getting distracted numerous times by various people and places outside. At one point, Tahluta snaps her fingers at the droid and yells at him to focus. At this the droid turns his gaze to her and zooms in with his photoreceptors, following it up with “What do you require of me?”

 

The party crossed into an area that was heavily contested between several of the gangs in the city, and eventually found themselves in a rival’s territory, that of the Stars by the looks of the tags on the wall. Eyes and ears perked for danger, they moved slowly, knowing they were only blocks away from their destination. Suddenly Jacob, Luro, and R66-Y turned around, hearing footsteps coming up behind them. They saw a motley collection of individuals moving towards them, three Duros, two Humans, and an Aqualish. The Aqualish stepped forward and demanded the party hand over the droid, which they outright refused. The Aqualish responded “Then we’ll just take it from you,” and the enemy pulled blasters and vibrodaggers. The Aqualish surged ahead and took a shot at Luro, who had ducked behind several garbage cans, which stopped the blaster shot. The three Duros moved forward next, the two with blades moving towards the party and the one with the pistol grabbed some cover and took another shot at Luro.

 

Tahluta grabbed the labor droids hand and ran around the corner, finding a small warehouse to hide in. As she was messing with the door controls, the droid looked at her and the following exchange happened.

 

Droid: What do you require of me.

Tahluta: Just be quiet!

*The droid looks at Tahluta as if he has something more to say*

Tahluta: *sighing* Fine. Speak.

Droid: It is imperative that I am not damaged in any way.

Tahluta: I’m well aware of that.

Droid: No. You do not fully understand.

 

At this point, the droid opens up a previously hidden hatch before leading to some amount of internal storage. Tahluta’s eyes grow wide as she realizes the droid is stuffed with enough high grade explosive to level half a city block.  The quickly moves the droid into the warehouse, blocks the other entrance with heavy shipping crates, and then proceeds to cover the other door, her hand in the folds of her robe clutching her lightsaber.

 

Meanwhile, the battle raged outside. Jacob and R66-Y surged forward to engage their opponents in melee, Jacob clutching a spear and R66-Y a stun baton. Luro meanwhile stuck behind cover and took some shots with his own heavy blaster pistol, putting some serious hurt downrange and wound up dropping four of the five enemies that weren’t able to run away. The Aqualish didn’t go down without a fight though, dropping Jacob, who was already battered from carbine fire from several of the enemy toughs. In the end though, the Aqualish wasn’t able to withstand a critical hit from Luro’s hand cannon.

 

After the battle, Luro took a quick look at the bodies and noticed the insignia patch on their shoulders. It was that of the Vipers, another of the five gangs in the contest for control of the city, and not the Stars. What the Viper’s were doing in another gang’s territory was anyone’s guess, but it was more disturbing that they knew about and wanted the droid bad enough to die for it. Jacob stirred and got groggily to his feet, and with the aid of the other two, moved to find Tahluta and the droid. They were immediately informed of the droid’s “information” and they immediately struck off to find their contact, who they found looking about worriedly after the gunfire he had just heard. They mentioned that they had just been attacked by members of the Vipers. Their contact guessed that there was probably a mole in their own gang. He would have to be exposed, and it would have to be “ascertained” who he was working for. He told them that he would leave the course of their investigation up to them while he finished what he needed with the droid.

 

They launched their investigation, and despite Jacob nearly blowing it open right away, they managed to follow a Viper back to his base of operations where they noticed Habukh, a new member of their gang heading into the building. It wasn’t hard to figure out that he must be the mole and so they put together a quick plan to get him outside and into their custody. R66-Y approached the guards at the door, doing his best impression of a courier droid and told them he had a message to be delivered to Habukh. One of the guards called him out. Jacob used the Force to create a small noise to distract the guards and planted a small suggestion that they should go and check it out, at which point Luro sneaked up behind Habukh and knocked him out with a blow from a stun baton. They quickly dragged the body into the alleyway and found an unused warehouse where they could interrogate him. They quickly secured him to a chair and woke him up. Without any preamble, Tahluta straddled him, put her face close to his, and snaked her proboscis up his nostrils and began feeding on his soup, adding the underlying threat that there would be more of this to come if he didn’t cooperate. R66-Y tried to make him spill the beans on what he knew, but he flat out refused to talk. Jacob tapped into his darker emotions and used the power of the Force to wrack Habukh with pains while Luro kept a lookout. Taluhta and R66-Y finally broke him and he spilled the information. He wasn’t working directly for the Vipers. But he didn’t really know who he was working for. He was hired and the jobs given to him by an intermediary. One further complication: He didn’t know this person’s name either. He just knew that he went by Red Eye.

 

So, their investigation now took on the focus of finding out who Red Eye was and finding out who he worked for. Jacob stopped into a local cantina and poked around for information, asking the bartender if he had ever heard of him, sliding him a few credits for any information. The bartender leaned in close and said that he was a fairly common sight around the loading docks. When asked what he looked like, the bartended responded that he was a big, bulky specimen of a Duros.

 

They headed down to the docks, and saw him taking a walk around the area. Luro tailed him as he took the walk through the docks and all the way back to the government district, where he went into a building, pushed a button on one of the directories, and was let in remotely. Luro brought the rest of the party to the building. Tahluta tried to peer through the door and see which button he had pressed, but the typeface was just too small. So, R66-Y put on his best bewildered droid impression and wandered into the lobby and took a look at the door. He drew the attention of the guards, but was able to deflect attention by wandering around the lobby, stopping awkwardly at several other places, and leaving. He noticed that the label on the button Red Eye had pressed was for the Office of Mr. Tsun. As Jacob tried in vain to recall the name and what he was in the grand scheme of the government of the city, several large figures approached them; two Gamorreans and an incredibly built Human. They walked directly up to the party and said:

 

Enforcer: Mr. Tsun knows you’ve been asking some questions. For your own well-being, you’d best stop.

Tahluka: *waving her hand* We are not causing any problems here. You have the wrong people.

Enforcer: *binking* I guess you guys are alright. I must have you pegged wrong.

 

With that, he barked an order to the Gamorreans and the three of them left. The party gathered themselves when Luro’s comlink crackled to life. It was the voice of their boss, demanding to know what had come of their investigation. They told him all they had found out. There was a brief moment of silence before their boss told them that Mr. Tsun’s full name was Corell Tsun, a low level financial bureaucrat with connections to the bigger mobs. If he was getting involved in the goings on of the gangs in the city, it could only mean that the larger syndicates were making moves to take power over the smaller areas. He ordered them back to the base so that the situation could be assessed.

 

 

This session went really, really well. I had a ball playing the droid up and I think the party enjoyed his antics. The fight proved to be challenging, which is what I wanted (it was a CL 2 level fight, utilizing 3 Thugs from the Core Rulebook, 2 Brutes from Threats of the Galaxy, and a Scoundrel 1/Soldier 2 build for the Aqualish). Luro’s player was on fire, taking out four of the five enemies that were killed (the last thug ran away in the third round of combat, shouting that he wasn’t paid enough for this. And his critical hit to end the combat did well over 30 points of damage. This also feels like it was the session where the entire group “got” skill challenges, and was, in my opinion, the best one I have run yet. I even managed to run a smaller skill challenge inside of a larger one with the interrogation scene. I’m looking forward to next week’s session when I add in a new player to replace the one that dropped the game for personal reasons. I’ve gamed with this guy before, but he moved away when he joined the military a few years back and just moved back into the area. He hasn’t gotten a chance to play Saga Edition yet, so I’m looking forward to teaching him the ropes.

 

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Star Wars: Legacies; Session Four Write-Up

Session Four Write-Up

The day dawned and Dain called the party to the fortress’ CIC to explain the plan. He would be taking his force around to the front of the city and launch an attack, attempting to draw as much of the attention off of the party as possible. Meanwhile, they would utilize the distraction in order to infiltrate the city and sneak into the government district where they should be able to find the enemy commander.

After reaching the city, Dain and his crew launched their attack. The party noticed most of the occupying forces heading to the front of the wall in order to help defend the city. The party noticed only token forces on their areas of the wall along with mostly destroyed defense emplacements. They also noticed a particularly large “scar” in the wall that could be easily scaled by most anyone to get atop and back over, which they proceeded to take advantage of, through a combination of stealth and gusto. They found themselves in a lower class section of the city, with fewer patrols and some more partisan and resistance forces. Roz was able to find several locals and talk them into causing a distraction while Biro moved among several of the parked speeder bikes, disabling them. Hurrgh meanwhile kept a watch from the rooftops. Before long, they found themselves in the city proper, barely missing an encounter with a patrol. A well timed use of the Force by Roz sent them off in the opposite direction to get more forces to investigate a noise they “heard.”

Shortly thereafter, the party found themselves in the plaza outside of city hall. The enemy forces were entrenched, and a fierce firefight ensued. (The battle was well over a month ago, so any specifics are pretty much gone, but let’s just suffice to say that it was a tough encounter for five PCs, and one wasn’t able to make it due to weather conditions. However, thanks to a healthy supply of Destiny Points, they managed to rout the enemy forces. This was also the first time I experimented with Vehicle Fire Effects from Galaxy at War. Kinda forgot about the vehicles in the end though, and dropped the ball when they went to deal with them at the end of the combat.)

After the combat, Dain brought his forces into the plaza and with the aid of the PCs, retook the city hall. Unfortunately, it turned out the enemy commander was not there. He had taken off in a shuttle to the space station above the planet. Dain asked the party to head up there and stop him while they tried to take control of the planet back from the ground.

The PCs headed up to the station and immediately began looking for the enemy, but it seemed that no one there had seen him. No one even remembered how the other shuttle in the hangar had gotten there. This fact, combined with some telltale signs of sabotage in the takeoff/landing logs led the PCs to believe that he had to be here. They took a service elevator into the bowels of the station. The doors opened, and the scene faded to black.

This session marked the end of the first part of the Clone Wars era arc, and the end of the campaign for the calendar year due to holidays and school breaks. Play picked up yesterday. The play report on that session will be coming tomorrow.

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Thinking On Your Feet: Tactical Movement in Star Wars Saga Edition

Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that I have just recently finished watching Season One of Spartacus: Blood and Sand thanks to Netflix. While I was watching it, I was constantly reminded of just how important tactical movement and field placement is to a melee character, and this of course, led me to consider the movement mechanics of Star Wars Saga Edition.

 

As much as I love the game, it’s tactical options for melee characters seem to be woefully lacking. Your movement options are either a full movement action, or a Withdraw made to get out of combat and avoid attacks of opportunity. Neither of these pair very well with a lot of feats and talents that melee characters get  lot of mileage out of (Double and Triple Attack, Dual Weapon Mastery, etc). Now there are some higher end talents in certain classes and prestige classes that does allow for these options to be used more effectively in combat, but to me, there should be some other options for the lower end of play as well.

 

In the movies we see lightsaber duels that involve the combatants using the entire are open to them, be it Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Darth Maul fighting on the various catwalks in Theed Palace or Luke and Vader dueling through the various areas of Palpatine’s throne room aboard the second Death Star. Unfortunately, when it gets down to the table top level, these fights will get played out with the two opponents sitting in the same two squares, and letting fly with as many d20 rolls as they can in a round until one of them stops moving more often than not. And that’s just not fun in a system that touts itself as being as cinematic as the movies it was based on.

 

So, here’s my offering to fix that. A feat that can be taken as early as level 1 to give these melee combatants another set of options:

 

Combat Movement

Your study of combat has given you the knowledge required to make the most out of your placement on the field. You know how to strike and from just what angle to make the most of your attacks.
Prerequisite: Trained in Knowledge (tactics)
Benefit: Make a Knowledge (tactics) check as a swift action against a DC 15. If successful, you gain a number of Maneuver Points equal to 1 + your Wisdom modifier (minimum 1). These Maneuver Points can be spent to gain superior positioning on the field in the following ways. These following maneuvers happen immediately and are considered a part of the swift action to activate this ability. In the case of Furious Charge and Sly Charge, the ability is activated and will trigger on a charge attack made in your current turn. Any Maneuver Points that are not spent by the end of your turn are lost.

One Maneuver Point
Watchful Step: You shift 1 square.
Sweeping Blow: You slide an adjacent opponent 1 square.
Luring Blade: You pull an opponent within 5 squares 1 square.
Blade Trap: Your opponent must take a swift action to clear your blade before he can make any attacks. You must remain adjacent to your opponent for him to suffer this effect.

Two Maneuver Points
Furious Charge: You can move an additional 2 squares during a charge action. All other rules for charging still apply.
Sly Charge: After you finish your movement during a charge, but before you make your attack, you can shift 1 square.
Dizzying Attack: Your opponent suffers a -1 penalty to his attack rolls and Reflex Defense until the start of his next turn.
Driving Attack: You push an adjacent opponent 1 square. You then move into the square he just occupied.

Three Maneuver Points
Rapid Step: You shift a number of squares equal to half your speed.

Special: For the purposes of the maneuvers described in this feat, diagonal movement is counted as 1 square. A Push is any movement that takes an opponent away from you. A Pull is any movement that brings the enemy closer to you. Shifting does not provoke attacks of opportunity, nor does any forced movement.

 

In this feat, you have a tactical option for movement that puts more use into a skill that only one Prestige Class really gets any mileage out of (the Officer) thereby making it a much more useful skill to train in.

 

Obviously there’s lots more that can be added to this, and I’m thinking about going through the Movement Tricks from the Essentials Thief in order to get some more ideas as well. But this provides a nice base to build off of.

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