Tuesday, December 15, 2015

"Finale" - Star Wars: Riptide, Episode 7 Chapter 3

Episode 7 Chapter 3

Kaminoan scientist Doctor Adrap Topas

was forced to create a biological weapon to 
oppress the people of the planet Auilai. 
He later defied his Imperial overseers 
and created a secret cure, but was discovered
and imprisoned.

The Crew of the Riptide rescued Doctor Topas

from an Imperial prison transport
and have brought him and his cure to the planet Auilai.

Doctor Topas has manufactured enough anti-virus
to cure and inoculate every inhabitant of Auilai,
but in order to distribute the cure 
the rebel dissidents of Auilai, 
led by the enigmatic Shadow,
now known as Baraq Lee, Balin's father,
must invade and occupy
a secret Imperial biological weapons facility...

The Crew of the Riptide
Evo Shandor - nautolan transport captain
Balin Lee - young human Jedi-in-training
Emily Wonder - human mercenary

Not in attendance this week
Eggs Ledscramb - quarren bounty hunter
Rhys March - twi'lek tech-spec

The Riptide carried the assault force and a small fleet of one-man aqua scooters halfway around the planet Auilai to the designated staging point. Here they were far enough away to avoid being detected by the Imperial biological weapons facility that was the target of their invasion.

Evo Shandor entrusted the operation of his submersible space transport to Rhys March, the newest member of his crew. Evo would join Balin and Emily on a dangerous advance mission to sneak into the facility via an undersea thermal exhaust port. Their objective was to knock out the power generator in order to disable the shields and turbolasers that protected the island base, allowing the Riptide to land and disgorge its invaders.

Baraq held Balin's shoulder. With nothing more than a silent nod and a grim smile, Balin knew what his father was thinking. With a quiet nod and a half-smile in return, Baraq knew that his son understood.

Balin, Evo, and Emily assembled outside the transport on their sea-scooters. Each scooter was shaped like a wide triangle with a seat you straddled, handle-bar controls, and a screen. During high-speed operations, the seat recessed into the delta and the pilot road with their bodies low against the vehicle to reduce drag.

As they approached along the twilit sea floor, they could see the island rising like a mountain in silhouette before them. Balin got a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach. He felt an evil presence on the island. A presence that was searcing for him.

The team ascended from the dark towards the thermal exhaust port. As they entered the light, they caught the attention of four guards patrolling the waters around the islands. The guards were not Imperial, they were the warlord Rakai's men. Each man wore armor and carried a force pike. In addition, the guards rode a massive predator known as a xaruk. Each xaruk had been bionically modified with laser eyes and armor plating.
One of Warlord Rakai's Thugs riding a Cyborg Xaruk
The guards turned their cyborg xaruks towards the infiltrators and opened fire!

Balin signalled the others to tighten up around him. They formed a tight triangle. Balin activated his green lightsaber and began parrying blaster bolts while Emily and Evo opened fire on Rakai's thugs.

Rakai's thugs swam towards the trio. Balin, Evo, and Emily turned their aqua-scooters back out to sea in order to keep their distance, but turned around to fire as they retreated. They managed to pick off a two of the xaruks. One of the thugs became wounded and fled the battle. Balin turned his scooter around and closed with the remaining mounted guard, engaging him and the remaining two unmounted guards in melee combat.  Between Balin's lightsaber and Emily and Evo's shooting, the trio made short work of the remaining guards.

Balin used his lightsaber to cut a hole into the thermal exhaust port. A pipe connected the heat sink in the port to the power generator inside the facility. The trio swam their way up the pipe until it hit a pumping station. Balin cut a hole in the roof of the pipe and the three climbed out.

They were sitting atop a pipe over sixty feet above the floor of a cylindrical room. The pipe upon which they sat was one of many connected a massive four story tall cylindrical power generator. They climbed the pipe to the side of the power generator. Massive transparent tubes contained arcing ion plasma held inside magnetic conduits. They carefully began climbing down the structure.

During the climb, Balin lost his grip, but he quickly reached out with the Force and arrested his fall, gently lowing himself to the ground. Meanwhile Emily climbed down easily while Evo slipped and fell, breaking his leg.

GM Note
I had them make three climbing rolls, sum the results, and compare the total with 30. I then compared the difference to the damage table. Evo got a Stun result.


Evo staggered as he tried to pull himself to his feet. Balin's used the Force to heal the injury, reducing the break to a sprain.  Evo winced at the pain and began looking around the room for controls to shut down the power core. He asked Emily to help but she simply glanced around and shrugged. Evo rolled his eyes and continued to study the walls of complicated controls.

Balin suddenly spun around and faced the turbolifts. A dark presence was approaching. The turbolifts opened to reveal a squad of six stormtroopers accompanied by the mysterious man with the vibro-sword that killed Kara Pacha.

Agent Demek

The stormtroopers made no attempt to attack. They simply entered the room and fanned out to either side of the turbolifts.

The man stepped out of the turbolift and stood aside, allowing a tall figure in a cape to enter the room. The figure was an image from a nightmare. He was humanoid but completely devoid of skin. His body was composed of artificial bionic skeleton and exposed muscle tissue. His face lacked a nose. His lips were pulled back around his horse-like teeth. His skull was chrome and gleamed in the lights of the turbolift. His right eye was a yellow lidless orb with a pin-prick pupil. His left eye was obscured or replaced by a large glowing red lens. His ears were protected by round coverings from which protruded short antennae. Cables and wires and tubes ran throughout his chromium skeleton. A deactivated lightsaber was magnetically attached to his metallic hip.

The man with the sword sneered at Balin, saying over his shoulder, "You see, Inquisitor? I told you they faked the crash. The boy I told you about is here," he paused to savor his disgust, "the Force adept."

The skinless cyborg strode forth into the room, examining Balin, evaluating him. He replied in a monoton voice, modulated by a computer, "YES, INSPECTOR DEMEK. YOUR SKILLS ARE ADMIRABLE."

He turned and addressed Balin, his recessed lips curled around his long teeth, approximating a smile, "GREETINGS, BALIN. I AM PLEASED TO FINALLY MEET YOU. MY NAME IS DAROGAN. I HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE TASK OF RECRUITING YOU TO THE NEW ORDER."
Inquisitor Darogan
Balin declined the offer, "You killed my mother! I'll never join you!"


"No! You're lying! She died!"




There was a pause.


"It's too late. He's already made enough of his cure to free every native on this world."


Balin looked confused, "It wasn't the cure?"



Darogan let that sink in for a moment.



"I'll never join you, so you're just going to have to kill me."

The cyborg's lips formed a parody of a grimace, "SO BE IT."

Darogan activated his lightsaber.

Agent Demek ordered his stormtroopers to fan out and eliminate Evo and Emily. Balin closed his eyes and pushed his empty hand at Demek. Agent Demek was bodily thrown against the far wall of the turbolift with a crash. Emily followed up with a barrage of blaster fire, filling the turbolift with small explosions of sparks and smoke. The doors closed.

The stormtroopers followed orders and fanned out to the left and right of the round room. Evo and Emily took out four stormtroopers by the turbolifts while the two remaining flanked right around the power core. Evo and Emily exchanged fire with the stormtroopers as they slowly advanced around the room counter-clockwise.

Darogan and Balin faced each other. Darogan raised his lightsaber in a salute. There was a tense pause. Then the two rushed at each other. The two combatants ran past each other. There was a blinding flash and swooping hum. They stopped a few meters apart, facing away from each other. Darogan's hand and lightsaber lay on the floor. The cyborg clutched his severed stump and turned to glare at Balin.

Balin walked back and picked up the lightsaber. He kicked the hand back to Darogan, "You dropped something."

Darogan looked around. He was alone. His stormtroopers were dead. Evo and Emily pointed their blasters at the cyborg inquisitor.

Balin pointed towards the turbolift. "Get out."

Darogan grabbed his hand and made his escape.

Once they were alone, Balin turned to Evo, "Did you find the controls yet?"

"Not yet!"

Evo quickly found the controls and shut down the power core.

GM Notes
Every lightsaber duel I've ever un in WEG's d6 system has gone like this:

  1. Both sides have Lightsaber Combat up, adding their Control dice to the attack and the Alter dice to the damage. This generally comes to 7-10D to attack and 6-7D damage.
  2. The combatant with initiative spends a Force Point, doubling the attack dice to 14-20D.
  3. The attacker splits their dice into 5 attacks at 9-15D each. 
  4. The defender spends a Force Point, doubling their dice.
  5. The defender parries the first attack at 14-20D, the second attack at 13-19D, the third attack at 12-18D, and so on. 
  6. At some point, usually on the first roll, such as in this fight, the attacker rolls 1 or 2 points higher.
  7. The attacker rolls 6-7D damage, the defender rolls 2-3D STR. The Defender is killed.

Every lightsaber duel I've ever run is usually over in one or two strikes. I've never been able to sustain a back-and-forth duel like in the movies. My fights are more like samurai movies, where the two samurai face off, trash talk, then rush past each other exchanging one strike. The loser falls down dead.

In Balin and Darogan's duel, Balin's player had 24D, split into five actions for 19D each. Darogan had 20D. He lost the first roll. Balin rolled a LOT of damage, indicating a kill result.

However, Balin's player liked the idea of a recurring villain so he described the result as severing Darogan's hand, which I thought was genius!

In retrospect, what I should have done to achieve a Star Warsy lightsaber duel was have Darogan use Full Defense. Then he'd have ADDED his 20D to the base difficulty of 20. He'd have survived the first round at least.

Once the power core was shut down, the base's shields were deactivated and the turbolaser batteries became dormant. The Riptide approached the hangar bay unopposed. A lambda-class shuttle was seen fleeing in the distance. The Riptide landed and disgorged the rebel assault force. After some fierce fighting, the base was taken.

Doctor Topas deployed the counter-virus using the base's drones, distributing it across the planet. Once they were done, the Shadow ordered the base to be destroyed. Evo set the power core to overload. It eventually self-destructed in a fantastic explosion.

The crew of the Riptide joined the Shadow and his rebels at their secret base in an abandoned city. The counter-virus was spreading. Every native of Auilai would soon be cured of the gill rot virus and would become immune to future Imperial biological attacks. Without their monopoly, the Empire would lose their ability to control the natives. The Shadow's rebels planned to free the captive workers. Soon the Empire would face a full revolt on the planet Auilai. When that happened, the Rebellion would gain a strategic sanctuary.

But that was the future. Tonight, the crew of the Riptide celebrated their victory with the Shadow and his insurgents. Afterwards, the crew were officially inducted into the Shadow's rebellion. They were no longer simply smugglers and gophers working at arm's reach. They were part of the inner circle. They were Rebels.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

"Homecoming" - Star Wars: Riptide, Episode 7 Chapter 2

Episode 7 Chapter 2

Kaminoan scientist Doctor Adrap Topas

was forced to create a biological weapon to 
oppress the people of the planet Auilai. 
He later defied his Imperial overseers 
and created a secret cure, but was discovered
and imprisoned.

The Crew of the Riptide rescued Doctor Topas

from an Imperial prison transport
and retrieved the cure from its hiding place. 

After faking their deaths, they managed
to bluff their way past the blockade
of the ocean planet Auilai
in order to return to the 
underwater city of Panui
where Evo hopes to deliver
his important passenger
to his mother, former Jedi
Myr Shandor...

The Crew of the Riptide
Evo Shandor - nautolan transport captain
Balin Lee - young human Jedi-in-training
Emily Wonder - human mercenary

Not in attendance this week
Eggs Ledscramb - quarren bounty hunter
Rhys March - twi'lek tech-spec

Myr Shandor met her son aboard his submersible space transport, the Riptide.

Myr Shandor, Evo's mother

"What's going on? Why did you need me to meet you here? You know I don't like to leave the safet of my secret hospital."

Evo explained that he had a very important passenger that she needed to meet. He brought out Doctor Topas from the secret compartment. He explained Doctor Topas' role in creating the Gill Rot Virus and his subsequent work in creating a cure.

Myr was astonished. She warned her son that Doctor Topas may not be the most popular being on Auilai. His virus caused a lot of pain and suffering.

Doctor Topas assured her that he was forced to create the virus against his will and that he ended his career and risked his life in order to undo the damage wrought from his creation.

The kaminoan scientist explained that he had a small starter sample of the anti-virus, and that he needed two months to grow enough to innoculate the entire population, but he needed a medical laboratory to do his work. Myr offered the use of hers.

With that settled, they hid Doctor Topas inside a long transport crate and smuggled him through the city to Myr's secret hideout.

Once they had returned to Myr's secret base of operations, the crew was finally able to relax. Myr sat with Evo and Balin to catch up and hear about their exploits.

Balin was prepared for this moment. For the last several weeks, he had been threatening to reveal Evo's exploits in illegal spice distribution to Evo's mother. He took a deep breath.

Evo, sensing what was about to happen, quickly cut in, "Before we start, I wanted to let you know. We've had to make some very tough ethical choices to accomplish our mission. Know that everything we did, we did to support your work here and to aid the natives of Auilai."

Balin, caught off guard, exhaled, muttering, "You son of a..."

Myr tried to reassure her son, "That's okay. I've asked a lot of you. Tell me what you did."

Balin blurted out, "He sold drugs!"

Evo glared at Balin, "Spice. We smuggled smuggled Ryll spice."

Myr replied reassuringly, "That's okay. Ryll spice has medicinal uses. I'm sure it was put to good use."

Evo turned to his mother with a sheepish shrug, "Well...."

Balin said, "It was purely recreational."

Myr looked a little disappointed, "Oh. I see. Well, at least you're not smuggling spice for the Hutt cartels. That would be very dangerous."

Evo continued to look sheepish, "Well...."

Myr gave her son an exasperated look, "Seriously? Tell me at least that you didn't work for Narru the Bloodless. He's infamous! Once you work for him, he'll never let you go!"

Balin regarded Evo with smug superiority.

Evo tried to look away, embarrassed, "Well..."

My simply shook her head in disappointment, "Oh, Evo. Why?"

Evo explained as best he could, "It couldn't be helped! We needed money for repairs and upgrades to the ship, and the Shadow's gigs weren't paying enough. Narru made us a great offer, so we took it."

Myr relented, "I suppose. Well, what's been done is done. What's important is that you're home again and safe." She looked at young Balin, "As for you my little lung-fish, let's return to your studies."

GM Note
This was some of the most entertaining roleplaying we've done all campaign. So much humor, so much sibling interplay, so many great lines! The other players got a hoot out of watching it.

The crew spent the next several weeks in the safety of Myr's hideout, helping protect Doctor Topas while he worked tirelessly to create enough anti-virus to innoculate the entire planet.

Balin, meanwhile, continued his Jedi studies, learning the ways of the Force from his mentor Myr. One day, Balin had a vision of a microscopic point of light, like a faint star. He felt a desire to find this point of light, a strange urge to seek it out. It was somewhere on this planet and he had an idea where. When he explained this to Myr, she explained that it was time for his trial. He had to follow his instinct and find that point of light. His friends could accompany him on his journey, but when he faced the trial, he must face it alone. She warned him, the trial was dangerous,he may not return.

Balin packed for a long journey and set out on his recently purchased aqua-scooter with supplies to last him several days.

The young padawan traveled west along the surface of Auilai's ocean for several days. Eventually, he felt as if he'd reached his destination. He activated his hydrostatic bubble helmet and dove to the bottom.

He found a submerged island, now a seamount. There was a ruined structure like a castle or a temple at the top of the seamount. The structure was made of black basaltic stone with four tall pointed spires at each corner and a larger spire in the center.  The base of the structure was covered in barnacles, coral, and sea life. It appeared to have been abandoned and uninhabited for many millenia.

GM Note
It was a structure built by the ancient race of... whatever, Balin failed his Planetary Knowledge roll so.. it's not important. 

He examined the structure but could find no windows, no entrances, no apertures of any kind. He could sense life within, but none with sentience. Suddenly, he was overwhelmed with a sensation of great pain and hatred emanating from within the structure!

He carefully approached a blank wall framed by what appeared to be an entrance. He reached out and touched the wall. The wall slowly receded into the ground, revealing a tall arched entryway. Only darkness lay within, darkness and undying pain.

Balin slowly entered the lighless hall. Suddenly, his danger sense warned him of an attack! He dodged out of the way as a massive shape emerged from the inky blackness and attacked him. It was a massive eel-worm!

Eel-Worm Attack!
The segmented monstrosity roared and black ink billowed out in thick dark clouds. It swam around Balin in a wide circle, darting in to crush the teen in its massive mandibles.

Balin remained calm despite the menace of the giant eel-worm. He reached out with the Force to communicate with the beast. He learned that the eel-worm was the source of the sensation of agony, that something foreign and painful was lodged within the eel-worm's gullet.

Balin offered to help. He reached out and, using the Force, eased the eel-worm's pain. The eel-worm became calm, no longer attempting to attack Balin. The massive beast coiled around the teenager, opening its maw. Deep within, Balin saw the point of light from his vision. The eel-worm opened wide and moved to envelop Balin. Balin calmly allowed the creature to swallow him.

Balin reached out for the point of light, but he became stuck and it was beyond his reach. He closed his eyes. He envisioned the point of light. He reached out his hand and, using the Force, willed the point of light to him.

Something dislodged from deep within the eel-worm. Balin felt a round hard object the size of a melon in his hand. He was disgorged with an inky cough. The source of its pain finally dislodged, the eel-worm expressed its gratitude and swam away into some tunnel dug under the ancient structure.

Balin held in his hand a round calcified mass, knobby and hard, as large as his head. It looked ancient. Who knows how long it had been stuck in the gullet of the eel-worm.

He could sense the point of light deep inside the core of the calcified mass. He concentrated on the sphere, letting the Force flow through him and into it. The sphere cracked and layer upon layer of the calcified strata broke away and flaked off, leaving a tiny speck, no bigger than a grain of sand. The speck glowed white in Balin's fingers, then turned deep emerald green. He placed it in a pocket and returned home.

Myr explained that the speck was a kyber crystal - the focus of a jedi's lightsaber. Balin spent the next month cronstructing his lightsaber as Myr had trained him.

GM Note
This went off just as I had hoped. If Balin killed the creature, he failed the test, no lightsaber for him. However, if Balin tried to communicate with the creature, he'd get the lightsaber. It was a great reward for Balin's player to have a lightsaber for the final battle of the campaign. Plus, he took "Beast Languages" a few weeks ago after fighting the creatures on Prexiar.  The player even said he was about to fight the monster, then remembered he had taken that power!

Two months passed. Balin emerged from seclusion and showed off his newly constructed lightsaber, waving its green glowing blade with a sense of pride and accomplishment. Suddenly, a feeling of dread overcame him. He felt a great disturbance in the Force, a feeling of foreboding and menace, then it was gone.

Myr interrupted the demonstration to tell the group it was time for an important meeting and to gather in the dining room which doubled as their meeting/conference room.

The crew of the Riptide were soon joined by several dozen Auilani natives in the cramped meeting space.

Once assembled, she said it was time they met someone important - it was time to meet the Shadow. She got up and opened a curtain to an adjacent room. A hooded figure entered. The figure removed his hood to reveal a human male, about forty years old.

"Team, this is Baraq Lee, aka the Shadow."

Baraq Lee, aka "The Shadow"
The room stared back in astonished silence. Balin seemed confused.

Baraq approached Balin, "Hello Balin. It's been a long time."

Balin inquired, "Do I know you?"

"Yes, Balin. I am your father."

Baraq explained that, as an infant, Balin was identified as being strong in the Force. As was customary, Balin was enrolled in the Jedi praxeum on Coruscant. Unfortunately, before he could leave, the Jedi were betrayed and every child in the praxeum was killed. The Emperor sent specially trained inquisitors to take all those identified for Jedi training into custody. This included the infant Balin.

Baraq and his wife, Talien, were forced to send Balin into hiding in order to protect him from the inquisitors. He was placed into the custody of their friend, Myr Shandor, a former Jedi herself, to be secretly trained in the ways of the Force.

Meanwhile, Baraq and Talien joined the resistance against the Empire. For the past five years, their job was to establish new resistance cells and recruit new members. He has managed to arrange his posting on Auilai to be close to his son.

Balin asked about the fate of his mother. Baraq looked away. She had been captured and interrogated by an inquisitor, an evil cyborg named Darogan. He assumed she was dead.

After a moment of silence, Myr broke in, "Okay, now that that's out of the way, it's time for the real reason the Shadow is here."

Baraq took a breath and his demeanor suddenly became professional, detatched.

"Doctor Topas has given us a unique opportunity to strike a blow at the Imperial oppression of the Auilani. As we know, several years ago, the Rego mineral company discovered that the Ulcault, a compound with several industrial applications, was found below the sea-floor of Auilai. The inaccessible nature of the material made it cost ineffective to mine it unless native labor was used. The Auilani refused. Soon afterwards, the Auilani were affected by a virulent plague, the Gill Rot Virus. Without treatment, an Auilani would die. The Empire offered treatment, but only to those who worked the mines for the Rego company. They enforced their monopoly by setting up a blockade of the world. Evo has been smuggling the treatment to Myr for several months. The treatment was temporary, however, and could only be applied to a few Auilani at a time.

"Doctor Topas' cure is permanent. The anti-virus will render the Gill Rot virus ineffective and will immunize the recipient against future infection. In addition, it is self-sustaining. As long as there is plankton in our seas, there will be global immunity to the Empire's bioligical weapon.

"Doctor Topas has made enough of the cure to give every living Auilani full immunity to the virus. Unfortunately, we don't have a way of disseminating the cure. All of us can be innoculated, but innoculating everyone by hand would take generations.

"Fortunately, Doctor Topas has also given us a solution to that problem. We'll use the same method the Empire used to spread the disease in the first place.

"Doctor Topas has informed us of a secret Imperial biological weapons research facility located on Auilai. This facility is located in an extinct volcano. This is where the Empire has been replicating the Gill Rot virus from Doctor Topas' original stock.  They load the virus into viral bombs which are in turn distributed across the planet by specially modified probe droids.

"Doctor Topas was able to give us a complete schematic of the facility. It is our plan to occupy this facility and use its own technology to distribute the anti-virus."

The lights dimmed and Myr's holographic projector created the image of the secret base.

"The facility is surrounded by the walls of the volcano caldera. Turbolaser emplacements provide protection from the air, so there's no way we can approach it from space or with airspeeders or wavespeeders. There is one cave in the caldera wall that allows surface entrance, but it is protected by a force field. The waters around the facility are protected by mines, so no large submersible vehicles. Only small one-man vehicles can get through. In addition to the mines, the area around the island is patrolled by Rakai's men mounted on cyborg predators known as xaruks. These xaruks have armor plating and blasters for eyes, very dangerous! This facility, by the way, is where these abominations are created!

"Our mission is to take over this facility. In order to do that, we must accomplish four primary objectives. We must take over the control tower, here, the lab, here, the hanger, up here, and the power core, down here. If any one of those objectives are not accomplished, the entire plan fails.

"So, any ideas?"

Balin offered his thoughts, "What is this down here below the water line?"

"That's a thermal exhaust heat sink. It carries waste heat away from the power core."

Balin suggested, "A small team could breach the heat sink, swim up this pipe here and have access to the power core. It seems to me that if we take out the power core first, it will knock out the turbolasers and the sensors, and the other teams can approach by air."

Baraq looked on his son with pride. "That's a fantastic idea. Do you have anyone in mind for this team?"

Balin grinned, "I have some ideas."


Next time - The thrilling conclusion to Star Wars: Into the Abyss!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

"Return to Auilai" - Star Wars: Riptide, Episode 7 Chapter 1

Episode 7 Chapter 1

Kaminoan scientist Doctor Adrap Topas

was forced to create a biological weapon to 
oppress the people of the planet Auilai. 
He later defied his Imperial overseers 
and created a secret cure, but was discovered
and imprisoned.

The Crew of the Riptide rescued Doctor Topas

from an Imperial prison transport
and retrieved the cure from its hiding place. 
While attempting to escape their
Imperial pursuers, they faked the 
destruction of their spaceship.

Now they rush through hyperspace

to transport Doctor Topas and his cure
to the desperate people of Auilai...

The Crew of the Riptide
Evo Shandor - nautolan transport captain
Balin Lee - young human Jedi-in-training
Emily Wonder - human mercenary

Not in attendance this week
Eggs Ledscramb - quarren bounty hunter
Rhys March - twi'lek tech-spec

The Riptide emerged from hyperspace near the water planet Nesia, called Auilai by its natives. The world was under an Imperial blockade. All vessels were stopped and searched to prevent illegal pharmaceuticals from reaching the natives. Evo wasn't too concerned about that. He'd been smuggling these pharmaceuticals past the blockade for months.

This time, however, was a different story. He had left the Imperials on the planet Chador with the impression that the Riptide had crashed into the sea, killing everyone on board. He had no wish to disabuse them of this notion. In addition, he wasn't smuggling pharmaceuticals this time, he was smuggling a living being, a kaminoan scientist capable of curing the natives of Auilai of the gill rot virus forever. Never mind that he was the scientist that engineered the plague for his Imperial overseers in the first place. The important thing was that he had defected and was trying to undo the damage he had caused. 

Evo put Doctor Topas back into the secret compartment and activated the forged transponder signal, letting the Imperial blockade know that the independent transport Razorclam, under owner captain... under captain... 

"Hey Emily! The imperials on this planet pretty much known who I am, so I can't be captain. Also, Balin can't be captain, he's only sixteen."

"I could, too, be captain!" objected the teenager Jedi-in-training.

"Anyway, Eggs is terrible at this sort of thing and so is Rhys. That leaves you. You get to be captain. What's your captain name?"

Emily thought about it, "Call me Alice McLaughlin."

...under owner captain Alice McLaughlin, human. 

Within moments, a squadron of TIE fighters came alongside the "Razorclam" and escorted it to the Star Destroyer ISD Execrable in orbit around the watery planet. 

First, I asked the players if there was anything they wanted to do on Chador before they left. They said no. Then I asked them where they went after Chador. Did they want to go anywhere else before Auilai? Bakki Station? They discussed it but said no. 

While they were in hyperspace, I asked them to tell me how they were going to get past the blockade. I told them the following:

The blockade consists of a single Star Destroyer and two customs frigates in equidistant orbit. There are two squadrons of 12 TIE fighters each in flight at all times, spread out in six wings of 4 TIEs equidistant around the planet. There are 24 additional TIEs in the hangar in reserve.

This means that any approach of the planet will be met by 4 TIE fighters 6 turns away from the planet. An additional 8 can join in 2 turns away from the planet.

Any approach of the planet also involves a 1d6 roll:

  1. 6 TIE fighters intercept them 6 turns away from the planet.
  2. Customs Corvette intercepts 4 turns away from planet.
  3. 6 TIE fighters intercept them 6 turns away from the planet.
  4. Customs Corvette intercepts 4 turns away from planet.
  5. 6 TIE fighters intercept them 6 turns away from the planet.
  6. Star Destroyer intercepts 2 turns away from planet.

When the time came, I would have the pilot make the roll.

I then told the players some options:

  1. Approach and land normally using false transponder?
  2. Punch through? You can't outrun TIE fighters but you can try to survive long enough to make it to the ocean.
  3. Run silent and sneak in?  Hope the frigate/star destroyer/TIE fighter sensor operators won't detect you. 

They thought about the options. I also encouraged them to offer any alternative approach.

They asked about the silent option - what are odds? I had this prepared:

Imperials would be alerted to a ship emerging from Hypersapce. They'd immediately scan the area, which would detect the presence of ship but would not provide a bearing = difficulty 15.

Once verified, they'd do a search to get a bearing and trajectory to plot an intercept course = another difficulty 15. 

They asked how good Imperials are. Once again, I had all this prepared ahead of time. 

  • TIE = Scan 5D (avg 17.5). Search 6D (avg 21).
  • Frigate = Scan 6D (avg 21). Search 7D (avg 24.5). 
  • Star Destroyer = Scan 7D (avg 24.5). Search 8D (avg 28).

They didn't like those odds. In retrospect, they could have emerged from hyperspace father away from the planet, eliminating the proximity hyperspace sensor, and drifted in, increasing the difficulty to be detected. But nobody thought of that.

After reviewing their options, they made a choice.

They emerged from hyperspace. I had Evo's player roll a d6. He got 1. Six TIE fighters.

The "Razorclam" was drawn into the Star Destroyer's cavernous bay with mooring tractor beams. The crew assembled at the airlock as a boarding tube was extended and attached. There was a knock and "Captain McLaughlin" opened the hatch.

A squad of stormtroopers pushed her back, forcing her against an inner bulkhead where she was searched. A few moments later, a thin Imperial customs officer with an aquiline nose and hooded eyes came aboard. The stormtroopers stood aside and snapped to attention.

"Are you CER-tain it is safe to come a-BOARD?" said the officer with the nasally voice.

Evo, standing near the back of the cargo hold, did his best to look like anyone else. It was the bane of his existence, Lieutenant Hector Flynn.
Lieutenant Hector Flynn
Lieutenant Flynn looked around with disdain, "WON-derful. Not aNOTHer MON-calamari vessel." He sniffed the air cautiously and wrinkled the nose, "ONE never forgets their unique OH-dor," he complained, putting nasally ephasis on the odd syllable, drawing them out into long sustained notes. "Let's get this OH-ver with," he sighed.

GM Note
The players did a little cheer for the return of Lieutenant Flynn. 

Lieutenant Flynn asked Emily for the ship's documents as well as her piloting credentials. She handed him Evo's permit datapad.

GM Note
I had Evo's player make his forgery roll now compared to Lieutenant Flynn's inspection roll.

"Very WELL. They seem to be in ORder. HowEVer, I am reQUIRED to submit every SIXTH datapad for a thorough TECHnical analySIS." He handed the datapad to a subordinate.

Balin stepped forward, his hand slightly outstretched. He cleared his throat and interrupted, "Ahem, as you say, the credentials are in order. They don't need to be analyzed."

Lieutenant Flynn paused in mid-handoff, "On SECond thought, they ARE, after all, in ORder. They do not NEED to be analyzed." He handed the datapad back to Emily.

He looked at Balin, "Don't I KNOW you?"

Balin inclined his head and replied, "No. You've never seen any of us before."

The Lieutenant nodded, "No. Of course not. I've never seen ANY of you before."

Lieutenant Flynn interrogated Emily about her identity, the name and itinerary of the ship, and what they were doing on "Nee-zee-yah".

She answered that her name was Captain Heather McLaughlin and that they had come to Nesia with an empty hold. They wished to purchase fish and transport them to markets in the Mid-Rim.

Lieutenant Flynn sniffed skeptically at her story. "Very WELL. The technicians will conduct a SCAN of your vessel and we'll be on our WAY."

Emily gave them a tour. Evo stayed out of the way, keeping his face hidden. To his surprise, the "Razorclam" scored much higher than his last safety inspection. A new refresher had been installed, the broken airlock had been repaired, and other improvements had eliminated many of the previous infractions. However, the presence of the many warning placards, declaring unsafe panels, radiation zones, and exposed wiring, were once again fuel for Lieutenant Flynn's attention.

"What is it about MON Calamari vessels, Captain McLAUGHlin? I had heard stories of ELEgant vessels of arTIStic design. Instead all I see are flying DEATH traps! That's a FINE!"

When he reached the secret compartment festooned with warning placards, he addressed his scanner technicians, hooking a thumb and inquiring,  "What is BEHIND this panel?"

"We don't know, sir. It appears to be uninsulated wiring and plasma conduit. I wouldn't get near it, sir."

The lieutenant recoiled, "Uninsulated WIRing and PLASma conduits within the vessel's ENvelope? That's a FINE, Captain McLaughlin!"

Emily nodded her head and accepted the fines graciously. Evo groaned in a corner. Although it cost them a few hundred credits in fines, at least the secret compartments held up to the scrutiny.

"We are DONE here, Captain McLAUGHlin. You are cleared to land on LeaNAha on the surface. Two TIE fighters will escort you to ensure your safe arrival. Good DAY to you, Captain?"

Lieutenant Flynn gathered up his technicians and stormtroopers and exited the Riptide. Emily, Evo, and Balin simultaneously breathed a sigh of relief.

The Riptide descended to the planet below, checking in at Leanaha before logging a new destination, the underwater city of Panui.

Evo called ahead to alert his mother of his arrival, asking her to meet her in the hangar. He had an important surprise he needed to show her.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

"A Thrilling Escape!" - Star Wars: Riptide, Episode 6 Chapter 3

Episode 6 Chapter 3

The Empire forced kaminoan microbiologist
Doctor Ardap Topas to create a disease
that was used to oppress and enslave
the aquatic natives of the water planet Auilai.

Unbeknownst to his Imperial overseers
Doctor Topas created a cure
for the disease he created
and hid it in plain sight by injecting it
into his collection of tropical aquatic life forms
contained within a decorative tank 
in his residential suite
inside the Imperial Sector Capital Complex.

Before the crew of the Riptide 
can take Doctor Topas
back to Auilai, they must 
to sneak into and out of one of the most
secure structures on Chador
to steal those life forms...

The Crew of the Riptide
Evo Shandor - nautolan transport captain
Balin Lee - young human Jedi-in-training
Emily Wonder - human mercenary
Eggs Ledscramb - quarren bounty hunter
Rhys March - twi'lek tech-spec

The nondescript airspeeder service van approached the security checkpoint mid-way up the massive Imperial Sector Capital Tower. An Imperial stormtrooper waved it to a stop and came up to the driver's window in the cab.

"Identify yourself and state your business."

The laconic quarren driver wearing a jumpsuit leaned his arm over the window and gave the stormtrooper a smile, or the best a creature with a head like a squid whose mouth was surrounded by writhing tentacles could approximate.

"I am Eggs, Aquatronic service technician specialist. We're here to service all your aquatic needs. Remember, if its not covered in water, it's not covered by our maintenance plan," he droned, as if long rehearsed. "We're here to provide regular service to the aquatic environment tank in unit 9501."
GM Note- Eggs player ad-libbed that sales pitch on the spot. It was fantastic! I awarded him a Character Point on the spot!
"Present your documentation."

Eggs handed over his datapad, hoping the forged credentials and work order would be convincing. Evo, the nautolan sitting next to him, hadn't spent a lot of time on them.

"That unit is no longer occupied. Didn't you hear? He was arrested and convicted as a traitor."

Eggs looked exasperated by the complication, "Really? I hadn't heard. Look, they company I work for was paid through the end of the year, and if I don't service that unit, I don't get paid."

"Okay, go ahead. But I'll have to assign a protocol droid to escort you."
GM Note - Oh, Wild Die! You never disappoint!
"No problem."

The airspeeder van parked in the service garage. Three technicians got out, a nautolan male, a quarren male, and a teenaged human male, all wearing jumpsuits identifying them as employees of Aquatronic. The human male donned a large ring around his neck, a gungan force field bubble helmet from Naboo. They each grabbed a toolbox or duffel bag out of the back of the van and met a loquacious protocol droid at the service turbolift.

The protocol droid prattled on about the recent business with the traitor, Doctor Ardap Topas. Doctor Topas was a respected member of the Imperial Biological Weapons Division. His betrayal of the New Order had come as quite a shock!

The protocol droid also expressed undue interest in the work of the three. The droid kept asking questions. What were they here to do? What kind of tools would they use? What kind of aquatic life forms did Doctor Topas keep? Given that two of the three were aquatic species, and noting that the human wore a diving helmet, was complete underwater immersion required?

The three technicians looked at each other warily, avoiding the questions and providing non-answers as best they could. All they really knew was that Doctor Topas has hidden the cure for the aquatic natives of Auilai in plain sight by injecting it into several specimens in his aquarium. Doctor Topas said that he had eighteen specimens, and that only he would be able to recognize which ones were injected and which ones were not. Evo didn't want to risk bringing the three-meter tall kaminoan fugitive, so they decided they'd just bring all eighteen specimens back to the Riptide.

Doctor Topas told them that the tank was large, large enough for a humanoid to swim within, and that the water was held behind a permeable force field. Each specimen was about the size of a humanoid's forearm or slightly bigger. He explained that they could be extracted from the tank by either entering it or using a set of long poles he keeps in a closet nearby. Transport cannisters can be attached to the end of the poles. If maneuvered close enough to the specimen, it would be drawn inside the cannister via vacuum action. The cannister then seals itself and removed from the pole. There should be twenty cannisters in the closet.

Eggs the quarren, Evo the nautolan, and Balin the human, simply needed to enter the high security complex dressed as auarium maintenance technicians, capture all the specimens, and get out. The fact that Eggs and Evo were both from aquatic humanoid species only served to substantiate their ruse. It was the perfect cover!

The protocol droid waved its hand to deactivate security locks placed on the entrance to unit 9501. The trio entered and went to work, locating the closet and tools. They began drawing the specimens into the cannisters.

The droid seemed very confused that the service technicians needed to use tools already on site and asked a few too many incredulous questions. Evo nodded towards the droid and said, "Take care of that, will you?"  Eggs put down his pole and approached the droid menacingly.

GM Note - I told the players that there were 18 fish. Catching a fish required a successful Melee Weapon skill check vs. Moderate (15). Each success caught a fish. Because they had to remove a the cannister from the pole and attach a new cannister, they could only catch one fish each per turn. Each time they rolled a 1 on the Wild Die, a complication would occur - for example, a guard would show up, someone nearby would become suspicious, a  neighbor would start asking difficult questions, etc. I designed the scenario so that three characters would need six turns to catch all the fish, plenty of opportunity for a Wild Die to roll a 1. The scenario lent an air of tension and anxiety as the complications kept escalating.

The droid became suspicious and hurried out into the corridor. It had almost made it to the security terminal on the corner when Eggs grabbed it and put it in a headlock. The droid flailed and cried for help!

In answer to its cry, a security droid came around the corner. It was a Z-unit, a floating grey cylinder about half a meter in diameter equipped with short and medium range stunners. Eggs cursed his luck and began punching the droid with his free hand while keeping the protocol droid in a headlock. The protocol droid wriggled free and activated the security alarm while Eggs pummeled the security droid. Eggs finally grabbed the security droid and threw it onto the ground then shoved the protocol droid into the corridor wall, disabling both automatons.

He thought fast and grabbed the protocol droid's hand, passing it over the security scanner and activating the intercom. A voice on the intercom inquired about the problem. Eggs did his best protocol droid impression, "No problem. Just a malfunction. Please cancel the alarm."

After a tense pause, the alarm was cancelled, but the voice on the intercom said, "We're sending up some stormtroopers to do a sweep."

He returned to his crewmates, stressed the need to hurry, and  helped capture the remaining specimens. Moments later, they had two duffel bags filled with eighteen cylinders containing aquatic specimens. They took off down the corridor, looking to take a different service turbolift and avoid the stormtrooper patrol.

On their way out, they see a bulletin flash across all the security terminals. It was an alert to be on the lookout for the nautolan Evo Shandor, the quarren Eggs Ledscramb, and the humans Balin Lee and Emily Wonder. The four were being blamed for the morning's street massacre in the Free District. They were listed as armed and extremely dangerous. Their exit just became complicated!

The trio made their way back to the airspeeder van and calmly made their way to the security checkpoint at the exit. The barrier descended in front of them and two stormtroopers walked out to stop them. Evo slowed the speeder van to a crawl as they approached the checkpoint. Balin closed his eyes and began concentrating, focusing his ability to channel the Force.

Evo pulled up to the stormtroopers. Before the stormtrooper could even speak, Balin opened his eyes and waved his hand, "We're only here to maintain the fish."

The stormtroopers looked at each other. One said, "They're only here to maintain the fish."

Balin waved his hand again, "We're not the fugitives you're looking for."

The stormtrooper said, "They're not the fugitives we're looking for," opened the checkpoint barrier and waved them through.

The van casually flew away from the Imperial compound. Holograms everywhere displayed giant images of Evo, Eggs, Emily, and  Balin, with the captions: "WANTED FOR MASS MURDER - EVO SHANDOR - BALIN LEE - EGGS LEDSCRAMB - EMILY WONDER - ARMED AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS - USE CAUTION - DO NOT APPROACH - CONTACT IMPERIAL SECURITY IMMEDIATELY"

Evo called Rhys on the com-link, "Were you able to get Char-Six to bypass the drive lock?"

Rhys replied that she had, but informed Evo that Char-Six said it would cost them later.

Evo told Rhys to get the engines started, and to hurry! They were making a hasty exit.

In the distance, a Star Destroyer was descending through the atmosphere, releasing a flight of 6 TIE fighters headed towards the starport.

Evo landed the airspeeder in the hangar and ran onto the ship, exchanging a few shots with the two stormtroopers guarding the exit, while Balin and Eggs retrieved the duffel bags full of specimen cannisters and made their way up the entry ramp. Evo called back to Rhys to activate the bypass. Rhys flew a switch that deactivated the drive lock. The lock immediately began to emit a piercing alarm while a signal automatically notified Customs that the device was being tampered with. Evo angled the Riptide straight up and hit the accelerator, twisting the transport sideways to squeeze through the closing hangar doors overhead. 

The Riptide shot up over the city, but instead of heading for space Evo flew close to the ground, flying down streets and weaving between buildings. The six TIE fighters immediately engaged the Riptide, opening fire on the transport and trying to keep up with Evo's maneuvers.

Balin strapped into a nearby seat and began concentrating. Eggs manned the shields. Emily started climbing the gun well towards the turbolaser, but the rapid maneuvers caused her to slip and fall, knocking her unconscious.

Evo looked back, "Well, looks like we've got no gunner. Hold on, everyone! From here on out, we're taking evasive maneuvers! I'm going to do everything I can to avoid getting shot!"
GM Note - Emily's player was absent this week and Rhys' player had just left, so they didn't really have anybody to spare as gunner, so Evo's player decided to engage in full defensive maneuvers.
The Riptide momentarily left the cover of the buildings while it crossed the barren rocky landscape outside the city. The crystal mountain range loomed ahead.

Eggs asked, "We're not headed towards the ocean?"

Evo replied, "No. The Star Destroyer see us submerge. They'd be able to track us using their scanners. I've got a plan!"
Through the Crystal Mountains
The Riptide flew into the mountain range, darting between the giant crystal mountains, using them as cover. The ship was going too fast for the confines of the mountains so Evo reduced speed and hoped that some accidents would take care of the TIEs on their tail.

The close quarters forced the TIES into a tight formation and, soon enough, one of the TIE fighters slipped its turn and collided with another. The two spun wildly out of control and crashed into the glassy mountainside.

The Riptide contined to bank and corkscrew through the narrow confines of the range. The TIE fighters opened fire, scoring some hits on the transports shields. Fortunately, Eggs was quickly able to restore shields using the vessel's unique back-up system, but he couldn't keep doing that forever.

Balin came out of his trance and climbed the gunwell into the turbolaser turret, spinning it around to face the pursuing TIE fighters.

He closed his eyes and reached out his hands towards one of the Imperial starfighters. He extended his fingers and, with a slight gesture, pushed the small fighter with his mind. The fighter wobbled and suddenly slipped sideways as if a giant invisible hand had shoved it. The fighter crashed into the closest nearby TIE fighter, causing both pilots to lose control. The fighters slammed into a mountain and were destroyed!

Balin repeated the feat on the remaining two TIE fighters. At first, he was only able to bump them, but a second push caused them to crash.

The Riptide had suffered a minor collision during the chase, reducing its maneuverability, but they were no longer being pursued. They could see the Star Destroyer flying high over the mountain range. Evo flew the Riptide out of the mountain range and over the ocean beyond. He landed the ship hard on the purple water, kicking up a terrific spray. The vessel quickly sank beneath the waves.

Evo unbuckled himself from the pilot seat and ran to the cargo hold. He told Eggs to follow him.

Eggs said, "Won't they just find us with their scanners, like you said?"

Evo replied, "No. Load all the extra parts and anything we don't need into the airlock and jettison it all. We're going to make it look like we crashed and sank! That way they won't look for us.
GM Note - I looked at Evo's player, astonished at his ingenuity, and exclaimed, "Very nice! Well done! You get 2 Character Points, immediate award!" Everyone agreed. There were high fives and congratulations all around.

End Note - This session, comprising all three chapters of Episode 6, was perhaps the most Star Warsy thing I've done since I ran my first campaign back in 1988. It was a blast! Everyone had fun. There was fast talk, role-play, infiltration, hand-to-hand combat, mini-games, spaceship combat, thrilling escapes, Force use, the whole package! 
I'm planning on Episode 7 being the final episode in this campaign, so expect a fantastic climax next week. Then we'll take a few weeks off. After Christmas I'm planning on returning to D&D fifth edition and running the Out of the Abyss campaign. Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

"A Minor Complication" - Star Wars: Riptide, Episode 6 Chapter 2

Episode 6 Chapter 2

The Empire forced kaminoan microbiologist
Doctor Ardap Topas to create a disease
that was used to oppress and enslave
the aquatic natives of the water planet Auilai.

Unbeknownst to his Imperial overseers, 

Doctor Topas also created a cure for his disease
and kept it hidden in plain sight
in his residence.

The crew of the Riptide, 
has freed Doctor Topas 
from an Imperial prison transport
and must transport him 
and the cure he has created
from the Imperial sector capital of Chador
and back to Auilai.

Having recently failed 
to rescue Doctor Topas' 
assistant, Kara Pacha, 
the crew attempts to escape
from her mysterious murderer
in a stolen air-speeder...

The Crew of the Riptide
Evo Shandor - nautolan transport captain
Balin Lee - young human Jedi-in-training
Emily Wonder - human mercenary
Eggs Ledscramb - quarren bounty hunter
Rhys March - twi'lek tech-spec


Evo put the airspeeder into overdrive, leaving behind the scene of carnage on the streets below as Imperial Stormtroopers ruthlessly massacred innocent bystanders. There was nothing they could do for those people.

As the speeder, a sleek convertible rental, rose over the buildings of the Free Dirstrict of Markaze, Evo spotted someone, something, on their tail. It was an Imperial probe droid! No doubt ordered to follow them as they escaped. Evo tapped Eggs on the shoulder and pointed him towards the droid. Eggs nodded his squid-like head and readied his rifle. Eggs and the probe droid simultaneously fired at each other. The droid's shot went wide while Eggs hit dead-on. One shot disabled the droid and it dropped precipitously into an alley far below.

Evo activated his comm-link.

Rhys was taking a nap in the parts closet at the rear of the Riptide's engine-access compartment. Her comm-link started beeping. It kept beeping. It didn't stop beeping.

She groaned and reached for the accursed device, "What?"

It was Evo. She could hear the rush of wind behind him, "Rhys, we weren't able to save Kara Pachas and we had to make a hasty exit. Put Doctor Topas in the hidden compartment. We're executing phase two of the plan now and we need you. We're coming to pick you up. We should be there in two minutes. Get your gear ready."

She yawned and smacked her lips a few times before replying, somewhat hesitantly, "Okay...Sure."

"Do it!" Evo closed the signal.

She laid back down. She figured she'd get another two minutes.

Suddenly, there was a banging on the raised entry ramp. Then there was more banging.

She cursed her luck and drowsily got up and shuffled towards the ramp controls. She activated the intercom, "What???"

The voice on the other end sounded Imperial and sounded impatient, "This is Lieutenant Furtz of the Imperial Customs Bureau. I am ordering you to open this vessel. If you resist, I will gain entry by force and arrest you."

Rhys panicked just a little, "Okay, hold on." She looked over at Doctor Topas, sitting serenly on a couch in the common area. She gritted her teeth and waved him towards the newly completed secret compartment. She pointed at it excitedly. Doctor Topas nodded and removed himself into the secret room, folding his three meter tall body to fit and sitting with his knees by his chin. He calmly replaced the panel that concealed the space.

Rhys blew out her held breath, took another deep breath, and lowered the ramp, "What's this about?"

The bottom of the ramp touched ground at the feet of a young Imperial lieutenant, a dozen stormtroopers, and two scanner technicians carrying a hover pallet stacked with scanning equipment. Rhys bit her lip at the thought of her new compartment being put to the test so soon.

"Is this the Riptide out of the planet Nesia?"


"Are you Captain Evo Shandor?"

"No, I'm the ship's mechanic, Rhys March."

"Is Captain Shandor on board?"

"Not at the moment now."

"Is anyone else on board?"

Rhys thought briefly about Doctor Topas, "No. Should there be?"

With a wave of Lt. Furtz's hand, six of the stormtroopers trotted up the ramp and swarmed the Riptide. Lt. Furtz strode up the ramp behind them, "I have orders to search this vessel. It matches the description of a vessel that was recently involved in an unprovoked terrorist attack against an Imperial prison transport, during which a convicted traitor was emancipated from incarceration. This won't take a moment. In the meantime, you are to be held in custody while we wait for your captain."

Lt. Furtz motioned to a nearby stormtrooper, "Put her in restraints while we wait."

The stormtrooper pulled his restraints from his utility belt and moved towards Rhys. Rhys backed away slowly and activated her comm-link, still in the palm of her hand, "Captain! There are stormtroopers on the ship!"

The stormtrooper wrenched the comm-link away from her, throwing it to the floor, and grabbed her wrists. Rhys grimaced as her face was roughly forced against the bulkhead while her wrists were bound.

Lt. Furtz stepped toward her, scowling. He spat each syllable through bared teeth with barely constrained contempt, "Get her off the ship. I want two of you guarding her in the hangar while we wait to see what her cap-tain does."


Evo Shandor
Evo received Rhys' message loud and clear. He turned to the rest of his crew on the stolen airspeeder and said, "There are stormtroopers on the Riptide. It looks like we're going in hot. Eggs, do you have any thermal detonators?"

Eggs titled his head and gave Evo a sour look, "Does it look like I can afford thermal detonators?"

Evo titled his head in return and said, "Well?"

Eggs dropped his head and sighed, "Yes, I have one." He looked back at Evo reproachfully, "But they're expensive! Don't make me use it!"

"Hopefully we won't need to. Okay, we'll be there in about a minute. Get ready!"

Evo gunned the stolen airspeeder and flew towards the massive table-shaped spaceport.
Eggs Ledscramb

Rhys was taken off the Riptide towards the hangar's personnel exit. She was accompanied by four stormtroopers and Lt. Furtz. The group stopped near the exit when Lt. Furtz said, "Okay, we'll wait here while they scan the ship."

Rhys inquired, probingly, "So what happened anyway?"

The Imperial lieutenant did not make eye contact. He checked his datapad and looked absently at the Riptide, then replied distractedly, "I already told you, my superiors have reason to believe that this vessel was involved with the disabling of an Imperial prison transport and freed a convicted traitor."

Rhys snorted, "Disabled an Imperial transport. THIS SHIP???" She nodded towards the Riptide. "What kind of transport?"

Lt. Furtz paused for a moment and glanced sidways at the attractive young twi'lek mechanic, "A Gozanti, why?"

Rhys laughed out loud, "A Gozanti is like twice as big as this ship! Plus, isn't it protected by, what, two TIE fighters?"

Lt. Furtz turned to look at her, "Four actually. What are you getting at?"

"I'm saying that there's no way we could possibly have done what you said! It's technically impossible! Are you sure it was the Riptide that was responsible?"
Rhys March
Lt. Furtz began to show doubt, "No, not exactly. The survivors were unable to get a transponder signal from the attacking vessel. However, they said it was a mon calamari design, probably Deep Water-class, same as this vessel. Also, this vessel was on Chador, and left Markaze a day before the attack. So it is reasonable to suspect..."

Rhys interrupted him with an incredulous laugh, practically spitting through her lips, "Spppzzz!!!  Hah! I'm telling you, there's no way! You're wasting your time! Don't you have better things to do? I mean, just how many ships do you have to scan today? How long is that going to take?"

The lieutenant involuntarily glanced at his datapad again as if checking his schedule, "I... Shut up!" He glared at Rhys through narrowed eyes, "Watch her. I'm going to go check on how the scanning is going."

He walked back onto the ship, leaving Rhys flanked by two stormtroopers.

Rhys smiled and made chit-chat, "Either of you know anything about starship engines? Cause I know a lot! Did you know that blah, blah, blah..."

The stormtrooper to her right took a deep breath, "*SKIRK* (heavy sigh)."

A moment later, Lt. Furtz exited the ship with the scanning technicians. He snapped his fingers and the six stormtroopers waiting at the base of the ramp quickly fell into formation behind him.

As the entourage neared the exit,  Lt. Furtz paused and gave new orders to the escort guarding Rhys, "I've decided to move onto the next ship. Stay here and notify me the second her captain returns. I'll question him personally.

The stormtrooper to her right replied, "*SKIRK* (heavy sigh), Yes sir."

Lt. Furtz then left with six stormtroopers and four scanner technicians, leaving behind four stormtroopers on the Riptide and two guarding Rhys.

Rhys smiled with satisfaction.

Rhys was alone with her escorts. She was beginning to worry about Evo and the others busting in guns blazing. She had convinced Lt. Furtz that they probably weren't responsible for the attack on the prison transport and that they probably weren't harboring a fugitive. But if Evo started a fight, all that would be wasted and everyone would probably be killed. She had to contact Evo to let him know, but they confiscated her comm-link. She had maybe less than a minute and had to think fast.

After a short moment of awkward silence, she crossed her legs and started to dance.

The stormtrooper to her left took notice, "*SKIRK* What's wrong with you?"

Rhys looked desperate, "I really REALLY have to use the refresher!"

"*SKIRK* Can't you hold it??"

"No! Can't you take me back onto the Riptide for just a second? I'll use the refresher and we can come back out here. I promise."

The stormtrooper on her left addressed the other to her right, "*SKIRK* Okay. You take her onto the ship. I'll wait here."

The stormtrooper on her right replied, "*SKIRK* (heavy sigh). Yes sir."

Rhys was escorted back onto the ship and led towards the newly installed refresher module. She noted the presence of four additional storm troopers searching through the ship. She turned to back to her escort and looked over her shoulder, she wiggled her bound hands behind her, "You can't expect me to go with these still bound, can you?"

The stormtrooper stared at her in silent indecision.

"C'mon. I'll just be in the refresher. I'm not going anywhere!"

"*SKIRK* (heavy sigh). Okay. Sure."

The stormtrooper undid her binders. As she spun around, her hands unbound, Rhys palmed the stormtrooper's comm-link, "Thanks! I'll be right back!"

She went into the refresher unit and made whispered contact with Evo. She hoped it was not too late.

She was in luck. She was able to warn Evo to abandon any assault and inform him that the Imperials were still not sure that the Riptide was responsible for the attack. Suitably warned, Evo landed the stolen airspeeder away from the spaceport. He then called their astromech droid, Parts Drop, on his comm-link, and ordered the droid to discreetly move up to the cockpit and get ready to take off in the case of trouble. Parts Drop beeped and whistled in what Evo assumed was acknowledgement. The crew then calmly walked into the spaceport and returned to the hangar, where they were detained for Lt. Furtz.

Evo and the rest of the crew patiently waited outside the ship until Lt. Furtz returned.

Lt. Furtz put Evo through the standard questions: Identiy, ship's registry and other documents, licenses, and recent itinerary. Evo replied with the truth, mostly.

Evo verified that they left Markaze spaceport on Chador 90 hours ago bound to Bakki Station with an empty cargo hold with the intention of securing a more lucrative cargo. Unable to find a profitable cargo, they decided to return to Markaze.

Lt. Furtz led evo through the ship, poking around the various compartments and asking questions about recent improvements and modifications, including the shield upgrade. Evo dismissed the question, saying that the Riptide was a piece of junk and was falling apart, asking if the lieutenant had seen all the spare parts still in the cargo hold. He said that he needed those junk parts just to keep the ship flying!

Lt. Furtz took notice of several unused panels and framing posts used to create interior bulkheads, unused parts that were in fact purchased to create the secret compartment. Evo explained that they do some bounty hunting jobs on the side and that they were planning on turning one of the many bunk-rooms on the ship into a prisoner holding cell.

When asked about transporting the fugitive traitor Dr. Topas, Evo replied, "Who? I've honestly never heard of this person. Well, he's obviously not on MY ship! You searched it right? Do you need to scan it? Be my guest!"

Lt. Furtz sniffed skeptically but was beginning to believe in the scruffy nautolan pilot's story. "Very  well," said the lieutenant, "you are not under arrest for now. However, I have been ordered to impound every vessel of mon calamari design pending a further inspection and interrogation by Imperial Security Bureau Agent Demek, who has been assigned to investigate the attack on the transport and return the fugitive to justice. A drive lock will be placed upon your vessel until cleared by Agent Demek."

The lieutenant then directed some maintenance technicians to install a drive lock on the ship's flux interlock, preventing its operations. Evo played it cool and did not interfere, but out of the corner of his eye he saw Parts Drop in the cockpit, surreptitiously extending his computer interface to the ship's computer port, ready to start it up and blast off in the case of trouble, as ordered.

Evo bit his lip and ran up to the cockpit, "THAT's okay, Parts Drop. That's not necessary. Thanks."

Parts Drop's dome spun around and blasted Evo with a series of annoyed blurts and honks. Evo patted the droid and nervously tried to laugh it off.

The lieutenant was startled, "What was that about?"

"Oh, nothing. Old droid. It occasionally malfunctions. It's under control."

Parts Drop barged back to the engine access compartment emitting a series of disgusted whorls and buzzes.

"You should put a restraining bolt on that droid. In the meantime, I am releasing you to your own recognizance. Just don't leave the city. Agent Demek will contact you shortly regarding his inspection and interrogation."

Satisfied in his diligence and pressed to inspect dozens more ships today, Lt. Furtz left, leaving only four stormtroopers to guard the hangar, but none on the ship.

Once alone on the ship, Evo checked on Doctor Topas, safely hidden in the secret compartment, and conferred with his crew.

"Okay, we have to act fast. We're abandoning my original plan to pose as window repairmen. I've got a better plan that will get us into Doctor Topas' residence."

The crew gathered into a huddle, "Okay, here's the plan..."


GM Notes- This was the most fun we've had role-playing in a while. I got a little worried that it would turn into a bloodbath and everyone would be killed, so I took Rhys' player aside and role-played the little interaction with Lt. Furtz so that she had more information. Then it was up to her to figure out a way to contact Evo and stop him. It was a blast!
Everyone fell in love with the put-upon stormtrooper who had apparently had just about it with everything. I would cup my hands over my mouth and do the little comm-link sound and just sigh heavily. He was the favorite NPC of the night.

Next week - Thrilling Adventure and Violence!