13th September 2020
It's Sunday lunchtime and we're picnicking in Vicky's garden, enjoying the unexpected warmth of a late summer day.
It's also time for Ares' Star Wars campaign.
Location: The Windbreaker.
From the cockpit, Pell uselessly watched as this mysterious smaller ship attached itself to the primary hull of The Windbreaker with a thud.
A few moments later, everyone heard the harsh sounds of drilling and cutting reverberate throughout the ship. It was obvious that they were cutting into the passenger cabin.
Everybody was moved out of the cabin and into the relative safety of the hold.
Quickly they tried to question the two Rodians, but they didn't appear to speak 'Galactic Basic', at best they were useless and provided no help. Utri spoke a little of their language, but when he spoke to them, they became evasive.
There was nothing to do except to wait until the ship was breached and boarded.
Chrisy and Pell took position by the two doors into the cabin with blasters pointed into the cabin and watched.
"Hmm," said Pell. "Getting into a fight with these boarders might be dangerous. But letting them on board might be worse?".
Robin was hidden in the shadows and M/8 was busy with baby Wilfred.
Utri returned into the cabin, ever the politico he had decided to try and negotiate with whoever boarded the ship.
He had also put himself directly into the line of fire for both Chrisy and Pell.
The cutting tool had now penetrated the secondary hull and was beginning on it's circular cutting path in the cabin's ceiling, throwing out shining white sparks along the way.
At the moment the circle was complete, the circular chunk of the ship's hull crashed to the cabin's floor and rattled like some colossal coin that had lost its spin.
From his vantage point, Utri could see into the end part of a smooth tube coming into the cabin from above at a forty-five degree angle.
Although Utri could not see the other end of the tube, he did hear a strangely whispering voice. It was explaining that they needed the cargo from this ship.
Without warning someone in 'Mandalorian' armour dropped into the cabin. He landed in a crouch, a pair of blaster pistols drawn and levelled at Chrisy and Pell.
Utri tried speaking to the Mandalorian, but was ignored. Utri looked around and the realisation dawned on him that he was in the centre of a stand off.
The situation was tense, everyone was quiet. Keeping his aim on Chrisy and Pell, the Mandalorian slowly shuffled towards the hold, no doubt looking for the 'cargo'.
The Mandalorian's face may have been hidden behind his visor, but his body language revealed his surprise at seeing M/8 cradling a baby in his arms.
Everyone watched unmoving, as the Mandalorian assessed the situation and then finally, put his blasters up. Chrisy and Pell reciprocated, with that they relaxed their muscles and breathed out, it also seemed that some of the tension had also been breathed out.
The Mandalorian bent low, examined the dead woman and straightened. It was quiet enough that everyone could hear the metallic chatter on his comms.
"Target is dead," the Mandalorian uttered into his comms.
"Did you kill her?" the reply squawked .
"Negative, she was already dead,".
"Was she pregnant?".
"Looks like it,".
"He'll be with the body, bring it to the ship. What about the crew, are you going to kill them?".
"Not part of my contract," the Mandalorian ended, a touch of contempt in his voice.
The Mandalorian picked up the remains of the woman and slung it unceremoniously over one shoulder. As he turned to leave, he paused for a moment, toggled his comms off, silencing the chatter at the other end and turned to face everyone.
"In twelve hours, this body will be with my employers, half-an-hour after that, they'll have realised the boy isn't with the body. You have twelve and a half hours before they send me after you,".
With that he turned on his heel and headed for the tube. Everyone realised that when the ship departed, it would expose the passenger cabin to a vacuum. Pell stayed in the cockpit and sealed the door, everyone else rushed to do likewise in the hold.
It was easy to tell when the smaller ship left, the contents of the cabin could be heard smashing and banging around as it was blown out into space.
The other ship had departed, leaving the damaged Windbreaker alone in the black void.
In the cockpit Pell slumped into the pilot's seat, he could see some of the cabin's jetsam calmly spinning away into the inky distance.
Fortunately, the ship's internal comm system still functioned and Pell could speak with the others. With the passenger cabin compromised, everyone was trapped in either the hold or cockpit.
Staying in the pilot's seat, Pell checked the dashboard.
Fuel was low and thus the choice of destination limited. The Rodians had never intended to go to Coruscant.
Looking further at the dashboard, Pell realised that the Rodians had already programmed a flight plan into the ship's 'navcom'. the destination was a meteor near the industrial planet 'Rorak', deep in to 'Hutt territory'.
From there, there would just enough fuel to get to one other place.
There was a discussion over the comms and it was decided to head towards these coordinates. The theory was that Rodians had to be going there for a reason, it might be a station or an orbital fuel dump.
During the flight, Utri and Chrisy decided to question the Rodian prisoners a bit more thoroughly.
The Rodians refused to admit to having anything to do with the capture of the now-dead woman, but Utri was not convinced and managed to wrangle something out of them.
They were taking their cargo - the woman - to rendezvous with their client who was to pay ten million credit for her. The Rodians became depressed, they said that they would be 'dead' once their client discovered that the Mandalorian had taken the cargo.
When Utri explained this to everybody, they became quite concerned.
"Hmm," said Pell. "Anyone with that kind of money would be a dangerous enemy or more likely, they were planning on double crossing the Rodians,".
The decision was made that it was to dangerous to make this rendezvous, instead a new destination was needed.
Pell scoured the 'starmap', the closest destination that met their needs was called 'Nar Shaddaa', also deep in Hutt territory. It's reputation as a lawless place and a haven for criminals and pirates well known.
Everyone agreed on this new heading and Pell changed course.
During the flight, Utri was approached by one of the old ladies, she introduced herself to him and explained that she also came from the same planet as him and had recognised him.
The flight was straightforward. Nar Shaddaa was a 'city-moon', her surface entirely blanketed in the steel, concrete and asphalt of a massive uncontrolled urban sprawl, with towers that soared upwards and roads that ran on forever.
Pell landed The Windbreaker docked at a space port without incident.
Utri exited the ship and was immediately intercepted by a member of the ground crew who explained there was a 'landing fee', Utri was lacking in funds and referred him to Chrisy.
Chrisy handed over the fifty credits from the money he had taken from the Rodians, and that was that.
Except that less than a minute later, someone calling himself the 'dock-master' approached the ship and spoke with Chrisy and M/8, he explained that there was here to collect a 'docking fee' of 20 credits. Chrisy realised that someone had scammed them., he scratched and shook his head whilst looking at the dock-master.
M/8 handed little Wilfred over to Chrisy. He then activated the manhunter subroutine in his behaviour partition, a subroutine designed to unerringly track a target. M/8 gave chase.
M/8's situational scan report a large number of individuals roaming the vicinity of the dock, the manhunter subroutine plotted and predicted the course of M/8's prey as he dodged through the crowds.
unfortunately, several navigational vectors contradicted each other, corrupting the manhunter subroutine. M/8 was forced to shut it down from his task manager.
By the time the subroutine rebooted, M/8's prey had gone, he had escaped. M/8 turned back to the ship.
By the time he had returned, the two old ladies and middle aged man had all disembarked, once they had learnt that there was no way The Windbreaker was going to Coruscant, they had wanted to go their own ways.
Next, everyone remaining agreed to let the Rodian prisoners go. There was little chance they would try to retaliate any time soon. They had problems of their own coming their way
"Be free," said Utri quietly as they were released.
Only Robin, Utri, M/8, Chrisy and Pell remained, joined by fate it seemed. The five of them - along with baby Wilfred - now on the run. Pursued by nefarious, nebulous forces, with only each other to rely on and trust.
The team had a discussion about their next move. It was agreed that The Windbreaker was a liability, they needed to get rid of it and acquire a new one.
But this required money. The team searched the ship for anything they could sell. The passenger cabin had lost its contents, but the hold was filled with cages and more importantly, droid parts.
Chrisy was useful with machines, with a scratch of his head and growl he agreed to try and build a functioning droid out of the parts.
He threw himself into his work which, after couple of hours had borne fruit. Chrisy had managed to build a security droid.
Chrisy activated the droid, it took a few seconds to power up. It then turned to face him and immediately fired its blaster at him! Growling, Chrisy was forced to dive for cover!
Before the droid could track him for a second shot, he lunged forward and managed to deactivate it.
Chrisy scratched his head and looked at droid; at least it worked! He estimated it would be worth up to six thousand credits.
Meanwhile Utri and Pell went out to see if they could find a reputable starship dealership. The team needed to sell the ship and buy a new one. This was not so easily done on Nar Shaddaa, no one could be taken at face value.
Pell had been living the past year skirting on the edge of poverty and in a small way could discern who might be considered trustworthy.
"Hmm," said Pell to Utri. "If we find a bad dealer, it could be... bad?".
The port was a busy place and there many people who could be spoken to, traders, hawkers, workers etc. Pell ingratiated himself with some of the locals and asked around. Pell was given the name of a dealer who had a 'good reputation', the name was 'Sev'.
Utri and Pell paid a visit to Sev at his office at a massive starship yard. Pell left the talking to Utri, negotiation was a politician's game.
Utri politely explained to Sev that he was looking to sell his starship and purchase a new one.
Sev looked at Utri for a moment before asking what was wrong with the ship? Any ship being sold in this star port was damaged or stolen, or worse. What was wrong with the ship, he pressed?
Utri smoothly admitted that it was damaged and needed not-insignificant repairs. He also told Sev that they were not the 'original' owners. Utri neglected telling him that a Mandalorian bounty hunter and a shadowy faction might both be seeking it out.
The negotiation went on for a while, with more details following. Finally Sev made Utri an offer, The Windbreaker could be exchanged for another ship with a payment of ten thousand credits.
Utri knew that the team did not have that kind of money, even if they sold the security droid. Utri explained this to Sev.
Sev made a new offer, a payment of six thousand credit and a favour for Sev.
"Hmm," Said Pell. "Cheaper is better, but an unknown favour could end badly, and I should know!".
Utri asked Sev what the favour would be.
Sev Explained that there was a certain 'individual' that he wanted Utri to 'convince' to leave Nar Shaddaa.
Utri was not certain about this, violence was never the answer. He asked Sev to elaborate on what he meant by 'convince'.
Sev did not particularly want the man killed, just off of Nar Shaddaa. If killing him was Utri's plan however, then Sev would not object.
Utri agreed to these terms and Sev told him the man was 'Haduck' a mechanic who worked for his family business.
After leaving Sev; Utri and Pell did some investigating and chatting to locals about Haduck.
They discovered an interesting fact. Haduck was set to marry Sev's daughter?
After this they returned to The Windbreaker.
Utri announced to everyone that they needed to do a favour for someone or raise at least four thousand more credits.
They were some remaining droid parts, perhaps they could be sold for a few hundred credits.
Robin piped up at this and said the parts were worth a lot and she was sure she could get a good price.
Robin went out and searched through the busy markets for a buyer and came back with someone. She negotiated a deal with him.
Five thousand for the security droid.
Three thousand for the remaining parts.
A 'free' upgrade for M/8.
Unfortunately, it was still not enough to get the ship.
The team then had to discuss how deal with the Haduck situation.
Robin and Utri wanted to use a 'soft' approach and try and convince Haduck to leave Nar Shaddaa. The team agreed on this strategy.
Robin sought out Haduck at the mechanics and had a chat with him. Robin explained that he should come with the team. Robin explained that she had been sent by Sev, it was clear that Sev did not approve of the marriage. Robin also explained that was being 'nice' to Haduck If Sev decided to send 'someone else', then this 'someone else' might not be so 'understanding'.
It seemed that Robin had impressed Haduck in some way and he presented Robin with a counter-proposal.
He confessed that to Robin that once he married Sev's daughter, he would 'deal' with Sev and then he would own Sev's lucrative dealership.
Haduck said to Robin, that if she waited until he completed his plan, he would give her a ship for free. All Robin had to do was wait for a while.
Robin was always cautious and suspicious, so she wasn't too surprised when Haduck made his real intentions clear. Robin was, however too honest to go along with such a shady plan.
Instead she offered a counter-counter-proposal. She asked Haduck if he would be willing to go into hiding for a time after stating he was leaving Nar Shaddaa.
Haduck agreed to do this for one day.
6th September 2020
Sunday afternoon round Vicky's.
It's time for a new campaign. This is a Star Wars: Edge of the Empire campaign run by Ares and we begin with character creation and introduction.
This version of the Star Wars RPG happens to be the 4th iteration of the license.
It was published as 3 different product lines. Each product line concentrating on a different facet of the Star Wars setting.
Edge of the Empire focuses on outlaws, criminals, smugglers and their ilk. It is set just after Chapter IV: A New Hope and on the rim of the galaxy, where The Empire has less influence.
It's a thick, heavy book running to 448 pages.
For such a big book, character creation is pretty straightforward. Although the pertinent information is unhelpfully spread out over many pages.
You pick a race, which gives you attribute scores and XP.
Next pick a career, this gives you some 'career skills' and points to put in them.
From career, you pick a specialisation, this gives more skills and access to that specialisation's 'talent tree'. Talents can be extra abilities, permanent bonuses or special moves etc.
Then XP is spent to increase any of these.
Finally, players pick or roll for an 'obligation', 'motivation', 'cause' and 'ambition'. These are all role play driven choices.
Edge of the Empire uses a version of 'Genesys' system. Most well known for its divisive use of custom dice that replaced the usual numbers with symbols. These symbols represent success, failure, advantage, despair and so on.
Different dice represent different 'sources' of potential success or failure such as natural talent, skill, advantage, difficulty.
When a player needs to make a roll, they take dice dependant on their skill and natural ability, then they take dice dependant on the situation etc and rolls them all at once. Then the number of successes is counted and the number failures is deducted, if there is at least 1 success then the roll is a success.
Additionally, other results such as 'triumph' or 'threat' can influence the final outcome. Furthermore, these can be used to interpret the result of a roll. For example if a player succeeds with triumph, if the triumph symbol was on a skill die, then their triumph was a skilful triumph and so on.
That's basically how it works, but is it any good?
The answer seems to be; it really, really depends.
Some people swear by it, saying it gives the rolls extra depth and gives them role playing ideas and inspiration.
Others say it's a cynical ploy to get people to buy an expensive set of dice useless for any other RPG and that it's unnecessarily complex by adding unrecognisable symbols to rolling.
Me? I'm not sold on it; I've previously played a couple of sessions with it before and felt that what the dice system does, could be achieved with other simpler systems. The system also felt quite 'whiffy', there can be a lot of 'modifiers' to the result of a roll, consequently it seemed very hard to just get a success!
Still, I'll keep an open mind and see how it goes, we've got a campaign to play!
The campaign begins on the planet of 'Pasaana' with our heroes all trying to find a way to 'Coruscant' - the Imperial seat of power. They are unconnected to and unaware of each other.
Robin - played by Vicky.
An escaped human slave on the run, who has found herself on Pasaana and looking for a way to escape to Coruscant.
Utri Lya'an - played by Mark.
For over 20 years, he was the governor of an outer rim colony, who refused to submit to Imperial rule. Now marked as a rebel sympathiser by The Empire and on the run, Utri is currently in hiding on Pasaana. Utri needs to get to Coruscant as soon as possible.
M/8 - played by Josh.
Formerly an assassin; this droid's memory partition have been deleted and he was deactivated. Current location: Unknown.
Chrisyglysuum A.K.A. Chrisy - played by Matt.
Chrisy is a SJW - social justice wookiee, he fights to protect his 'furry brothers and sisters' from Imperial enslavement and oppression. Chrisy is also a bodyguard in the employ of Utri.
Pellippo Phruy - played by yours truly.
After an industrial accident, Pell was frozen in carbon for a 1000 years, now reanimated and reacclimatised, he resumed his former occupation of 'nutrition delivery technician'. Work dried up and left Pell stranded on Pasaana, he has been trying to reach the Galactic Banking Authority head office on Coruscant to have the debt that was accumulated over the last 1000 years written off.
Pasaana was a dusty almost desert-like planet located on the rim of the galaxy. A harsh and remote place to live.
'The Festival of Ancestors' was in full swing, a big event that occurs only once every forty two years and large enough to draw visitors from across the galaxy.
The festival is actually so large that the planet's population increases sixfold during the celebrations.
With being on the rim and with so many people travelling to and fro, the event is difficult for Imperial forces to regulate and a good opportunity to move around unnoticed.
Additionally, the population of Pasaana tend to favour loose, baggy and free fitting clothes, making it easy to hide a face and move around.
The festival was in full swing, crowds were large, they were also loud, bustling and raucous. Amongst this buzz of activity, a Rodian planted a sign outside the starship 'Windbreaker' which was parked at the edge of the starport.
Flights to Coruscant, very cheap! Leaving in an hour.
Pell approached the Rodian and was told the price was three hundred credits.
"Hmm," said Pell. "I only have a hundred credits, maybe there's another way I could get passage?".
The Rodian said if Pell agreed to help with a 'task', then he could have free passage.
"Hmm," said Pell. "Free passage is good, but not knowing what this task is, is bad. On the other hand, how bad could it be?".
So Pell agreed and was allowed access to the ship.
Utri and Chrisy had also spotted the sign and approached the Rodian. When they discovered the price, Utri's attempts to negotiate a discount fell on deaf ears, however, Chrisy's more 'personal' strategy of haggling was effective in getting the discount needed.
Meanwhile, Robin was close by and unbeknown to all three, during the more heated moments of their negotiation, she took the opportunity to slip past unseen and enter the starship. Robin saw a handful of other passengers in the main cabin, avoiding them she quietly went into the hold.
As well as Utri, Chrisy and Pell, there was a pair of old women and a middle aged male passenger.
The crew consisted of several Rodians.
Once everyone was safely strapped in, Windbreak took off, anyone looking out of an aft facing viewscreen could see Pasaana shrink away as we left her behind.
Once the Windbreaker was free of Pasaana's gravity well, everyone could unstrap themselves and move about freely.
One of the Rodians came in and took Pell aside into another room and spoke with him.
He said it was time for Pell to fulfil his promise. The Rodian told Pell his task was to go back in the cabin and murder all the other passengers and then take all their money.
"Hmm," said Pell. "Murdering people is bad! But money is good!".
Pell went back into the passenger cabin.
In the hold, the first data that M/8's awareness subroutine logged was the completion his OS boot-up self-diagnosis. His power core had been activated and connected, all his subroutines and systems were coming on line. M/8 noted that several subroutines were installing themselves into his behaviour and self-preservation partitions.
M/8's memory partition was almost entirely empty.
M/8 performed a situational scan: He was in some sort of room, he was in some sort of cage along with a number of deactivated droid components.
In the next cage was a adult human female - woman. She was covered in blood, his bioscan revealed her fluctuating vital signs were very weak; expiry was imminent.
Meanwhile Pell and the Rodian had entered the cabin.
"Hey everybody," Said Pell. "The Rodian wants me to murder you all for your money. Would any of you have a problem with this?".
An uproar came from the passengers, but before they could react, the Rodian dragged Pell back out of the room and shouted at him.
Pell responded by saying that they didn't seem to want to be murdered, he found it all a bit confusing?
The Rodian pulled his blaster on Pell.
Back in the hold, the woman looked at M/8 and through the cages she held something small up to him. The bioscan revealed it was a infant human male - baby boy, vital signs were relatively weak but stable. It was emitting some sort of loud audio communication - crying.
One of M/8's behaviour subroutines instructed him to take the baby from the woman. Another subroutine instructed him to assign the baby to priority one in his self-preservation partition.
Finally, a subroutine assigned the baby the designation 'Wilfred'.
Without a seat to strap into, the take off had been rough on Robin but she had now recovered her wits.
Whilst in the hold, she heard some crying? Robin moved around to get a better view, she saw the blood covered woman handing a baby over to a droid?
The woman was gasping as she told the droid that she had reactivated and reprogrammed him to look after the baby, his new programming would not allow him to refuse to do so.
She went on to say that he must take the baby very far away, away from The Empire. No one must know why he is important, his father was important.
Outside the cabin; brandishing his blaster, the Rodin ordered Pell to drop his own blaster.
"Hmm," said Pell. "If he shoots me, it would be bad. But if I drop my blaster-." Pell pulled out his blaster as he finished the sentence, "- it would be even worse!".
Pell and the Rodian exchanged blaster fire!
The gunfire drew attention, Utri and Chrisy came running in, as did two Rodian crew members.
In the hold, the woman's final action was to hand M/8 a small object wrapped in cloth. Her vital signs signs ceased and his memory partition logged that she had expired.
M/8 unwrapped the object; a subroutine in M/8's knowledge partition identified it as a 'Jedi medal'.
Robin chose this time to reveal herself to M/8, concerned for the baby. She told M/8 that the child needed feeding and a nappy!
Then the sounds of blaster fire echoed through the hold and Robin retreated into the shadows.
M/8 observed the infant, his situational scan revealed that it appeared that some sort of biomass was leaking from it?
A fight ensued. Utri, Chrisy and Pell against the three Rodians.
One of the Rodians was killed by Pell, Chrisy grabbed the other two and slammed their head together, the result was somewhat predictable and they were both knocked out. Chrisy stooped down and searched them, they had some creds, pistols and a note.
He picked them up and carried them into the hold. In there he saw a droid in a cage holding a baby, an uneasy looking woman in the shadows and another dead woman in another cage.
At the cabin, Utri had returned to calm down the other three passengers.
Meanwhile Pell did not see any other Rodians.
"Hmm," Said Pell. "No more Rodians attacking us is good. But no one flying the ship is bad!".
Pell entered the cockpit just in time to see another smaller starship, it appeared to be attaching itself to Windbreaker.
Matt's 50 Fathoms campaign ran for 40 sessions.
Link to it here.
Originally, the main focus of this website was going to me my West Marches campaign, but as circumstances have changed, so will this website.
I'm 're-jigging' the blogs on this website a little.
The West Marches Blog has become The RPG Blog.
Now all blogs related to all new RPG campaigns I play in will go here.
I will add links to completed campaigns here as well.
Reading, writing, playing and painting are the things that I do.